The Constitution

What Lead to This Document?

The Articles of Confederation

The Articles of Confederation established "a firm league of friendship" among the states.

It did, however, have it's weaknesses.

  • One vote for each state, regardless of size
  • Congress powerless to lay and collect taxes or duties
  • Congress powerless to regulate foreign and Interstate Commerce
  • No executive to enforce acts of congress
  • No national court system
  • Ammendment only with consent of all states
  • A 9/13 majority required to pass laws
  • Articles only a "firm league of friendship"


These weakness lead to many revisions and improvements that formed the foundation of our Constitution.


Some similarities between The Articles of Confederation and The Constitution

  • Congress had lawmaking powers
  • Federal Government could send and revieve ambassadors
  • Could raise and equipt an army and navy (different ways of getting money)
  • Citizens from all states are treated equally

Natural Law

'body of unchanging moral principles regarded as a basis for all human conduct'


In laymans terms:

Natural law is what individuals believe to be morally RIGHT and morally WRONG.



How this relates to The Constitution:

The Constitution is a set of rules, laws, rights, and regulations believed to be morally correct. They are set in place to keep civil peace and order within the nation.

John Locke

Locke is known as "The father of classical Liberalism".


This British philosopher and Enlightenment Thinker influenced many of the founding fathers of the United States, including: Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson.


His writings influnced The American Revolution, and ideas of the natrual rights of: Life, Liberty, and The Pursuit of Happiness.


Locke strongly believed in Social Contract:

Theory that addresses the questions of origin of society and legitamacy of the authority of the state over the individual.

(Giving up some freedoms for security and/or protection)


James Madison

"Father of The Constitution" - WROTE The Constitution

  • Intended to ammend Articles of Confederation, but instead he wrote a whole new Constitution
  • Helped frame the Bill of Rights
  • Wrote Federalist Papers
  • Represented Virginia
  • "Virginia Plan" served as basis of his constitution ideas
  • Wanted strong central government that would unify country