The signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 gave birth to the U.S., but it also left it with no central government. It had to design and install a new government–and quickly. As early as May 1776, Congress advised each of the colonies to draw up plans for 13 individual state governments and by 1780, all thirteen states had adopted written constitutions of their own. In June 1776, the Continental Congress began to work on a plan for a central government. It took five years for it to be approved, first by members of Congress and then by the states. The first attempt at a constitution for the United States was called the Articles of Confederation.
Since the U.S. was still at war for its independence, the first constitution was composed by a body that directed most of its attention to fighting and winning the American Revolution. It came into being at a time when Americans had deep fears of a central authority and long-standing loyalty to the state in which they lived and often called their "country." Ultimately, it was this very combination of fear of central authority and loyalty to state that led to the failure of the Articles of Confederation. Thankfully, its failure would not be the end of the nation. On the contrary, this first attempt at governing marked a crucial step toward creating one of the most revered forms of government ever established.
Scale and Student Tracking Sheet
Every unit begins with the Scale and Student Tracking Sheet. The Scale is the tool used to measure just how well each student understands the content in each unit. Students should refer to the Scale throughout the unit to help them gauge how well they have mastered the content. "Mastery" ranges from 0.0 - 4.0, and the goal is for each student to demonstrate "mastery" of the content at the 3.0 level or higher. The Student Tracking Sheet is used to help students track their "mastery" of the content.
Please review the scale below and complete the student tracking sheet. (You will have your own student copy given to you to keep in class.)
The Articles of Confederation
Articles of Confederation Questions
Previewing the Constitutional Convention: Dance Theme Questions
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13 classes were asked to vote for the 8th Grade Dance theme and the results are shown in the spreadsheet to the left. Click on the image to the left and preview the results, then answer the questions below:
Label your paper Page 2: Convention Preview
2. What would be the theme if we decided based on the total class votes?
3. Which way of counting the votes is more fair and why?
4. Should students who are not attending the dance have their vote count toward deciding the theme?
5. Which system (student votes or class votes) would the smaller classes prefer and why?
6. Which system (student votes or class votes) would the larger classes prefer and why?
Page 3: Constitutional Convention Questions
(Questions in class are attached below along with review terms)
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After Test: The Constitution's Immoral Compromise
- Read the opinions of the professors on the NYT website.
- In a one paragraph (6-8 sentences) essay titled, : "An Immoral Compromise", state and explain your own opinion on the questions above (in purple).