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After months of battling and compromises, the US Constitution was finally adopted on September 17, 1787. Still, America was embroiled in heated arguments over exactly how the government would work and what powers it could really exercise. Political parties soon developed as groups argued about the direction of the country. Alexander Hamilton became a leading voice of the Federalists who believed that the federal government needed to be strong. On the other side, Thomas Jefferson, a Republican, argued that too much power...
US Constitution, Our Documents
Finkelman, Paul. Slavery and the Founders: Race and Liberty in the Age of Jefferson. New York: M.E. Sharpe, Inc., 2001.
Why did the Founders find it necessary to provide protections for slavery in the US Constitution?Learning Objective ...
These lawyers, and men of learning, and moneyed men, that talk so finely, and gloss over matters so smoothly, to make us poor illiterate people swallow down the pill, expect to get into Congress themselves . . . and then they will swallow up all us little folks, like the great Leviathan.
Amos Singletary, 1788Reading 2
I am a plain man, and get my living by the plough. . . . I have lived in a part of the country where I have known the worth of good government by the want...
At the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, delegates analyzed, argued, and debated the new Constitution. George Mason, a Virginian, pleaded with the fifty-five delegates for the inclusion of a list of guaranteed rights. Mason (sometimes referred to as the “father of the Bill of Rights”) wanted the new Constitution to guarantee freedom of speech, press, and religion, and the right to a fair jury trial. He also wanted to include the freedom to vote.
Earlier in his career, Mason had worked hard at the...
January 1, 2013, marked the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. This revolutionary document ushered in the Thirteenth Amendment and the end of slavery in the United States. These two great legal documents were the culmination of a long struggle that began in the colonial period with the arrival of the first African slaves in North America. The Great Emancipation of the 1860s cannot be understood without studying what is often called the “first emancipation”—the growing belief among many...