Social Studies - 2018-19

USI.7b - Development of the Constitution

The student will apply social science skills to understand the challenges faced by the new nation by  

b) describing the historical development of the Constitution of the United States; 

Adopted: 2015



The development of the Constitution of the United States was significant to the foundation of the American republic. 

The Constitution of the United States established a federal system of government based on power being shared between the national and state governments. 


Confederation to Constitution 

 Weaknesses in the Articles of Confederation led to the effort to draft a new constitution. 

The Constitutional Convention 

 State delegates met in Philadelphia and decided not to revise the Articles of Confederation but to write a new constitution. 

 George Washington was elected president of the Constitutional Convention. 

 James Madison became known as the “Father of the Constitution.” 

 Delegates debated over how much power should be given to the new national government and how large and small states should be represented in the new government. 

 The structure of the new national government included three separate branches of government: 

o Legislative (makes the laws) 

o Executive (carries out the laws) 

o Judicial (interprets the laws) 

 The Great Compromise decided how many votes each state would have in the Senate and the House of Representatives. 

 The Constitution was signed at the end of the convention. 

Ratification of the Constitution 

 A minimum of nine of the thirteen states had to vote in favor of the Constitution before it could become law. 

The Bill of Rights 

 The Bill of Rights was based on the Virginia Declaration of Rights (George Mason) and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (Thomas Jefferson). 

 These first ten amendments to the Constitution provide a written guarantee of individual rights (e.g., freedom of speech, freedom of religion). 


Updated: May 16, 2018