Social Studies - 2018-19
VUS.5a - Founding Documents
The student will apply social science skills to understand the development of the American political system by
a) examining founding documents to explore the development of American constitutional government, with emphasis on the Virginia Declaration of Rights and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in the framing of the Bill of Rights;
Unit Essential Questions
How do systems, ideas, or beliefs change over time?
How does the US Constitution shape our lives as Americans?
How does democracy shape the American experience?
UNDERSTANDING THE STANDARD
American political leaders wrote a series of documents intended to provide an effective system of government based on republican principles.
The Articles of Confederation American political leaders, fearful of a powerful central government like Britain’s, created a weak national system of government. Significant powers given to the states ultimately made the national government ineffective. The Articles of Confederation
provided for a weak national government
gave Congress no power to tax or regulate commerce among the states
provided for no common currency
gave each state one vote regardless of size or population
provided for no executive or judicial branch
ultimately was replaced with a stronger central government through the formation of the Constitution of the United States.
Virginia Declaration of Rights (George Mason)
Stated that governments should not violate the people’s natural rights
Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (Thomas Jefferson)
Supported freedom of religious exercise and separation of church and state
The United States Constitution’s Bill of Rights
James Madison consulted the Virginia Declaration of Rights and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom when drafting the amendments that eventually became the United States Bill of Rights.
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Articles of Confederation
House of Representatives
Equal Branches: Judicial, Executive, Legislative
Checks and Balances
Bill of Rights
Virginia Declaration of Rights
Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom