Social Studies - 2019-20
CE.2b - Foundational Documents
The student will apply social science skills to understand the foundations of American constitutional government by
b) examining and evaluating the impact of the Magna Carta, charters of the Virginia Company of London, the Virginia Declaration of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom on the Constitution of Virginia and the Constitution of the United States, including the Bill of Rights;
UNDERSTANDING THE STANDARD
American constitutional government is founded on concepts articulated in earlier documents.
Influence of earlier documents on the Constitution of the United States
The Magna Carta established for the first time the principle that everyone including the king was subject to the law, and gave Englishmen basic rights and freedoms.
The charters of the Virginia Company of London guaranteed the rights of Englishmen to the colonists.
The Virginia Declaration of Rights served as a model for the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States.
The Declaration of Independence
o stated grievances against the king of Great Britain
o declared the colonies’ independence from Great Britain
o affirmed “certain unalienable rights” (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness)
o affirmed the idea that all people are created equal.
The Articles of Confederation
o established the first form of national government for the independent states
o maintained that major powers resided with individual states
o created weak central government (e.g., no power to tax or enforce laws)
o led to the writing of the Constitution of the United States.
The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom stated freedom of religious beliefs and opinions.
The Constitution of the United States, including the Bill of Rights,
established the structure of the United States government
guaranteed equality under the law with majority rule and the rights of the minority protected
affirmed individual worth and dignity of all people
protected the fundamental freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition.