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Basic facts about the Mayflower Compact and the 1st Charter of Virginia

1st Virginia Charter
* Date: 1606
* Speaker: King James
* Grammatical subject: “we”
* Geographical location: Virginia (the South)
* Declared Goals of 1st Virginia Charter: Religion, Civilization, Find Gold
* Kind of Government that was envisaged: a representative assembly (13 persons to ordainedand removed from time to time) that had a lot of autonomy (they shall govern all matters that arise within the colony)

Mayflower Compact
* Date: 1620
* Speaker: Colonists
* Grammatical subject: “we”
* Geographical location: Cape Cod (Massachusetts – the North)
* Declared goals of the Mayflower Compact: Religion, King, Survival/Security
* Kind of Government that wasenvisaged: pure democracy (we will make laws and we will obey the laws; we combine ourselves together into a civil body politic)

* In the early 1600s the American colonies established governments that were :
* highly independent
* and relatively democratic for the time.
* But despite these common traits, the colonies were based on different religions and theymistrusted each other.

The Declaration of Independence – 1776

This text, written by Thomas Jefferson during the Revolutionary War, asserts that:
1. all men are equal
2. all men have “unalienable” rights, including:
a. life
b. liberty
c. the pursuit of happiness
3. governments are made by men for the purpose of protecting their rights and they get theirauthority from the people
4. when governments don’t protect the people’s rights, then the people can abolish them and make new ones

The Constitutional Convention – 1787

The first constitution of the United States was called “The Articles of Confederation.” It had many problems, including:

* Every state had its own currency and monetary policy
* Every state pursued its own foreignpolicy
* Federal taxes could not be imposed on states, so taxes were voluntary
* Every state had its own judicial system
* Every state had its own militia; there was no real common defense policy
* To change the Articles all states had to agree
* There was no executive power
* Each state had one vote regardless of its population
* Each state could send as manyrepresentatives as it wanted
* Representatives were paid by their states, not by the federal government
* Representatives served one year terms
When the delegates came to Philadelphia, there were two main divisions: (1) between big states and small states, and (2) between Northern-abolitionist states and Southern-slave states.

(1) Concerning the big/small division, there were two main plans forthe new constitution:

1. James Madison’s proposal, called ‘The Virginia Plan,’ which was supported by big states (large populations), had:
a) A bicameral legislature (two houses)
b) Both house's membership determined proportionately
c) The lower house was elected by the people
d) The upper house was elected by the lower house
e) A Prime Minister styleexecutive
f) A judiciary, with life-terms
g) The executive had veto power, but congress could override it.
h) Congress could veto state laws

2. William Patterson’s proposal, called ‘The New Jersey plan,’ which was supported by small states (low populations)
i) a multi-person executive elected by Congress
j) The executives served one term and could beremoved by state governors
k) A judiciary appointed by the executives, with life-terms
l) Laws set by the Congress took precedence over state law
m) Each state had the same number of representatives

(2) Concerning the problem of Slavery:
* Northern states generally wanted to abolish slavery
* Southern states did not want to free the slaves or allow them to vote...
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