Abstract and Keywords
This chapter examines the evolution of the U.S. Constitution from 1620 to the early republic. It first outlines the ideas and experiences that shaped the Constitution, including self-government, republicanism, and rights from seventeenth-century Britain. It then considers the economic and political differences among British colonies and their eventual independence, each reinventing itself as a self-governing and sovereign state. It also discusses the Articles of Confederation (1781-1789) that made a Confederation Congress the cornerstone of national government, the 1780s as a “critical period” in American history, and the politics of the Constitutional Convention held in Philadelphia in May 1787. Finally, the chapter explores the creation of the three branches of government (Congress, the national executive, and judiciary), constitutional amendments and the ratification process, the Bill of Rights, and the Supreme Court.
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