Congress and the Constitution

Legacy of Republicanism

Clock 90 minutes

Delegates at the Constitutional Convention debated the nature of representative government and how best to organize legislative bodies into a stable and responsive branch of government.  Other questions included whether enslaved persons would be counted towards a state’s population count, how representatives ought to be elected, and whether the legislature should be a unicameral or bicameral organization.  After the Convention concluded, Americans continued to debate whether the proposed House of Representatives and Senate could adequately safeguard liberty.

Founding Principles

Civic Virtue image

Civic Virtue

A set of actions and habits necessary for the safe, effective, and mutually beneficial participation in a society.

Civil Discourse image

Civil Discourse

Reasoned and respectful sharing of ideas between individuals is the primary way people influence change in society/government, and is essential to maintain self-government.

Consent of the Governed image

Consent of the Governed

The government's power is only justified when its power comes from the will or approval of the people.

Inalienable / Natural Rights image

Inalienable / Natural Rights

Freedoms which belong to us by nature and can only be justly taken away through due process.

Majority Rule / Minority Rights image

Majority Rule / Minority Rights

Laws may be made with the consent of the majority but only to the point where they do not infringe on the inalienable rights of the minority.

Representative / Republican Government image

Representative / Republican Government

Form of government in which the people are sovereign (the ultimate source of power) and authorize representatives to make and carry out laws.

Separation of Powers image

Separation of Powers

A system of distinct powers built into the Constitution to prevent an accumulation of power in one branch.

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