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  • Georgia and the US Constitution

    Just ten years after the Articles of Confederation was drawn up in 1777, representatives met in Philadelphia to write a new Constitution. Georgia sent four men, most notably University of Georgia founder Abraham Baldwin, who played a critical role in what came to be known as the “Great Compromise.”

    Support Materials

    Discuss

    1. Explain why Georgia and the United States did not want a strong central government.

    2. What was the Great Compromise?

    3. Why did Georgia support a strong national government?

    Expansion

    1. Research another country's government and its constitution. Compare and contrast that country's government with the United States government.

    Vocabulary

    ratify: to make (a treaty, agreement, etc.) official by signing it or voting for it
    Articles of Confederation: an agreement among the 13 original states of the United States of America that served as its first constitution, but it was criticized for limiting the powers of the central government
    Constitutional Convention: a meeting of delegates held to revise the Articles of Confederation but ultimately resulted in the creation of a new government rather than fix the existing one (The United States Constitution was created and signed during the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.)

    For Teachers

    Discussion Guide

    1. Explain why Georgia and the United States did not want a strong central government. 
    Both Georgia and the United States lived through a brutal time ruled by the King of England, who was more of a tyrant than an administrator. The state and federal government, however, knew they needed a stronger executive power than what was outlined in the Articles of the Confederation to help them handle the complex issues experienced by both governments.

    2. What was the Great Compromise? 
    The Great Compromise was the result of a tie between ideas to design the legislative branch. Some state delegates wanted each state to have an equal number of legislative representatives, while others wanted a state's number of representatives to be proportionate to its population. The Great Compromise included both ideas, resulting in a bicameral legislation. A state's number of representatives in the House was determined by its population size, and each state received equal representation in the Senate. 

    3. Why did Georgia support a strong national government?
    Georgia was experiencing a lot of conflict between settlers and Native Americans, and the state needed protection along its frontier. With conflict surrounding land rights and ownership, Georgia--the smallest and youngest state at the time--needed help from other states to protect settlers' property. 

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