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1-4 Founding Documents

American Founding Documents and People’s Law

1. The Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776)
a. The document __________________________ the thirteen colonies decided to
separate from Great Britain and to
b. The Declaration makes clear the ________________ on which the U.S. is
i. The power of the government comes __________________ of that
country (“the consent of the governed”)
ii.If a government ignores the will of the people,
______________________________ _______________________.
iii. “We hold these truths to be __________________, that all men are
_____________, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain
unalienable _________, that among these are
c. The signers of the Declaration knew they could be signing their
____________________. They would be ________ for high ____________ if
caught by the British.
d. They ______________ but believed their actions were worth “our _______,
our ________, and our sacred ________.”
2. Articles of Confederation (drafted 1777, ratified 1781)
a. The Declaration of Independence was not designed to __________ a
government. The new country ____________________ and win their war
with Britain.
b. The Articles of Confederation set up a “firm league of ___________” where
each _________________________ and in most ways was to be
_________________________ ______________________.
c. The states were responsible for enforcing the ________ laws (any
problems here?) After their experience with King George III, Americans
were suspicious of _________________ who could limit their freedoms.
d. The United States was _______________ during and after the long War for
Independence. The Articles of Confederation ____________________________
to solve its problems. Weakness of the Confederation:
i. No ____________ to speak or act for the nation in case of
ii.No __________________ to deal with cases between states, piracy, or
high crimes.
iii.No means of ________________________________ (except by declaring war
on a state).
iv.No power to regulate ___________________________.
1-4 Founding Documents

v.No power to regulate ________________________ except by specific
The Articles of Confederation were too weak!
vi.No ability to _____________________ from the states.
1. Congress and the Continental Army relied upon the
___________________ of the states.
e. States’ quarrels were losing America ______________ in the rest of the
world when they needed aid in their effort against the British
f. The Articles of Confederation were ____________________, but too close to
g. In 1787 Congress asked the states to send representatives to revise the

3. People’s Law
a. Our Founders would __________________ our modern definitions of political
Too close to Anarchy. 
“left” as _______________ and “right” as _____________.
i. These are simply different names for a _____________________.
b. The Founders had a different scale:
i. “too ______ government”  __________, to the right
ii.“too ______ government”  __________, to the left
c. In many of the Founders writings they despised tyranny but
____________________ (or ____________ – rule of the mob) even _______.
The Articles of Confederation weighted the
d. They wished to find a “________________” or balanced center
government of America on the side of anarchy rather
_________________ and It_________
than tyranny. still was.not in the balanced center.

Colonial government under King
George III  Revolutionary War and
the Articles of Confederation 
President under the Constitution

Absolute Ruler

To too little government
To People’s Law
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e. The formula must provide enough government to ______________________
but ____ so much government that it could _______________________.
4. A Difficult Balance
a. Our Founders observed that ___________________________________ OR
b. When people ____________ the burdens of ___________ they are often lead
by revolutionaries and not those educated in political science or
c. The chaos of the people turns into a cry to “_____________” and a ________
steps up to ________________… leaving the revolution where it began.
i. Example: the French Revolution
ii.(King Louis XVI  Revolution  Emperor Napoleon)

Absolute Ruler

To Anarchy

Absolute Ruler

Our goal is a People’s Law in the middle of two extremes.