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M6A2 Discussion Board – American Ideals & Reality

In what ways did the ideals of America provide an ideal to strive for rather than a lived reality?

Note: focus on one particular area and explain. Do not attempt to provide all of the examples that would fit here.

Read Yawp, Chapter 6, parts I-IV, which discuss the reasons for the calling of the Constitutional Convention, James Madison’s role in the Constitutional Convention, the compromise over representation, and the debate over ratification.

James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay, worried that the Constitution would not be ratified, wrote a series of essays published in New York newspapers to persuade people to support the Constitution. The essays came to be known as the Federalist Papers. The reason they were originally written was to counter the strong Anti-federalist (against the Constitution) sentiment. Although its original purpose was to persuade New Yorkers to ratify the Constitution, the Federalist Papers (essays) shed light on the intended structure and function of the United States government. In Federalist no. 10, Madison provided his explanation for why a large republic best protected individual liberty. He argued that a large republic would create more factions (like interest groups) which would counter each other enough to prevent the rise of a majority. He, and others of his time, believed that a majority would oppress the rights of a minority, thus he sought to create a system that would protect minority rights. He was thinking of his class – the wealthy – as a minority, which he felt needed protection from the property-less who would want to take his property. Madison did not think about rights for the enslaved minority in Virginia, nor in the country as a whole. It would take later generations to push for minority rights in the sense of gender, race, religion, and ethnicity.

See the following brief clip on the creation of the Federalist Papers. The Founders Unite. The History Channel. Accessed January 18, 2016.
Click the Button to link to the video clip:

Link to Federalist Papers clip

Note that the Assignment Guide provides questions to help guide you through Federalist no. 10.

Read James Madison, Federalist no. 10. Avalon Project. Yale University. Access January 18, 2016. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/fed10.asp
(Note: a faction is an interest group, not a political party.)

Link to an online version of Federalist no. 10

Next, we turn to the debate over the slave trade.

Read the following background information on slavery and the Constitution, and then read through the primary source, which is a debate that occurred among delegates to the Constitutional Convention over the international slave trade.
“A Pro-Slavery Document,” 1787, available through Digital History, 2016,
http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp_textbook.cfm?smtID=3&psid=264

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