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Excellent question. My compliments to your teacher! The Framers sought to do just that - create a central government that would be strong enough to be effective, but limited in scope, and limited in its ability to trample on the rights of the people. As James Madison, the "Father of the Constitution," wrote: "In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself." For more on Madison, see: www.montpelier.org/pages/history/constitution.htm. James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay wrote the Federalist Papers (85 of them), which explained to the public how the proposed Constitution would work. Federalist #51 (written by Madison) is one of the most famous, and it discusses how a system of checks and balances, and reserving most powers to the states, will limit the federal government. It's a little hard to read, but it would help answer your question. You can find it at: www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/federal/fed51.htm. I'm sure if you quote a few lines from it in your paper, your teacher will be impressed! A few more thoughts... If you have time, you might also read Federalist #45. This was also written by Madison, and it talks about the relationship between the federal government and the states under the proposed Constitution. The Framers were very concerned in creating the federal government that it would not become overly powerful. After all, they had just fought an 8 1/2 year war (the American Revolution) to get rid of a central government with too much power (England). Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution lists the powers of the federal government. Anything not on the list belongs to states. Madison points to this as a protection against the tyranny of too much centralized power. To quote him in Federalist #45, "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite." You can find Federalist #45 at www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/federal/fed45.htm. You can find the Constitution at www.constitutioncenter.org. Your teacher asks, "Did they achieve their goal?" For that, check out the interpretation of the "commerce clause," which is in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. Since the 1930's, the Supreme Court has redifined the meaning of the word "commerce," expanding it dramatically, thus allowing the federal government virtually unlimited scope. More on this can be found on the www.constitutioncenter.org web site. Good luck with your paper.

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19y ago
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15y ago

The Founding Fathers were men with varied political and economic ideas and interests. They did not all agree on every facet of the Constitution or the purpose of government, or the power that government should have over the citizens. Many, like Patrick Henry, believed in more power for the states than the federal government. This came to be known as states' rights. Some, like Alexander Hamilton, did not believe the citizens should elect all the representatives of the government, and the executive should have more power than the other two branches of government. Most believed in the separation of powers and the division of government into the three branches, executive, legislative, and judicial. Most of the founders were familiar with the political and social ideas of John Locke and other European political and social philosophers. Most of the founders did not believe in pure democracy as an effective way to govern a nation. Thus, they developed the federalism, a separation of powers, and the representative system that enabled the government to function on a day to day basis and allowed the citizens to retain the major portion of power within the government via the ballot box and the Bill of Rights. MrV RAH!

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17y ago

First, one must dispose of the idea that the founding fathers were "Christians". Most were theists or unitarians and only one (Roger Sherman) was a professing Christian. So, the idea of "Bible" in government wasn't much of a concern for them. There was an overall, universal acceptance of basic Christian beliefs which are found in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, etc. No matter what quotes the revisionists find, there is overwhelming evidence that almost all of the founding fathers believed in the Judeo-Christian Diety and were members of established churches even though some made statements that were critical of organized religion. Here is a list of the religious affiliations of all the men who helped create and signed the three most important documents establishing the United States of America: *Signers of the Declaration of Independence *Charles Carroll Maryland Catholic *Samuel Huntington Connecticut Congregationalist *Roger Sherman Connecticut Congregationalist *William Williams Connecticut Congregationalist *Oliver Wolcott Connecticut Congregationalist *Lyman Hall Georgia Congregationalist *Samuel Adams Massachusetts Congregationalist *John Hancock Massachusetts Congregationalist *Josiah Bartlett New Hampshire Congregationalist *William Whipple New Hampshire Congregationalist *William Ellery Rhode Island Congregationalist *John Adams Massachusetts Congregationalist; Unitarian *Robert Treat Paine Massachusetts Congregationalist; Unitarian *George Walton Georgia Episcopalian *John Penn North Carolina Episcopalian *George Ross Pennsylvania Episcopalian *Thomas Heyward Jr. South Carolina Episcopalian *Thomas Lynch Jr. South Carolina Episcopalian *Arthur Middleton South Carolina Episcopalian *Edward Rutledge South Carolina Episcopalian *Francis Lightfoot Lee Virginia Episcopalian *Richard Henry Lee Virginia Episcopalian *George Read Delaware Episcopalian *Caesar Rodney Delaware Episcopalian *Samuel Chase Maryland Episcopalian *William Paca Maryland Episcopalian *Thomas Stone Maryland Episcopalian *Elbridge Gerry Massachusetts Episcopalian *Francis Hopkinson New Jersey Episcopalian *Francis Lewis New York Episcopalian *Lewis Morris New York Episcopalian *William Hooper North Carolina Episcopalian *Robert Morris Pennsylvania Episcopalian *John Morton Pennsylvania Episcopalian *Stephen Hopkins Rhode Island Episcopalian *Carter Braxton Virginia Episcopalian *Benjamin Harrison Virginia Episcopalian *Thomas Nelson Jr. Virginia Episcopalian *George Wythe Virginia Episcopalian *Thomas Jefferson Virginia Episcopalian (Deist) *Benjamin Franklin Pennsylvania Episcopalian (Deist) *Button Gwinnett Georgia Episcopalian; Congregationalist *James Wilson Pennsylvania Episcopalian; Presbyterian *Joseph Hewes North Carolina Quaker, Episcopalian *George Clymer Pennsylvania Quaker, Episcopalian *Thomas McKean Delaware Presbyterian *Matthew Thornton New Hampshire Presbyterian *Abraham Clark New Jersey Presbyterian *John Hart New Jersey Presbyterian *Richard Stockton New Jersey Presbyterian *John Witherspoon New Jersey Presbyterian *William Floyd New York Presbyterian *Philip Livingston New York Presbyterian *James Smith Pennsylvania Presbyterian *George Taylor Pennsylvania Presbyterian *Benjamin Rush Pennsylvania Presbyterian *Signers of the Articles of Confederation *Daniel Carroll Maryland Catholic *Andrew Adams Connecticut Congregationalist *Richard Hutson South Carolina Congregationalist *Samuel Adams Massachusetts Congregationalist *Josiah Bartlett New Hampshire Congregationalist *William Ellery Rhode Island Congregationalist *John Hancock Massachusetts Congregationalist *Samuel Huntington Connecticut Congregationalist *Roger Sherman Connecticut Congregationalist *Oliver Wolcott Connecticut Congregationalist *Thomas Heyward Jr. South Carolina Episcopalian *John Penn North Carolina Episcopalian *Francis Lightfoot Lee Virginia Episcopalian *Richard Henry Lee Virginia Episcopalian *Francis Lewis New York Episcopalian *Elbridge Gerry Massachusetts Episcopalian *John Banister Virginia Episcopalian *James Duane New York Episcopalian *Edward Langworthy Georgia Episcopalian *Gouverneur Morris New York Episcopalian *Nicholas Van Dyke Delaware Episcopalian *Robert Morris Pennsylvania Episcopalian *Cornelius Harnett North Carolina Episcopalian (Deist) *John Dickinson Delaware Quaker; Episcopalian *Henry Laurens South Carolina Huguenot *John Hanson Maryland Lutheran *Thomas McKean Delaware Presbyterian *John Witherspoon New Jersey Presbyterian *John Walton Georgia Presbyterian *Nathaniel Scudder New Jersey Presbyterian *William Clingan Pennsylvania Protestant, denomination unknown *Joseph Reed Pennsylvania Protestant, denomination unknown *Daniel Roberdeau Pennsylvania Protestant, denomination unknown *Jonathan Bayard Smith Pennsylvania Protestant, denomination unknown *Francis Dana Massachusetts Protestant, denomination unknown *Samuel Holten Massachusetts Protestant, denomination unknown *James Lovell Massachusetts Protestant, denomination unknown *Henry Marchant Rhode Island Protestant, denomination unknown *John Collins Rhode Island Protestant, denomination unknown *Thomas Adams Virginia Protestant, denomination unknown *John Harvie Virginia Protestant, denomination unknown *John Mathews South Carolina Protestant, denomination unknown *William Henry Drayton South Carolina Protestant, denomination unknown *William Duer New York Protestant, denomination unknown *Titus Hosmer Connecticut Protestant, denomination unknown *Edward Telfair Georgia Protestant, denomination unknown *John Wentworth Jr. New Hampshire Protestant, denomination unknown *John Williams North Carolina Protestant, denomination unknown *Names of signers of the US Constitution *Daniel Carroll Maryland Catholic *Thomas Fitzsimons Pennsylvania Catholic *Roger Sherman Connecticut Congregationalist *Nathaniel Gorham Massachusetts Congregationalist *John Langdon New Hampshire Congregationalist *Nicholas Gilman New Hampshire Congregationalist *Abraham Baldwin Georgia Congregationalist; Episcopalian *William Samuel Johnson Connecticut Episcopalian; Presbyterian *James Madison Jr. Virginia Episcopalian *George Read Delaware Episcopalian *Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer Maryland Episcopalian *David Brearly New Jersey Episcopalian *Richard Dobbs Spaight, Sr. North Carolina Episcopalian *Robert Morris Pennsylvania Episcopalian *Gouverneur Morris Pennsylvania Episcopalian *John Rutledge South Carolina Episcopalian *Charles Cotesworth Pinckney South Carolina Episcopalian *Charles Pinckney South Carolina Episcopalian *Pierce Butler South Carolina Episcopalian *George Washington Virginia Episcopalian *Benjamin Franklin Pennsylvania Episcopalian (Deist) *William Blount North Carolina Episcopalian; Presbyterian *James Wilson Pennsylvania Episcopalian; Presbyteran *Rufus King Massachusetts Episcopalian; Congregationalist *Jacob Broom Delaware Lutheran *William Few Georgia Methodist *Richard Bassett Delaware Methodist *Gunning Bedford Jr. Delaware Presbyterian *James McHenry Maryland Presbyterian *William Livingston New Jersey Presbyterian *William Paterson New Jersey Presbyterian *Hugh Williamson North Carolina Presbyterian *Jared Ingersoll Pennsylvania Presbyterian *Alexander Hamilton New York Huguenot; Presbyterian; Episcopalian *Jonathan Dayton New Jersey Presbyterian; Episcopalian *John Blair Virginia Presbyterian; Episcopalian *John Dickinson Delaware Quaker; Episcopalian *George Clymer Pennsylvania Quaker; Episcopalian *Thomas Mifflin Pennsylvania Quaker; Lutheran *Name of Non-Signing Delegate State Religious Affiliation *Oliver Ellsworth Connecticut Congregationalist *Caleb Strong Massachusetts Congregationalist *John Lansing, Jr. New York Dutch Reformed *Robert Yates New York Dutch Reformed *William Houstoun Georgia Episcopalian *William Leigh Pierce Georgia Episcopalian *Luther Martin Maryland Episcopalian *John F. Mercer Maryland Episcopalian *Elbridge Gerry Massachusetts Episcopalian *George Mason Virginia Episcopalian *Edmund J. Randolph Virginia Episcopalian *George Wythe Virginia Episcopalian *James McClurg Virginia Presbyterian *William C. Houston New Jersey Presbyterian *William R. Davie North Carolina Presbyterian *Alexander Martin North Carolina Presbyterian

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10y ago

they believed in communism, and staged a revolution against the British Imperialist Capitalism!

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Q: What were the founding father's attitudes toward government and power?
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