This activity is designed to help students understand the debates at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 that shaped America’s legislative branch of government. The primary goal of this activity is for students to discover how a compromise balanced the needs of large states and small states and how this led to the creation of the current House of Representatives and Senate.
The nation’s founders believed Congress to be the fundamental institution of the federal government, since it is the body that most closely represents the people. The framers of the United States Constitution began by creating Congress. Then they established the other two branches of government—the executive branch and the judicial branches.The Constitution gives each branch distinct powers, but it makes sure that the three are in competition. Each branch has its own ways to check and balance the powers of the other two. The separation and balance of powers has contributed to the government’s enduring vitality, providing order and stability while allowing flexibility for adaptation and change.
Print the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution sheet seen here. There are 7 spaces for you to draw your idea of what each phrase means. What does “We the People” look like to you? Draw your idea on the dotted line.
Atop the Dome of the U.S. Capitol stands a statue more than 19 feet tall, cast in bronze. Her name is Freedom. American artist Thomas Crawford sculpted Freedom from plaster at his studio in Rome, Italy. Crawford created three designs. The statue was shipped across the ocean in five pieces and assembled by an Italian craftsman for temporary display on the Capitol grounds. Then the pieces were to be taken apart and cast into bronze.The U.S. government hired Clark Mills, who owned a foundry in Washington, D.C., to make the bronze castings. A foundry is a factory where metal is melted for casting. However, the artist who assembled Freedom covered the seams between the five pieces in plaster, hiding them from view. He refused to take his work apart unless he received a pay raise. Only one man knew what to do. His name was Philip Reid.