Study CE.2b  
Earlier Documents that Influenced the Constitution

How does the Constitution reflect previous documents? What earlier documents influenced the Constitution?

Charters of the Virginia Company of London

Rights of Englishmen guaranteed to colonists

The Virginia Declaration of Rights
Served as a model for the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States of America

Declaration of Independence
Stated grievances against the king of Great Britain
 - Declared the colonies’ independence from Great Britain
 - Affirmed “certain unalienable rights” (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness)
 - Established the idea that all people are equal under the law

Articles of Confederation
Established the first form of national government for the independent states.
 -Weakness of central government (e.g., no power to tax and enforce laws)—Led to the writing of the Constitution of the United States of America

Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom
Freedom of religious beliefs and opinions

The Constitution (and Bill of Rights)

• Establishes the structure of the U.S. government
• Guarantees equality under the law with majority rule and the rights of the minority protected.
• Affirms individual worth and dignity of all people
• Protects the fundamental freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition.