Liberty's Kids

Season 1 Episode 40

We the People

Aired Unknown Apr 04, 2003 on PBS

Episode Recap

We first see James on horseback in Massachusettes describing to his readers how some veterans of the war can't pay their debts and their land is being taken away by the government. Next, we see a disgruntled veteran farmer in court expressing his contempt for the govenment taking his farmland. As the farmer is dragged out of the courtroom, James writes about what he is witnessing. At night, with James reporting what he sees, a group of disgruntled war veteran famers threatens to close down the courts "any way they can." In Mount Vernon, George Washington informs James Madison in a letter that he fears that the new government is on the verge of collapse. He informs Madison of Daniel Shay's rebellion in Massachusettes and other rebellions in Maryland and Virginia. He says that the country is threatened by an "excess of democracy" or "tyranny of the mob" and hopes that something can be done to solve this problem when they meet in Philadelphia. In the next scene, we see Washington and Dr. Franklin having tea and discusses the idea of scrapping the Articles of Confederation and draft a new Constitution. Washington asks Franklin to be president of the convention, but Franklin declines and tells Washington that he should preside over it. As the delegates gather in Philadelphia, James meets up with Alexander Hamilton and tells him that he believes in a strong central government. James and Sara then asks the delegates' opinions before the enter the convention--each with different motives and ideas. James and Sara tries to get in the convention but they are kicked out. At night, Dr. Franklin tells James and Sara about what happened in the convention that day and describes The Three Branches of Government. Back at the convention, the delegates continue to debate about the problem with representation. While they argue, James and Sara try tirelessly to listen in, but with no success. As the convention seems to fall apart, Dr. Franklin comes up with a solution on representation: 2 Senators from each state; and proportional representation in the House of Representatives. The "Great Compromise" is adopted. However issues with the presidency and slavery continues to be argued. But in the end, the new Constitution is ratified. Back in Dr. Franklin's house, Moses tells him that he will start a school for Black children with his own money. In the final scene of the series, we see George Washington taking the oath of office as the first President of the United States of America. We also see James, Sara, Moses, and Dr. Franklin walking home as a bell tolls.
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