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After colonies received their independence from Great Britain, each state was different from each other and had its own form of government. So, it was necessary for a national government to unify them, in case of any disputes that threaten the nation as a whole like the Revolutionary War. Because, the colonies were too unfit to face any problems it faced on as its own independent nation.
The Articles of Confederation was able to form a loose confederation of United States and deal with foreign disputes as an entire nation. In essence, it was the first national government for the United States. But, the ideas of having a national government were around a long time ago. Eventually during July 1775, he submitted a brand new call for the Articles of Confederation, however no drafts were written up until 1776. At last, it became ratified by all 13 states in 1781. (146)
Weaknesses of and Problems with the Articles of Confederation
Although the Articles of Confederation had the ability to bring the states together under one form of government, it later soon was introduced to many problems because of how weak it was. Such as, Congress did not have the power to dish out taxes. A big problem had arisen. There was an inability to raise funds prevented Congress from paying for an army. Threats could possibly be imposed against our nation because Congress could not provide national defense.
In addition, there was no way to carry out treaties, which made international affairs painfully suffer since other countries became unsatisfied their treaty wasn’t taken in action by the states. Congress couldn’t issue trade restrictions or stop states from issuing their own standard form of money, so the country was really able to see where they were economically. It couldn’t protect property rights, there was no power over state governments, and was dependent on whether states wanted to be involved. Articles of Confederation proved to be too weak, so it had either to be rewritten Constitution or have a newly thought of Constitution in total.(175)
Achievements and Successes Under the Articles of Confederation
Although, Articles of Confederation soon proved to be unfit or low in strength, it did have some achievements and ups for training an army to fight. This helped garner international view of the United States as being an independent nation of the world. After the Revolutionary War, one of the most important things of the Articles of Confederation was passing the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. This created a blueprint on how a territory could become an actual state; slavery became banned in the Northwest Territory, and saving land to provide for education.
Before it was proved to be too weak, the Articles of Confederation also established an ideal central government for the colonies that was not a dictatorship. Many of the colonists feared a powerful national government, the Articles created a very weak, national government, which permitted each state to become much more independent and makes decisions on its own. In Congress, every state received equal representation, disregarding its population. This prevented one state from receiving more votes than others, so every state received one vote. (172)
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A downfall in the economy had occurred, which was created by the low in security of the Articles of Confederation targeted poor farmers the hardest, causing many poor farmers to lose everything. Unhappy with their unpaid dues and the new taxes imposed on them, a farmer by the name of Daniel Shays led a rebellion of 1,200 farmers to protest in January 1787. This became to be known as Shays’ Rebellion.
Abiding by the Articles of Confederation; the Congress couldn’t even build upon to put an end to the protest, because most of the protesters were former soldiers of the military itself. The state army was the only army who could try to put it down. This convinced many government officials that a stronger national government was necessary for a last country and that the Articles of Confederation proved to be too weak. A stronger government was needed not only to be able to put down such protests, however to prevent the national turmoil that slowly led up to the upbringing of this rebellion that happened known as Shays’ Rebellion. (170)
Key Delegates to the Constitutional Convention and their Contributions
After Shays’ Rebellion proved how the weakness of the Articles of Confederation was obviously shown, 55 delegates from all twelve states excluding Rhode Island grouped together in the Philadelphia Convention to revise the Articles of Confederation. However, they made the decision to completely throw out the Articles of Confederation and began forming a new framework for the Constitution. Some of the many key delegates at this convention were James Madison, George Mason, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and Benjamin Franklin. Some of the names of lesser known, but just as important delegates were James Wilson, Roger Sherman, William Paterson, Oliver Ellsworth Edmund, etc. Each of these delegates played an important role in forming a new Constitution. George Washington was elected in president of the convention, and James Madison was the main author Constitution and Virginia Plan.
William Paterson was the one who thought of and created the idea of the New Jersey Plan and Roger Sherman and Oliver Ellsworth combined the Virginia and New Jersey Plan into forming the Great Compromise. Roger Sherman and James Wilson also created the 3/5th’s Compromise. Although the Bill of Rights was not added right away, George Mason is the main author of the Bill of Rights. The contributions of ideas these men made at the Philadelphia Convention played an important role in the formation of the United States, where their ideas are still remain relevant in the Constitution. (223)
Purpose of the Constitution
In essence, the reason of the Constitution was able to take the place of the nation’s weak government under the Articles of Confederation with a much stronger, national government that could fix the problems of the entire country caused by the Articles that had an impact on all states. The Constitution gave the national government new powers that it did not have before to keep stability and order in the country. Some of these powers include imposing taxes, funding money, having control over the states, putting treaties into action, controlling commerce, providing defense for the borders of the United States, and guarding rights. All of these powers were nonexistent in the Articles of Confederation, which kept the country remain unified.
Under the Constitution, the national government could build upon foreign affairs, fund money through taxes, issue a standard currency, prevent uprisings by having money to pay the army, and restrict a recession by maintaining economic power over the states. This demonstrates how important the Constitution was to the United States development. It solved many problems in the United States that would send the nation into crashing into the ground under the Articles of Confederation, bait it strengthened the nation as a whole. (194)
Key Issues and Compromises Regarding the Constitution
Numerous important issues taken place during the Constitutional Convention like the Virginia Plan and New Jersey Plan. After long debate, the Great Compromise was created where the House of Reps would be based on proportional representation of each state, and the Senate has equal representation for each state. Another important problem was whether to have slaves count as part of the population for representation. This issue was solved by the Three-Fifths Compromise, which said that every five enslaved persons would count as three free men.
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This meant that each slave would be counted as three-fifths of a person. These arguments showed to be very important in America’s history, where the Three-Fifths Compromise, where the South supported the idea because they wanted a bigger population .While, the North opposed it. This gave an indication early on of how the country was foreshadowing the beginning to divide itself and its opposing views points. On the contrary, these compromises in this convention showed the country’s willingness to agree on problems at hand so that they could try to find compromises, instead of always fighting stubbornly for what they wanted. They did what was needed for the entire nation. (233)
Organization and Structure of the New Government Under the Constitution
Under the rule of the Constitution, there was now a national government that the ability to efficiently run the nation. Despite the gain of power, the Constitution also limited federal power by having the three branches of government: legislative, judicial, and executive. Separating the government’s power into three branches and creating a system of checks and balances, every branch of government would limit the power of the other branches. With these limits on each other, not one branch could become more powerful than the other. Also, power was divided between the national and state governments because of federalism. This controlled the power of the national government.
Therefore, the power of federalism and sep. of powers, many checks were placed on the national government to limit it and prevent it from receiving too much power. The creation of the Constitution was very necessary in the history of America that still did not absorb all the power. (166)
Debates about Ratifying the Constitution and how the Constitution was Actually Ratified
For the Constitution to take effect, nine out of the thirteen meaning 9/13 states had to agree or ratify the Constitution. At first, this was a hard feat to achieve because the Constitution was not liked by many since different states had things to say.. Even the Federalists said that it wasn’t the most perfect form of government, but was the best form of government the delegates could think of. There was a lot of arguing over problems that the delegates were debating themselves at the convention. People were arguing about the three-fifths compromise and ending slave trade, which increased animosity between the North and the South.
In addition, they argued that there was no Bill of Rights where the government would protect the rights of the citizens. The Federalists were at last able to gain followers for the Constitution after they said they would follow up with a Bill of Rights right after ratification. After, two thirds of the colonies agreed to it. Finally, all 13 colonies agreed with the Constitution. . The ratification of the Constitution and the arguments for it shows how the American people came up with compromises for their problems. Instead of opposing lane another and being closed minded, they are open to solutions and compromises. (240)
“Best” Form of Government
Ultimately, the Constitution is the best form of government over the Articles of Confederation. The Constitution changes the defects of the Articles of Confederation and even goes further to fix it. The ability to tax was extremely important to parotic the nation from recessions and using a national currency. In addition, the Constitution included inalienable rights. Then, there is separation of powers which where power is equally shared among the branches.
Meanwhile, the Articles of the Confederation had only the Confederation Congress which has nobody else regulated it. The new system that has been established is much more clear than the Articles of Confederation.. The clarity of the new system makes sure that everything is seen and fair before it is passed. It would take a longer duration of or must go through more judging to pass. However, it isn’t as hard as passing a law using the Articles of Confederation where you need to have all of the states unanimously agree. (162)
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