The Articles of Confederation When confronted with the task of constructing a new nation, the founders of the United States had recently emerged from centuries of religious and political oppression by an overly strong central government. After winning their independence, one of the most pressing issues on their minds was the assurance that their new government would have limitations, disallowing it to molest their posterity. The patriarchs wanted a government that balanced between abuse and inefficiency. The first attempt to satiate this dream was the Articles of Confederation. In the period directly following Cornwallis’s surrender, the fresh nation discovered a new task, governing their now-sovereign territories. A meeting of the minds, of the upper echelon of society, was convened to draft a document that would lay out the blueprints for the inaugural government. The resulting document was the Articles of Confederation. The Articles turned out to be a horrible system in practice. In theory they prevented central abuse of power by not allocating relevant power to the government and disallowing a head of state, a president. States squabbled with one another and resembled something of an early day United Nations. The Federal government could do nothing to settle inter-state disputes, nor could they levy taxes, hold a military, or enforce laws. Needless to say the government projected a national and international front that was poor, weak, and inefficient. The very founders who sought a limited government new that vast change was needed, and scrapping the Articles altogether was not out of the question. The winds of frustration with the government swept through the states. The public was tired of the unreliable continental dollar, the inability to repay soldiers for war service, and the overall insufficiencies of the government. Angry, emblazoned citizens voiced their feelings through uprisings, like Bacon and Shay’s rebellions. Shockwaves of perturbed feelings resonated strongly in the minds of the leaders of the states and national government. It was time for the well bred, well fed, well wed, well read, and well read, to go back to the drawing board and supply the nation with a democratic, republic that worked. The Constitutional Convention that is so widely renowned throughout history, (and rightly so), was summoned to meet in Philadelphia, behind closed doors, to re-work the framework of our land. The drafting of the Constitution was held in a city building in Philadelphia, with the windows battened, and hay spread against the foundation to muffle voices.
With these different balances to control the powers throughout the new government, the problem of tyranny wasn’t as such of a problem as it was when the Articles of Confederation were in place. The states were now represented justly, the national and state levels of government fairly empowered, and the three branches within the national government were balanced. Even the three branches within balanced each other out, so one wouldn’t become too under or over powered. The new government created by the Constitution was a good answer to protect against
Before the Constitution was drafted, the United States’ budding government, now independent from Great Britain, acted under a dysfunctional constitution called the Articles of Confederation. Although this constitution kept the new nation running, there were still flaws that needed to be fixed. The Articles of Confederation lacked a developed executive or judicial branch and a method for the main government to collect taxes from state governments, according to the background essay of the DBQ Packet. An assembly of fifty-five men eventually gathered for a Constitutional Convention in order to write a new constitution that would better satisfy the people’s needs. The trouble of creating another constitution lied behind creating a document
Many factors affect the strength of a nation’s government, but one in particular created the foundation for a country hundreds of years afterwards. The Constitutional Convention occurred in Philadelphia during the hot, humid summer of 1787, at a Philadelphian state house. Delegates from twelve of thirteen states all convened to create the Constitution that would become the supreme law of the nation, and would let power fall in the hands of the people. The author of Miracle at Philadelphia, Catherine Drinker Bowen, narrates the trials and contributions of delegates from the developing states that eventually built a bustling nation of liberty and freedom. Those four months spent in one room calmly debating how to improve the government is arguably the most important moment in American history.
The delegates who had made their way to Philadelphia to attend the Constitutional Convention had dealt with several issues prior to their coming to Pennsylvania in 1787. Just four years prior to the Convention, The Paris Peace Treaty with Britain was agreed upon and signed with the assistance of Benjamin Franklin as America’s first ambassador. Only months, before the convention was underway in February of 1787, Shays rebellion had started and would cause for issues. This conflict however, would be one of the major reason why the convention would come together to look at the Articles of...
The first step of the Constitution was undemocratic. No popular vote was taken either directly or indirectly on the proposition to approve a convention (Beard 14). The group of men who wanted the convention was skillful in getting it approved in that their proposal of it was a surprise. This gave the Federalists an upper hand. Their opponents, the Anti-Federalists, could not refuse to a discussion of possible, and perhaps necessary, reforms. By refusing, they could lose the support of the public very easily (Roche 18).
The delegates chosen to represent their states on May 25, 1787 at the Constitutional Convention could never have imagined the lasting impact they would have on the nation for over 200 years. These men from diverse upbringings and unique educational backgrounds came together to forge a nation. From the chaos and change of the old world, they were able to bring forth a new nation founded on liberty. It is hard to overrate the amount of foresight and knowledge needed by the Framers of the Constitution in constructing a document that would guide a new nation through times of peace and upheaval.
Since the advent of human government, one of the principle fears held by the constituents of the government has always been to prevent any form of tyranny or abuse within it. Tyranny can be loosely described as one person or a group of people having total power in a government leading to the subjugation and oppression of people’s rights. Many new nations wish to eliminate any aspect of their government that may eventually lead to tyranny. The United States was no different in this respect; the framers of the Constitution longed to have no signs of tyranny in their government because they had gone to war with Britain for that very reason. In 1787, a group of fifty-five delegates came from throughout the states to meet in Philadelphia to discuss the problems with the current government. The existing Articles of Confederation posed a monumental problem for these individuals; they recognized that the central government was almost entirely powerless under these articles. Besides this, another problem was that the government lacked a court system or a chief executive. The central government did not possess the power to tax the states either. These problems warranted change which prompted these men to get together. This new constitution they were to create was supposed to guard the people against all kinds of tyranny whether it be of a few, the many or majority, or even a single individual. This seemed virtually insurmountable a task to accomplish but was ultimately achieved. The Constitution guards against tyranny by having a central and state government that cannot overrule or have more power over the other, establishing the separation of powers to keep anyone from abusing it, and having a sys...
During the construction of the new Constitution, many of the most prominent and experienced political members of America’s society provided a framework on the future of the new country; they had in mind, because of the failures of the Articles of Confederation, a new kind of government where the national or Federal government would be the sovereign power, not the states. Because of the increased power of the national government over the individual states, many Americans feared it would hinder their ability to exercise their individual freedoms. Assuring the people, both Alexander Hamilton and James Madison insisted the new government under the constitution was “an expression of freedom, not its enemy,” declaring “the Constitution made political tyranny almost impossible.” (Foner, pg. 227) The checks and balances introduced under the new and more powerful national government would not allow the tyranny caused by a king under the Parliament system in Britain. They insisted that in order achieve a greater amount of freedom, a national government was needed to avoid the civil unrest during the system under the Articles of Confederation. Claiming that the new national government would be a “perfect balance between liberty and power,” it would avoid the disruption that liberty [civil unrest] and power [king’s abuse of power in England] caused. The “lackluster leadership” of the critics of the new constitution claimed that a large land area such as America could not work for such a diverse nation.
The Articles of Confederation were not the best laws Congress passed, nor were they the worst. The Articles, which was supposed to be the constitution of the United States, brought along terrible changes and numerous problems. In the Rhode Island Assembly’s letter to Congress, it stated that the Articles created a weak and unhelpful government, one that could not levy taxes, lacked the power to regulate interstate and foreign trading, could not enforce national policies; the list goes on and on (A). Because Congress could not control taxing, this eventually led to a poor army that lacked a leader to start an effective
Soon after the Revolutionary War in America, a new government was started when the Articles of Confederation were adopted by the Continental Congress. The Articles set up a democratic government that gave the States the power to make their own laws and to enforce them. However, the Articles were ineffective and failed to provide a strong government. During this critical period in the history of the United States, pandemonium and anarchy were growing due to: controlled public, nothing in the Articles that gave Congress the power to enforce laws, no solid monetary system, and also the country lacked unity and strength
In the 1787, delegates from all states, except Rhode Island, went to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to strengthen the Articles of Confederation in the Constitutional Convention. The Constitutional Convention, also known as the Philadelphia Convention, the Federal Convention, and the Grand Convention (from May 14th to September 17th), was a conference that reflected on crucial alterations for the Articles of Confederation. Equally important, the Constitutional Convention was the origin of the United States Constitution. Therefore, the result of the meeting would impact the whole nation, as well as the nation’s survivability.
One of the, if not the most important event of our political history would be the creation of the Articles of Confederation. Written on November 15, 1777 and ratified on March 1, 1781, they were the first official constitution of the United States. Newly independent from the tyrant nation of Great Britain, the colonist didn’t want to establish a unitary government in fear that it would become too similar to the British system. Instead they wanted a confederation, where most of the power was in the hands of each individual state. Just after six years the Confederate system’s flaws became clear. Civil disorder,
The year of 1776 was a time of revolution, independence, and patriotism. American colonists had severed their umbilical cord to the Mother Country and declared themselves “Free and Independent States”.1 The chains of monarchy had been thrown off and a new government was formed. Shying away from a totalitarian government, the Second Continental Congress drafted a document called the Articles of Confederation which established a loose union of the states. It was an attempt at self-government that ended in failure. The Articles of Confederation had many defects which included a weak central government that lacked the power to tax, regulate trade, required equal representation and a unanimous vote to amend the Articles, and had only a legislative branch. As a result the United States lacked respect from foreign countries. These flaws were so severe that a new government had to be drafted and as a result the Constitution was born. This document remedied the weak points of the federal government and created one that was strong and fair, yet still governed by the people.
A constitution is a written document that sets forth the fundamental rules by which a society is governed. Throughout the course of history the United States has lived under two Constitutions since the British-American colonies declared their independence from Great Britain in 1776. First in line was the Articles of Confederation (1789-1789) followed by the Constitution of United States of America (1789-present). The Articles of Confederation was the first formal written Constitution of America that specified how the national government was to operate. Unfortunately, the Articles did not last long. Under the words of the Article’s power was limited; Congress could make decisions, but had no power to enforce them. Also the articles stated that Congress was denied the power of taxation meaning the national government was given no money to regulate federal spending. Money could only be requested from the states and states had the ability to not guarantee the request. Among the lack of enforcement and taxation was the denied power to regulate commerce trade for the national government in other words the federal government could not build a strong economy. All these factors and others included lead to the fall of the Articles of Confederation. Guiding towards Constitutional Convention, where the present day Constitution was written and signed by 38 of the 41 delegates present on September 17, 1787. This paper discusses why the Founding Father’s designed the Constitution as they did and how this design has affected our system today.
When the United States of America’s government was first created there were many arguments about the jobs it would have and how much power it would possess. The first document that set the foundation for the national government was the Articles of Confederation. However, it had many weaknesses and denied the government the power to levy taxes and regulate commerce. In addition to denying the national government essential powers, it did not provide for a judiciary branch. Many of the political leaders realized that the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation were issues that needed to be addressed and resolved. As the leaders began to revise the Articles of Confederation, a better solution began to take shape: the Constitution. However,