The Development to The United States Constitution

Powerful Essays
Why did the Americans select the constitutional order they did in 1787-1789, and why did they reject a more democratic and confederal form not more than a decade old? In 1787, twenty-nine delegates convened in Philadelphia to tweak the Articles of Confederation. Some delegates, however, arrived with the intention of creating a completely new constitution. James Madison proposed the Virginia Plan, a plan which advocated a balanced, three-branch method of government with a bicameral, or two-house, Congress. In contrast, William Paterson submitted the New Jersey Plan which merely amended the Articles by giving the federal government more power. Ultimately, the Articles were abolished, the Virginia Plan was chosen, and the Constitution was adopted. The Constitutional delegates wrote the Constitution with the goals of creating commensurate representation, answering the question of state sovereignty, and ensuring a government that was free from tyranny. The Articles of Confederation were ratified in 1781, and the United States government operated under them for eight years. From 1776 through 1787, two political parties dominated in America – the Federalists and the Nationalists. Led by Alexander Hamilton, the moderate Nationalists believed in a substantial national government that held sovereignty over the states. The Federalists, led by Thomas Jefferson, believed in a feeble federal government and state sovereignty. Under the Articles, the Federalists held the majority view. The thirteen states assembled in an alliance they termed a “…firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare” (Articles of Confederation). The Articles, however, created ec... ... middle of paper ... ...ights, the Founding Fathers achieved their goals. They had fought a war to free the United States and created a system of government to rule that country, called the Articles of Confederation. The Articles, however, created an unstable government. The Nationalist party called a Constitutional Convention with the aim of creating a new government that would peacefully establish national sovereignty, ensure adequate representation, protect the country from tyranny, and allow freedom for those with minority viewpoints. They succeeded and created a government that still endures. Works Cited Schweikart, Larry, and Michael Allen. A Patriot's History of the United States: from Columbus's Great Discovery to the War on Terror. New York, NY: Sentinel, 2007. Print. Tindall, George B., and David E. Shi. America. 2nd ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1989. Print.
Get Access