The Economic and Political Motives of the American Constitution vs. the Articles of Confederation

The Economic and Political Motives of the American Constitution vs. the Articles of Confederation

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The Economic and Political Motives of the American Constitution vs. the Articles of Confederation

Introduction

The Constitution of the United States of America is often revered and thought of as the basis for all democracies around the world. However, when it is used as an example of the perfect democracy, the facts and history behind its creation are often left out. While it is a fascinating document, it is not the pinnacle of perfection that we often hold it up to be. It had a stumbling start, full of problems and arguments, instead of the immaculate conception that is often described. Its beginnings were much humbler, and they started with the Articles of Confederation.

It is somewhat strange that the American people know so little of the fundamental nature of their system of government. Their acquaintance with it extends only to its outward form and rarely includes a knowledge of the political philosophy upon which it rests. The sources of information upon which the average man relies do not furnish the data for a correct understanding of the Constitution. (Smith, Allen, 1965: 30)

What I propose to show is that the Constitution of the United States is not necessarily the best form of government for the United States, but that a reworking of the Articles of Confederation would have been sufficient. The motives I would like to call into question are those of the Framers of the Constitution, but also those of the Framers of the Articles of Confederation. The Articles of Confederation are often historically overlooked, but they play a major role in the creation of the Constitution. By examining the creation of the Articles of Confederation and its demise, I hope to shed some light on why the Constitution was created an...


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...an Company, 1936.

Bourgin, Frank. The Great Challenge: The Myth of Laissez-Faire in the Early Republic. New York: George Braziller, 1989.

Campbell, R.H. and A.S. Skinner, eds. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Glasgow edition of the works and correspondence of Adam Smith. Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, 1981.

Jensen, Merrill. Articles of Confederation: An Interpretation of the Social-Constitutional History of the American Revolution, 1774-1781. University of Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 1940.

Kenyon, Cecelia. The Antifederalists. New York: Bobbs-Merrill Co. Inc., 1966.

McDonald, Forrest. We the People: The Economic Origins of the Constitution. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1958.

Smith, J. Allen. The Spirit of American Government. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1965.

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