Ratification of the American Constitution

Ratification of the American Constitution

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Ratification of the American Constitution

With the Constitution, the elite society protected rights for every
American that would secure and ensure our nation's existence for hundreds
of years. Under the Articles of Confederation, the United States'
government was in a state of chaos. To end the existing chaos and build a
stronger democratic society for the future, the government would need to be
more powerful and centralized. Thus, the elite class established the rules
and boundaries that would protect the rights of all citizens from a
suppressive government.

The Articles created a weak, almost nonexistent national government
that was in complete control by the states. The newly formed government
had neither an executive or judicial branch, which meant that it lacked
enforcement powers. There were three problems that existed under the
Articles of Confederation that would spawn an act of change. First, under
the Articles of Confederation the government could not protect property and
other rights of the citizens. Second, the society created under the
Articles of Confederation lacked a means of advancing commerce and
interstate trade. Third, government lacked the money and power to provide
an adequate national defense.

Traders and commercial men found their plans for commerce on a
national scale impeded by local interference with interstate commerce. The
currency of the states and the nation were hopelessly muddled. Creditors
everywhere were angry about the depreciated paper money which the agrarians
had made and were attempting to force upon those from whom they had
borrowed specie. Poor, small landowning farmers could not sell or trade
goods that they produced on their land to other states.

The "muddled currency" in 1786, led to the loss of land in
Massachusetts. During this time Continental army veterans were unable to
pay their debts with the paper money that they were supplied with by the
Continental Congress. This bankruptcy led to the loss of land and a great
rebellion led by Daniel Shays. The Shay's rebellion was ended easily enough
but it was the lack of national government that frightened people.
Had Daniel Shays gathered a larger number of people and had more fire
power the small amount of farmers and townspeople might not have been able
to squash this rebellion. Anarchy in the States could not be tolerated.
However it was James Madison that stated that the way to abolish the rule
by faction is to abolish liberty but that liberty is essential to a faction

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as air is to fire. Madison continues to state that, "The inference to which
we are brought is, that the causes of faction cannot be removed; and that
relief is only to be sought in the means of controlling its effects."
Madison understood that to take away liberty was to stop a faction and
therefore if a hindrance or boundary on liberty was established it would
control the rule by faction. Madison was opposed to complete abolishment
of liberty and therefore the most reasonable decision was to place
boundaries on it. Madison and the elite class noticed how the Articles of
Confederation disrupted the majority of the American people and created a
system of government where liberty was so free that it hindered society.
The decision to create a new system of government was in the best interest
of all the people in America.

In creating the Constitution there were many conflicting views of how
the newly created government should function. Alexander Hamilton, wanted a
strong central government in which a Senate and executive power were chosen
for life by indirect election; therefore creating an aristocracy. George
Mason, an antifederalist, objected to the final document because of the
possibility that this new government would create an aristocracy. Mason
also proposed that, "there is no declaration of Rights" and the
"Legislature [cannot prohibit] the further Importation of Slaves," which he
felt was destructive of the country's moral fiber. On the Bill of Rights
issue, the government did not need regulations that stated what it cannot
do because a government cannot act unless it is stated within the law. If
there was not a law that stated that they could censor the press then it is
illegal for them to do so. Mason and many other antifederalists were
opposed to the Constitution because it allowed the importation of slaves
for at least another twenty years. Without this clause in the Constitution
it never would have been ratified because the South would not have voted
for ratification denying the Constitution the three fourths vote that it
needed. Although the importation of slaves in the Constitution was not
ideal there was not a way to ratify the Constitution without the South's
vote on this issue.

Charles A. Beard criticizes the creators of the Constitution deeming
that, "the direct, impelling motive was the economic advantages which the
beneficiaries expected would accrue to themselves first, from their
action." Beard continues his evaluation on the framers by citing that,
"Not one member represented in his immediate personal economic interests
the small farming or mechanic classes." Beard cites more of his facts in
that, "The overwhelming majority of members, at least five-sixths, were
immediately, directly, and personally interested in the outcome of their
labors at Philadelphia." In his report Beard seems to cite numerous facts
which prove that his statement is correct in that the framers had personal
concerns that outweighed the democratic sincerety of the new government.
Beard's examples are so precise as to say that, "five-sixths were
personally interested in the outcome of their labors," that it is
unbelievable that such a fact could be true. Was a poll taken during this
time on whether the framers had personal intents in the creation and
ratification of the Constitution? Beard's thesis seems so ridiculous that
it needs to be taken with a grain of salt and as Robert Brown stated that
Beard's thesis if accepted is done so on 'an act of faith' and not an
analysis of historical method.

There were a few problems within the Constitution of the United States
of America, but the effects that it produced in society were far more
positive than that of the Articles of Confederation. The chaos that was
constructed under the Articles were legally banned under the Constitution.
The slave trade and acts of slavery would last many more years but finally
it was ended very bloodily. Although the history of the United States has
not always been a happy one the ratification of the Constitution still is
one of America's best accomplishments.
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