TheConfederation and The ConstitutionCalebSandsDeVryUniversity HIST405January22, 2018 TheConfederation and The Constitution Therevolutionary war had just ended in 1783. A new nation was being developed bythe founding fathers and new questions arose about the nature of Americandemocracy under the Articles of Confederation. Financial depression struck thenew nation over high tax rates giving by state governments. Different sidesbelieved different ways to fix the financial crisis after the revolutionarywar.
This created a new political movement to develop a new constitution. Adelegate from each state, except Rhode Island, traveled to Philadelphia todraft the new constitution that was being created. There were debates among thedelegates on what to include in the constitution such as issues on staterepresentation in congress. There was an important issue that was brought up duringthe constitutional convention, which was representation. The ConnecticutCompromise was a movement that was passed to have equal representation in theHouse of Representatives. The biggest issue the two parties debated was includingthe Bill of Rights within the Constitution. Federalist believed the addition ofthe bill of rights was not necessary because the Constitution limited the governmentand not the people.
However, Anti-Federalists believed that without the Bill ofRights, the government would lead the people in a deep oppression.Articlesof Confederation vs ConstitutionTheUnited States has operated under two Constitutions during its lifetime, first onebeing the Articles of Confederation. The Articles of Confederation was ratifiedon March 1, 1781 and was replaced by the Constitution on June 21, 1788, sevenyears later.
The Articles of Confederation created a nation of independentstates connected through one congress. The founding fathers designed the UnitedStates to have a small and weak central government with no executive branch,and no judicial branch, but only a congress, which was a diplomatic assemblage,to represent all thirteen independent polities (Articles of Confederation,2009). However, the Articles of Confederation did not work as well as they hoped.So, the Founding fathers created the current U.S. Constitution instead.
The twodocuments are very similar and have some in common; they were both establishedby the same people. However, they are more different than they are similar.Strengthsand Weakness of the Articles of ConfederationTheArticles of Confederation had its strengths and weaknesses during its lifespan.However, it was weaker than it was strong. Congress at the time, during theArticles of confederation, had only one delegate from each state and had somepower.
Congress could mark up treaties, maintain an army, and develop money.However, Congress could not collect the taxes from the people to pay for theseor the revolutionary war. Paying taxes at the time was voluntary under theArticles of Confederation, where people simply chose not to pay. With the moneythat the Country borrowed from European investors and having no power to taxits people, the government could not get the necessary money it needed to payback their loans creating an economic disaster by 1787. Shays’ Rebellion in1786 is a great example that the government could not keep the peace at home.So, the founder fathers rid of the Articles of Confederation and drafted theU.S.
Constitution which is still in place today (History.com Staff, 2009a).Strengths and Weakness of theConstitutionTheConstitution has its strengths and weaknesses just like the Articles ofConfederation.
The Constitution is not perfect, but better than the Articles ofConfederation. Weaknesses that the Constitution contains are archaic provisions,equality issues, vagueness, and allowing an imperial presidency. Provisions,since the 18th century are no longer allowed in modern day societyand are difficult to change. However, the provisions include the right to bear armsor form militias. When the founding fathers were drafting the Constitution, theprimary focus was on free men, not women, native Americans, or even slaves.However, the Constitution is vague which benefits it but also creates aweakness.
The vagueness of which the Constitution was written allows people tointerpret the meaning of an amendment to their time compared to when it waswritten We see a lot of this when it comes to gun control debate (Comparing the Articles and theConstitution – The U.S. Constitution Online, n.d.
).Thestrengths outweigh the weakness though because the Constitution implements the Billof Rights, check and balances, principals, and adds an amendment process.Changes can happen to the Constitution, but protections are in place to protectit from political controversy. The Constitution grants that every U.
S. citizenis entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Check and balanceswere created to make sure that all branches of government have their power checkedin order to create a balanced system of government for its people and theConstitution ensures the Bill of Rights are enforced (Comparing the Articles and the Constitution – The U.S.Constitution Online, n.
d.). Drafting theConstitution The Constitution was drafted by agroup of national leaders in Philadelphia in 1787, who later presented it tothe people of America for consideration. The U.S. Constitution implemented awhole new set of rules for organizing government such as calling for a strongcentral government that would have authority over the states. The Constitutioninvolved the people in deciding whether to accept the new plan or not through aprocess called ratification.
Financial Crisis in the rural areas of central andwestern Massachusetts and poor government handling of the crisis led to Shays’Rebellion. Shays’ Rebellion caught the attention of lawmakers who then decidedto discard the Articles of Confederation and draft the U.S. Constitution. (Drafting the Constitution, n.d.).However, another issue rose while drafting the U.
S. Constitution.Representation was the core issue for the Philadelphia convention. Delegatesfrom Connecticut proposed a solution to deeply divide arguments onrepresentation that struck a compromise that barely got approved. Thiscompromise is known as the Connecticut Compromise or the Great Compromise createdby Roger Sherman. Roger Sherman’s plan suggested that representatives in eachhouse would be selected differently. The upper house would reflect statesovereignty with two state delegates regardless of size and the lower housewould have different numbers of representatives from each state determined bypopulation (The Great Debate, n.d.
).Federalists vs.Anti-FederalistsOncethe Constitution was signed and approved by the delegates of the ConstitutionalConvention of 1787, the new Constitution had to go through a process called ratification.The Constitution needed to be ratified by nine special state conventions.However, if states chose not to ratify it, they would not be recognized as partof the union, but separate countries.
Passing the Constitution by the stateswas not certain in 1787. There was a stand off between two groups on whetherthe constitution should be passed or not. These two groups were the Federalistsand Anti-Federalists.
The Federalists were for a more central and strongergovernment than what the Articles of Confederation implemented. Federalistsinclude people from the wealthier class of merchants and plantation owners.They believed that the constitution will “strengthen the government and wouldclosely unite the states as one large nation” (Constitution of the United States – Federalists VersusAnti-federalists, n.d.). Anti-Federalists included farmers andtradesmen.
Anti-Federalists were uncertain with how this new government systemwould work. They also feared the President would have too much power under theconstitution and also criticized the constitution for its lack of a Bill ofRights of “the Kind that England passed in the 1689 to guarantee certain rightsof Parliament and the English people against the King” (Constitution of the United States -Federalists Versus Anti-federalists, n.d.
). The Bill of Rights grantedfreedoms and American law to the people. Allowing citizens to free speech,separation of church state, and a criminal justice system. The Anti-Federalistsargued that the new Constitution would put an end to the state’s self-rule.Federalists argued on inadequacies of national government under the Articles ofConfederation and on the benefits of national government as formed by theConstitution. However, the federalists did not see society like the Anti-Federalistsdid. Federalists viewed society as a comprise of many different and competinginterests and groups and added “none of which would be completely dominant in afederalist system of government” (Constitutionof the United States – Federalists Versus Anti-federalists, n.
d.). Inorder to help communicate the Federalist central ideas, Alexander Hamilton,James Madison, and John Jay wrote a collection of 85 essays called “TheFederalist Papers”.
These essays were published in New York Newspapers and intwo bound volumes distributed during the ratification debate. Federalists soonpromised to attach the Bill of Rights to the document before ratification as acompromise in order to ratify the U.S. Constitution. ReferencesHistory.com Staff. (2009). Articlesof Confederation.
Retrieved January 22, 2018, from http://www.history.com/topics/articles-of-confederationFirst draft of Constitution debated.
(n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2018, from http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-draft-of-constitution-debatedThe Great Debate.(n.
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(n.d.). Retrieved January25, 2018, from http://law.jrank.org/pages/5603/Constitution-United-States-FEDERALISTS-VERSUS-ANTI-FEDERALISTS.html