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Reasons why the adapted constitution in 1788 was chosen than the articles of confederation

United States Government The Constitution of the United States is the central instrument of American government and the supreme law of the land. For years it has guided the evolution of governmental institutions and has provided the basis for political stability, individual freedom, economic growth, and social progress.

The American Constitution is the world's oldest written constitution in force, one that has served as the model for a number of other constitutions around the world. The Constitution owes its staying power to its simplicity and flexibility. Originally designed in the late 18th century to provide a framework for governing 4 million people in 13 very different states along America's Atlantic coast, its basic provisions were so soundly conceived that, with only 27 amendments, it now serves the needs of more than million Americans in 50 even more diverse states that stretch from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific.

The path to the Constitution was neither straight nor easy. A draft document emerged inbut only after intense debate and six years of experience with an earlier federal union.

The 13 British colonies in America declared their independence from their motherland in A year before, war had broken out between the colonies and Britain, a war for independence that lasted for six bitter years. The compact, designated the "Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union," was adopted by a congress of the states in and formally signed in July The Articles became binding when they were ratified by the 13th state, Maryland, in March The Articles of Confederation devised a loose association among the states and set up a federal government with very limited powers.

In such critical matters as defense, public finance, and trade, the federal government was at the mercy of the state legislatures. It was not an arrangement conducive to stability or strength.

  • All states are equal, and none can receive special treatment from the federal government;
  • Approval was given by comfortable majorities in Pennsylvania and Connecticut;
  • The Articles became binding when they were ratified by the 13th state, Maryland, in March 1781.

Within a short time the weakness of the confederation was apparent to all. Politically and economically, the new nation was close to chaos. In the words of George Washington, who would become the first president of the United States inthe 13 states were united only "by a rope of sand. In February the Continental Congress, the legislative body of the republic, issued a call for the states to send delegates to Philadelphia, in the state of Pennsylvania, to revise the Articles.

The Constitutional Convention convened on May 25,in Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence had been adopted 11 years earlier, on July 4, Although the delegates had been authorized only to amend the Articles of Confederation, they pushed aside the Articles and proceeded to reasons why the adapted constitution in 1788 was chosen than the articles of confederation a charter for a wholly new, more centralized form of government.

The new document, the Constitution, was completed September 17,and was officially adopted March 4, The 55 delegates who drafted the Constitution included most of the outstanding leaders, or Founding Fathers, of the new nation. They represented a wide range of interests, backgrounds, and stations in life.

All agreed, however, on the central objectives expressed in the preamble to the Constitution: The concept of self-government did not originate with the Americans; indeed, a measure of self-government existed in England at the time. But the degree to which the Constitution committed the United States to rule by the people was unique, even revolutionary, in comparison with other governments around the world. By the time the Constitution was adopted, Americans had considerable expertise in the art of self-government.

Long before independence was declared, the colonies were functioning governmental units, controlled by the people. Most states had a governor elected by the state legislature.

The legislature itself was elected by popular vote. The Articles of Confederation had tried to unite these self-governing states. The Constitution, by contrast, established a strong central, or federal, government with broad powers to regulate relations between the states and with sole responsibility in such areas as foreign affairs and defense.

Centralization proved difficult for many people to accept. America had been settled in large part by Europeans who had left their homelands to escape religious or political oppression, as well as the rigid economic patterns of the Old World that locked individuals into a particular station in life regardless of their skill or energy. The diversity of the new nation was also a formidable obstacle to unity. The people who were empowered by the Constitution in the 18th century to elect and control their central government represented different origins, beliefs, and interests.

Their religious beliefs were varied and, in most cases, strongly held. Economically and socially, Americans ranged from the landed aristocracy to slaves from Africa and indentured servants working off debts.

Americans then, as now, had widely differing opinions on virtually all issues, including the wisdom of breaking free of the British Crown. Those who stayed behind formed a substantial opposition bloc, although they differed among themselves on the reasons for opposing the Revolution and on what accommodation should be made with the new American republic. In the past two centuries, the diversity of the American people has increased, and yet the essential unity of the nation has grown stronger.

Throughout the 19th century and on into the 20th, an endless stream of immigrants contributed their skills and their cultural heritages to the growing nation. And as the nation expanded, its vast storehouse of natural resources became apparent to all: The wealth of the new nation generated its own kind of diversity. Special regional and commercial interest groups sprang up. East Coast shipowners advocated free trade.

Midwest manufacturers argued for import duties to protect their positions in the growing U. Farmers wanted low freight rates and high commodity prices; millers and bakers sought low grain prices; railroad operators wanted the highest freight rates they could get.

Essay on the articles of confederation and the constitution

New York bankers, southern cotton growers, Texas cattle ranchers, and Oregon lumbermen all had different views on the economy and the government's role in regulating it. It was the continuing job of the Constitution and the government it had created to draw these disparate interests together, to create a common ground and, at the same time, to protect the fundamental rights of all the people.

Compared with the complexities of contemporary government, the problems of governing 4 million people in much less developed economic conditions seem small indeed. But the authors of the Constitution were building for the future as well as the present.

They were keenly aware of the need for a structure of government that would work not only in their lifetime but for generations to come. Hence, they included in the Constitution a provision for amending the document when social, economic, or political conditions demanded it. Twenty-seven amendments have been passed since ratification, and the flexibility of the Constitution has proven to be one of its greatest strengths. Without such flexibility, it is inconceivable that a document drafted more than years ago could reasons why the adapted constitution in 1788 was chosen than the articles of confederation serve the needs of million people and thousands of governmental units at all levels in the United States today.

Nor could it have applied with equal force and precision to the problems of small towns and big cities. The Constitution and the federal government stand at the peak of a governmental pyramid that includes local and state jurisdictions. Disputes between different jurisdictions are resolved by the courts. However, there are questions involving the national interest that require the cooperation of all levels of government simultaneously, and the Constitution makes provision for this as well.

American public schools, for example, are largely administered by local jurisdictions, adhering to statewide standards. But the federal government also aids the schools, since literacy and educational attainment are matters of vital national interest, and it enforces uniform standards designed to further equal educational opportunity.

In other areas, such as housing, health, and welfare, there is a similar partnership between the various levels of government. No product of human society is perfect. Despite its amendments, the Constitution of the United States probably still contains flaws that will become evident in future periods of stress. But two centuries of growth and unrivaled prosperity have proven the foresight of the 55 men who worked through the summer of to lay the foundation of American government.

In the words of Archibald Cox, former solicitor general of the United States, "The original Constitution still serves us well despite the tremendous changes in every aspect of American life because the framers had the genius to say enough but not too much As the plan outlined in the Constitutional Convention succeeded, as the country grew and prospered both materially and in the realization of its ideals, the Constitution gained majesty and authority far greater than that of any individual or body of men.

Under the Articles of Confederation, no provisions were made for an executive branch to enforce the laws or for a national court system to interpret them. A legislative congress was the sole organ of the national government, but it had no power to force the states to do anything against their will. It looked to the states for the income needed to finance its activities, but it could not punish a state for not contributing its share of the federal budget. Control of taxation and tariffs was left to the states, and each state could issue its own currency.

The result was virtual chaos. Without the power to collect taxes, the federal government plunged into debt. By contrast, the Massachusetts legislature imposed a tightly limited currency and high taxes, triggering formation of a small army of farmers led by Daniel Shays, a former Revolutionary War army captain. In a bid to take over the Massachusetts statehouse, Shays and others demanded that foreclosures and unfair mortgages be dropped.

Troops were called out to suppress the rebellion, but the federal government took notice. Absence of a uniform, stable currency also disrupted trade among the states and with other countries. Not only did the value of paper currency vary from state to state, but some states like New York and Virginia levied duties on products entering their ports from other states, thereby provoking retaliatory actions.

The states could say, as had the federal superintendent of finance, that "our public credit is gone. Ambassador John Adams tried to negotiate a commercial treaty inthe British refused on the grounds that the individual states would not be bound by it.

A weak central government, without the power to back its policies with military strength, was inevitably handicapped in foreign affairs as well. The British refused to withdraw their troops from the forts and trading posts in the new nation's Northwest Territory, as they had agreed to do in the peace treaty of that marked the end of the Revolutionary War.

To make matters worse, British officers on the northern boundaries and Spanish officers to the south supplied arms to various Indian tribes and encouraged them to attack American settlers.

The Spanish, who controlled Florida and Louisiana as well as all territory west of the Mississippi River, also refused to allow western farmers to use the port of New Orleans to ship their produce.

Although there were signs of returning prosperity in some areas of the fledgling nation, domestic and foreign problems continued to grow. It became increasingly clear that the confederation's central government was not strong enough to establish a sound financial system, to regulate trade, to enforce treaties, or to exert military force against foreign antagonists when needed.

Internal divisions between farmers and merchants, debtors and creditors, and among the states themselves were growing more severe. With Shays' Rebellion of desperate farmers in vividly in mind, George Washington warned: All of the delegates were reasons why the adapted constitution in 1788 was chosen than the articles of confederation that an effective central government with a wide range of enforceable powers must replace the impotent congress established by the Articles of Confederation.

Beyond this point, however, there were sharp differences of opinion that threatened at times to disrupt the convention and cut short its proceedings before a constitution was drafted.

The smaller states, fearing domination by the larger ones, insisted on equal representation for all states.

  1. As a result, Americans are free to move from place to place; make their own decisions about jobs, religion, and political beliefs; and go to the courts for justice and protection when they feel these rights are being infringed upon.
  2. The business of setting up the new government was completed. It was clear that without the consent of New York and Virginia, the Constitution would stand on shaky ground.
  3. Within the limits of the Constitution, each state must recognize and respect the laws of the others. One of the most far-reaching is the fourteenth, ratified in 1868, which establishes a clear and simple definition of citizenship and guarantees equal treatment under the law.
  4. Ambassador John Adams tried to negotiate a commercial treaty in 1785, the British refused on the grounds that the individual states would not be bound by it.

The issue was settled by the "Great Compromise," a measure giving every state equal representation in one house of Congress and proportional representation in the other. In the Senate, every state would have two seats. In the House of Representatives, the number of seats would depend on population.

Because it was considered more responsive to majority sentiment, the House of Representatives was given the power to originate all legislation dealing with the federal budget and revenues. The Great Compromise ended the rift between the large and small states, but throughout the long summer the delegates worked out numerous other compromises.

Some delegates, fearful of giving too much power to the people, argued for indirect election of all federal officials; others wanted as broad an electoral base as possible. Some wanted to exclude the western territories from eventual statehood; others saw the future strength of the nation in the virgin lands beyond the Appalachians.