The Articles of Confederation and The Constitutional Convention in The USA

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924 words

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The Articles of Confederation established the first government structure that united the thirteen colonies that fought in the American Revolution. In fact, this document has created a structure for the newly created coalitions of these thirteen states. The document came into effect after March 13, 1781 when all thirteen states ratified it. Until March 4, 1789, Articles of Confederation was later replaced by the US Constitution.

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All the states were as independent as possible within the central government of the United States, which was responsible for common defense, freedom of security, and general welfare. Congress was able to make treaties with foreign countries, declare war, maintain military and navy, establish postal service, manage Native American affairs, and get coin money.

However, Congress could not collect taxes or regulate commerce transactions. In contrast to the widespread terror of the strong central government as they were written and strong national loyalty among Americans as opposed to any national government during the American Revolution, the Congress intentionally made the National Government keep it as weak as possible and keep it as independent as possible.

However, this caused a number of problems which became apparent at the time the clause came into force. Congressional weaknesses will quickly lead to problems that have found that founding fathers can not modify under the form of the current government. Many of these problems were raised at the Annapolis Games in 1786: Each state only had one vote in Congress, regardless of size, Congress did not have the power to tax, Congress did not have the power to regulate foreign and interstate commerce, there was no executive branch to enforce any acts passed by Congress, there was no national court system or judicial branch, amendments to the Articles of Confederation required a unanimous vote, and laws required a 9/13 majority to pass in Congress, and States could levy tariffs on other states' goods.

Under federal parliament, each state saw sovereignty and power as the most important state for state assets. This led to interstate frequent discussions. In addition, each state will not be pleased to pay financial support to the central government. Furthermore, some states began to make separate agreements with foreign governments. Almost every state had its own army called militia. Each state printed their own money. This meant that with the issue of trade, there was no stable national economy.

In 1786, the rebellion of Shays occurred in the West of Massachusetts as a protest against debt and economic turmoil. However, the national government can not collect integrated military power among the nations to help deter rebellion, revealing serious weaknesses to the structure of the federal system.

On May 25, 1787, the Constitutional Convention opened in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania State House, now known as Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence had been adopted 11 years earlier. There were 55 delegates in attendance, representing all 13 states except Rhode Island, which refused to send representatives because it did not want a powerful central government interfering in its economic business. Many had served in the Continental Army, colonial legislatures or the Continental Congress. The delegates had been tasked by Congress with amending the Articles of Confederation; however, they soon began deliberating proposals for an entirely new form of government. A controversial topic was slavery. Although some northern states had already started to outlaw the practice, they went along with the southern states’ insistence that slavery was an issue for individual states to decide and should be kept out of the Constitution. Many northern delegates believed that without agreeing to this, the South wouldn’t join the Union. For the purposes of taxation and determining how many representatives a state could send to Congress, it was decided that slaves would be counted as three-fifths of a person. Additionally, it was agreed that Congress wouldn’t be allowed to prohibit the slave trade before 1808, and states were required to return fugitive slaves to their owners.

It worked because of the system of checks and balances and its rules for adding amendments. The means by which the Constitution is changed is given by two procedures. This was and continues to ensure that groups or personals could not manipulate the Constitution for their personal agendas and does not affect the liberty of the people. A grand Majority and slow and tedious process ensured this. Both methods require at least a two-thirds majority and at least three quarters of the states to agree before it becomes a law. This tedious process accounts for why only twenty-seven amendments out of over 5000 have ever been passed and continue to be seen today a part of the foremost Constitution.

Turning away from specifically the governing aspect of the Constitution to the rights of the people. The Bill of Rights a part of the Constitution protects individual freedoms from the government, faith, speech, movement and assembly, private property and intrusion, proper treatment due to arrest and fair trial and sentencing and also anything not previously covered by the amendments. The Constitution in particular amendments one to ten as summarized above, ensure the rights of the people and that the government is unable to wrongfully intrude on these rights.

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Further amendments eleven to twenty-seven have been made not only with aspects of the people but also government, so as to ensure the Constitution is kept up to date without breaching its ideals. All the factors stated previously provide evidence of the effectiveness of the Constitution in the scope of the modern era and further illustrates, how flexible it has been over the last centuries and continues to be.

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The Articles of Confederation and The Constitutional Convention in the USA. (2019, February 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 1, 2023, from
“The Articles of Confederation and The Constitutional Convention in the USA.” GradesFixer, 11 Feb. 2019,
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