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Constitution Essay

1531 words - 7 pages

The United States Constitution
Carrie Thomsen
HIS/110 - US HISTORY TO 1865
Due: 07/06/2015
Dr. Timothy Hayburn
The United States Constitution
While the United States Constitution is the supreme law of the land, it was not America’s first attempt at defining the national structure of government. In fact, not even the Constitution was free from ridicule or fault. The United States Constitution was drafted to resolve flaws in both the Articles of Confederation and in the Declaration of Independence. The Bill of Rights is ten amendments made to the Constitution. The Articles of Confederation, the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution each had their ...view middle of the document...

While the Declaration of Independence is a cherished symbol of liberty, it did not serve well as a governing agent for the new nation.
Articles of Confederation
The thirteen original American colonies wanted a government to replace the British system that was in place at the time of the Revolutionary War. Their first attempt at putting their own government in place was with The Articles of Confederation. They were proposed at the Second Continental Congress in 1777. However, they weren’t fully ratified and put into effect until 1781. (Schultz, Kevin M. / University of Phoenix, 2014). The Articles of Confederation became increasingly ineffective at governing the ever expanding American states. The main cause of its ineffectiveness derived from the lack of a strong, central government and placed too much sovereign power in the hands of the states. Article II, states, “Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.” (Transcript of Articles of Confederation 1777, n.d.). The Articles of Confederation were written this way at a time when the American colonists did not want their government to become overly powerful like the government of Great Britain. The lack of a strong national government in the Articles of Confederation led to economic complications and legislative disorganization for the growing country. The economic complications caused financial hardship as the American colonies struggled to pay off the debts it accumulated during the Revolutionary War. Under the Articles of Confederation, Congress had no ability to negotiate trade agreements with foreign countries and could only regulate trade and commerce with Native American tribes. According to Article IX, there was no uniform American currency, which made trade between the states and with foreign countries, much more difficult. Therefore, the national government, as well as the states, could print their own currency. Also according to Article VIII, Congress held no authority to impose taxes and raise revenue. Congress faced revenue deficiencies, as it could only request money from the states and hope to receive it in a timely manner. Per Article V, each state would have only one vote which led to legislative disorganization. States with larger populations were unhappy about the unproportioned voting procedure. To pass legislation, nine of the thirteen states would have to vote for approval which made passing laws difficult. The Articles of Confederation were eventually abolished, mainly due to the impossible amendment process. Any amendment made to the Articles would have to have the consent of the national Congress and of all thirteen states. The United States Constitution was drafted to address the inabilities of the Articles of Confederation to effectively govern the states.
The United States Constitution

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