Articles Of Confederation V.S. The Constitution

1902 words - 8 pages

While the country was just three years old, and was being governed by the weak Articles of Confederation, there were obvious disturbances calling for a new form of government. In 1786, a band of farmers rallied together under the Revolutionary War veteran Daniel Shay. The farmers believed that the Constitution of Massachusetts unfairly took away farmer's lands to settle the debts of the farmers. The rebels marched onto Springfield, Massachusetts. The group was turned away by a militia led by General Ben Jackson. This event scared many government officials so a convention at Annapolis was called.The Annapolis Convention, which was held at the capital of Maryland, was poorly attended. Only eight states sent delegates, amassing thirteen delegates in all. The convention, which was called by Virginia, was to discuss the erratic relationships among the states with trade and currency. What was decided was that a meeting would take place in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 that would establish better unity and relationships between the states. The brainchild of this convention came out to be one of the most important documents in history, a document that is always described as living, a document that other countries have based their government after, the Constitution of the United State of America.Now how did such a great thing come out of the Philadelphia Convention? How can a place so diverse in size, population, religion, and wealth come under terms of one document? This was accomplished by adjusting and compromising on different social, economical, and political interests. There were a few important people from twelve states (Rhode Island did not attend) that proposed plans that would benefit their states as well as other states that may not share the same interests. To understand how this task was accomplished, one must know what the people were governed under before and what were basic wants and desires of the people. The Articles of Confederation were drafted in 1776 as a form of government for the colonies to act under in time of war. They were not adopted or agreed upon as a whole until 1781, when both Maryland and Virginia ceded their land claims that were in the Appalachians.The Articles of Confederation were much more of an Anti-Federalist approach to government than the Constitution would later prove to be. The only real powers the national government held under the Articles of Confederation were the abilities to conduct war and foreign policy, negotiate with the Indians, borrow and coin money, manage lands in the west, and make commercial treaties. There was no sense of unity or nationalism among the states. No clear lines of trade or communications had been established between states. Each state had one vote in Congress, which consisted of only one house. Yes, the government could issue its own money but each state had its own separate currency and set up its own banks. One dollar in North Carolina could be worth twenty Massachusetts...

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