United States Constitution Essay

1761 words - 7 pages

Novus Ordoro Seclorum is Latin for “a new order for the ages.” Why did Americans select the constitutional order they did in 1787-1789, and why did they reject a more democratic and confederal form not more than a decade old?
“Having initially hesitated in attending the Convention, once decided, Washington pushed the delegates to adopt ‘no temporizing expedient’ but instead to ‘probe the defects [of the Articles] to the bottom, and provide radical cures,’" from Matthew Spalding, Ph.D. At the beginning of the Philadelphia debates in 1787, Edmond Randolph set aside the Articles of Confederation and the Congress of Confederation, and instead created the skeleton of a new constitution which included a Supreme National Government with separate legislative, executive, and judicial branches; the start of a republican government. The final draft of the Constitution went to the floor of the convention on September 17, 1787. Fifty-five delegates were sent to Philadelphia to revise the Articles of Confederation, and after four months of debate, they had come up with something radically different from the Articles. The delegates were presented with three options of structure for their new government. The first was a Democracy, the second, a Confederacy, and lastly, Madison’s Republic. Under the Democratic view, the states were sovereign nations, resulting in absolutely no unity, and possible anarchy. Under the Confederate view, we observe a weak government, resting all the power in the states, ending in failure. After many months of debate, most of the delegates came to the conclusion a Republic was the best form of government, and they were absolutely correct.
As the delegates gathered at the Philadelphia Convention, one of the many alternates they considered for a government was a Democracy. Democracy is a government in which the people rule by direct vote. Under the Articles, a democracy was attempted, however, contrary to the traditional view; it was the states that governed directly, directly governed by the people. Each individual state acted as a sovereign nation; their state legislatures ran the Federal Government, each competing for their own best interests. HSLDA’s article, on the Background of the Constitutional Convention, says, “Without a strong central government to check their power, state legislatures misused their authority… [Additionally] Nine of the states had their own navies… and there were 13 militias.” Instead of being united under one government, the states became thirteen different, independent nations, united underneath a friendly treaty. Americans of the 1770s and 80s thought of themselves merely as Virginians and New Yorkers, or even Philadelphians and Bostonians rather than being Americans. Robert Morris, a delegate to the Philadelphia Convention from Pennsylvania, said “The same circumstances, which unite the people here, unite them in Germany. They have there a common language… law… interest in being united; yet their...

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