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With the Constitution the elite society protected rights for every American that would secure and ensure our nation’s existence for hundreds of years. Under the Articles of Confederation, the United States’ government was in a state of chaos. To end the existing chaos and build a stronger democratic society for the future, the government would need to be more powerful and centralized. Thus, the elite class established the rules and boundaries that would protect the rights of all citizens from a suppressive government.
The Articles created a weak, almost non-existent government had neither an executive or judicial branch, which meant that it lacked enforcement powers. The newly formed government had neither and executive or judicial branch, which meant that it lacked enforcement powers. There were three problems that existed under the Articles of Confederation that would spawn and act of change. First, under the Articles of Confederation the government could not protect property and other rights of the citizens. Second, the society created under the Articles of Confederation lacked a means of advancing commerce and interstate trade. Third, government lacked the money and power to provide and adequate national defense (Dye 65-66).
Traders and commercial men found their plans for commerce on a national scale impeded by local interference with interstate commerce. The currency of the states and the nation were hopelessly muddled. Creditors everywhere were angry about the depreciated paper money, which the agrarians had made and were attempting to force upon those whom they had borrowed specie. Poor, small landowning farmers could not sell or trade goods that they produced on their land to other states.
The “muddled currency” in 1786, led to the loss of land in Massachusetts. During this time Continental army veterans were unable to pay their debts with the paper money that they were supplied with by the Continental Congress. This bankruptcy led to the loss of land and a great rebellion led by Daniel Shays. The Shay’s rebellion was ended easily enough but it was the lack of national government that frightened people. Had Daniel Shays gathered a larger number of people and had more firepower the small amount of farmers and townspeople might not have been able to squash this rebellion. Anarchy in the States could not be tolerated (ShaysNet).
However it was James Madison that stated that the way to abolish the rule by faction is to abolish liberty but that liberty is essential to a faction as air is to fire. Madison continues to state that, “The interference to which we are brought is, that the causes of faction cannot be removed and that relief is only to be sought in the means of controlling its effects.” Madison understood that to take away liberty was to stop a faction and therefore if a hindrance or boundary on liberty was established of liberty and therefore the most reasonable decision were to place boundaries on it. Madison and the elite class noticed how the Articles of Confederation disrupted the majority of the American people and created a system of government where liberty was so free that it hindered society. The decision to create a new system of government was in the best interest of all the people in America (James).
In creating the Constitution there were many conflicting views of how the newly created government should function. Alexander Hamilton, wanted a strong central government in which a Senate and executive power were chosen for life by indirect election; therefore creating an aristocracy.
George Mason, an anti-federalist, objected to the final document because of the possibility that this new government would create aristocracy. Mason also proposed that, “there is no declaration of Rights” and the “Legislature cannot prohibit the further importation of slaves,” which he felt was destructive of the country’s moral fiber (Virginia).
On the Bill of Rights issue, the government did not need regulations that stated what it couldn’t do because a government cannot act unless it is stated within the law. If there was not a law that stated that they could censor the press then it is illegal for them to do so. Mason and many other anti-federalists were opposed to the Constitution because it allowed the importation of slaves for at least another twenty years. Without this clause in the Constution it never would
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James Madison, The Federalist Papers, United States, Articles of Confederation, United States Constitution, Alexander Hamilton, Anti-Federalism, Federalist, United States Bill of Rights, Federalist No. 10
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