1) How does the U.S. Constitution reflect the political atmosphere of the United States in the late eighteenth century? What domestic and international concerns prompted the Constitutional Convention of 1787? Explain how these concerns were addressed by the debates of the framers, and what extent did the final document successfully meet the political challenges of the period? Before the U.S. Constitution the political atmosphere during the late eighteenth century was very turbulent. The Constitution is a direct reflection of the political climate during the eighteenth century. The National government was dysfunctional under the Articles of Confederation and held little authority over the states and taxes revenues whereas the states retained most of the authority. This imbalance of power led the national government to call for an overhaul of the Articles. In keeping with the individualistic culture, the famers wanted to ensure that the individual, states and national maintain their rights and sovereignty. There were various domestic and international issues that led to the Constitutional Convention of 1787. The states were governed by the Articles of Confederation and not the Constitution. Under the Articles of Confederation the national government had very limited authority. As a result of the limited authority, the national government could not fix many domestic issues such as levying taxes. “The Articles prohibited Congress from levying taxes, so it had to ask the states for money,” (Patterson 2010). The lack of tax revenues from the states had put the national government is a desperate position. “By 1786, the national government was so desperate for funds that it sold the navy’s ships and reduced the army to fewer than a thousand soldiers-this at a time when British had an army in Canada and Spain had one in Florida,” (Patterson 2010). Another domestic issue occurred when New Hampshire established a Navy along its 18 mile of coastline. On the international front, shortly after the end of the Revolutionary War where states went their separate ways, many states went beyond the Continental United States and sent representatives to Europe to negotiate trade agreements. These concerns were addressed to Thomas Jefferson in a letter written by George Washington. The Convention decided to draft a plan for an entirely new form government. Many of the ideas like the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan that were drafted in the Convention drew sharp criticism from the delegates and famers. To further address the concerns the famer’s established a set of goals. Some of these goals were, “to establish a government strong enough to meet the nation’s needs-an objective sought through substantial grants of power to the federal government in areas such as defense and commerce.” Another goal “was to preserve the states as governing entities,” (Patterson 2010). Reference
Patterson, T. E. (2010). The American Democracy (10th Ed.). New York, NY: McGraw – Hill.
2) Federalism divides power between the National Government and the States, giving the national Government the power and authority it needs to meet the demands of the nation but also preserves the uniqueness of each state. Write an essay of at least one hundred and fifty words (150) in which you are to define federalism and explain why the framers chose this system of government. Select three of the following and explain how each applies the federalist system of government: Categorical Grants, Block Grants, Revenue sharing, Welfare Reform Act of 1996, 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Federalism is defined as “a governmental system in which authority is divided between two sovereign levels of government: national and regional,” (Patterson 2010). The framers chose this type of system because it allowed checks and balances of power between the state and national government and preserve the civil rights of individual citizens. In 1787, the argument...
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