Confederation and Constitution

Topics: United States Constitution, Articles of Confederation, United States Pages: 5 (1551 words) Published: March 6, 2014
United States History
Professor: Morgan Deane
9/30/12

The Articles of Confederation were a great start to shaping and unifying our country, but it was just that, a “start”. It needed to take the country as a whole into consideration in order for it to hold this unity in place. The Articles of Confederation led to the Constitution of the United States. Although similar in some aspects, very different in others. The articles had many weaknesses that were changed in the Constitution. There were many compromises made between the states in order to effectively draft the Constitution. Roger Sherman’s Plan kept the Constitutional Convention together which was later known as the Great Compromise. The fight for the Constitution had just begun and the ratification processes needed to take place. Even with some states being in favor of the Constitution it would take time to get the nine states needed to complete this process. The states in favor would called themselves The Federalist and those opposed were called the Anti-Federalist. The Federalist set out to change the mind of the remaining states with a series of letters that were written to newspapers. The Articles of Confederation were used as a base for the Constitution. The ideas from the Articles of Confederation were used in the writing of the Constitution. Both the Articles and the Constitution established “federal” systems of multiple sovereigns whose continued existence was constitutionally guaranteed. Despite the fact that both the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution established federal systems, there were certain fundamental differences between the two systems. The Articles of Confederation gave states the power of federal government whereas the Constitution derived its authority from the whole people of the nation, not just a single state. Consenting power on the ratification of the Constitution was an issue because the Articles would let Legislatures of each state choose who would vote for ratification. The Constitution let the people vote for the delegates who would decide the question of ratification for their State. A structural similarity between the Constitution and the Articles of Confederation is that both documents guarantee the continued existence of the states as entities. The Articles of Confederation were geared towards independent states acting as their own country whereas the Constitution wanted all the states as a whole to work together. A combination of factors underscored the need for a stronger national government than the Articles of Confederation provided. American manufacturing was stunted because Congress had no power to impose high tariffs to protect domestic industry from foreign competition. Settlers in the west demanded a more aggressive policy on land cessions and that more be done to protect them from Indian attacks. While modifying the Articles was not considered particularly urgent among the southern and mid-Atlantic states, even their leaders appreciated that free navigation of the Mississippi River and a resolution of the dispute with Spain required a response from a stronger government. In May 1787, fifty-five delegates from twelve of the thirteen states met in Philadelphia. The early constitutional debates focused on a proposal submitted by James Madison that became known as the Virginia plan, or “ large-state” plan. It called for a bicameral legislature empowered to make laws and levy taxes with the representation in both houses based on population. Opposition to Madison's proposal developed immediately. William Paterson of New Jersey, noting that the large-state plan would give considerable power to states like Virginia and New York, offered a less radical departure from the Articles of Confederation. The New Jersey plan, or “ small-state” plan, kept the one-house legislature of the Confederation Congress but expanded its powers to include raising revenue and regulating commerce. The New Jersey Plan was...
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