Question: Was the Constitution written to be a landmark document or was it simply a compilation of compromises?
After the American Revolution had ended in 1783, the states were left in a vulnerable position. Although the states had won the war and gained their independence, there was still a huge war deficit, fear of invasion from England or other countries like France or Spain, a virtually non-existent army of 600 men, no strong trade route to bring in money, Indian hostilities and a very weak economy. The majority of Americans did not want a national government, they were afraid to establish one after fighting a long war to gain independence from England. Initially the Articles of Confederation had served as a united agreement between the states but gave each independent state the right to govern themselves with little or no intervention from a national government. There was an established congress but it was powerless without the approval of the states. Congress could raise an army and navy, borrow money and handle foreign and Indian affairs, and pass laws, but couldn’t make the states obey them or help control uprisings within each state, it was virtually a co-operation that gave the states the power. Once the economy began to decline due to England (major trade route), refusing to trade with America, it became more evident that the 13 states were vulnerable to its enemies and that a National Government was indeed necessary. At the time that the Constitutional Convention met (May 14, 1787), each state had functioned on its own and would most likely have a problem relinquishing power into a much feared national government. As a result when representatives met from 12 of the 13 states (except Rhode Island) they had to draw a series of compromises so that the Northern States, Southern States, Small States and Large States would all agree to the establishment of a national government. There were two types of parties at this time, the Federalists, who...
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