Quote of TRUTH: “We are here to create history. Not repeat it.” – Chantelle Renee
Oooooh constitution creation stuff, so cool.
Articles of Confederation: Okay, so, before the Constitution, we first had the Articles of Confederation. It was in 1777 when the Continental Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation and then later on ratified by the states in 1781.
quick side note: When something is ratified is basically means that it was signed or given a consent by a contract or agreement of some kind to make it officially valid.
American was still fighting for its independence during this period. And in 1781, the Articles of Confederation became the law of the land. Most of the power, however, went to the state governments. And, the Articles made a loose confederation of independent states while the central government was weak. The Articles of Confederation was a start but it wasn’t strong enough to be effective. And, in 1788, the Articles of Confederation was then replaced by the constitution.
Yup, it was kind of problematic.
weakness & resulting problems of the Articles of Confederation:
- Congress had power to tax === weak currency & increased debt, inability to pay the army, and then threats of mutiny
quick side note: mutiny is a rebellion against proper authorities, like soldiers against officers
- Congress had no power to enforce treaties === foreign countries angry when the treaties aren’t honored
- Congress had no power to regulate commerce === trade hindered by states, high tariffs on each other
- Every state, no matter the size, had one vote === the populous states were not equally represented
- Amendments required a unanimous vote of states === difficult to adapt articles to changing needs
Constitutional Convention: With all the problems that came with the Article of Confederation, 12 states send 55 delegates to meet up in Philadelphia. Congress’ mandate was saying to revise the Articles of Confederation based on state sovereignty but they disregarded this and said no. And, instead, a whole new governing document was created 4 months later (Yup, you guessed it), the Constitution.
Now, you might be asking “Um, what exactly is the Constitution?”, well, don’t worry I shall tell you.
What Exactly is the Constitution?: It is the supreme law of the United States. It’s just the foundation and source of the legal authority underlying the very existence of USA & Federal Government of the United States. In other words, yes, indeed. Very. Important. Piece. Of. Document. It also provides the framework for the organization of the US.
The main author for this was James Madison. He did pretty extensive research as he spent a year studying democratic philosophies, reading more than 200 books, and taking notes on EVERY word spoken during the 4-month convention.
The basic principles added to the Constitution included:
- When American leaders created the USA, the idea and choice made were to replace royalty with a republic. A republic (aka Representative Democracy) is when power rests with the citizens who elect leaders who make government decisions on the people’s behalf.
- This is the power divided between the federal (national) government and state government. This system was created to strengthen the central government but to preserve the rights of the states.
- Power with the People:
- Popular Sovereignty: government power resides from the consent of the people
- Limited Government: the government is not all powerful & can only do what the people let it
- Separation of Powers:
- prevents one branch of government to gain too much power by Checks & Balances
- 3 Branches:
- Legislative – makes laws
- Executive – enforces laws
- Judicial – courts, interpret the laws
- Checks & Balances:
- each branch of govt. has some measure of influence over the other branch and may choose to block procedure of another branch
- prevents one branch from taking too much power
- encourages cooperation between branch along with debate on controversial policies
Outcomes: There were plenty of outcomes that followed after such as the Great Compromise, Bill of Rights, and more.
There you go! You just learned about our Constitution. How great was that! Very much, I know.
🎵 dance to the beat of your own drums 🎵
© Elizabeth Anne Villoria