Aspects of The Founding Of Our Nations GovernmentThe Articles of Confederation were extremely important in the founding of our government today. The Articles gave us a sort of good base to start from, and was ground breaking in the shaping of our new nation. The Articles of Confederation were written by a Second Continental Congressional committee during the early part of the American Revolution in 1777. A report of the proposed articles was presented to the committee by John Dickson (committee head) just eight days after the signing of the Declaration Of Independence. The fear of the 13 colonies was to have a powerful central government, as they did in Great Britain. The Articles were changed drastically by the Continental Congress before they were sent in November of 1777 to all the states for ratification. It tool several years for the ratification to be completed by all the states. The Articles were put into play March 1, 1781The colonists effectively created a central government without sufficient power to govern effectively. Finally a unanimous approval was required to pass Laws at the mercy of the state, the main problem was the governments inability to regulate trade. The states were free from government regulation and could set their own taxes. Taxes on the same goods were different in each state. The inflated taxes, fluctuating from state to state, made interstate commerce very expensive. From all the fluctuation of Taxes and what not, Tariff wars started and tax inflation became too high for trade and brought each state into a hampered economic state.
The colonists had good intentions in drafting the first largely experimental constitution, but its application proved to be too troublesome for many reasons. However, as much as the Articles of Confederation were a failure, so also they were a success in providing a solid base from which all other constitutions have sprung forth, including the current Constitution that has governed us for over 210 years.
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On February 21, 1787, the Continental Congress resolved that: …”it is expedient that that on the second Monday in May next, a convention of delegates who shall have been appointed by the several states be held at Philadelphia for the sole purpose of revising the articles of Confederation”…The original states except Rhode Island, collectively appointed 70 individuals to the Constitutional Convention, but a number did not accept or could not attend. Those who did not attend included Thomas Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee, Patrick Henry, John Adams, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock. In all 55 delegates attended the Constitutional Convention sessions, but only 39 actually signed the Constitution. The delegates ranged in age from Jonathon Dayton, aged 26, and to Benjamin Franklin at 81 years of age, who was very sick at the time. The plan of the delegates was to remedy the defects in the Articles of Confederation, but Virginia delegates had a new idea in mid and boldly proposed the Virginia Plan, which introduced a whole new national government instead of the confederation. The New Jersey Plan was also presented as an alternative, but it was based mainly on autonomous states being represented by a single chamber. When bicameral legislation was approved it effectively made the decision for the Virginia Plan, and allowed for the New Jersey Plan to be passed over and defeated. The principle of separation of powers was a much stronger principle of the new Constitution, than those of the state constitutions. A single figure was to be elected by an electoral collage as our Chief Executive. Representation proportional to each states population in both houses, was proposed by the Virginia Plan. However this was modified and each state was given equal representation in the Senate.
At the Convention there was some controversy about counting slaves for population representation. Finally anti –slavery gave way to a 3/5’s Compromise, which allowed then to be partially counted. It was thought that the Legislative Branch would be the most powerful in government, but to even out the system the Executive Branch was given the power to Veto, and the Judicial Branch was given a power of review. All the basic powers of a modern and sovereign government were given to Congress. The United States