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Confederation And Constitution Essay

2297 words - 10 pages

Confederation and Constitution
After the American Revolution the new nation was in a state of the unknown as a country. A group of representatives from each state had the task of defining the new nation and its government. The first attempt to define the new nation was in a document called the Articles of Confederation. Under the Articles of Confederation the federal government was basically just the Continental Congress. There was no Executive or judicial branch under the federal government as these tasks would be handled by the states. Under the Articles of Confederation the federal government had no power to implement or collect taxes, its only ability to raise money was to ask the ...view middle of the document...

As the future of the new government was looking worse a group of farmers in Massachusetts under the leadership of Daniel Shays rose up in revolt against the taxation policies of the state. It was feared more rebellions would occur elsewhere and calls for increasing the authority of the Continental Congress were being made. As a result of this call for change the Continental Congress supported a resolution for revising the Articles of Confederation in February of 1787. In May representatives from all of the states except Rhode Island met in Philadelphia to start the process of revising the Articles of Confederation.
This meeting of the delegates representing the states is known as the Philadelphia convention. Most of the delegates of the Philadelphia Convention had gained experience at a national level during the revolution serving as leaders in the military, as diplomats, or in the congress. Some of the prominent leaders of this group included Benjamin Franklin, Robert Morris, and George Washington who was elected the presiding officer of the convention. Some prominent revolutionary leaders were not present such as Thomas Jefferson who was serving as a diplomat to France and John Adams who was serving as a diplomat to England. Others like Patrick Henry refused to go as he opposed the purpose of the convention and Sam Adams did not get elected to go to the convention. James Madison and alexander Hamilton are some of the younger leaders that had not been so prominent during the revolution that were also delegates at the convention. These delegates had already served in one form or another as national representatives and yet did not represent the true range of American society. The delegates at the convention were all wealthy, only one could be considered of moderate wealth, and so really did not represent the artisans, tenant farmers, or the western part of the nation. Most of the representatives were Nationalists that were committed to a strong national government and thought the Articles of Confederation gave far too much power to the states. They were concerned about powerful local interests having too much influence on the state governments. The delegates were focused on creating a strong national government that could effectively deal with the problems of diplomacy, trade, money, and the repayment of the nation’s debt. To start of the convention the delegation made several decisions on procedural matters that would define how the convention would proceed such as the voting would follow the procedure used by the congress of each state getting one vote. They decide to hold the convention in secret with no public access so they could focus on the issues at hand without outside influence. Although the delegation had a common interest in creating a strong central government they saw no clear path to revising the Article of Confederation that would result in this outcome so they decided to create an entirely new document which would become the...

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