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Government Essay

2147 words - 9 pages

AP United States Government and Politics

8-15-2008

Analysis of the Federalist Papers, Articles of Confederation and the Constitution

One of the founding principles of the United States of America was the belief that every citizen of the country had a choice concerning their freedom. It is purely a matter of opinion in reference to how closely the American government has kept to that wording. However, there are early forms of documentation that provide modern day Americans an opportunity to look into just how the country was established primarily on the ideals of freedom. The Federalist Papers exhibited the earliest forms of support for federalism, which ultimately gave way to ...view middle of the document...

This central power had no ability to levy taxes upon American citizens because each state regulated their own form of tariffs on their residents. If and when the United States would ever go to war under the Articles of Confederation, the funds for which to go to war with had to be raised by the central government. Meaning, the central government would retain a large debt while not collecting any taxes for states that ruled on their own accord. This was one of the biggest issues because of the large war debt that all states incurred after the Revolutionary War. Even on the terms of war, all states must vote in favor of conducting affairs of war against other countries. There was no central legislative body that was given full authority to represent all of the states under a common vote. The Articles also reinforced the policy of not allowing any state to wield a navy or army in which it could further cause tension between the new Americans and their defeated British foes. However, they were permitted to create militias to still “protect” themselves from any sort of invasion or attacks. The final nail on the coffin of the Articles was that the only way to make changes to the documents was to have all states vote in agreement with the adjustments to the documents. Each state was essentially acting as another country to one another by how separated they appeared to one another.

However, the Constitution presented an alternative to this divided Union by giving more power to the federal government and making the local and state governments subservient to federal jurisdiction. This meant that the central government could levy taxes, declare war through a legislation that represented all states legally, create laws through that legislation, have a judiciary system to interpret those laws, and establish an executive leader that would participate in this balancing act of power. This separation of powers, as theorized by Charles de Secondat, baron de Montesquieu, would designate each corner of the triangle of central power certain duties and responsibilities that it had to uphold in a federalist system. Each of the three branches had checks on each other that would balance out the amount of power one legal body could exert on the country. This was a step towards the right direction in creating an American Union under the premise that not all states had to agree and ratify the Constitution. Rather, only a majority of states had to ratify it to give it power. This same policy was also applied to adding amendments and corrections to the Constitution if a situation of confliction ever arose between the differing of federalist opinions.

One of the proponents for the Constitution was the Federalist Papers that were written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay. All three took major seats of power within the newly established federal government early on because of the influence of this document. However, one of the most important...

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