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Confederation and Constitution (Essay Sample)


As depression struck the new nation in the mid-1780s, new questions arose about the nature of American democracy. Many conservatives believed that the answer lay in a stronger national government. Most radicals believed it was up to the states to relieve the financial burden of the people. These sentiments fostered a movement for a new constitution. Political differences soon stimulated the creation of political parties.
Compare and contrast the Articles of Confederation with the new Constitution of 1787. What were the strengths and weaknesses of the Articles vis-à-vis the Constitution? Give specific instances that demonstrate the weakness of the Articles (such as the Western problem).
Then analyze the drafting of the Constitution, using specific details to show how the various states (slave vs. free, east vs. west) compromised in order to effectively draft a constitution. Pay particular attention to Roger Sherman’s plan, the Great Compromise, which broke a stalemate that could have been fatal to the development of the new Constitution.
Finally, compare and contrast the debate over ratification between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists. Make sure you cite specific examples from the Federalist Papers to support the Federalist position and contrast it with leading proponents of the opposition (such as John Hancock). Analyze how the debate over a bill of rights illustrates the differences between the two parties. Evaluate the relative success of the Bill of Rights in achieving an effective balance between national and states’ interests.
This paper must be four to five double-spaced pages in length (not including the References page) and utilize no less than four academic quality sources. Margins should be no more than one inch (right and left) and the essay should be composed in an appropriate font and size. Sources must be documented and cited using APA format.


Confederation and Constitution
Confederation and Constitution
Compare the Articles of Confederation and the United States Constitution
The change from articles of confederation and the adoption of a new constitution was not an easy task. In essence, finding solutions to the problems that were inherent in the articles called for a number of lengthy debates between the federalists and the anti-federalists. The articles of confederation created several problems that inhibited the manner the country was being run and how governing authority was to be shared between the states and the confederation congress.
To start with, the articles gave each state one voting right irrespective of its size. Secondly, the articles did not give the congress power to levy taxes on the states thus inhibiting its ability to cover the national debt that was at that time coming close to 75 million dollars. This situation became even worse by the fact that both the states and the congress printed their own money, which lost value because of the depression caused by the revolutionary. Other problems arising from the articles included lack of a national court system as well as an executive branch to pass into law acts passed by the congress.
Still, each state had its own rules of trade and taxation system and this meant that traders conducting interstate trading were vulnerable to exploitation and unfair treatment. The sovereignty of the nation was not recognized in the articles and only the sovereignty of the state was recognized (Dry, 2014). In essence, despite the fact that the congress could request the states to contribute towards an army, there was no national army and the states could refuse at any time to lend their armies to the congress. This particularly made the nation vulnerable to invasion from outside.
The new constitution on the other extreme came with many changes most of which aimed at empowering the national government and establishing a national army. The constitution also controlled interstate commerce and allowed the central government to levy taxes on individuals. Equally, the new constitution become the supreme law of the land, recognizing the sovereignty of people as opposed to that of the state as prescribed under the articles of the confederation (Lewin, Keefe & ...
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