Constitution Over the Articles of Confederation

Sciences humaines.svg Educational level: this is a tertiary (university) resource.
Emblem-extra-cool.svg Completion status: this resource has reached a high level of completion.
38254-new folder-12.svg Type classification: this is an essay resource.

The Articles, evidently, was a disaster of a government. Shay’s Rebellion was the last straw for the US Government. Shay’s Rebellion was the armed rebellion in Massachusetts in the late 1780s as a response to the growing debt crisis surrounding former military workers. Revolutionary War Veteran Daniel Shays led a thousand rebels and attempted to capture a US arsenal in Springfield.

Although the US was successful in crushing the rebellion, the major problem that was derived from this incident was the lack of authority possessed in the federal government – who were unable to gather an army to fight the rebels. The Massachusetts Militia had to step in and fight the rebels. This caused a lot of debating in the Constitutional Convention.[1] The first issue was the weak central government, which was resolved by dealing with the issue of Congress' inability to tax the states. Article I, Section 8 gives Congress the power to tax the states, stating: "The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States".[2] The reasonings for the taxation are also outlined in order to prevent Congress from maliciously garnering money from the States. Clause 11 of Article I, Section 8 gave Congress the ability to raise an army and declare war when necessary, respectively stating "[The Congress shall have Power . . .] To raise and support Armies"[3] and "[The Congress shall have Power . . .] To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water"[4]. Lastly, the deal is sealed with the Constitution giving Congress the ability to create laws and regulations that are in best interest for the country, listing (in Clause 18): "[The Congress shall have Power . . .] To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers"[5]. Overall, Section 8 of Article I grants Congress many more powers in order to strengthen the federal government (such as the power to coin money/maintain a common currency).[6]

The issue of states having only one vote, undermining the size of New York and overexaggerating the influence of Rhode Island, is resolved in a bicameral legislature (the Senate and the House of Representatives). The House of Representatives are described as, "The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.", with the values of these votes being how many representatives the state sends (based on population).[7] The Senate, otherwise, is described as "The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.". In summary, the House of Representatives are based on population while the Senate is equal to one vote for each state.[8]

No executive and judicial branches listed in the Articles of Confederation, allowing states more power then they should be having as they enforced laws to their own whims and desires. No judicial branch allowed no checks of balances. Article II creates an executive branch with "The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows...".[9] The rest of the Article lists many different roles left for the President's job, such as giving Congress the State of the Union address[10] and being the Commander and Chief of the Navy.[11] The judicial branch is listed in Article IIl as being able to dictate over "all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;—to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public ministers and Consuls;—to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;—to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;—to Controversies between two or more States;—between a State and Citizens of another State;—between Citizens of different States;—between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects"[12].

The Constitution served as a reformed Articles of Confederation, to which the numerous errors in the Articles that were played through US History were resolved (as listed above). The inability to maintain a strong central government, vote fairly for different states of various sizes and no checks and balances resulted in the need for a new form of government. The Constitutional Convention of 1787 resolved these issues and created the government that we live under to this day.[13]

ReferencesEdit

  1. history.com. "Shays' Rebellion". history.com. Retrieved 2020-11-12.
  2. "Article I Section 8 | Constitution Annotated | Congress.gov | Library of Congress". constitution.congress.gov. Retrieved 2020-11-12.
  3. "Power to Raise and Support an Army: Overview | Constitution Annotated | Congress.gov | Library of Congress". constitution.congress.gov. Retrieved 2020-11-12.
  4. "Power to Declare War | Constitution Annotated | Congress.gov | Library of Congress". constitution.congress.gov. Retrieved 2020-11-12.
  5. "Necessary and Proper Clause | Constitution Annotated | Congress.gov | Library of Congress". constitution.congress.gov. Retrieved 2020-11-12.
  6. Federal Convention of 1787. Constitution of the United States of America. https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Constitution_of_the_United_States_of_America#Section_8. 
  7. Federal Convention of 1787. Constitution of the United States of America. https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Constitution_of_the_United_States_of_America#Section_2. 
  8. Federal Convention of 1787. Constitution of the United States of America. https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Constitution_of_the_United_States_of_America#Section_3. 
  9. Federal Convention of 1787. Constitution of the United States of America. https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Constitution_of_the_United_States_of_America#Article._II.. 
  10. Federal Convention of 1787. Constitution of the United States of America. https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Constitution_of_the_United_States_of_America#Section_3_2. 
  11. Federal Convention of 1787. Constitution of the United States of America. https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Constitution_of_the_United_States_of_America#Section_2_2. 
  12. Federal Convention of 1787. Constitution of the United States of America. https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Constitution_of_the_United_States_of_America#Section_2_3. 
  13. "United States Constitutional Convention". www.constitutionfacts.com. Retrieved 2020-11-12.