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Confederation and Constitution

Each nation possesses a legislative document of laws and regulations, which the country has followed since the time of its establishment, and people call this document of laws the Constitution. During its history, the USA has been functioning according to the regulations of two constitutions. The Articles of Confederation was the first legislated document to govern the states, which the politicians established in 1781, and verified in Maryland. The Constitution was the second legal agreement, which replaced the existing Articles, and became ratified in New Hampshire in 1788. The two documents contain many common rights and regulations for the people and government to follow. However, they differ from each other more than being similar, in case one analyzes the specific details. In the current paper, the strength and weaknesses of both the Constitution and The Articles of Confederation are compared, together with all stages of drafting the new Constitution, which went through the Great Compromise, Federalists and Anti-Federalists discussions and the implementation of the Bill of Rights.

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To start with, the Articles of Confederation appeared to be the first key functioning laws, which the US Government had been following before the Constitution. However, the country of that time could not operate efficiently under the regulations of the document; this was the chief reason for the states to replace those laws with the Constitution. The Constitution gave the President and the Congress much more authority and allowed to rule the country in a democratic way in contradiction with the rights that the Articles gave to the authorities. "Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated” (Tansill, 1927, Article II). According to the Confederation, each state possesses its own rights as well as the authorization on the local level.

In contrast to the Constitution, the Articles created a sovereign unification of the states, which merged ". . . for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them . . . "(Tansill, 1927, Article III ). According to the Articles, the nation is trying to unify; however, the practice demonstrated that all the struggles of the Articles’ government were inefficient and failed in a short time. Second, the constitutional regulations established the liberty of movement, which meant free maneuvers for anyone through diverse states, eliminating "paupers, vagabonds, and fugitives from justice” (Tansill, 1927, Article IV). In comparison with the Constitution, the laws of the Articles did not allow people to travel so openly. Moreover, the Articles strictly controlled the maneuvers of the people so as not to allow them see the other states’ life and borrow any traditions as well as find out that people in different states live differently or even better than the travelling ones.

The Articles of Confederation possessed their weaknesses and strengths, and the positive sides were minor compared to the negative ones. To evolve the US nation, the government established the creation of the Departments of Foreign Affairs, Treasury, War, and Marine. They also engaged in the War for Independence in defense of the British, signed an agreement of association with France Government in 1778, and interceded for the end of the American Revolution by signing the Treaty of Paris. Thus, the Articles’ weaknesses were significant for the country to use the document to proceed with regulating the nation’s laws. For instance, the government could not manage the trade with certain countries, which led to the deterioration and finally the crash of foreign relationships.

One more weakness of the Articles of Confederation was that they promoted the trapping of the national debt. “All bills of credit emitted, monies borrowed, and debts contracted by,… considered as a charge against the United States, for payment and satisfaction whereof the said United States, and the public faith are hereby solemnly pledged” (Tansill, 1927, Article XII). Moreover, the Articles of Confederation dealt with the Western problem. The problem occurred in western Massachusetts, whose people expressed opposition against economic disorder and petrifying debts. The government was not going to ameliorate the situation taking particular actions. The issue was that the government of the nation could not attract a compound military army among the states to facilitate the end of the revolution.

The USA Constitution is oriented on the country’s fundamental laws and regulations, stated in this valuable document. The legal paper defines the rights and liberties of the American people as well as the form of the country government. Drafting the Constitution, the admired and boundless states’ delegates argued with the representatives from the small countries about the situation in the states’ lawmaking. “The larger states favored the Virginia Plan, under which population would determine the number of representatives a state could send to the legislature” (Killian, Costello, & Thomas, 2004). The government had to compromise because the spokespersons coming from the smaller lands sustained the New Jersey Plan that claimed an identical amount of representatives for all states. The compromises were also made with regard to the conflicts over the pattern of slavery. The Northern parts of the country made Congress prohibit the overseas servant trade and ultimately abolish slavery. In contrast, the Southern authorities did not want to forbid the bondage. Thus, the representatives reached a compromise on the issue that the Congress would not control the trade of servants until 1808.

The government reached one more agreement, which reflected the question of how to determine slaves in accordance with the number of congressional spokespersons a nation could have. The authorities supposed that the bondsmen were not citizens, so the compromise agreed that just three-fifths of them could count. The leaders made a concession for each state to maintain an exceptional right to vote and debate the Constitution. The representatives of all the states struggled to come to a particular agreement after long debates. This document was created to serve the people’s interests, no matter poor or rich, Northerners or Southerners, business people, workers or farmers.

There was also the compromise, according to which the Constitution was drafted, and it was called The Great Compromise. A representative from Connecticut, Roger Sherman, offered a two-house legislature, which was to consist of a House of Representatives and a Senate. The representatives from Connecticut proposed an equal participation in the Senate from each state. This would please the states with the small population. Another offer suggested the representation in correlation with the House of Representatives residences. This would please the states with the larger population. The Great Compromise helped decide on the number of the representatives who could take part in the states’ debating. Thus, this plan worked perfect and satisfied all the states.

The discussion over the ratification between the Anti-Federalists and the Federalists was conducted while drafting the Constitution. The American states separated supporting two diverse political leaders who were Anti-Federalist and Federalist. The representatives of Federalism struggled to implement an authoritative central government system while the Anti-Federalists concentrated on creating of a weak central government. In contrast, the Federalists, who were ruled by Alexander Hamilton, introduced the interests of municipal commerce in the seaports. “Federalists, the name adopted by those favoring the ratification of the Constitution” (Wilson, 2000, p. 18). At the same time, the Anti-Federalists, governed by Thomas Jefferson, represented the interests of the rural population. Hamilton stated that America ought to go on with the industrial development, commercial activity, and implementation of the Bank of the United States. Jefferson, on the other hand, proposed a decentralized farming republic.

John Hancock was the only Anti-Federalist who was supported even by the Federalists. He proposed the amendments to the Constitution as well as the Bill of Rights. The authorities agreed to proceed with the Constitution and eventually, the Bill of Rights. The following document appended the amendments to the Constitution, which defined the rights of people and the government in detail. The Federalists supported the Bill of Rights. In comparison with the Federal regions, the representatives of Anti-Federal regions protested against the appended amendments but eventually realized the significance of implementing such changes to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Afterwards, the government developed the first ten alterations. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble…” (Bill of Rights of the United States of America, 1791, p. 1). The amendments to the Constitution guaranteed the freedom of religion, speech, the press, and assembly to citizens of the USA.

The new Constitution was introduced for the reason that the previously established Articles of Confederation have not satisfied the citizens and the government and have not met the expectations. The government and people received more freedom and authority after the adoption of the Constitution. The implementation of this document consolidated the army and the laws allowed the freedom of people’s viewpoints leading to the economic rise. The new regulations drafting was rather strenuous as Anti-Federal and Federal nations could not unify and reach an understanding. Nevertheless, the American states managed to come across the compromise concerning to the Bill of Rights as well as the Constitution. The amendments provided cleanliness to the Constitution.

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