To What Extent Was the Constitution a Radical Departure from the Articles of Confederation
Question: To what extent was the Constitution a radical departure from the Articles of Confederation? Thesis: Due to the fact that the Articles of Confederation were causing problems, the U. S. adopted the Constitution that solved the problems in the weak government including no executive control and no way to levy or collect taxes.
I. On example of how the Constitution differed from the Articles of Confederation is the setup of their government a. Houses in Congress i. Articles of Confederation of 1777 had one-house congress 1.Weak government a. When the government was created, people were afraid of a strong government like England had. The government became very weak because of that. i. No executive branch; no president/leader 1. Colonists were afraid of the president turning into a king. 2. After Shay’s Rebellion and other rebellions, people realized that they needed someone to govern them. a. Shays rebellion was a rebellion caused by the government forcing people to go to jail if they were in debt b. ,000 men marched to Worcester where they closed down the commonwealth’s Supreme Court and then marched to Springfield where they broke in and freed imprisoned debtors. c. Massachusetts asked Congress for help but legally, there was not much Congress to do to relieve them. Noting, a greater authority in the central government is necessary ii. No judiciary; no courts iii. ALL power went to legislative b. Government couldn’t tax the states or individuals iv. Individuals were still only subject to their states and hadn’t had an interest in a national government c.Thomas Paine’s Common Sense v. Widely read, Paine argued how it never did any good for Americans to be subjects under a King and how they are strong enough to create an independent republic. ii. Constitution 2. Constitutional Convention in 1787 in Philadelphia was where people met to start creating and drafting a constitution d. After Shay’s Rebellion, it was noticed that a strong central government was needed e. America was in debt after the war, we needed someone in charge to clear up the debt. i. Taxation is now allowed in the Constitution but taxation was not allowed under the Articles of Confederation. 3. Strong government f. Could tax individuals vii. Individuals were now subject to their state government as well as the national government viii. Taxes were enforced 3. Helped pay off war debt g. Checks and balances ix. Representation in Congress 4. Great Compromise d. Exactly 2 Senators from each state were chosen (in favor of the smaller states- equal representation) e.House of Representatives from each state were chosen based upon population (in favor of smaller states- population) x. Branches (legislative, executive, and judicial) 5. They were separate, and each checked on the other branch to make sure it is running efficiently Conclusion: The Constitution was created to fix the governmental problems that the Articles of Confederation failed to do. It was essential for the U. S. to depart from the Articles of Confederation because of the weak government it had created, there was no executive branch/leader, and Legislature was prohibited to levy or collect taxes.