1. The written assignment concerns the two efforts by our Founding Fathers to establish a government. The U.S. Constitution was not the first attempt to establish a government. The first effort was the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union which served as the constitution from 1781 to 1789. The purpose of the Articles was to provide a general government for the 13 colonies that had won freedom from Britain. At the time, most Americans feared a strong central government. Consequently, the Articles were purposely designed to make a strong government impossible. Each state was guaranteed "its sovereignty, freedom, and independence." The central government was given certain responsibilities but no power to enforce its actions. The Confederation Congress was empowered to declare war and make treaties, but it had no army and could not levy taxes. It had no authority to establish courts. Although Congress could coin money, each state also had this right. Regulation of commerce and revenues was left to the states. There were many other constraints preventing a strong central government as well. Because the Confederation government was weak, the states tended to ignore the Articles and paid little attention to acts passed by Congress. The result was disunity and confusion.
A Constitutional Convention convened in Philadelphia is response to the dissatisfaction with the Articles of Confederation, a dissatisfaction made especially clear by Shay’s Rebellion. After four months of secret debate and many compromises, the proposed Constitution was submitted to the states for approval. It was ratified in 1789 and the new federal government was based on many compromises including a bicameral legislature with proportional representation based on population in the lower house and equal representation in the upper house. The powers of the federal legislature, executive, and judiciary were outlined. The matter of counting slaves in the population was settled by a compromise agreement in which three-fifths of all male slaves over age 21 were counted as population in determining representation in the lower house and as property in assessing taxes. The controversy over the abolition of the importation of slaves ended with an agreement that the slave trade would not end before 1808. This is only a few of the many compromises made.
there are some resources (two video clips, a podcast, and written material – all brief in length) that deal with The Articles of Confederation and the U.S. Constitution. In a two to three page paper, based on these resource materials (plus the PowerPoint slides), discuss the following issues:
1. What were some of the main weaknesses of The Articles of Confederation? Why were the Articles purposely made weak?
2. What kind of changes did the Founding Fathers make in the U.S. Constitution to correct the problems found in The Articles of Confederation? How did the Founding Fathers form a government that was both strong and accountable to the people?
3. What principles of government came out of the Constitutional Convention of 1789 that form important bedrocks in the U.S. Constitution? (These principles are discussed in the video on the Constitutional Convention).
here are some links will be use for the essay :
h.ourdocuments.gov/print_friendly.php?flash=old&page=transcript&doc=3&title=Transcript of Articles of Confederation (1777)
The Articles of Confederation in Ten Minutes
Carol Berkin: Women and the Revolution
The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription