American History essay



Thedrafting of the American constitution was a hectic journey. The draftemerged in 1787 after a spawned debate and six year’s experiencewith a previous federal union. The British colonies declared theirindependence in 1776. Previously, war had broken out between thecolonies and Britain. While at war, the colonies drafted a compactthat bounded them as a nation. This compact, articles ofconfederation, was adopted in 1777 and was signed in 1778 whichbecame legally binding after being ratified.

Thesisparagraph and statement

Thispaper seeks to analyze the constitution and how it has addressed thepeoples’ concerns up to today. Those who drafted the constitutionseemed to recognize the problems that might arise in the present andfuture time. In order to deter such problems from occurring, theyincluded in the constitution a provision that would amend it wheneverit was necessary. So far 27 amendments have been effected.


TheArticles of confederation brought a loose association among thestates and brought a federal government that had limited powers.Issues that were related to defense, public finance, and trade wereat the mercy of the state legislatures. The government was weak andwas unable to handle the chaotic situation. It was under thesecircumstances that the constitution of the United States was drafted,nevertheless it is through the continental congress that thesearticles were revised.

TheArticles of confederation had tried to unite the independent states.However, the constitution established a strong, central and federalgovernment which had no limitations and was able to regulaterelations between the states and their objectives in areas such asforeign affairs and defense.

Thepeople were able to elect and control the government came fromdifferent origins, beliefs and had various interests. This wasachieved though the constitution. Indeed, there was a new nationwhich was united. This group consisted of people who came fromvarious regions and had varied religious beliefs. Some wereAnglicans, Catholics, Calvinists and Jews. It was through theconstitution that there was now creation of common good, need toprotect fundamental rights of all the people because their diverseinterests were protected.

Thearticles of confederation did not provide authority to the executivebranch to enforce the laws or for a national court system tointerpret them. There was the legislative congress but it had limitedpowers. The only power it had was to declare war and compose the armybut could not force any state to meet its requirement of havingmilitary equipment.

Stateswhich had their own currency had the task of handling their owntariffs and mobilize how it would collect taxes. This led to disputesamong states which created a great tension because they wereunsettled. The congress could only be the mediator but could notjudge them. Therefore, there was a lot of chaos because the federalgovernment became bankrupt due to lack of powers to collect thetaxes.

Lackof a uniform and a stable currency made it difficult to conduct tradebetween the states and other countries. The variation of currencybetween states provoked retaliatory actions. The new states which hadseparated from England did not receive favor in British ports. Theweak government was unable to enforce policies that concerned themilitary. Nevertheless it was also unable to deal with foreignaffairs. Trade in the region became challenging because the Britishwere reluctant in withdrawing their troops from the ports and tradingcenters.

TheBritish went further to provide arms to Indian tribes and motivatedthem to attack Americans. Nevertheless, the Spanish who were incontrol of the territory west of Mississippi made the farmingactivities by western farmers difficult. This is because they couldno longer transport their farm produce by ship whenever they wanteddue to lack of passes at the port. This clearly shows that theconfederation central government lacked the ability to establish agood financial system which would promote trade and eradicatetreaties and to enforce military force against foreigners. This ledto disunity between farmers and merchants, debtors and creditors.

Withall these at hand, a disaster would soon occur if corrective measureswere not enhanced to deter the chaotic situation. The method put inplace was the constitutional convention which began in 1787.Delegates were convinced that there was need for a central governmentwith supreme powers. They also believed that it was necessary toreplace the congress that was established in the articles ofconfederation. They all agreed that the new government should consistof a legislature, judiciary and an executive.

Theprovisions stipulated in the constitution reflect the experience ofthe American people due to the experiences stated above. Theconstitution is the supreme law of the United States. Upon itsratification, it empowered a new federal government with thesovereign authority of the American people. It is the source of thefederal government power. However, there are limitations on thefederal government which include not to impede on the member stategovernments as well as the rights of individual citizens.

Therewere many imperfections in the constitution. An example is that itfailed to address slavery this was more of impossibility than afailure. If the delegates had an interest of abolishing slavery orsetting up a process to deter it, the southern states would not haveratified the constitution. The constitution steeped the issue ofslavery but did not ignore it. The constitution had two provisionsfor slavery. First slaves were considered important in counting anddetermining the apportionment of the congress and presidentialelectors were to comprise of 3/5 of the quorum.

Thisgave those in the south more voting powers than those who were in theNorth. Therefore, slave states got an unfair number of seats in thehouse of the representatives. Consequently, the federal governmentwas given the mandate to end the African slave trade in 1807. Muchopposition to the new constitution stemmed from the fact that it didnot guarantee individual rights. Among other things it guaranteedfreedom of speech, religion the press and the rights to the jury andpeaceful assembly.

Delegatesalso expressed their view as they saw it important to curb the newfederal government from misusing its considerable powers. During thedebate over its ratification, it was obvious that provisions whichrestricted federal powers were required in order to ensure that therewas ratification. So even before it became law, it neededratification by 9 states. Some of the American citizens still opposedthe ratification and there was a debate concerning its ratification.


Inconclusion, the implementation of the United States in 1789 broughtmany changes in the lives of the Americans. The constitution did notonly endure but also served as a model for the world. It reflects thedebate and an experience and philosophy of a crisis. It remains atriumph of the American mind.


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Nash,Gary B. TheAmerican People: Creating a Nation and a Society.New York: Longman, 2001. Print.

Holcombe,Randall G. &quotConstitutional theory and the constitutional historyof colonial America.&quot INDEPENDENTREVIEW-OAKLAND-3 (1998): 21-36.