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The Constitution

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cellii's picture
Joined: Aug 2005
The Constitution

What are the MAIN view points of the Constitution. What did the framers want from the government. I am very confused i dont want to fail this ap course.http://www.course-notes.org/forum/newthread.php?do=newthread&f=14#

soxfan_89's picture
Joined: Sep 2005

framers goal: create a gov't not based on any past example b/c they were either to weak or to centralized. They wanted even distribution between federal and state gov'ts; they did not want another centralized king, so they were very decentralized, Articles of Confederation, then they created the constitution that gave the central gov't more ability. Here is a quick essay that I wrote a couple of weeks ago; Hope it helps

AP US Gov’t-
Test #1 Extra Credit

George Washington once stated that the government created by the Articles of the Confederation was "little more than the shadow without the substance." The 11 years between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were chaotic; George Washington had to run an army without a strong, supportive national government; meanwhile, much of the nation was in shambles, and even after their loss, the British continued to hold forts in Canada and western territories of the United States. By 1781 the Articles of Confederation went into effect creating a union between the 13 colonies, but surely not a nation; consequently, there was still the remaining issue of the centralization and how much power should be centralized that still exists to this day.
The Articles created little more than "a league of friendship and perpetual union," there was “only a faint semblance of a national government [Wilson 21].” Numerous problems of decentralized power existed under the Articles of Confederation; namely, each state retained, overall, sovereignty, Congress had severely limited powers, and the virtual inability to amend The Articles. Firstly, under The Articles of Confederation each state kept its independence and had one vote in Congress. Additionally, Congress lacked power. More precisely nearly all Congress could conduct was the coining of money, “but there was precious little to coin [Wilson 21],” foreign affairs, various categories of warfare, and establishment of the post office, which was “a thankless task that nobody else wanted [Wilson 21].” Meanwhile, Congress had no control over foreign trade, could not collect taxes, or could not force states to comply with laws passed by Congress. Therefore, under The Articles the central government, or lack there of, was completely dependent on the readiness of states to carry out certain measures, which they often did not. Finally, the Articles of Confederation were nearly impossible to amend, thus making an obstacle towards centralization of government.
Although the delegates who met in Philadelphia were authorized by Congress to revise The Articles the conclusion was completely different, and clearly beneficial for the country as a whole. After much arguing and compromise the Constitutional Convention introduced a completely new constitution with the, chief, purpose of centralizing power, yet also “limiting and restricting government.” The Constitution provided several solutions to previous problems under the Articles of Confederation. For example, under the Constitution there was a new republic rather than participatory democracy, “by which they meant a government in which a system of representation operates [Wilson 28].” Particularly, the Constitution created a House of Representatives and a Senate that centralized power more, but also introduced a system of checks and balances between Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches. Furthermore, with the Constitution in place nine votes out of thirteen were needed to pass any proposal while amendments had to be collectively approved, and the vote-casting delegates were chosen by state legislatures; meanwhile, under The Articles amendments had to be passed unanimously approved.
Even after centuries of government there are still factions who argue that power the United States government is either too decentralized or too centralized. For instance, the issue of whether or not the government should take more action in gun control. Some who feel the government is too powerful may argue that the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution gives people the right to “Keep and Bear Arms,” thus government has no right to interfere. Nonetheless, others contend that the government is too weak pertaining to gun control and should impose laws. To illustrate, in its 1939 decision in the case of U.S. v. Miller, the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment applied only to rights having “some reasonable relationship to the preservation of efficiency of a well regulated militia.” Moreover, the issue of disability access has also become a very contentious. Once again, there are some groups of Americans who consider disability access to certain buildings is the governments duty while other may oppose such an idea. In the Supreme Court case Tennessee vs. Lane, Jones, et al. a George Lane attempted to sue Tennessee because he did not have access to a federal courthouse.
In conclusion, some may believe in today’s politics the federal government has too little or too much power, but I can be agreed that if it was not for the centralization of power in 1781 the United States may not be the same great republic that it is today.

Bibliography :


American Government- James Q. Wilson and John J. DiLulio. Jr.




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