Get help now
  • Pages 5
  • Words 1227
  • Views 420
  • Barney
    Verified writer
    • rating star
    • rating star
    • rating star
    • rating star
    • rating star
    • 5/5
    Delivery result 3 hours
    Customers reviews 204
    Hire Writer
    +123 relevant experts are online

    Early Government Evolution Essay

    Academic anxiety?

    Get original paper in 3 hours and nail the task

    Get help now

    124 experts online

    As the United States of America was in the process of becoming an independent country, it created its first set of laws that governed the country. The set of laws were called the Articles of Confederation. These articles established a firm league of alliance or a confederation. It was created by 13 representatives – 1 from each of the states that made up America. After many disputes, the document was passed by Congress in November 1777 during the Second Continental Congress and finally ratified in March 1781. Indigenous tribes already existed in America, so in order to form the country, settlers forced the tribes west of the Mississippi River.

    There were several issues with the Articles that ultimately outweighed the benefits. For example, it was a limited government. The only powers it had were to coin and borrow money, make treaties with other countries and Natives, and attempt to settle disagreements between states but they couldn’t enforce the decisions. Another issue was they could ask individual states for money but it wasn’t binding on the state. This was a representation of how the states individually had more power than necessary, so they weren’t united which was needed for the country to thrive. The lack of unity made it almost impossible for them to agree on anything and get the new country running. Many people who drafted the Articles of Confederation did not want a strong central government because they were worried that it would abuse its power, as they believed the British Parliament had previously done. Therefore, it was a weak and ineffective central government. Because of this, they did not get respect from Britain and other foreign countries. Foreign trade was harmed by tariffs/closed ports and interstate trade was difficult because of different state laws. Yet another problem was inflation. Each state printed their own money which led to a general increase in prices and a decrease in the purchasing value of money. This then led to a depression, which is a period of low economic activity combined with a rise in unemployment. Furthermore, all 13 states had to ratify the document before it could be put into effect which brought about many disagreements. In the Articles’ favor, one achievement was the creation of the Northwest Ordinance. It allowed new states to enter the union as long as it had a state constitution, 60,000 people and a governor appointed by Congress. Five years after it was ratified, there was an attempt by angry farmers to close a courthouse in order to protest high taxes and for repossession of their land known as Shays Rebellion. This is when Washington and Hamilton decided that it was time to revise the Articles because the rebellion made the US look weak and they felt compelled to put an end to such actions that took place beyond the bounds of law. The rebellion helped shape the balance of powers that the government has now.

    As more people began to find it necessary to change the government structure, many ideas were brought up. One idea was federalism, which is the sharing of power between a central government and state governments. The central government establishes laws that all states have to abide by and individual states can enact any additional laws they think are necessary. Another idea was popular sovereignty. This is a system where “We the people” give powers to the government and the government is supposed to work for the people. All these ideas finally led to the Constitutional Convention in May 1787 at the State House in Philadelphia. The purpose of this was to revise and discuss the Articles. Many arguments arose due to the fact that the delegates were people from different states with different interests. Rhode Island decided not to send any representatives because they believed that smaller states like them would lose power. Some delegates wanted small changes, while others wanted to entirely re-write the Articles. There were disagreements over taxes, slavery, representation and the power of the central government. One of the smartest and most important delegates was James Madison. He offered a plan that was bicameral, representation by population level and would give sovereignty to the central government known as the Virginia Plan. Another notable person present at the time was William Patterson who offered the New Jersey Plan. He proposed a unicameral legislature, keeping Congress’s structure the same but giving each state an equal number of votes, hence giving the smallest states an equal voice in the national government. Bigger states favored the Virginia Plan because they would get more power and smaller states favored the New Jersey Plan because they would get equal power.

    After much debate, the solution they found was The Great Compromise. It stated that every state, regardless of its size, would have an equal vote in the upper house (Senate) and representation by population in the lower house (House of Representatives). Although this was a major accomplishment, there were still many problems to settle such as slave representation. The northern states said that if slaves are counted as people, then taxes must be paid for them. If not, they don’t get that representation in Congress. The southern states disagreed and wanted slaves counted as part of the population for more representation in Congress and no taxes. They decided to count ⅗ of each state’s slaves as part of the population known as The Three-Fifths Compromise. They didn’t know what to do about the slave trade so they decided to wait 20 years to revisit the issue. The 55 delegates ended up writing a completely new constitution, now known as the U.S. Constitution.

    After the Constitution had been written, 9/13 of the states needed to ratify it before it could be put into effect, which happened in June 1788. George Washington believed that good writers would need to argue and persuade the general public to support ratifying the Constitution. Some of the states only agreed to ratify the constitution after a promise of the Bill of Rights being added. The Bill of Rights, primarily written by George Mason, was a document that guaranteed a person’s rights. Federalists thought that this wasn’t necessary because the Constitution was a Bill of Rights itself. Additionally, they thought the Constitution provided a good balance of power and a strong central government was needed. They expressed their strong opinions through the Federalist Papers. These were articles written for the public (mainly by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, George Washington and James Madison) to argue, persuade and inform them about why federalism was the better option. Antifederalists thought otherwise – the Bill of Rights was needed to protect individual rights, the convention went too far and the central government was too powerful. The biggest change from the Articles Of Confederation to the U.S. Constitution was that more of the power and decision making was in the hands of the federal government. This could be considered as a change from a republican system of government to a democratic. The Articles of Confederation was a republican system in the way that it was more conservative and where the people choose representatives to make decisions and laws that affected everyone. The U.S. Constitution was more democratic in the way that it was more liberal. The result of these changes was that people had the ability to vote on issues, choose leaders and voice their opinions equally.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

    Need custom essay sample written special for your assignment?

    Choose skilled expert on your subject and get original paper with free plagiarism report

    Order custom paper Without paying upfront

    Early Government Evolution Essay. (2021, Nov 15). Retrieved from

    We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

    Hi, my name is Amy 👋

    In case you can't find a relevant example, our professional writers are ready to help you write a unique paper. Just talk to our smart assistant Amy and she'll connect you with the best match.

    Get help with your paper