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The bill of rights Essay

1776 brought a declaration of and a war for independence to Britain’s

North American colonies. While they had all acted in concert to reach this

decision, their memories of colonial life under the centralized British monarchy

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had lasting effect upon their views of what the federal government of their new

republic would have the power to do. In the years following the Declaration of

Independence, Congress came up with the Articles of Confederation to loosely

govern the new republic at the federal level. 1781 found all 13 states ratifying the

Articles of the Confederation as well as the conclusion of the War for

Independence, with the signing of the Treaty of Paris. Already, the

weaknesses of the Articles of the Confederation were beginning to show.

Every one of the 13 colonies suffered economic setbacks as a result of the

War for Independence. Devalued American currency as a result of the Congress’

habit of printing new paper money to cover the new republic’s war debt and the

British blockade created high prices for goods. The end of the war hardly helped

the situation as Congress found itself powerless to levy taxes to pay off the war

debt, powerless to regulate trade with other nations, and powerless to regulate

workers wages and the price of goods.

This unregulated economic climate provoked citizens who were

shouldering much of the debt as a result. Farmers of western Massachusetts

who saw banks moving to foreclose on the mortgages of their farms demanded

that the government do something to protect them in their time of financial need.

They saw the lower legislative house of Massachusetts draft and approve a

measure, which included relief measures for them.

Under the influence of the

farmers’ creditors, the upper house blocked the actions of the lower house, which

further enraged these local farmers. In 1786, a captain of the old Continental

army Daniel Shays, led 2000 armed farmers against the state government. They

shut down county courts to prevent foreclosure proceedings on their farms, and

marched on the Federal Arsenal at Springfield, evidently to properly arm

themselves.

Eventually in 1787, the Massachusetts state militia put down the rebellion.

Both sides in the mess were unhappy with the new republic’s role (or lack

thereof) in the crisis. Farmers were unhappy that the government wasn’t taking

steps to protect their property from creditors, and creditors were unhappy that the

government wasn’t taking steps to protect what was now their property due to

foreclosure proceedings.

The whole situation served to further emphasize the

federal governments lack of capability to help either side.

With 13 states, and 13 differing opinions, diplomacy that was acceptable

to all between the Confederation and neighboring nations was difficult to

negotiate. Southwestern states had an independent streak of their own, and in

order to placate them and draw them closer to the other states of the

Confederacy, Congress dispatched their secretary of foreign affairs, John Jay to

negotiate a treaty with Spain regarding American rights in navigating the

Mississippi river. The Spanish emissary, Don Diego de Gardoqui managed to

convince Jay to sign an agreement for the new republic to give up all its rights to

the Mississippi river for 25 years, in return for trading privileges for American

trading houses based in Jay’s home state of New York. When the southwestern

states got wind of this proposed treaty, it further deepened the rifts between them

and the other states, as the trading privileges did not benefit them directly, and

the treaty did the exact opposite of what they wanted regarding navigation of the

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Mississippi river. Needless to say, the treaty was never ratified, and only served

to foreshadow the hostility the South was capable of when sufficiently antagonize

as would be further illustrated by the events preceding the Civil War.

This situation was just one more that the framers of the Constitution had in

mind as they convened in Philadelphia to amend the Articles of the

Confederation. These 55 delegates from all over the new republic were aware of

the lack of support for an Army or Navy for the national defense, and lack of

power to tax and manage trade enough to pull itself out of .

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The bill of rights Essay
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1776 brought a declaration of and a war for independence to Britain's North American colonies. While they had all acted in concert to reach this decision, their memories of colonial life under the centralized British monarchy had lasting effect upon their views of what the federal government of their new republic would have the power to do. In the years following the Declaration of Independence, Congress came up with the Articles of Confederation to loosely govern
2019-02-12 07:34:31
The bill of rights Essay
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