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Transcript of The Constitution
with cooperation from the British Parliament, established various laws and regulations that the colonists saw as unfair. Some of these laws included taxes that the colonists were forced to pay 2) Taxation without Representation Despite paying numerous taxes, the colonists
felt that they were not being properly represented in the British Parliament. When the colonists suggested that they send citizens from the colonies to represent them in Parliament, the British told them that they were being "virtually" represented. After this, the British Parliament continued to pass laws and taxes that hurt the colonists. 3) The Navigation Acts These acts were specifically created by
the British Parliament to restrict trade in the colonies. These acts forced the colonist to only trade with the British by placing high tariffs on the goods of other countries. In addition to this, these acts
forced the colonists to sell their raw goods to the British at extremely low prices. The British would then refurnish them and sell them back to the colonists at extremely high prices. 4)The French and Indian War This was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. This was the American version of the Seven Years War occurring in Europe at the time. During this war, the colonists received aid from the British. Once the war ended, however, the British expected the colonists to pay back the expenses of the war effort. To do this, the British created a new and even more ridiculous system of taxes to pay the for the war. In addition to the new taxes, the British
kept a standing army in America to monitor the colonists. This following a period of salutary neglect was to much for the colonists, as they had to both feed and house each troop. All of these events lead the colonists to
retaliate. Eventually, the American Revolution ensued, leading to a new country and a new government Immediately following the Revolutionary War, the U.S. needed a set of rules to which they could structure their government with. Enter the Articles of Confederation Under the Articles, the Federal government could not regulate trade, could not coin money, could not raise an army, had a unicameral legislature, no judicial system, and no national executive. The Articles basically gave all of the power to the states which operated like separate countries, each having their own tax rates and trade regulations The end of the Articles came after Shay's rebellion, which showed its weaknesses when the federal government did not have the power to put down a small rebellion of veterans. The Constitution Shortly after the rebellion, delegates met again at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia to revise the Articles. The result was the adoption of a new document, the United States Constitution, on September 17, 1787 The issue before adopting the U.S. Constitution, however, was how to increase the power of the national government without it becoming too powerful. The delegates knew that the Articles were too weak, but following a revolution from an abusive government, they knew the people would not adhere to another powerful government without protection The Framers knew they had to bulk up the federal government. While creating the Constitution, the framers added a judicial branch, established the Constitution as the supreme law of the land, and created a bicameral legislature. But the issue of protecting citizens from the government was still unsolved Thanks to the influences of their time, however, they quickly figured out how to prevent their democracy from turning into a dictatorship... Developed in ancient Greece and perfected by Baron de Montesquieu, the framers decided to divide the powers of their Government into three branches. Each would be equal in strength and would act as a watch dog over the other two so that no one branch would become too powerful according to a system of checks and balances There was the Judicial Branch, responsible for interpreting the laws of the land and protecting the rights of every citizen There was the Legislative Branch, responsible for making laws for the citizens to abide by. The Constitution created a bicameral house legislature, with one body based on population and the other based on equality And finally there was the executive branch, responsible for enforcing the laws of the land. The executive branch would be the presiding branch for the highest ranked position in the new U.S. government, the President of the United States. In addition to these checks, the framers implemented a new system known as federalism Federalism is the division of government power between different levels of government. In the U.S, government is divided into three levels, local, state, and federal. Each has specific powers granted in the Constitution, but if there is conflict, each level must adhere to the one above it Despite these government restrictions, many still feared that the Constitution would provide the federal government with too much power. Because of this, there was a split between the delegates: half opted to not ratify the Constitution, while the other half supported its adoption And so those who opposed became known as the Anti-federalist and those who supported became known as the federalists. The fighting between the federalists and anti-federalists was brutal and chaotic. Nothing was accomplished for a long while. James Madison witnessed it first hand and is why, many believe, he feared political fractions When it seemed like the delegates would never reach common ground, the anti-federalists presented a document that would become known as the Bill of Rights. This document presented a list of rights that the government, under no circumstances, could take away from any citizens. These rights were considered natural rights, direct reflections of those rights that were alienated by King George III a decade earlier. With this document added, the anti-federalists agreed to adopt the U.S. Constitution. The Federalists, knowing that the country need a set of laws, quickly accepted the Bill of Rights and began adding on to it. It did not take long for the framers to see the effectiveness of their new government, as it was able to put down the Whiskey rebellion quickly in its first years. http://billofrightsinstitute.org/blog/2011/10/21/is-the-constitution-important/ "American Revolution." - American War of Independence. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2013. <http://www.britishbattles.com/american-revolution.htm>. "Shay’s Rebellion 2." Veterans Today. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2013. <http://www.veteranstoday.com/2011/10/20/class-war-it’s-about-time/shays-rebellion-2/>. "Intolerable Acts and 1st Continental Congress." Intolerable Acts and 1st Continental Congress. N.p., n.d. 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