History in the Making

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Our New Government

The Continental Congress of our new nation has drafted a model for our government called the Articles of Confederation. These Articles are riddled with flaws. For example there is not even an executive of branch of government to carry out the laws created by the legislative branch. There is not even a standard currency between the 13 states. This country will never make it under the Articles of Confederation.

The Virginia Plan

The Virginia plan of government is a much better proposal of a plan for the government than the Articles could ever be. The Virginia Plan suggests that the states vote on new legislature. However each state has a different number of representatives. The amount of representatives is based on the states population. This plan also includes a central figure head to carry out the laws set forth by the legislative branch.

Do slaves count as people?

A major question is raised when talking about a states population. The southern states are considerably more populated if you consider slaves as citizens. But if you do not treat them like citizens how can count them as such? Well during the Constitutional Convention the delegates came to a compromise. The states are to count a slave as three-fifths of a person.

Bill of Rights

The Constitution was not a perfect model for the government. They original drafters of the Constitution did not add the basic rights of citizens so the Constitution was amended. These changes are called amendments. The first 10 of the amendments are known as the Bill of Rights. James Madison is credited with writing these amendments.

Three Branches of Government

It has become apparent to the Founding Fathers that there must be 3 separate branches of government. If there are laws being made but no one to carry out those laws what is their purpose? Therefore there are 3 branches of government. The legislative branch that makes laws. The executive branch that executes said laws. Finally there is a judicial branch that determines the constitutionality of the laws.

Separation of Powers

The three branches of government can not be interconnected. The separation of the powers allows a system of checks and balances to be in place. This ensures that none of the three branches has more power than another. The separation of the powers and the system of checks and balances is one of the many things set forth by the United States Constitution.