Reform the Constitution

Give the Federal Government More Power

National Authority vs. State Rights Committee Members

Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Charles Pinckney, Gouverner Morris, William Paterson, Hugh Williamson, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, and Thomas Fitzsimmons.

The Articles of Confederation

The Articles of Confederation was written after the colonies had declared their independence from Britain. As the new nation of the United States of America, the states needed to have a form of government in order to secure rights and ensure the prosperity of their country. However, The Articles of Confederation was highly flawed; it set the United States up for failure and corruption.

The Constitutional Convention was held in February of 1787 in Philadelphia, PA. The issues that were being tackled consisted mainly of representation, slavery, local control vs. national authority, and democracy vs. checks and balances. Important figures such as Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, Gouverner Morris, George Washington and many others came together to reform their government. Compromises and revisions to The Articles of Confederation resulted in a completely new document: The United States Constitution.

The Issues...

The Articles of Confederation is an insufficient document that places heavy restrictions on the national government, such as the inability to:

  • regulate currency or tariffs within the country
  • establish or enforce a common set of laws followed by all citizens within every state
  • control trade amongst both the states and foreign countries
  • oversee military operations and implement a draft system


The Committee on the Topic of States Rights vs. Federal Rights

Sponsors: William Paterson, James Madison, Charles Pinckney, Hugh Williamson, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, Thomas Fitzsimmons, Gouverneur Morris, Alexander Hamilton,

Topic: Deciding on States Rights vs. Federal Rights

The Constitutional Convention,

Having considered further the injustices and the complications of the Articles of the Confederation which grants the sovereign states of the nation with the power to use varying currencies, impose tariffs on imports from state to state as well as on foreign nations, raise taxes on citizens, collect duties, and restrict the powers of the federal government to ineffective standards,

Aware of the desire to remain as free states with corresponding rights and laws within their own provinces,

Deeply concerned by the unrest amongst citizens regarding financial squandering that lead to the rebellion in Boston, MA, known as the Shays Rebellion,

Desiring a centralized federal government which has the ability to sustain the peace and prosperity as well as to protect the basic human rights of the citizens of the United States,

Requests for legislative, judicial, and executive branches that make and ratify laws and serve as balancing powers in the National Government,

Calls Upon both a Senate and House of Representatives within Congress to balance the concerns of representation based on population,

Urges that there be an elastic clause so that Congress may be able to pass laws directly, representing the states,

Stresses the importance of a universal currency and allows the federal government to collect import taxes and control trade rather than the states,

  1. Further recommends that the federal government keep the majority of currency in a national treasury rather than having to ask each individual state for loans.