Independence Times

Constitutional Period

Articles of Confederation

The Articles of Confederation were ratified in 1781 as the government for the United States of America. The Articles gave the states a lot of power and had a weak central government. However, the Articles were flawed because Congress couldn't raise taxes or regulate trade. As a result, some states could put tariffs on goods from other states and have their own currencies. In 1787, representatives from all states came to revise the Articles, but instead came up with a new Constitution.

3 Branches of Government

The Constitution called for 3 branches of government, Judicial, Legislative and Executive. The Judicial branch interprets the laws and can declare a law unconstitutional. The Legislative branch makes and changes laws. The Executive branch executes the laws and appoints the judges. The 3 branches check and balance each other to prevent one group from having too much power.

Virginia Plan

The Virginia plan was written in 1787 by James Madison. It was a proposal for a new government in a Constitution. It called for a two-house legislative branch with the number of representatives based on population. It was opposed by small states that favored the New Jersey Plan. It was used as a model for the House of Representatives.

Bill of Rights

The Bill of Rights is a set of proposed changes or amendments to the Constitution. The Bill of Rights guarantees all citizens basic rights. It guarantees right such as freedom of speech, press, religion, and assembly. It was ratified in 1791 and written by James Madison, who also wrote the Constitution. The Bill of Rights was created to appease the Anti-Federalists that were worried about the government proposed in Constitution taking away their rights.


Federalist are people who supported the new Constitution as a replacement of the Articles of Confederation. Federalists supported a strong federal government with the ability to tax and regulate trade. Federalists opposed a Bill of Rights because they felt it would limit peoples rights to what is listed in the Bill. They also thought that the Constitution is itself, a Bill of Rights.


Anti-Federalists are people who opposed the new Constitution. They wanted a weak central government to protect the states and the peoples rights. They wanted a Bill of Rights to prevent the constitutional government from taking away peoples rights. They didn't want a strong central government because they felt the President would become a king. The Anti-Federalists wanted string state governments.

James Madison

I wrote the Constitution and founded the Democratic-Republican Party.

George Washington

I was at the Constitutional Convention and was the first President.