Age of the Constitution

By : Alexander Lothian , Block 7

Articles of Confederation

After obtaining our independence from Britain our nation needed a form of government and the Articles of Confederation provided us with one. However this established a relatively weak central government in order to prevent government with too much power. A weak government does come with consequences. Our central government can not enforce taxes, there is no common currency, the only branch of government is congress and the list goes on. A convention is being held in Philadelphia in an attempt to fix our government.

Three Fifths Compromise

Another weakness of the Articles of Confederation was that each state no matter how big or small it was would only get one single vote. How is this a weakness? Bigger states with larger populations do not think this is fair to them since they have more people. While smaller states think it is perfectly fine. In order to match up to the population of the larger states Southern states began to use slaves as votes, but since slaves are not citizens they could not do this. So as a compromise they declared a slave as three fifths of a citizen hence the name "Three Fifths Compromise".

3 Branches of Government

As a solution to only one branch of government the idea of 3 branches of government was proposed at the constitutional convention. The three branches would be Executive, Legislative and Judicial. None of these branches will be weaker or stronger than the other having equal power. To make sure no branch becomes stronger they can "check each other" which means they can keep each other balanced, Now through the judicial branch congress can enforce taxing and common currency as well as have a common law for all of the states.

Virginia Plan

With the dispute between the larger and smaller states about their votes a final solution needed to be made. So James Madison came up with the Virginia Plan. This plan declared that in congress there would be two houses; house of representatives and the senate. The house of representatives would have one representative for every 30,000 people for each state and the house of senate would have 2 representatives from each state. As for passing of laws both houses had to agree on the law or it could not be passed.

Bill of Rights

Before the Constitution could even take effect people who opposed it or "Anti-Federalists" demanded changes too it or a "Bill of rights". Changes to a document are usually applied after they take action so this seemed unusual. However, it was necessary to get the 9 out of 13 states to approve the constitution. Making changes to a document that was just written was not easy for the author; James Madison. He needed to refer to authors of other famous documents such as Thomas Paine, John Locke and Thomas Jefferson.

Virginia Declaration of Rights

This document written by James Madison influenced the Bill of rights greatly. This document reiterated the notion that basic human rights should not be violated by governments. John Locke made the foundation for this document as well as the Declaration of independence. Madison took this idea and refined it and used it for the Bill of Rights. Without it Madison would've had a harder time finalizing the Bill of Rights.

Editorial of James Madison

Author of not only the Constitution but the Virginia Declaration of rights. Attended the constitutional congress with other important men to our nation. Created the Virginia plan and found a solution to the voting problem.

Editorial of George washington

General in the American Revolution. Most important figure to our Revolution. He is the appointed leader at the constitutional congress. Our people are considering him for our first President.