At the Constitutional Convention the Federalists drew up plans for a new constitution while the Anti-Federalists complained and picked apart their plan, even though the Anti-Federalists had no plan of their own. The main issue the Anti-Federalists had with the new constitution was that they thought that it would not protect the rights of states and individuals. Federalists argued that a stronger government was necessary, not to impede individual rights, but to be able to pass and enforce laws. Federalists also argued a stronger bond between states was needed to improve the economic state of the country. Under the Articles of Confederation each state printed their own currency which became worthless in any other
Jefferson states his disagreements with James Madison when he says, “Our country is too large to have all its affairs directed by a single government.” (Document A). As the years went on James Madison and Thomas Jefferson started to see eye to eye. Jefferson and the Jeffersonian Republicans believed that the authority of the federal government should be based on a strict constitution. Americans should follow every rule stated in the constitution and to obey them. Jefferson stated that, “ I consider the government of the United States as interdicted the constitution.” (Document B).
Jefferson believed in a strict view of the constitution while he was an advisor. When he became president, his view changed. He supported a more loose view of the document in accordance with his policies. In order for the Constitution to be understood, the chaos around the time it was written must be first understood. Yet that chaos in not the same as now, therefore the constitution must be interpreted loosely in a way that it fits society nowadays.
The main weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation are that it legislated for states but not for individuals. Congress had no power to tax or regulate trade. It lacked power to control commerce. And it was too difficult to change any of the articles. Then the Constitution was put into place 1787 to overthrow the Articles of Confederation.
They believed that each state should have a self governed, and independent. Anti-Federalists also argued that there was no bill of rights, and the Congress and executive branch held too much power. But mostly the lack of a bill of rights was the focus of the Anti-Federalist against ratifying the Constitution. But Federalists on the other hand favored the creation of a strong federal government that would more closely unite the states as one large, continental nation of a strong federal government that would more closely unite the states as one large, continental nation. The Federalists like the separation of powers into three independent branches protected the rights of the people.
How well was the American Constitution designed to meet the problems faced by the USA after 1783? The American constitution was designed by the founding fathers to maintain the liberty of man, to preclude the possibility of tyranny and to strengthen the central government. The big issue confronting the USA was the growth of national unity amongst the states. Though the war of independence had a powerfully nationalising effect, the articles of confederation provided only a weak central government. This weak government had little legitimate authority and state sovereignty heavily outweighed the decisions made by the confederation.
This weakness was later addressed and amended in the constitution, when it granted the federal government all powers of taxation (Doc C). One problem that erupted from this weakness of the Articles was Shay’s Rebellion. Captain Daniel Shays led the rebellion against high state taxes, imprisonment for debts, and lack of paper money. Washington’s view
Under the Articles of Confederation its powers included conducting foreign relations, settling disputes between states, controlling market values, regulating trade and so on. It purposely did not give the national government all the power in fear of tyranny like in Britain. Economically and Socially, although the United States desired an effective government, they comprised an ineffective government because there was no president, the U.S. wasn’t able to pass taxes and laws, it had no army to protest the nation, it had a weak government, and it had no courts to settle problems between states. So in the end, the Articles of Confederation proved to be both inadequate in economic conditions, foreign relations and other aspects. Thus, these political, economic and social factors all contributed to the reasons why the Articles of Confederation couldn’t provide an effective form of government.
As a result, no counterbalance of executive or judicial power existed at the national level, and the Articles of Confederation, drafted with the intent of limiting the power of central government, created one without adequate power to govern effectively. Though the government did have certain powers, such as declaring war, entering into treaties, and obtaining and controlling the development of western territories, its weaknesses outweighed its strengths. The most notable shortcomings of the federal government during this period were its inefficient decision-making process and its inability to regulate trade or levy taxes. The Articles of Confederation began the trend of discordant colonies hampering forward movement in government with the ratification process itself. Requiring unanimous acceptance, ratification could be foiled by one state’s refusal.
When it comes to the federal Constitution, the Democratic Republicans were usually characterized as strict constructionists who were opposed to the broad constuctionism of the Federalists. However, during the Jefferson and Madison administrations these characterizations were not accurate at any time. In fact, these characterizations were proven wrong when it came to both parties, and even the presidents themselves. The Federalists were always known for being the party in which followed the Constitution in a broad sense. However, during the administrations of Jefferson and Madison, some Federalists abandoned their politcal characterizations, and interpreted the Constitution in a broad and/or strict way, as long as it applied to their pragmatic interests.