The framers of the Constitution drafted it in response to failings of the U.S. government under the Articles of Confederation. Many political leaders attributed the widespread economic disaster to the lack of centralized regulation of commerce. National impotence in the face of rebellion seemed indicative of the need for a stronger central government.Continue Reading
The first government of the United States was outlined in the Articles of Confederation. Under this system, the states operated as sovereign nations. The weak national government, which consisted of nothing more than a unicameral legislature, did not have the authority to tax the states, settle interstate disputes or effectively support a military.
Following the Revolutionary War, the inadequacies of the national government became apparent. Inflation was high, businesses were closing and farmers were losing their property. The ineptitude of the national government became more clear after the famous incident known as Shays' Rebellion. Daniel Shays was a Massachusetts farmer and former captain in the Continental Army. Dissatisfied with the hardships confronting farmers, he led a group of armed men in preventing the local circuit court from sitting, and even threatened to raid the arsenal at Springfield. The inefficiency in quelling this rebellion, and the fear of anarchy it provoked, convinced many that the Articles of Confederation needed amending. This led to the drafting of the Constitution in 1787.Learn more about The Constitution
According to the explanation of the Constitution on the official White House website, the Constitution was a product of its time in that it addressed various contemporary political concerns, such as the weakness of the Articles of Confederation. The integration of checks and balances into the political system was also an alternative to an overwhelmingly strong central government, such as that of the British monarch and Parliament.Full Answer >
The About the Signers page on the website, Constitution Facts, provides facts about each signer of the U.S. Constitution. There is a fact for each signer, and they are organized by state of origin.Full Answer >
The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution declares citizenship to all people that are either born in or nationalized in the United States. The 14th Amendment also ensures that all citizens receive equal protection under the law.Full Answer >
Article 4 of the U.S. Constitution defines the relationship of the states toward one another, and their relationship to the federal government. Section 1 contains the "Full Faith and Credit Clause," which requires each state to extend recognition to the public and legal acts of other states.Full Answer >