Articles of Confederation as a Rough Draft to the Constitution
In order to come up with a perfect paper, the writer must first create a rough draft, as no writer, not even the best, gets it right the first time they try. Something very similar seemed to happen when we talk about the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution. The articles of Confederation created in 1776 served as a rough draft to the Constitution we live by today. The Articles established a weak and central government, so the need of having a more powerful federal government lead to the correction of it. Fully establishing such pivotal document was not an easy task, it took years to project the proper structure for a strong and powerful government that had competence over the states. Although both documents seem to be the same, when looking at them closely and exploring them in depth they have their differences.
Presented to the Continental Congress in 1776, the Articles of Confederation would be the documents presented to the British as part of their declaration of independence. They formed a loose union of the states that lacked the authority of collecting taxes or regulate the Nation’s trade. Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey refused to ratify these articles when they saw the flaws that it held. They knew that the states would have enough power to overcomes these articles and that it would eventually give them problems. This became an obstruction to the approval of the Articles and it was not until these states saw themselves forced to accept it or continue being under the rule of the British, that they gave in.
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Although the Articles had served their purpose, problems began to arise after the American Revolution, when the Articles became the topic of conversation between Nationalists. With leaders having no say in the country’s trade or taxes and a non requisite form of authority, people began to have insecurities. Farmers then began to complain about their taxes and the debt that they were falling into, leading them to Shays Rebellion (August 31,1786 to June 1787). Daniel Shays led a large body of insurgents against General William Shepard and when Shays refused to retreat, Shepard opened fire and the conflict grew bigger. After almost a year, Shays retreats and although it may have seemed like he had not solved anything, the rebellion opened leaders’ eyes and forced them to create a less flawed version of the Articles, what we now know as The Constitution.
The Constitution became the final draft of the Articles of Confederation. A stronger, well structured and powerful form of government was required and this is what this document would do. The Constitution, established more than 200 years ago, is the pivotal document that divides the power of the states and the federal government, creates three branches (Legislative, Judicial and Executive) and lastly, contains articles in regards to the liberties an American citizen has. Opposed to the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution now gave the government enough power to be above the states and be able to control whatever problem came to be and the proper solution to it. Dividing the powers into three branches gave the government a balance, as each branch now had their own issues to care for and worry about. Finally, in order for the people to live peacefully and with the rights they deserve, the articles were included explaining to detail what rights a citizens of the United States has and what should be done when denied these rights.
Both the Articles of Confederation and The Constitution have played an important role in American history. It is because of their differences, that this country has been able to become structured, stable and as powerful as it is. Each of these documents addressed issues during the time period they had to be addressed in and solved them accordingly. Works Cited Articles of Confederation, 1777-1781.” U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of State, history.state.gov/milestones/1776-1783/articles.
“Challenges of the Articles of Confederation.” Khan Academy, Khan Academy, www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ap-us-government-and-politics/foundations-of-american-democracy/challenges-of-the-articles-of-confederation/a/challenges-of-the-articles-of-confederation-article.
“The United States Constitution.” The United States Constitution, home.ubalt.edu/shapiro/rights_course/Chapter1text.htm. Slavery In the United States Slavery played a very big role when it comes to the growth of the United States, not only economically speaking, but also politically. Africans Americans arrived in the United States as free men and women and were brought on a Dutch trading ship. Their work was cruelty free and they would only work the time they needed to. It was not until later on that white men would abuse their power as their masters and the word “slave” was adapted. This would quickly become an issue and the most heartless treatment would be given to African Americans. It was until the ratification of the 13th amendment that slavery and its cruelty was banned and that the government set an end to the situation.
The very first African Americans arrived in the United States in Jamestown around 1619, these people were not known as slaves but rather people that came to the country to work as servants and once their obligations were over, they would live on as free men and women. This would change within the next years as chiefs and masters in the south began to abuse their authority towards African Americans that worked in their plantations. Slavery was not known in England yet it would rapidly become an issue in the country. The very first colony to legalize slavery was Virginia in the year 1661, right behind it followed the Carolinas and in no time every colony with the exception of Georgia had their slaves. Georgia at first resisted having slaves and banned slavery, but being suppressed by their own citizens it gave in, and 17 years later slavery was no longer banned. Every African American was sentenced to life in chains.
Slaves were mainly used in plantations for tobacco, sugar and cotton, and although slavery was still being questioned for being morally correct or not, masters began to work their slaves in their properties. As British saw that slavery was a needed demand, they began to import more and more African Americans. Now hundreds of thousands of slaves worked for the colonies with no pay and bad treatment. A slaves treatment varied, depending on where they were placed. Slaves that worked in a crop farm would often live in family units and would have Sundays off, however, they were exposed to cruel punishments because in the eyes of their masters they did not have as much value as slaves that worked in tobacco and cotton plantations did. Also, they were more likely to be sold more often that any other type of slave.
Tobacco and cotton plantations were the worst places to be sold or traded to. Not only were masters or chiefs more demanding, slaves were being put to work more than they could, and if they did not meet demands they were beaten with no mercy shown. Other forms of punishments included whipping, slashing, burning and even mutations. Slaves suffered from such acts for the tiniest reason. Sometimes they would not meet their demands (for cotton) by a pound or two and were slashed and whipped by their masters. While all of this happened to African Americans, chiefs and masters would benefit from it and therefore the economy. It no longer hurt them for the simple fact that they were not the ones working.
African Americans were tired of being treated wrongly without a reason and therefore began many movements that lead to their liberation. After hundreds of years of indescribable pain and suffering the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified on December 6th, 1865. This would abolish slavery and although it did not stop it right away, people were finally setting an eye on the situation and looking for ways to fix it. The creation of this amendment in the Constitution was more than just a sigh of relief for African Americans, it meant that their fight was not in vain and that they had the power to change their status.
Not only did slavery contribute to the country’s economy through their work in tobacco, sugar and cotton plantations, but would later on in history show their power. Many African Americans such as Martin L. King, Rosa Parks, W.E.B. Dubois, etc. would contribute to politics and raise their voice for the better treatment of their race. Works Cited “The Growth of Slavery.” Ushistory.org, Independence Hall Association, www.ushistory.org/us/6c.asp.
“Introduction to Colonial African American Life.” Introduction to Colonial African American Life : The Colonial Williamsburg Official History & Citizenship Site, www.history.org/almanack/people/african/aaintro.cfm.
“13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Abolition of Slavery.” National Archives and Records Administration, National Archives and Records Administration, www.archives.gov/historical-docs/13th-amendment.