Judith Elias Group A 5:30 The United States constitution was written in 1787 by 55 men who had one purpose in mind. The delegates of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia deliberated a new frame of government that would replace the Articles of Confederation.
While there were disagreements amongst the delegates, by late September, a new constitution was generated. To some Americans, the Constitution has served as a framework for equality but most importantly democracy. However, there are some contrasting viewpoints and debates over the motives behind the creation of the Constitution. The supporters of the constitution, the federalists, believed that the Constitution represented a popular government.
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In contrast, the antifederalist believed that the Constitution aimed in destroying democracy and was purposely made to benefit the wealthy aristocrats. This paper will analyze the two different viewpoints and determine if class had an effect in the creation of the U.S Constitution. Professor Zinn considers the debates between the two classes as an economic issue. Zinn argues that the creators of the Constitution were men of wealth, most of them were lawyers and owned land as well as slaves. When creating the Constitution, the 55 delegates were not taking into consideration the viewpoints of the lower class.
Thus, minority groups were underrepresented such as women, slaves, and indentured servants. These were individuals that were frustrated with the way that the government was treating them. They were forced to pay high taxes and the majority were followed by unpaid debt. Zinn also states that, when looking at the economic interests of the Constitution, the document was just a mere representation of the intellectuals that were looking to protect their privileges while at the same time allowing only a fraction of rights to certain people in order to receive popular support.
Since the delegates were men of power, they wrote the Constitution as a way to grant more power to the aristocratic elite. They felt that the Constitution was a way to create stability through the restriction of political influence of the lower uneducated class. On the other hand, professor Gordon S Wood, states the social and political differences that existed in the classes. Wood claims that the use of “class” distinction to describe a group of people is outdated and that it is a distinction that belonged to older generations of hierarchy and organized ranks. Thus, this distinction cannot be applied to the economically based class of the future.
However, the majority of the delegates were men of distinction and were therefore classified hierarchy who had an advantage over the remainder of the population. It is probable that the creators of the constitution supported a strong central government, and it was not due to patriotism but rather they were looking to protect their own economic interests. There was another class during this era that represented one third of the population.
These individuals were characterized as the lower class and felt they were at stake with the creation of a new government. They were aware that the Founding Fathers rejected a balance between rich and poor, Indians and Whites, and slaves and masters. In fact, the only balance that the Founding Fathers wanted was a balance among the elite at the time.