The Development to The United States Constitution Essay

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Why did the Americans select the constitutional order they did in 1787-1789, and why did they reject a more democratic and confederal form not more than a decade old? In 1787, twenty-nine delegates convened in Philadelphia to tweak the Articles of Confederation. Some delegates, however, arrived with the intention of creating a completely new constitution. James Madison proposed the Virginia Plan, a plan which advocated a balanced, three-branch method of government with a bicameral, or two-house, Congress. In contrast, William Paterson submitted the New Jersey Plan which merely amended the Articles by giving the federal government more power. Ultimately, the Articles were abolished, the Virginia Plan was chosen, and the Constitution was…show more content…
The nation fell into a recession after the Revolutionary War and the disastrous financial situation allowed by the Articles only made matters worse. The problems with the Articles became undeniable in 1786 when Daniel Shay, a Massachusetts farmer and retired captain in the Continental Army, led his fellow farmers in resistance against farm foreclosures. He led armed bands of these men against the courts of western Massachusetts in an effort to force a closure of the court system (Text, 110). The rebellion was defeated by January of the following year but it was clear that change was needed. By the time that Shay’s Rebellion occurred, the Nationalists ad been trying to amend the Articles of Confederation for several years. Unfortunately, doing so required a unanimous vote among the states and the Confederation Congress could not leverage such unanimity. In September of 1786, representatives from the five states bordering the Chesapeake Bay convened in Annapolis, Maryland, for the supposed purpose of discussing trade issues. “The Nationalists among the Annapolis Convention delegates proceeded to plant the seed of a peaceful counterrevolution against the Confederation Congress” (Text, 109). The Nationalist delegates at this convention purposed to invite representatives from all thirteen states to a meeting in Philadelphia in the spring of 1787. However, they worded the invitation to indicate only a
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