The US Constitution: What were the Articles of Confederation?
The Articles of Confederation were the first governing document and the original constitution of the United States. The Articles of Confederation contained the terms, agreed by the thirteen new states, by which they agreed to participate in a centralized form of government, in addition to the self rule of the states. They were effective from March 1, 1781 to March 4, 1789 and were the basis of the national government of the US during the American War of Independence.
Why was the US Constitution written?
Government under the Articles of Confederation was ineffective and weak as it could not enforce a treaty or a law or impose any taxes. Important decisions were seriously delayed as they first had to be approved by 9 of the 13 states. The Articles of Confederation were therefore replaced by the US Constitution, that went into effect in 1789.
The US Constitution: The Birth of the Nation and the Written Constitution
The birth of the new nation required a system of government that placed power into the hands of the people and divided power between the states and the federal government in a balanced fashion. The British had an "unwritten" constitution. Americans believed that the US Constitution should be written down, making it harder for a government to violate basic principles and ensuring the rights of citizens were protected.
The US Constitution: The Purpose of the Constitution
The purpose of the Constitution was to describe how the new government of the United States of America would be organized, how government officials would be chosen, and what rights the new central government would guarantee to its citizens.
The US Constitution: Where was the Constitution written?
Where was the Constitution written? The US Constitution was written during the Philadelphia Convention (now known as the Constitutional Convention) which met in the Assembly Room of the Pennsylvania State House (now known as Independence Hall) in Philadelphia.
The US Constitution: Who wrote the Constitution?
Who wrote the Constitution? The US Constitution was written by many men. Elements were taken from the existing State Constitutions and used by delegates of the Philadelphia Convention to create the US Constitution. They also used the Articles of Confederation as a basis and then new ideas contained in the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan. Agreements between the states were made by agreeing to various Constitutional compromises. (For additional facts and info refer to Great Compromise, the Commerce and Slave Trade Compromise and the Three Fifths Compromise.)
George Washington was president of the convention, Benjamin Franklin a famous delegate was called the "Sage of the Constitutional Convention". A Committee of Detail was appointed, consisting of John Rutledge, of South Carolina; Edmund Randolph, of Virginia; Nathaniel Gorham, of Massachusetts; Oliver Ellsworth, of Connecticut; and James Wilson, of Pennsylvania created a draft on August 6, 1787. A Committee of Style was then created to revise the draft that included William Samuel Johnson, of Connecticut; Alexander Hamilton, of New York; Gouverneur Morris, of Pennsylvania; James Madison, of Virginia; and Rufus King, of Massachusetts. It was revised by September 12, 1787. The preamble was written by the Committee of Style.
The US Constitution: When was the Constitution written?
It was written during the Philadelphia convention which convened between May 25, 1787 and September 17, 1787. It was written in less than 100 days. It was signed on September 17, 1787 by 39 delegates. Fourteen delegates had already departed for home, and three members, Randolph and Mason, of Virginia, and Gerry, of Massachusetts, refused to sign.
The US Constitution: When was the Constitution Adopted?
Although the US Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787 it had to be approved by the people and the states. This process took some time and it was only when 9 out of the 13 states approved it that the US Constitution could come into effect. The date the US Constitution was finally adopted was on June 21, 1788 when New Hampshire and Virginia adopted the Constitution. They were the 9th and 10th states to take this action.
The US Constitution: James Madison the "Father of the Constitution"
There were some objections to the constitution and amendments were added to the document. James Madison was called the "Father of the Constitution" as he played a significant role in ensuring the First ten amendments (called the Bill of Rights) were added to the US Constitution. James Madison wrote the amendments in 1789 and the first 10 amendments (the Bill of Rights) came into effect in 1791.