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The American Constitution A Historical Background 1781-1788 Thesis Statement The ratification of the United States Constitution in 1787 provided the framework for a new system of government OUTLINE IGeneral Background A Law B Human Affairs IIBackground of the Constitution A Articles of Confederation B Shays Rebellion IIIConstitutional Convention A Popular Control B Limited Power IVFramers of the Constitution A George Washington B Benjamin Franklin C James Madison D George Mason VRatification A Federalism B Anti-Federalism VIFuture Outlook A Bill of Rights B Additional Amendments The Constitution of the United States comprises the nations fundamental law providing the framework for its governance and the principles under which it must operate When the constitution was written it was intended to endure for ages and be flexible and adaptable for future generations The constitution was intended to be the supreme law of the land The Articles of Confederation which were ratified in 1781 was the first constitution The Articles of Confederation dealt with three issues representation taxation and the extent of control over western territories The first issue representation gave each of the thirteen states one vote The second issue taxation gave Congress power to request money from the states in the form of taxes The third and last issue placed emphasis on western lands people were allowed to own land all the way to the Pacific and Virginia West and Northwest - Caughey p 119 The Articles of Confederation gave power to the states and was defective as an instrument of government The lack of unity caused problems in international relations and the defense of the nation Although the Articles of Confederation gave the states a central government Congress did not have the power it needed to govern more satisfactory Robinson p 169 By 1875 it seemed to many patriotic citizens that the confederation was a failure Washington Hamilton
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