There is no use denying the fact that the history of every country has a great number of various moments that could be taken as the steps made by this very state to achieve its independence and guarantee its development. Moreover, these steps also show which values were appreciated at a certain period and how they influenced the evolution of a country and its acquisition of the image that it has nowadays. Especially important for the development of any state are stages of the crisis that lead to some radical changes in society and the mentality of people. Very often these changes lead to the appearance of quite a new country that starts its development from a new basis. With this in mind, the War of Independence in the USA and the Civil war could be taken as very important events in the history of the country as they changed the mentality of people who lived in the region. Moreover, the crisis of 1780 led to the appearance of a great number of debates connected with the future of the country and the main law that should control it. The creation of the Constitution as the result of these debates could be taken as evidence of their great significance. With this in mind, it is possible to analyze them to obtain a clear vision of the processes that determined the further evolution of the USA.
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First of all, it should be said that by the middle of the XVIII century there were two main points of view about the further development of the USA. The thing is that the country had just obtained freedom and had to outline the pattern according to which its functioning should be organized. That is why the necessity of the new Constitution became obvious. Under these conditions, the creation of the U.S. Articles of Confederation could be taken as the first baby steps made by the American nation to obtain its laws and state. However, as the first attempt, they were not ideal. These articles gave much independence to states and opponents often took them as those which created not a country but the federation of independent states.
That is why very soon a great number of various problems appeared. More and more people realized the necessity of the creation of the document that would make the new state more powerful and consolidated. Due to this fact, in several years it had been replaced with the new Constitution of the USA that was taken as a more thought-through and appropriate document. Thus, not all people were able to accept these changes and the discussion between the opponents and adherers of Articles of Federation and the U.S. Constitution, which resulted in the start of the Civil War, appeared. With this in mind, taking into account the main ideas presented in both these documents, it is possible to compare and contrast them, to see the difference better.
The first controversial point was the approach towards the taxes. The thing is that according to the Articles of Confederation the government did not have the taxing power, while the Constitution stated that Congress had the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises (The Great Debate, n.d.). Taxing policy is extremely vital for the functioning of every state as it is the main source of income and the costs collected with the help of taxes fill the budget. However, having no taxing power, the state is doomed to collapse because it will not be able to control its territory and respond to some appearing challenges. Moreover, the taxation should also be regulated as various states could have various taxation policies that could result in the appearance of various misunderstandings. Besides, there was another difference between these documents. To change articles approval of all states was needed (Articles of Confederation: March 1, 1781, n.d.), while according to the Constitution only 2/3 of states should support the amendment. The last pattern seemed to be fairer as states varied in population and size. Finally, the Articles stated that Congress was not able to draft troops when according to the Constitution Congress should be able to respond to any military situation with the help of an army.
However, there was another very important issue that had to be discussed to find a good solution. This issue was known as the Western problem. The thing was that the Articles of Confederation did not determine the status of the western lands which also were taken as part of the new American country. Many various states had the desire to include some western lands and due to this fact, a great number of claims existed. The states without claims underlined the necessity of the rule of Congress over these lands, while others still wanted to protect their position. The question was solved only when Virginia gave up and then the Articles were adopted (Ratifying the Constitution, n.d.). However, this problem showed another weak point of the document and introduced the necessity of new laws.
With this in mind, it is possible to say that the number of inconsistencies between opponents was great and it was rather difficult to make a compromise. Nevertheless, the question about the number of representatives in the parliament was also very topical and important. States were not equal in size and population, however, they wanted to be represented in the parliament and influence the life of the state. That is why, the agreement is known as Connecticut, or the Great Compromise was adopted. According to it bicameral legislature proposed by Sherman remained. Moreover, states were guaranteed proportional representation in the lower house but required the upper house to be weighted equally between the states (Roger Sherman and the Connecticut Compromise, n.d.). Each state was also proposed to have two representatives in the upper house (Roger Sherman and the Connecticut Compromise, n.d.).
Thus, debates about the constitution also happened between the federalists and anti-federalists. The last ones emphasized the fact that the new document was not able to protect individual rights and even could be taken as a threat to liberties (The Debate ratifying the constitution, n.d.). Though they were not able to prevent the adoption of the Constitution, however, they influenced the creation of the Bill of Rights greatly. It was the document that included ten amendments to the Constitution of the state and guaranteed protection of the rights of the citizens of the USA (The Bill of Rights, n.d.). This document became a very important issue that helped to make a compromise and accept the constitution.
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With this in mind, it is possible to conclude that the Articles of Confederation could be taken as the first document that tried to organize the functioning of the new state. However, it was not ideal and introduced a great number of various debates about the main laws of the country. Due to these debates, the USA obtained its Constitution and nationhood.
Articles of Confederation : March 1, 1781. (n.d.). Web.
Ratifying the Constitution. (n.d.). Web.
Roger Sherman and the Connecticut Compromise. (n.d.). Web.
The Bill of Rights. (n.d.). Web.
The Debate ratifying the constitution. (n.d.). Web.
The Great Debate. (n.d.). Web.