The Constitution was written in 1787. It was written to create a stronger federal
government, one which could pass national legislation, levy taxes, mediate between the
states, and create a standard currency. Before the Constitution, there were the Articles of
Confederation, which had created the federal government, but which had restricted its
power because of the colonists' fear of central government.
The restriction was so severe that the national government was unable to function. This
had created a time of economic turmoil and panic. The banking system was a shambles,
and commerce was at a standstill. Even though there was still strong resistance to a
central federal authority, the states were forced to accept the new federal Constitution.
The alternative was anarchy and the collapse of the ideals of America.
The new government organized by the Constitution had three branches of government:
The Legislative branch which made the laws; The Judicial branch which dealt with
making sure that he laws were in sync with the constitution and proving the deviation
from those laws; and the Executive branch which enforced the laws.
During the debates leading up to the adoption of the Constitution, two distinct
organizational models for the legislative branch were proposed: the New Jersey plan and
the Virginia plan. The New Jersey plan advocated for a single legislative body with equal
representation for each state, while the Virginia plan suggested two legislative "houses,"
with each state's representation based on population and contribution to the national
government. A compromise was adopted which provided for two legislative bodies: one
in which each state's representation was decided by population and on in which
representation would be evenly distributed.
Thirty-two out of the forty-two delegates present voted in favor of adopting this
document. But nine out of the thirteen colonies...