This essay is about the American Constitution during 1787

Essay by CLuEHigh School, 10th gradeA, December 2003

download word file, 2 pages 5.0

In 1787, feelings were running high. Freedom at last! However, the states were undecided as to whether to approve of the new "American" Constitution. Some state leaders claimed that this new Constitution should be "thrown away at once". Yet, others, like Robert Livingston, of N.Y, said, "A vote for it is a vote for clarity and sense." Let's look into this division.

At first, most thought a central government should remain weak allowing each state to govern themselves. After the Articles of Confederation, which proved to be weak, the process of drafting and ratifying a new U.S Constitution also revealed much disagreement. A newspaper, "The Pennsylvania Packet" published a complete copy of the document. Other newspapers followed and the debate again.

Supporters of the Constitution were called Federalists because they wanted a federal system of government- a national government, combining all thirteen states under one. It would deal with the nation's problems as a whole especially economic ones.

Men like James Madison, John Jay and Alexander Hamilton were Federalists. Patrick Henry, on the other hand, felt states would lose individual rights. Other anti-federalists, like Mercy Warren (Mass.), felt the "National Constitution" was a "dark secret"-plots by those "growing rich" while lovers of freedom suffered.

The Virginia Plan led the way. It said a government should have three branches:

1. Legislative: law making body

2. Executive: headed by a President who would carry out the laws enacted by Congress.

3. Judicial: decided the meaning of the laws.

Smaller states argued that by electing a congress, based on population, smaller states would lose much voice. They would have fewer representatives than their larger counterparts. They voted on the "New Jersey" plan, which gives all the states an equal number of delegates. Larger states argued. The debate took two months to...