Evolution of the Constitution

Evolution of the Constitution



Weaknesses of the government from 1781-1787

The period between 1781 and 1787 was critical to the US political history. This was a period that the article of confederation was put to the test, and resulted to myriads of weaknesses to the national fabrics of governance and administration. The critical time, where America was recuperating British colonial imposition needed clear structural and constitutional framework, which was essentially lacking at this time. Therefore, the following weaknesses were witnessed in this critical moment of time: The first weakness attributes to the self-governance by each state of the US (Amar, 2005). The states were governed by elected representatives who elected a weak national government. Weak national government hindered efforts to assert control and discipline in the entire country. The second weakness attributes to lack of independent executive, notwithstanding that the congress lacked authority to impose taxes to cover national expenses. The confederation article was a big lapse to the US structural reforms and authorization. For example, refusal by one state to ratify an amendment would prevent any structural reform. Another weakness in governance was that all the nine states out of thirteen had to approve important legislation, lest it fails to pass its preliminary stages towards amendment. The article of confederation was termed as “a shadow without substance” since it culminated to weak international affairs. With such weaknesses, the government could not enforce peace, treaties, collect taxes, and pay for foreign debts. These were some weaknesses realized during this critical period.

Explain how the attempt to address government weaknesses shaped the Constitution

An end to the problems that faced the country led to the solution to the entire country. Constitutional establishment came as a response to the problems that the national government had faced during the critical period. The weaknesses generated by the articles of confederation had led to a massive assembly by state delegates in May 25 September 17, 1787 at the great independence Hall in Philadelphia (Squire, 2012). Therefore, constitutional reforms were instigated with the view of solving all weaknesses associated with the national government which rendered the country ungovernable in the wake of intense national development. This convention ratified Bush as the president, and he pioneered the delegation into instigating clear constitutional formwork in the country. For example, the convention at Philadelphia created clear guidelines and manifestation upon which the constitution was made. Therefore, the convention was held with the sole aim of structuring a new constitutional framework which the government would be powerful and remain in charge of the entire country.

Articulate the historical basis for the constitutional ideals

Historical basis of constitutional ideals began right after independence from Britain in 1776. The following are an event that led to the full realization of the constitution

1) Articles of Confederation in 1777, which was deemed as the first constitution

2) Drafting of the constitution in 1786 at the Annapolis convention in Philadelphia

3) The federalist papers in 1787-1788 which was meant to convince Anti-Federalist

4) Strict vs. Loose constructionism, which saw Washington Bush being elected as the first president

5) Domestic unrest in the year 1790s

6) Washington’s neutrality in the French revolution in 1794-1795

7) Presidents Adams term in 1797

8) The US election of 1800

9) Increase of the Federal power in 1803

10) Embargo act in 1807

11) The non-Intercourse Act and Macon’s Bill No.2 in 1809

12) The war of 1812

Analyzes the national government structure created by the Constitution and the system of checks and balances

The national government was acknowledged by the constitution, and it was headed by the president. This government comprised of three functional organs, the executive, the judiciary and the legislature. The legislature was charged with the law making process, and it was bicameral in nature. The concept of checks and balances operated in the sense that no organ of the government had express autonomy (McNeese, 2011). This implies that the activities of the executive were under check by the two arms of government and vice versa. This is how the structure of the national government was instituted.

Summarizes the constitutional relationship between the government and the states

The state governments were to be under the national government. Therefore, their operations were to be conducted in line with the authorization of the national government. The state government thus remained answerable to the national government (Kammen, 2006). The state governments were constitutionally barred from running on the premise of different constitution but were all subjected to the national constitution. There was devolution of funds and infrastructural development at the state level by the national government.






Amar, A. R. (2005). America’s Constitution: A biography. New York: Random House.

Chemerinsky, E. (2007). Interpreting the constitution. New York: Praeger.

Kammen, M. G. (2006). The Origins of the American Constitution: A documentary history. New York, NY: Penguin.

McNeese, T. (2011). The U.S. Constitution. St. Louis, Mo: Milliken Pub.

Raustiala, K. (2009). Does the constitution follow the flag?: The evolution of territoriality in American law. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Squire, P. (2012). The evolution of American legislatures: Colonies, territories, and states, 1619-2009. Ann Arbor: the University of Michigan Press.


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