A New Constitution

Last week we told you many people were not happy with the original Articles of Confederation. You can ready why here. What happened next?

The framers chose to solve the problem by writing a new constitution in 1787.  Many of the arguments for the new constitution, and for federalism specifically, can be found in the Federalist Papers. Many of the benefits listed in the Federalist Papers were directly aimed at the problems of the Confederation: that a “confederate republic” would allow the governance of a large territory such as the thirteen colonies (No. 9), an insurrection in one state would not easily spread in a large republic (No. 10), that advantages in foreign commerce could be gained from acting in concert on foreign policy backed by a navy (No. 11), that a national government with the power to tax (as the Confederation could not) would be able to collect revenues more efficiently (No. 12), that a national government can more efficiently handle some functions such as coastal defenses and thus relieve the states of some burdens (No. 13).

The states ratified that Constitution in 1788, and it lives on today. It was amended under pressure from the Anti-Federalists in 1791 to include a Bill of Rights and amended 17 more times since then.  (History.com provides a short history of the Constitution.) The following section reviews how the framers used the Constitution to create our system of federalism.

Feeling greedy? Want to read ahead? You can do it here!

Image: Constitutional Convention, J.B. Stearns

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