Constitutional convection and ratification

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Introduction

The origin of the book “A Brilliant Solution” is based on two the two national crisis the first being the challenges in the Whitehouse peaceful transition of power following the 2000 disputed presidential election while the other challenge is on national security following the Pentagon bombing and the and the World Trade Centre. The presidential elections were accompanied with an allegation of deception, fraud, human errors and mechanical errors associated with the votes cast in Florida thus putting the American constitution on trial. The United States was as well shaken on September 11, 2001, upon terrorist attack by two plane crash which resulted in the damage of the World Trade Centre. The third plane crash into the Pentagon to the South in Washington D.C which was a major blow to the white house and a nightmare to American citizens. Policy on how to deal with the terrorist threats was then set by the then American president George Bush following the two attacks. The founder fathers are said to tend to deal wisely on such crises like the postwar and the crises that led to the Philadelphia in May 1787 where they made a quick move to overthrow the legitimate government established by the confederation article together with writing a constitution to stage a peaceful Revolution. The author describes the constitutional convection as the delegates having met in Philadelphia in 1787 between May to September to address the problems that existed under the article of confederation on the weak central government (Berkin, 2003).

The Call and the Goals of the Constitution Convection

Upon the signing of the declaration of independence, the second Continental Congress wrote the first American Constitution, the article of confederation. Following some failed attempts on establishing a government a convection was called to draft a new legal system in the United States which would protect the rights of the American citizens and which would provide for increased federal authority. The constitution was written in 1787 after the congress gathered delegates in Philadelphia to change the existing government charter, the article of confederation which was believed to have created unproductive, weak central government. It seems to contradict that the founding fathers would build a document firming up the central government and at the same time intended to limit the government. In her introduction of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, the historian Pauline Meier claims that the father of constitution James Madison seemed more concerned about the States wrongful actions rather than the confederation weaknesses. Meir criticizes the new laws passed by the triumphant state majorities as they violated the rights of the minorities making the state constitution inefficient in securing the citizens’ rights. The constitution was immediately written so that it would replace the article of confederation that allowed very little power to the federal government. The goal of the constitution convection was to form a more perfect union, offer the general welfare, assure domestic tranquility, and establish justice as well as to secure the blessings of liberty to the American citizen and their future generations (Berkin, 2003).  The constitution was then signed by the delegates who attended the constitutional conventional while presided by George Washington.

The Processes of the Constitution Convection and Ratification

Often the entire process seemed disordered with too many problems, preferable solutions a lot of issues together with too many arguments. Following the beginning of the assembling of the delegates of the constitutional convention in Philadelphia in 1789 May, they immediately made a move to replace the article of confederation with the support from George Washington. There was, however, a division of power between the government’s branches as well as between the federal and the state governments, trade, foreign affairs, slavery, representations, taxes, together with issues on the procedures to elect the president. Other challenges included strong egos, diverging plans, state rights, and regional demands which made solutions hard. After five months of debate, innovative strategies and concession a new constitution was established building a federal republic with a stable central government thus giving the State government increased power.  However, ten months of private and public debates were necessary to secure the ratification by the least possible nine States Mason, (& Stephenson, 2015). Upon the leadership of George Washington and James Madison, the Virginia delegates to the constitution convection prepared a government strategy which allowed for proportional representation in a two-house legislature together with a resilient national government with veto power over the State laws. On May 29, 1787, presented the convection plan designed to protect the interest of the large state, in a strong national republic after his refusal to sign the conventional constitution which became the origin of debate. William Paterson the New Jersey Plan on June 16, 1787, where he demanded to retain one house legislature with equal votes of States also have the executives elected by the national legislature. The plan added power to regulate commerce and foreign affairs and to raise the revenue while it still maintained the system of government under the article confederation. William Peterson plan was also designed to protect the power and the security of small states where each state was limited to one vote in Congress. James Madison, however, responded to William Peterson proposed New Jersey plan in his journal which he preserved during the proceedings.

On June 28, 1787, convection delegates rejected Benjamin Franklin’s proposal that the clergyman leads a daily prayer to provide divine guidance while resolving the differences to respond to the tension among the delegates which threatened to risk the purpose of the constitutional convention. However, Franklin always harmonized the delegates upon frustrations on several contentious issues. In the mid-July, the delegates finally made a great agreement on creating a bicameral legislature with the state devising equal representatives in the Senate while in the lower house people having proportional representatives where all money bills were to be generated. The report on the committee of style under William Samuel as the chair with the help of Madison and Alexander Hamilton seemed to stabilize the constitution (Berkin, 2003). Washington was however frustrated at the convection despite having all the delegates signed the constitution with exception Mason from Virginia, Gerry from Massachusetts and Governor Randolph and Cola. George Mason objected the constitution and noted his objections and send the copies of them to his friends where they later appeared in the press. Upon the adjournment of the constitutional convection, people did not, however, understand the kind of government called for in the new constitution. On November 13, 1787, Samuel Powel emerged as the early optimism for speedy acceptance of the new federal constitution. Later a letter from John Adams and Thomas Jefferson on November 13, 1787, raised concerns about the method of electing the President (Mason et al. 2015).

Some conflicts emerged in the ratification of the constitution following disagreements on the process of State ratification in the United States. There was rivalry between the antifederal supporters who were committed to agrarian interests and were more receptive to paper money who differed from the federal supporters of the constitution who were on tariff imports. On November 22, 1787, Madison backed by John Jay, and Alexander Hamilton defended the constitution in efforts to having it adopted, and they presented their opinions in the Federalist papers. The newly proposed constitution was ratified by the nine states before it was made the supreme law of the United States where Hampshire and Virginia emerged as the ninth and the tenth state to approve it. The state ratification was then used by the constitution supporters to manipulate the remaining states to join and approve the development of new federal republic. Later New York paraded in support of the New Federal constitution in July 1788 while the North Carolina and Rhode Island delayed their ratification until the new government formation in1789 emerging as the eleventh state of ratification.

Results of Constitution Convection and Ratification

After the eleven state ratification, the elected officers in the government of the United States gathered New York City in 1789, replacing the Articles of Confederation government. The federalists publicized their urge to perform a series of amendments to be referred as the bill of rights shortly after ratification and first congress came into session. Later Thomas Jefferson called for the exclusion of the bill of rights which was a huge fault as it was the only right citizens can be entitled to against any form of government. As a result, James Madison skeptical on safeguarding the liberty failed in 1788 though he continues pressurizing on the declaration of the rights arguing that it would assist in fixing the judiciary as the protector of individual rights against other divisions. Upon the meeting of the first congress, James Madison took the responsibility of drafting the proposed bill of rights in 1789. In his amendments, he included those which were rejected and revised by the Congress and those not ratified by the demanded three-fourth of the State legislature. Some of the rejection on the adoption of the Madison proposal followed on the argument of the need to extend the free speech protection to the State (Mason et al. 2015). A portion of the members of the Congress argued that the congress did not have the power to take the rights away as they belonged to the citizen and the constitution hindered them to. The bill of rights was also linked to possibly results in a reduction of liberty. Upon the certification of the confederation congress that the eleven states had ratified the constitution election followed On February 4, 1789, voting members in eleven states had met to cast their votes for the first president of the US. Later the votes were tabularized, and, as the Constitution instructed, they were sent to Congress, where the results would be delivered and detailed in a special hearing of the House and Senate. The new government took control under the rule of his Excellency George Washington and later the article Congress dissolved itself. The first ten constitutional amendments of the state followed and were ratified by the state in “The Bill of rights.” The amendments mainly addressed the federal relationships, individuals’ freedom and liberty, terms of office, election procedures, expanding the electorate, congressional pay, consumption of alcohol as well as financing the government. The constitution criticism has however focused on the expansion of the democracy as well as the states’ rights (Berkin, 2003).

The Uniqueness of the American Political System

The American system of the government significantly contributes to its greatness. The founding fathers of America decision on the limitation of the American government authority over the people make its democracy unique. In the constitution, some specific responsibilities are ordained to the government where all are subject to the unchallengeable individual rights as well as God-given. In American political system, the people confer power to the government which they are also permitted to revoke at any time which is not the case in other countries. The government, therefore, does not confer rights upon the people. The founding father was responding to the persecution they encountered in Europe where almost all land belonged to the few rich aristocrats and by kings while the rest who the many minorities were laborers in the land and they were demanded to pay a certain amount of tribute. The minorities had no rights questioning those in authority as kingship was considered as a divine, inherited right. A system of a divided limited government was put in place following the set changes. There was co-equal power in the three branches which allowed them to check excesses in each other. The United States also has a distinctive mission in transforming the world by ensuring democracy is practiced. The United States history and its emergence as a superpower make it stand out among other nations (Seidelman, 2015.

Conclusion

The United States Constitution of 1789, in general, played a significant role in in the establishment of the Americans National government together with the fundamental roles as well as guaranteeing citizens on certain basic rights to protect them from the hands of the authority. The constitution has also added some value and uniqueness to the American political system making it stand out among other nations.

Did you like this sample?
  1. Berkin, C. (2003). A brilliant solution: Inventing the American Constitution. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  2. Mason, A. T., & Stephenson, G. (2015). American constitutional law: introductory essays and selected cases. Routledge.
  3. Seidelman, R. (2015). Disenchanted realists: Political science and the American crisis. Suny Press.
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