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The process of ratification of the new American constitution happened between September 1787 and the month of July the following year. The federal convention which had been given the sole responsibility of drafting the constitution did not have the power to impose it on America as a whole. There were major debates that surrounded the ratification and writing of the constitution. Conventions that were specially elected were given the sole responsibility to handle the constitution. This move was done in an effort to eliminate the hostility that would have been posed by other officials who were jealous of the country's sovereignty.
The constitution was also viewed by the delegates as a law which was fundamental and therefore required to be adopted in a solemn and significant manner and in the same regard have less vulnerability to any shifts involving public opinions than it being approved by the state legislatures. This move would mean that Americans would start viewing themselves as a nation. This action would also encourage all citizens to think beyond their national borders and be able to decide independently on whether to vote for or against the constitution. The parties that were involved with the ratification process were quick to release the ratifications. This strategy was to generate a kind of momentum that would be too enticing for the public to resist it.
Under article four of the new constitution: the articles of confederation, there were major power limitations in regard to the national government. It can be concluded that there was significant lack of centralized authority under the article four. There are three major reasons for this limitation of power. There was a clause in the articles of confederation which was called the' Privileges and Immunities Clause'. This clause had the effect of prohibiting the government from any activities that involved discrimination of citizens who came from other states ant to favor specifically resident citizens. For example, is a criminal who resided in Ohio was convicted in Michigan, they would be subjected to very harsh penalties.
The articles of confederation also meant that states would be extradited from each other. In that same regard, legal basis would be laid down which dealt with issues such as free movement and travelling from one state to another. The articles of confederation also meant that all states in the USA would be guaranteed a form of government which would be republican in nature. It was also obliged to protect all its citizens from any forms of violence or invasion by hostiles.
In the process of ratification of the new constitution, the government failed in its role of regulating foreign trade. This failure could be blamed on the fact that most opportunities of trade were being restricted by merchant activities of both the empires of Britain and France. The ports which were at the British West Indies for example were only restricted to those products carried by the ships belonging to Britain. These policies also applied in the cases of Spain and France. New manufacturers in the United States were faced by very stiff competition originating from, British goods. There was also increased anxiety in the country following the means by which debtors used in erasing of their debts such as using the bargaining power or backing of a government which is popular. This issues that generated anxiety eventually led to a revolution.
The 1780s there was a serious financial crisis. There was a very significant growth in the national debt together with inflation of the local currency and consequently an economic depression. The national debt was also contributed by a significant amount of debt accumulated during the revolutionary war. This problem could be attributed to the fact that the continental congress did print a large amount of money that significantly depreciated in value causing the inflation. At the same time, the congress became unable to levy any taxes and thus be left only to make requisitions to the state. By the year 1787, the congress failed to offer protection to manufactures and shipping companies. There were increased attacks towards public credit and contracts awarded to private entities which the state participated and could not resist. People who speculated about land did not expect any increase in values in the event that the government failed to protect the boarders and the boarder residents (Merrill J, Kaminski, Gaspare,Saladino, and Leffler, 1976).
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There were great fears that the nation would be torn apart by the crisis in the 1780s that the public started to call for government restructuring. There were leaders who emerged who wanted reforms through the creation of a strong federal government. These great leaders were popularly called the federalists. James Madison and Alexander Hamilton were the American federalists. They were of the idea of a creation of a powerful federal government which would work towards uniting all the states as one. These federalists came from very rich merchant families who also owned large plantations. The federalists relied on the support from national heroes such as George Washington and Benjamin Franklin for their mission to be a success.
The new constitution had issues of contention such as the plans of Virginia and New Jersey states. There were also great debates over ideas of slavery. This was in the clause called the Fugitive Slave Clause that differed greatly from the articles of confederation.
There were also people opposed to the idea of the federalists who were known as anti federalists. There leader was Patrick Henry. The other anti federalists included George Mason, Richard Henry Lee, James Monroe, John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Elbridge Gerry, George Clinton, Willie Jones, and Melancton Smith. They argued that the new constitution lacked a bill of rights and they had the support of a majority of Americans (Conley & Kaminski, 1989).
The whole process of ratification of the new constitution went through a series of four stages. The first stage was the submission of the drafted constitution to the confederation congress. This was followed by the process of constitutional transmission by the congress on to legislatures of the state. After the first two stages, delegates were to be elected for consideration of the constitution in every state. The final stage was the ratification or the event of adopting the constitution by at least nine states.
During the entire ratification period, there was the emergence of The Federalists Papers. These papers' main function was to communicate all the ideas presented by the federalists which were mainly to encourage the support of the new constitution.
The United States Bill of Rights plays a major role. During the ratification period, its sole purpose was to guarantee each member of the American public their individual liberty. The Bill of Rights establishes a couple of legal principles which are in turn the laws that govern the American public. It looks at a lot of issues including the American justice system and also issues that separate the church and the state in terms of legal matters (Conley & Kaminski, 1989).
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