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History of the U.S. Constitution

LEGAL DISCLAIMER TO OTHER EDUCATORS:  All clip art as well as information on this page was painstakingly researched and written by me over hundreds of hours.    If you are an educator and wish to use this information for your page, please contact me via email at mcfoster@polk.k12.ga.us.  (Original texts owned by the author and protected under Title 17, U.S.C.)

 

After defeating the British, the newly-independent Americans had to create their own government.

(Remember, kicking-out the British was like kicking-out your own parents; but when you kick your 'parents' out, then you have to take responsibility for your OWN selves.  And trust me, that's not as easy as just making your bed and brushing your teeth!)

 

So the Americans created their own constitution, or plan of government, called the Articles of Confederation.  There was a legislative branch only, and it was called "Congress."  Each state (of which there were 13 at that time) got one vote each in Congress.  Congress could make laws...BUT there was a huge problem.  There was no one to ENFORCE the laws Congress made.

(If there are laws that say "No speeding," but those laws aren't enforced, are those laws really any good?  If your teacher's rule says "All students must only speak when called-on," but then doesn't enforce that rule, would it really be effective?  PS: Don't try that in my class.  Rules are definitely enforced! LOL)

 

After several years, it was clear the Articles of Confederation wasn't keeping the United States together.  The states were extremely powerful, while the U.S. government was really weak.  The U.S. government could raise an army and print money--but it couldn't collect taxes on the people.  

(Even if the government has the power to create an army, it couldn't pay for it, because it couldn't collect taxes.  Would you join the U.S. Army if there was no guarantee you'd ever be paid for your service?  I love you guys, but if I was in a job where I didn't get paid...well, see ya.)

 

It was clear the Articles of Confederation wasn't working, and needed to be replaced...and so, it was replaced by.....

THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION!

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