Constitution of the United States

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How did the Constitution strengthen the national government?

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The Constitution strengthened the national government by giving the national government specific powers. With the Constitution, Congress now had the power to tax and to regulate interstate commerce. This at once made the United States responsible for the debts incurred both before and during the American Revolution.

The Constitution also created the executive and judicial branches of government. The president would serve as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and he would have veto power over laws passed by Congress. He would also be responsible for enforcing those laws. The judicial branch would be responsible for interpreting the laws, though no one was sure what role the judiciary would play until Marbury v. Madison.

The Constitution also provided a means for representation in Congress. Under the Articles of Confederation, each state was allocated one vote. This meant that someone living in Rhode Island had a greater voice in government than someone in Virginia. Under the Great Compromise, Congress would be bicameral with the lower house being determined by population with states being given two senators each for the upper house. The Constitution also provided a system of checks and balances to ensure that no one branch became too powerful.

Finally, the Constitution strengthened the national government by giving powers to the states under the Tenth Amendment. By giving states powers not covered under the Constitution, states were now limited as to what they could enact. They could not sign treaties with foreign countries or mint their own currency. This was important in keeping the United States together during the early days of national instability. While there is nothing in the Constitution prohibiting the breakup of the national government, many of the Founders thought that the Constitution would keep the young nation together.

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The Constitution acted as the backbone of the United States government after the failings of the Articles of Confederation. In an attempt to prevent the United States from being ruled by an overly powerful central government, they accidentally made it too ineffectual with their first attempt. The Constitution resolved that.

First, the Constitution established the Executive Branch of the government, which creates a central power figure and decision-making authority. It also established the three branches of government, which allowed the framers to add more power to the federal government while also being sure that it wouldn't be able to get out of control with too much power.

Second, they outright gave the federal government more power in the Constitution, delineating various rights that the states had and various powers the federal government had, which allowed them to regulate the states in certain ways while also maintaining the states's rights were not to be violated.

Finally, it established the Bill of Rights and Amendments. This section of the Constitution allowed it to be a living document to take care of issues as they arose, allowing the federal government to adapt its responsibilities and alter its power as deemed necessary by Congress.

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It is through the Constitution that the central...

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national government was created. The national government was given the power to manage national interests such as security.

The Constitution creates provisions for the national government to collect taxes to be used in the running of the country’s affairs.

The agreement formed the framework to inform the country’s foreign policy. Thus, the Constitution enabled the United States to enter into foreign agreements and treaties as a sovereign nation.

The Constitution established a position for the President as the Commander in Chief. However, it is only Congress that can declare war. Additionally, the Supreme Court according to the Constitution has the ability to declare an act of Congress Unconstitutional. The Constitution creates a powerful system of Government with checks and balances to prevent the abuse of such powers.

Additionally, the Constitution makes the national government responsible for printing and coining money and regulating trade.

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The Constitution strengthened the federal government by creating an executive branch, or President, which the Articles of Confederation that had formerly governed the country lacked. The Constitution also designated certain powers to the federal government, such as the ability to levy and collect taxes from individuals and the power to raise an army. These powers had been left to the states under the Articles of Confederation, causing the government to be strapped for money and unable to put down insurrections easily, such as Shays' Rebellion of 1786-1787. Shays' Rebellion was one of the major reasons that the Framers decided that the country needed a stronger government, as it showed that the government was not able to protect the country against armed uprisings. 

The Congress also became the entity that could regulate interstate commerce and make treaties with foreign powers, thereby strengthening the United States in its dealings with states and with other nations and Native American tribes. Under the Articles of Confederation, the U.S. had a weak position in foreign affairs, as the federal government did not have the power to negotiate with foreign countries. The Constitution also created a system of federal courts to ensure that laws that were passed applied to the entire country.

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There are several different ways that the Constitution strengthened the national government. 

  1. Taxes The Constitution allowed for the introduction of a tax for the national government - these are what we now call Federal Taxes. 
  2. Army Because the national government was able to collect taxes from its citizens, this gave it the power to raise a national army. This was different from the small militias that pre-existed that national army because there was a single center of command as opposed to state- or local-centers of command.
  3. Distribution of Power The Constitution influenced the way that power is distributed for the USA in two different ways. Firstly, it introduced the concept of Checks and Balances - no one branch of the government can have complete power, and so the other two branches always have some sort of control that they can wield over it. However, the Constitution also ensured that the National government was considered more powerful than the individual state governments, which greatly decreased the number of conflicts between state and national governments. 
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How did the Constitution empower the national government?

One of the chief complaints about the Articles of Confederation was the limitations of the document.  The national government created by the Articles was too weak and left little power to the federal government to enforce its laws on the states or even collect taxes.

So when the Constitutional Convention reconvened to create a better Constitution, the framers made sure to create a much stronger federal government, one that could make necessary new laws and enforce them, conduct foreign relations, and even collect taxes.

Now the original Constitution was not without flaws--but thankfully, additions could be made to the document in the form of amendments.  The first ten amendments became known as The Bill of Rights.  Much later, other important amendments were added like the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery. 

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