How did the U.S. Constitution establish the new government’s legitimacy?

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mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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The Constitution was very helpful in helping establish our government’s legitimacy both at home and abroad. Before the Constitution, our government, as established under the Articles of Confederation, was very weak and somewhat ineffective in dealing with our problems. When other countries were pushing us around, there wasn’t much we could do about it since our government couldn’t require people to join the military. When disorder broke out at home with Shays’ Rebellion, the federal government didn’t respond. The government was unable to deal with our financial problems because it couldn’t tax.

When the Constitution was implemented, things changed. The government had the power to deal with our financial problems. A debt plan was developed. A national bank was created. The government had the ability to tax. The President was also given the power to do things. When other countries interfered with our trade or encouraged the Native Americans to attack us, President Washington had the authority to deal with these issues. Treaties were signed that showed we would stand up for our rights. Jay’s Treaty and Pinckney’s Treaty were examples of this. When the Whiskey Rebellion occurred, the federal government responded to end it. Our government had the power to create a military. It also had the ability to supply it and get soldiers for it. Thus, the development and implementation of the Constitution gave the government the power and authority that established its legitimacy at home and abroad.

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