Why did the writers of the Constitution feel it was necessary to create a new plan of government ?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The men who wrote the Constitution of the United States believed that the US needed a new plan of government because they believed that the old plan gave too much power to the states and not enough to the national government.  They felt that such a plan allowed for too much democracy and did not allow the country to grow economically.  They believed that a new plan with a stronger central government would be better for the country.

When the Articles of Confederation were written during the Revolutionary War, the Americans were afraid of centralized government.  They felt that the English government was too centralized and that the centralization had helped make it abusive.  Therefore, they created a very confederal system in which the national government had very little power.

By 1787, however, it had become clear to many that the confederal plan of government was not working.  The states had too much power and were making laws that hurt the country as a whole.  For example, the states would erect trade barriers against one another, making it hard to create a large, national economy.  The states also did not have to give money to the national government unless they wanted to, making it hard for the US government to do anything, even things as basic as having armed forces.

In addition, many Americans (particularly the elites) felt that the states were too democratic.  They felt that the state governments allowed the regular people to have too much power.  The democratic nature of the state government allowed things like stay laws (laws allowing people not to pay off their debts) to be made.  The elites felt that these popular laws were bad for the country as a whole.  They came to feel even more strongly about this when Shays’s Rebellion in Massachusetts showed how far the poorer people were willing to go to try to push their governments to enact popular laws.  Because they were worried about the power that the common people had over the state governments, they wanted to reduce those governments’ powers.

The writers of the constitution wanted a new plan of government because they felt the old plan gave too much power to the states and allowed too much democracy.  They fixed these problems in the document that we now  call the Constitution.

emtheawesome | Student

The writers of the Constitution were scared at that point because they just gained freedom from a corrupted king. They needed to "create" a new type of government so that there would not be corruption. Also, the first document, the Articles of Confederation, ultimately failed because it did not bring the states together and at the same time the states had too much power. So, they needed to create a government that would be balanced in federal and state power.

rosheka | Student

After the early Americans came here and started to make a better life for themselves, the British tried to take advantage of this. They came in and tried to tax and intimidate the American people. British solders were just walking around, (even during times of peace) making people uncomfortable and wanted to dictate to the Americans how to live. After the Americans started to rebel, they felt the need to make some rules which would prevent them form having to undergo this form of attack ever again. We had the first amendment giving us the freedom of speech. They felt robbed of their opportunity to express their thoughts and they wanted to make sure that this did not happen again. All the amendments were made because the people had experienced violation in these areas and wanted to unsure that in the future, no ruler could come and try to take these rights away again.

hope this helps!

udonbutterfly | Student

The Articles of Confederations enabled many states of govern themselves. In this response many of the states abused their power (this is the Jersey plan was created so that to keep the power the state had) while other states were literally be abused by the power of the people in states. So the writers of the constitution had to go back to the drawing board because they saw that giving to much or less power to the government caused chaos and thus the Virgin plan was born. Also the writers of the constitution feared in giving the government too much power because they believed that would create another situation like the rule under England. Then they also didn't want to give too much power to the people because then anybody would have too much power. This is how the indirect democracy is instilled into the constitution as well.