After the American Revolution, the Americans were free and independent of Britain’s rule, and they didn’t have a good government. This was know as the “Critical Period”. They created the Articles of Confederation in 1781, just so they could have something. The Articles of Confederation, however, was a very weak national government. The national government could declare war, print money, and levy taxes, though they couldn’t collect them). All in all, the Articles of Confederation was a mess, economically. There was no executive or judicial branch, just legislative - which was Congress. Another problem was voting between the states. Each state only got one vote, and it didn’t matter about the size of the state or the population of the state. All the states (nine or more) had to have a unanimous vote, for anything to take action. If a few states didn’t sign, nothing would ever happen, because it wasn’t unanimous. The Articles of Confederation written after the American Revolution were something to have for the newly, independent United States, but it was very weak and quickly needed to be revised and edited. In 1787, the Philadelphia Constitution addressed the weak Articles of Confederation, and was supposed to revise it to make it better, but the fifty-five delegates decided to write a completely new constitution. The people who supported the new government were called Federalists. Commonly, the people who were federalists were very rich and wealthy, and had control over the press. During the years 1787 and 1788, The Federalist Papers were released. They were propaganda, and were trying to persuade people into ratifying the Constitution. A major argument of the supporters of ratifying the Constitution was that the new government was trying to protect the people, and was trying to be more efficient than the Articles of Confederation were (Doc. 1). The editor talks about the complaints of the farmers and creditors, and the American name being insulted. The editor talks about how accepting the new government will be worthwhile in the end, because by looking at the state of the country with the Articles of Confederation, the United States really needed the new government. Another argument of the supporters of ratifying the new Constitution was how bad the Articles of Confederation were, and how there needed to be action before major consequences arise (Doc. 3). George Washington is writing to John Jay, saying how there are “errors to correct”. Washington also stated that, if not done quickly, major consequences of the weak Articles of Confederation would rise. Washington could see how bad the Articles of Confederation were, how they were weak and useless, and tried to get other people to see that ratifying the Constitution would be better for the country. The major arguments of the supporters of ratifying the Constitution were that the new government would be better than the Articles of Confederation, and that adopting the new government would stop the distress among the people.
The people who opposed ratifying the Constitution were called the Anti-Federalists. The Anti-Federalists had some strong leaders, like Patrick Henry and Roger Sherman. The Anti-Federalists mostly opposed the Constitution because they feared the power of the new government, and feared that their rights were no longer protected, since