The Articles of Confederation was he first federal “constitution” to be upheld in the thirteen colonies. Unfortunately, under the Articles, Congress was given no power over the states so that the country could grow into an actual functioning society, though there were certain things that they did have control over, such as create war and peace time, conduct foreign affairs and etc. But under the Articles, “But Congress could not collect taxes and enforce laws directly; it had to rely on the states to provide money and enforce its laws. . .”(Dye 61). Essentially, the states did what they felt was right beneath their own respective state level government. “No respect is paid to the federal authority. Not a single state complies with the requisitions[submitted by Congress]” (Nardo 18). The Founding Fathers were disturbed by the utter discord the nation seemed to be in. Deciding that enough was enough in May of 1797, twelve of the thirteen colonies delegates, 55 delegates, gathered together in the State House of Philadelphia to, originally, fix and tweak the bugs out of the Articles of Confederation. But instead of fixing the Articles, James Madison decided that it would be better to scrap the whole document and create a whole new federal constitution.
James Madison was intent on drafting a new constitution that would create a stronger, central government: The Virginia Plan. “. . . he by no means wanted that government to be so powerful that it trampled on the cherished rights of the states. He foresaw instead a system in which the states and central government shared power in an equitable manner”(Nardo 18). Madison propounded the basis for the government today. Madison's plan called for the three branches of government and the bicameral legislature apportioned by the population. Majority of the power went to the legislative branch of government. But not to give the legislative branch too much power, he included not only a Council of Revision the power to veto state legislature, but also "in all cases in which the separate States are incompetent"(The Constitutional Convention of 1787), he allowed for the national government to legislate.
The Virginia Plan worked, generally, in favor of larger states because they would have more representation in the national government. Threatened by this plan, the smaller states disputed this plan. William Paterson of New Jersey decided hat he would concoct a plan himself that would be in favor of the smaller states. The New Jersey Plan wanted the same legislative powers that was guaranteed in the Articles of Confederation but, also it “proposed separate executive and judicial branched of government and the expansion of the powers of Congress to include levying taxes and regulating commerce” (Dye 65). Not only that, the plan included a National Supremacy Clause that declare the Constitution and federal laws would supersede that of the states.
Not wholly satisfied with either of the plans as a whole, the Continental Congress debated and argued about every little detail for four months, deciding what the new constitution should really be. Roger Sherman of Connecticut finally came up with a compromise that would keep New York, New Jersey, and Delaware in the new nation. This compromise would further be called the Connecticut Compromise or the “Great Compromise”. He devised a plan that comforted the smaller and larger states and also would be the right road for the country to follow along. Sherman's compromise is the Constitution today sans the Bill of Rights.
Many have argued ad nauseum that the Constitution was never a necessity in the first place; The Articles was more than enough to sustain a properly functioning nation. That the Constitution was just a cover for the Founders to “Secure Their Own Economic Interests”. But regardless, the Constitution is already set forth as the basis for our country and we are to follow the proponents…