The United States has operated under two constitutions. On March 1, 1781 the Articles of confederation was in effect. On June 21, 1788 the Constitution came into effect. These two constitutions have a lot in common but, there are more differences then there are similarities if one looks at the details. The Constitution addressed the weaknesses in the Articles of Confederation by allowing the government to take on certain powers. The delegates did not want the power to be controlled by one man. They did this so there would be little jeopardy of tyranny or dictatorship.
The group decided to separate the government into branches of three, the judicial, executive, and legislative branch. The executive branch is controlled by the president. This allows the leader to carry out federal laws and also allows him to recommend new ones. The authority contains directing government, commanding the armed forces, acting as chief law enforcement, dealing with international powers, and vetoing laws. The judicial branch is controlled by the Supreme Court. Its authority allows the Supreme Court to review laws, interpret the Constitution, and decide cases involving states rights.
Lastly, the legislative, controlled by Congress, which includes House of Representatives and the Senate, has the power to pass laws, originate spending bills, impeaching officials, and approving treaties. Also in order to stop one from receiving too much power the delegates created a “check and balances” system into the Constitution. One example of how the checks and balances operate is “the president may veto a law passed by Congress. Congress can override that veto with a vote of two-thirds of both houses” (The Congressional Center, 2008).
With all of this the Constitution was sent off to the states for ratification but was not approved until there was a “Bill of Rights” included. The “Bill of rights” was a listing of individual rights for all citizens. A Bill of rights was promised by the Convention when the final version was done. There were 12 amendments written by James Madison when Congress met in 1789. These amendments were presented to the states and 10 of them were approved and those 10 make up the Bill of Rights (The Congressional Center, 2008).
The Declaration of Independence is one of the most important documents that have ever been written by our four fathers of the United States. This document was written to declare our independence from Great Britain. Before the Declaration most human beings lived under Kings or some kind of dictatorship. There are five parts to the Declaration of Independence, they include, the Preamble, the Statement of Human Rights, Charges against Human Rights, Charges against the King and Parliament, and the Statement of Separation and Signatures.
The reason for this document was to proclaim that the colonies were now separated from England. “The Declaration of Independence expresses that we are all created equal and are permitted to “liberty, life, and the pursuit of happiness” (The Congressional Center, 2008). The Declaration of independence announced to the world that the United States was an independent country while the Constitution put into place guidelines and rules for the way the Country should run.
The Declaration also states that the government does not have the peoples consent and it also lists a serious of charges against the King, while the Constitution declares that there will be a Congress, Supreme Court, and a President (Hornberger, 2001). On July, 4, 1776 the church bells rang out and the United States of America was born and was officially an independent country. The Great Compromise worked out for all of the states because of the two-house legislature plan. The delegates had different backgrounds and also had diverse political views at the Constitutional Convention.
The delegates disagreed about how many representatives each state should have. There was a Virginia plan and a New Jersey plan. Based on the New Jersey plan, which the smaller states favored, in this plan the number of representative would be the same for each state. Based on the Virginia, which the larger states favored, in this plan each state would have a diverse number of representatives based on the state’s populace. Roger Sherman, was a representative from Connecticut, he suggested a two-house legislature. The legislature consisted of a Senate and House of Representatives.
To satisfy the smaller states the Senate would have an equal number of Representatives from each state. To gratify the larger states the House of Representatives would contain one delegate for each 30,000 people in a state. The two-house legislature that Roger Sherman came up with worked for all of the states and it is now known as the Great Compromise (Congressional Center, 2008). In conclusion, the United States became a free country when the Declaration of Independence went into effect. The Constitution is the highest law and gives us rules and rights to live by, and the Great Compromise created the federal government that exists today.
These three documents all have had a significant impact on the United States of America in the past and now in our future. References: The Congressional Center, (2008). Constitution. Retrieved from http://www. congressforkids. net/Constitution_billofrights. htm Hornberger, J, (2001). The Declaration and The Constitution. Retrieved from http://www. fff. org/freedom/0501a. asp The Congressional Center, (2008). The Great Compromise. Retrieved from http://www. congressforkids. net/Constitution_greatcompromise. htm