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Independence and Constitutions Practice Assignment Essay

Focus on how the Constitution provides liberty for American citizens. Use quotations from the Constitution to support your points. If you choose, you can compare or contrast the U.S. Constitution with the Haudenosaunee Great Law of Peace (the Iroquois Constitution). Your essay should use a basic three-paragraph structure (introductory paragraph with a hook and a thesis, a supporting paragraph, and a concluding paragraph) and should be written in 12-point font with one-inch page margins. For extra help on completing your assignment, click your practice guide.

Tips for Success

When you analyze something, you’re trying to figure out how its different parts work together. In this assignment, you want to figure out how the parts of the Constitution work together to create liberty for American citizens. You may want to consider the following: What major parts of the Constitution are there? How do they function? What liberties does this document provide?

For whom did this document actually provide liberty? Was anyone left out? How was this document similar to or different from the Iroquois Constitution? Remember, as you craft your essay, it should be built on a strong thesis statement, one that is debatable, not just a fact. And don’t forget to support your position with strong evidence from the Constitution itself! Without evidence, an analysis essay is nothing.

Self-Assessment Checklist

Read each question and evaluate your short response. If the answer to the question is yes, check the box to the left. If the answer is no, go back and revise your work. Your teacher will use these same guiding questions to score your short response.

Quality of Ideas

Did I demonstrate an understanding of the assignment by:

Focusing on how the Constitution provides liberty for American citizens? Following the basic structure of an analysis essay (introduction with hook and thesis, body with quotations to support my points, conclusion)? Did I demonstrate the ability to think critically and creatively by:

Using my language or ideas in a creative way?

Going beyond basic information to make connections between ideas? Did I demonstrate the ability to write a thesis statement by:
Making a claim that requires support?
Did I demonstrate the ability to support my ideas by:

Referring directly or indirectly to the reading or readings?
Addressing all parts of the writing topic?

Connecting each supporting sentence to the claim in the thesis statement? Did I demonstrate the ability to conclude by:

Summarizing the ideas and/or restating the thesis statement? Did I demonstrate the ability to organize my writing by:

Using transitions?

Ordering ideas logically?
Form and Presentation

Did I follow presentation requirements (12-point font, standard margins, length requirements)?
Did I properly cite all quotations?

Did I use a variety of sentence types (simple, compound, and complex)?
Did I avoid run-on sentences and fragments?

Did I check for spelling and grammar errors?

Did I use an appropriate tone?

In creating the Constitution, the states had several different reactions, including a rather defensive reaction, but also an understanding reaction. As a document that provided the laws of the land and the rights of its people. It directs its attention to the many problems in this country; it offered quite a challenge because the document lent itself to several views and interpretations, depending upon the individual reading it. It is clear that the founders’ perspectives as white, wealthy or elite class, American citizens would play a role in the creation and implementation of The Constitution.

On further analysis, most of the issues within the document were due to vast cultural, racial, and economic lifestyles that our country did and will continue to support, as unintentional as it may be. This document lessened some of those issues and attempted to accommodate the requests of all states. However, Elitist framers manipulated the idea of a constitution in order to protect their economic interests and the interests of their fellow white land and slave owning men’ by restricting the voices of women, slaves, indentured servants and others.

The Constitution that was created had a strong central government and weaker state governments. Under the Constitution, Congress was given the power to levy taxes, regulate trade between the states, raise an army, control interstate commerce, and more. A three-branch government was established in which a judicial branch handled disputes in a federal court system, a President headed an executive branch, and a legislative branch. Conversely, the anti-federalists believed in weak central and strong state governments, as the way it was in The Articles of Confederation and believed in strict adherence to the writings of the constitution.

Furthermore, the creation of The Constitution caused much debate between the elite and democratic states because they thought that if the Government got all of the power, they would lose their rights. The conflict between the North and South played a major role in the development of this document. The North felt that representation in Congress should be based on the number of total people and South felt that it should be based on number of whites.

However, The Three Fifths Compromise settled this when it was said a slave will count as 3/5 of a free person of representatives and taxation. Article one section two of the Constitution defines how the population will be counted, obviously there was a strong opposition to this by Southern states like Virginia because their economy was based on slave labor and they had a bigger population because of it.

Additionally, In Young’s’ article he mentions “four ghosts” (Young 3) the first being Thomas Paine, Abraham Yates, Daniel Shays and Thomas Peters who “haunted” (young 3) the minds of elites as they were making the constitution. These “ghosts” were representations of the resistance the elites encountered during the revolution; as a result, accommodations were made in order to avoid conflicts such as the ones they had previously faced such as Shays Rebellion.

Secondly, another issue would arise with the Article 4. Section 1 declares that all states will honor the laws of all other states; this ensures, for example, if someone was declared a slave in one state they couldn’t be freed in another state. Also, section two, serves as the comprise between the founders and citizens to section one by guarantying that citizens of one state be treated equally and fairly like all citizens of another. It also says that if a person accused of a crime in one state flees to another, they will be returned to the state they fled from. The slave states could lose more slave labor by other owners claiming slaves that weren’t theirs.

Those people like William Byrd feared that the Constitution wouldn’t work because it was completely opposite from The Articles of Confederation. Consequently, the majority of the states had to accept the constitution the law and abide by it. The Anti-Federalist viewed the federal judicial system as a threat to individual liberties and state’s independence. How far could the judges expand their role? They feared they would be ruled by Kings. There was nothing in the Constitution to guarantee civil trial by jury and judges could take over matters that had been the jurisdiction of lower courts.

They worried that the jurisdiction of the federal courts was too broad and not clearly defined. To resolve this issue the framers detailed what powers the judicial system would have, for instance, (Article 3, Section 1) Congress establishes inferior courts to the Supreme Court. It was a part of the system of checks and balances designed to ensure that one branch of the government wouldn’t dominate the others and each had limitations of power. (Constitution 4)

Another fear of the anti federalists was the cost of the constitution, some feared that it would cost too much to change the laws in their states and this would greatly impact their lifestyle especially the planters and slave owners. Article I, Section 8: “To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States” (Constitution 2). This gave states the power to collect taxes, by providing this section those elites would have more protection against economic loss.

Some delegates feared democracy itself. They believed that unfit people would control the government as a result more checks and balances were put into place, for example, The Electoral College was implemented to ensure that the uneducated masses didn’t elect someone unsuitable for the presidency. They also created guidelines for the selection of the president, the guidelines are that the candidate is at least age 35, a natural-born citizen, and has a residency of at least 14 years.

Another major concern could have been the connection between the national government and its people. To combat this each state would have their government and representatives. The government would also have a bill of rights that protected the natural rights of the citizens.

So, in conclusion, the Constitution began by using the Articles of Confederation to create a stronger centralized government. Each state had their own interpretation of the document and the varying lifestyles of the framers and citizens delayed ratification time after time. However, due to the malleability of the document and much debate a standard was finally created.

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