How did the united states constitution expand upon the basic ideas about government that the colonists had dev? How did the united states constitution expand upon the basic ideas about government that the colonists had developed up to the time of the constitutional convention?

By: Guest
Date: Sun-Jan-3-2010-

Answer 1

The Constitution did not expand upon the ideas as much as it expanded the power of the central government. The Const. Convention was not that, it was called for the purposes of revising the best form of gov't. we ever had, The Articles of Confederation. When it became clear that it was evolving into a ConCon, delgates Lansing and Yates returned to New York.

The idea behind the Revolution was for a republican form of gov't. The only known examples were the ancient Roman Republic and the new Swiss Republic.

The idea was for a confederation of states, ala' the Swiss confederation of Cantons. The states created the Constitution based on the idea that a republican form of gov't. was dependant upon representation.

Representation must be actual representation, ie, farmers, blacksmiths and merchants should donate a few years of their lives to serve in gov't. The Hamiltonian solution was to have "virtual representation", ie lawyers are professional representatives.

The ratification of the Constitution, by the states, was a hard-fought battle. Many of the Patriots of 1776 opposed it, such as Patrick Henry, Sam Adams, Richard Henry Lee, George Mason, et al.

Some of these were bought off by the Bill of Rights promise, which came through. However, Hamilton's arguement against a Bill of Rights must be given creedance. In a Federalist Paper he expoused the arguement, in essance, that if you start emunerating the rights of the people, at some time it will be said that is all the rights you have.

There were many, many critics and opponents to the ratification of the Constitution. Patrick Henry spoke for 27 days against it in the Virginia Convention, but it passed. They were known as the Anti-Federalists and they had ten major areas of agreement in opposition to the Constitution.

The bottom line was that they thought the provision for a Standing Army in times of Peace would lead to the interests of upkeep of the Standing Army would come to dominate our economy and our gov't. They thought the Republic would dissolve and an American Empire would be born with a corresponding decrease in civil liberty at home and with troops strewn all around the globe.

Their mistake was in thinking that it would take one or two generations. The truth is it has taken 200 years.

In the ultimate analysis the Constitution extinguished the ideas of the Revolution, "Where annual elections end, tyranny begins" was one of the ideas of the Revolution, as was "taxes are a gift from the people".

There are many good sources for this material, and many bogus, Babbit ones. See Herbert Storing's "The Compleat Anti-Federalist", Charles Beard, "An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution" and the orginal writings of Sam Adams, speeches by Patrick Henry.

I spent 3 years in graduate school studying this, I will not cite any internet sources as I have found them mostly bogus. Go to the library and look up "Anti-Federalist". That was the political party Thom. Jefferson was associated with until political correctness took over.

Apologies for the spelling, Turned off the spell check as it was distracting. I have read too much 18th century material and believe, as Mark Twain, that it is a small mind, indeed, who can think of only one way to spell a word.

Answer 2

Even at the time of the Constitutional Convention, the Constitution was perceived to be an imperfect document. There were a series of compromises to make it work. It has been altered and changed and interpreted differently over time. Think of every amenment and many Supreme Court rulings as development of the Constitution. Some biggies:

-- Bill of Rights (first batch of amendments) expanded on individual rights

-- Voting extended (black and then women)

-- Slavery

From Shmoop History

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