Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Second Founing by N. R.

John Ellis argues in his speech “The Second Founding” that America did not become the established nation that it was right after the Declaration of Independence in 4th July 1776. He rather said that it was the result of hard work and dedication of four men. These four men known to be George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison.  Ellis also gives credit to men like Gouveuner Morris, Thomas Jefferson and Robert Morris. Joseph Ellis further talks about the Articles of Confederation, which was the first government set up by the Continental Congress. This government was a failure which lead to the country drowning under debt. And the government was unsuccessful and weak as the sovereignty resided into the states rather than the national government. He said that the unity among states were only good enough to win the war with the British Empire but failed as whole system. Ellis states that the quartet diagnosed the dysfunction under the Articles of Confederation which manipulated the political process to calling of a Constitutional convention with a purpose in Philadelphia. The Delegates (55 men who attended the convention) agreed that the government needed executive, legislative and judiciary branch. They went there along with delegates from other states to revise the articles. During this process, the American Constitution was created and so did the Bill of Rights as an insurance policy.

Throughout the duration of his speech he concentrated on the years 1783 to 1789 to give a vivid description of incidence that leads to a reform of convention. One of the most significant incident he mentions is the Shay Rebellion where the farmers of Boston rose to close the court and prevent from foreclosing their debt-encumbered farm. Ellis goes to further details of the meeting in Philadelphia were the six states attending wrote a charter of a new government with some significant alterations, that leads to the formation of constitution at we live under today. John Ellis wants the audience to know the backstory of the American constitution. And he also wants us to know how the history has influenced us by this date. Joseph Ellis is also aware that most people misunderstood that the organized government existed back when Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence.
During our class discussion, we revised on Joseph Ellis’s speech and we also watched a documentary “The Constitution” which gave us a clearer understanding and explained the roles of each of the men. For instance Hamilton writing 51 federal papers, the nature of James Madison and John Jay being one of the finest negotiator in American History. The video had lots of humor in it which made more interesting. We also read the letters sent by George Washington to John Jay and John Jay to Thomas Jefferson. The letters addressing to the problems that caused the government to almost fall apart. After watching the video, we discussed about the conflicts between competing interest that arose quickly in the Philadelphia convention. The first concern was the size of the state and its population. Larger states supported James Madison’s Virginia Plan, which called for a two-house legislature with representation in both proportional to state’s population. This further lead to the great compromise and the 3/5 compromise. In our class discussions, we answer to questions like why were the government failing and why was the government made weak on purpose. We concluded that the confederation congress recognized that states are essentially establishing tariffs against each other.
Everything was pretty much to the point in the class discussion and Joseph Ellis's lecture video. However I would like to know the roles of Federal paper and more details about the great compromise that lead to the success of American Constituion.