Outline your argument for passage, or against passage, of the Constitution of the United States.
Congratulations! The year is 1788, and you have just been selected to cast your vote with regards to the passage of the “Plan of the New Federal Government”.
Outline your argument for passage, or against passage, of the Constitution of the United States. For the purposes of this paper, you may disregard all contextual
considerations (e.g, what the people you are representing want, what may be best of “your” state, etc”) and argue on the merits of the document itself. You may write
as if you were a citizen of the time (the late 1780s).
A few things to consider: During my lecture on the Constitution I made the argument – perhaps too brashly – that the Articles of Confederation were a complete
failure. This may not have been the case, and to decide for yourself, you should consider the opposite sides of the debate.
You can find such arguments in several places, but perhaps the best pro-argument sources are The Federalist Papers. These series of essays were written by John
Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and our old friend, James Madison. Their purpose was to garner support for the Constitution prior to its ratification. There were roughly 80
essays in all. You do not need to review them all. A good place to start is with the following website, as it lists them out by topic:
Note that essays 15-22 are entitled “Defects of the Articles of Confederation.” I would encourage you to read over these, but do not exclude others simply because
they are not listed under this heading.
Opposing arguments were made by a group that has become known as the Anti-Federalists. You can find opposing arguments – in relation to the corresponding arguments
made by the Jay, et al, here:
You may find the articles written by “Brutus” to be the most relevant here.
You may also want to check out this website:
Your overall purpose here is to consider the passage of the U.S. Constitution. Thus, you should begin by outlining the problems with the original Articles of
Confederation, and decide whether or not you should retain the Articles of Confederation (and provide an argument for this), OR keep but alter the Articles (and
provide and argument for this), OR adopt the new Constitution (and provide and argument for this). You should do so by pointing out how the problems of the Articles
are (or are NOT) fixed by the US Constitution. For example, if one of your “problems” with the Articles is that it did not grant taxation power to the federal
government, your paragraph on this issue would:
1.Discuss the problem and its effect (e.g., without tax revenue, no public goods)
2.Note how the Constitution fixes the problem (refer directly to Article 1 Section 8 of the US Constitution)
3.Provide support (and cite it correctly) from the Federalist Papers to support your point.
Continue with this format for the remaining points of your argument.
1. Your essay must be no fewer than three full pages and no more than five pages. This does not include the works cited page (which you must have, even if you
only cite a few of the Federalist Papers).
2. Your essay must utilize properly formatted citations (both in-text and parenthetical). You may use the MLA or APA style guide (but not a combination of both!).
3. Your argument should reflect mastery of the provided background readings (or other readings, if you so choose). Your argument should begin with a general
introduction (and include a strong thesis sentence), and should follow with a well-developed essay that is organized by paragraph (that is, each paragraph should focus
on a single point or idea, rather than several points or idea per paragraph). Your paper should end with a short conclusion that ties your ideas together and relates
these ideas to your original thesis sentence. This concludes your argument.
4.. In addition to a well-developed argument, your paper should also utilize the proper format. That is, your paper should reflect mastery in both form and
content. In terms of format, your paper should follow these guidelines:
a. 12 point Times New Roman Font
b. 1” margins on all sides
c. Double-spaced text
d. NO extra (double) space between paragraphs
e. Page numbers
f. Three full pages (not two and a half).
g. A properly formatted works cited page
4. You will need to turn in a hard copy to me in class, as well as upload an electronic copy to Webcampus. If I do not have BOTH an electronic copy AND a
hard copy in my possession by the beginning of class on the due date, the paper is late. If you decide to turn the paper in late, please note that I deduct six points
each day that the paper is late.
5. Sources other than the ones recommended here are neither encouraged nor required. However, you may use them if you choose. If you do, use MLA style to
cite, and ONLY use academic-based citations. In other words, DO NOT CITE Wikipedia, about.com, or some other useless (non-academic) website. Once again, additional
sources are neither required nor encouraged. This isn’t a research paper; rather, it’s a position paper.
6. Be sure to give your full attention to development, grammar, spelling, and overall organization. These are key components of an academic paper.
7. Please DO NOT HESITATE to contact me if you do not understand the question. Never be afraid to ask questions – especially of me. I will always make the
time for students who take the time to ask.