Post Revolution Government: American Or British?

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade November 2001

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Following Shays's Rebellion in 1786, a call was made for a new, stronger form of government than the Articles of Confederation had established. Many people at the time of the Constitutional Convention still held the belief that the British method of governing the colonies was poor at best, yet, when given the chance, they quickly reverted back to the old form of government, the only difference being a change in the name. All the new Constitution did was codify the existing colonial government under which America had already been ruled, minus the formal subservience to Great Britain, instead of forming a new type of government.

Most of the supposedly new forms of government in the Constitution were just the same rules of government the British used, only with a new name. The Constitution established that the American debt to Great Britain from the Seven Years war was still being valid, although this was one of the major rallying points for the colonial fighters during the American Revolution as is proved by the rallying cry: "No taxation without representation!".

The states were established as the highest local form of government, which was the same as the British government used during the pre-revolutionary time. The Constitution also established the election of a sole leader to oversee the welfare of the people, which was the job of the British royal governor when the British were still in command. Therefore, all the Constitution did was bring back old positions and debt under different names.

Some can argued conversely that the Constitution established a totally new form of government, but this is not the case. In this new government, the people would have more power because there would be delegations elected by the people for the people and the government would not go overboard on new taxations to pay back war debts like the British did. This, however, was not the case. After these delegates were elected, they did not have to listen to the voice of the people anymore and basically became the British Parliament, operating only with a different title; the Congress of the United States. This congress, feeling the same pressures to repay old war debts, continued the British precedent of instituting new taxation upon the people, which continued the pattern established in pre-Revolution times. The people, knowing that this was so, rebelled in 1794 in what has come to be known as the Whiskey Rebellion, but were crushed and have been relatively quiet ever since. This proves without a doubt that the new form of American government was just a remake of the old British ways of governing and taxing.

The Constitutional Convention of 1787 did not, as some believe, create a new form of government, but instead created a virtual copy of the British governorship. From how the government was organized to the fact that the new government was still collection British taxes from the Seven Years war, everything was an exact copy of British rule aside from the fact that the colonies were no longer, technically, British.



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