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so John people are always talking about the Constitution but the Constitution was not the first founding document of the United States what were the Articles of Confederation and why did they need to get replaced well the Articles of Confederation were the first loose set of rules to govern these thirteen states but they were a mess essentially they allowed the states to be kind of their own little sovereign islands so what was it was not a United Nation it was a it was like an archipelago of islands and the reason they were a massive couple of things one they when they tried to repay the Revolutionary War soldiers Congress in Washington with very little power had to go to the states and say please give us some money so we can repay the soldiers a lot of the state said no thank you we're not going to do that then if you had a river that rolled through several different states and you wanted to have a trade agreement with the Spanish for example to use that river and trade along it then the government didn't have one way to negotiate with the Spanish individual States had to do it and individual states had different interests some wanted to trade with the Spanish some didn't want to trade at all and so you had to how do you get those states to agree on something there was also not Universal coinage the states all made their own money and differently well States might print a bunch of money in order to pay off some debts and then the money in one state is worth less than the money in another who regulates all of that so Commerce and Industry and self defense there was no way to raise an army and pay for it so that the nation was crumbling before they got to Philadelphia in 1787 and to your point in most countries the parts of the country are called things like provinces but ours are States because they viewed themselves as individual countries absolutely and because of course the Articles of Confederation had been formed in the wake of this fear and the experience of the fear of a monarchy so they wanted personal liberty and and get the the monarchy and national control throw it all away because they believe that once you consolidate control in the national of government of any kind that it would trample liberty and so after having fought a revolution for the purposes of liberating the people you're not going to design a government that then stomps down on that Liberty so they created something that the states lots of flexibility and then that flexibility allowed everybody to go off in their different directions so Articles of Confederation maybe too much independence for the individual states so it seems like there was a consensus to fix it what was the central debate when they decided to fix it well there was a there was a consensus it had to be fixed but when they got to Philadelphia first of all Rhode Island was invited and said no thank you so twelve of the thirteen states showed up and they knew they wanted to centralize things but what did that mean and it didn't mean one president or a Council of presidents did it mean a strong Congress how strong could they tell States what to do well if they did that then they were acting just like George the third had acted so they had to iron out all of these issues to bring enough central control and enough quick movement of government that it could address national problems but not so much that it trampled and stomped on that Liberty and that was the constant debate constantly trying to figure out how to keep the balance between giving enough national power but enough Liberty and that some of the biggest fights included fights over slavery North versus South fights over big States versus small States who has representation in this national government and how do you figure that out and then of course the question of do we want a president will it be a single person and how the Dickens do we elect that person which led us to the electoral college which has had some bumpy history and where do you think we ended up if on a scale of zero to ten if zero was a complete you know independent states and ten is a federal government that just controls everything where do you think the US Constitution ended up relative to the Articles of Confederation well in the in September of 1787 when it gets September 17 1787 when the when the new constitution gets voted on it is a stronger national document that has basically three main parts one the people are at the heart and center of it it is the people who are the representatives or at the center of the republican government the second thing is that the national government can tell states what to do in some instances those instances are circumscribed but it can happen the states have to fall in line that was very new and there is this thing called a presidency which has created single person created really in the mold of George Washington so it is a nationalized government but with a strong attention to this question of protecting Liberty through a balance of power system so that both the national government has checks and balances and also the relationship between the federal government and the state government has a number of checks and balances so even though they went in a more centralized direction they were constantly attentive to this idea of Liberty keeping it free in the states and not messing with them too much in their effort to get some kind of centralized control it sounds like they might have gone from a one or two with the Articles of Confederation to maybe a 7-6 well they went I think they went from from a one or two to maybe a five or six which has now moved or you know over time closer to two to maybe an eight or nine