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Nov 8, 2017 in Compare and Contrast
Articles of Confederation vs. U.S. Constitution
The Articles of Confederation became a milestone in history of the newly established United States of America. However, this first attempt of the central governing document was only partly successful. By the 1788, the need for the new Constitution had become apparent due to Articles’ failure to bond the young nation’s states together. The United States government had to grow to a national level and rule the country as an integral unit. The Articles granted individual states the rights to be run as separate administrative units. Therefore, although the union was called the “United States of America” formally, it was hard to reach a nation-wide consensus. It was difficult to pass laws as, in order to be ratified, they had to receive approval of at least 9 out of 13 states. Additionally, approved laws were difficult to enforce, because there was no structure in place to ensure each state would comply with the regulations. Moreover, the then laws did not provide strong breaking rules controlling structure and criminals convicted in one state could escape to another one easily with no penalty (Foner 259-275).
The effect the Constitution had on the development of the United States as a country could be accessed through evaluation of the centralized national government role. Most people agree that, in terms of governmental power, the period of the Articles was rather weak. When other aspects are considered, opinions differ and are quite subjective. People with pro-liberal views might consider the period ruled by the Articles to be the peak of freedom in the USA. On the other hand, the opposition, preferring a solid central government, might view Articles of Confederation as a total fiasco. However, if a strong centralized government is considered the evolution of a nation, the first Constitution was indeed a success (Mount n. p.).
Attitudes of the People: Napoleon's Reign vs. U.S. Government Following 9/11
As tense relations with Great Britain got worse, Napoleon began to put into effect new policies aimed at the government control strengthening. The people were willing to give up some of their freedoms in return for security and safety. These issues included freedom of speech (press censorship), conscription (compulsory enlistment in the army), and enforcement of the economic Continental system (blockade).
With the “war on terror” gaining publicity, history seems to be repeating itself. During the last few decades, people have become nervous and more eager than ever to have a sense of peace and security, even at the cost of losing some freedoms. This has become particularly evident since the events of 9/11. England, and especially London, today is a huge security zone. Cameras watch people’s every move and not only in public places: cameras now appear in taxis and private yards, shouting out warnings to suspicious people passing by. In Japan, cars are being equipped with speed-controlling technology. The campaign of inserting an RFID chip underneath one’s skin is gaining popularity. Nowadays, since the foiled bombing on Flight 253, there has been a serious talk of introducing the full-body scans and mobile scanners. Almost everyone knows that a cellphone, and especially smartphone, which most people carry with them everywhere they go, is essentially a “bug.” Not only can all private phone calls be tapped, but inbuilt GPS-systems make personal activities easy to monitor. This is a known fact, but few choose to acknowledge it (Domhoff n. p.).
In my opinion, a domineering government is bad as it enforces its agenda on the entire population. What worse, people are giving up their rights and being dominated. Of their own free will, they throw away liberties and freedoms, for which their forefathers have fought throughout history. In essence, they give up their inherent right as humans: to think for themselves, make their own choices, and pursue personal interests, as long as they do not infringe another’s rights. People lose their identity and fade into a grey, monotonous biomass, not able to form a personal opinion, blindly following all regulations set by the government “in your best interests.” All these privileges are given up and come as a price for a feeling of safety and security, which becomes too high.