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The Problem of the New Constitution: Eric Foner’s “Give Me Liberty! An American History” Essay

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Updated: Feb 23rd, 2022

Introduction

The book under analysis “Give me Liberty: An American History” discloses historical facts of the American development; the author managed to reflect the most significant moments covering the adoption of formal documents being passed through numerous changes and corrections. The USA Constitution was especially stressed by the author who highlighted federalists’ debate in 1878-1888 as to the document ratification.

New Constitution

The ratification of the new federalist Constitution caused a number of objections during the official meeting in 1878. The new form of the official US document contained some new aspects contradicting the views of anti-federalists’ representatives. It is necessary to underline the fact that federalism philosophy in the reconstructed state document influenced the introduction of some changes being the main reason for debates; it was stated that the new constitution inserted strong limitations to the cultural liberty of the country. The representatives of anti-federalists’ views stated that “the new Constitution contains a lot of unfortunate compromises”. The disappointment was merely caused by contradicting points of the constitution articles; thus, uncodified UK constitution peculiarities were introduced into the new US document:

“No free man shall be arrested, or imprisoned, or deprived of his property, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any way destroyed, nor shall we go against him or send against him, unless by the legal judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land” (Foner, (2005)

The same aspects are considered to be part of the British document, that is Magna Carta. Debates based on federalists’ notes preserved in the new Constitution also caused the division of the government into opposition and federalists which broke the unity of political power in the USA. The ratification of the Constitution made the representatives of Antifederalists create the list of commentaries related to the new document adoption. It was stated:

“…the New Constitution was not for the new epoch of the states” (Foner, 2005)

It is important to stress that the changed constitution was under the influence of acting law; Antifederalists stated that the new document of the USA had no legal authority for the purpose of state function serving.

Conclusion

The problem of the new Constitution 1878-1888 described in the book “Give me Liberty: An American History” caused a number of serious contradictions within the governments of the states making them divide into Federalists and opposition (Antifederalists). The articles of the new document appeared to bear no benefits for the country’s progress in politics, human rights, and law aspects. The ratification of the Constitution went through all the states of the country and finally came to a logical end. The newly ratified document became an integral part of the country’s existence, though the process of its adoption left a significant print among the most scandalous official steps.

References

Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty! An American History. Seagull Edition. W. W. Norton & Co. 2005.

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IvyPanda. "The Problem of the New Constitution: Eric Foner's "Give Me Liberty! An American History"." February 23, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/give-me-liberty-an-american-history-by-eric-foner-essay-2/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "The Problem of the New Constitution: Eric Foner's "Give Me Liberty! An American History"." February 23, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/give-me-liberty-an-american-history-by-eric-foner-essay-2/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'The Problem of the New Constitution: Eric Foner's "Give Me Liberty! An American History"'. 23 February.

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