As we move closer to the Back to Basics Forum, we will be featuring articles and videos written by our speakers. Douglas V. Gibbs will be presenting in our Freedom Track. Click HERE to see descriptions of his workshop.
Douglas V. Gibbs is a Radio Host, Publisher, Director of the Center for the Study of the U.S. Constitution, President of the Constitution Association, Author, and an Instructor on the United States Constitution. He is a wealth of information on the topic of FREEDOM! Today Douglas has asked us to share the following article. It will give you some background on the topics he will be sharing in his workshop. Enjoy!
Roger Sherman of Connecticut is the only Founding Father to sign each of the four founding documents of the United States. Those documents are the Articles of Association, Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, and the United States Constitution.
The Articles of Association emerged October 2, 1774, marking the first time the colonies united to stand firm against the British Empire. Adopted by the First Continental Congress, and forming the Continental Association, the document established a united stance by the colonies against the British as a result of unfair taxing practices brought on by the Coercive Acts of 1774. The Articles of Association imposed a ban on British tea, and a ban on importing or consuming any goods from Britain, Ireland, and the British West Indies. The British Empire responded in 1775 with The New England Restraining Act. During this time Massachusetts was organizing militia units independent of British control at the behest of an unlawfully created Massachusetts Provincial Congress. On February 9, 1775 the British Parliament declared that Massachusetts was in a state of rebellion.
As the British Troops in the Colonies increased in numbers, and deaths were recorded at the Battle of Lexington and Concord in April of 1775, Thomas Paine’s pamphlet, Common Sense, encouraged independence of the Colonies from the British Empire. Penned by Thomas Jefferson, and written through input by four others, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman and Robert Livingston, the draft for the Declaration of Independence was presented to Congress on June 28, 1776. It was adopted by Congress on July 2, 1776, edited on July 3, 1776, and accepted by The Colonies on July 4, 1776. The document was presented to the public on July 5, 1776. At the time, only about a third of the population in the colonies supported the concept of independence.
The Articles of Confederation, created during the Revolutionary War in November of 1777, was ratified and adopted by 1781. The document acted as the first constitution for the United States. John Hanson was the first President under the Articles of Confederation, following its ratification. The Articles of Confederation allowed the militias to be organized under a single Continental Army under the command of General George Washington. The troops remained a part of their State militias, and none of the States could be compelled to give troops to the Continental Army. The Articles of Confederation gave the central government virtually no power, which became problematic during Shays’ Rebellion in 1786.
Realizing a stronger government was needed to preserve and protect the union, delegates gathered in Philadelphia during the Summer of 1787 to craft the United States Constitution. Signed on September 17, 1787, the Constitution was ratified by the necessary number of States by the following year. The Constitution established a federal government, stronger than the government under the Articles of Confederation, but limited through a series of checks and balances to prevent it becoming a tyranny. The Bill of Rights was added and ratified in 1791 as an added check against the potential of a tyrannical system.
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