Americ's History

High school
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The colonists' experience with governance from the mother country had prepared them well for the creation of a new republic. The presence of a hereditary aristocracy in Great Britain was one of the reasons the colonists wanted a new form of government - a republic, where all powers come from the people.


Thus, the people became less empowered while the central government became more controlling and powerful. By design, when the Constitution was ratified, the states were empowered. However, over time a gradual drift toward a dominant national government has become evident.
Two distinct political positions began to evolve from the colonists. Most Americans considered citizen "virtue" fundamental to any successful republican government. Because political power no longer rested with the central, all-powerful authority of the king, individuals in a republic needed to sacrifice their personal self-interest to the public good. The collective good of the people mattered more than the private rights and interests of individuals. Yet, not all Patriots agreed with this viewpoint defining republicanism. Some favored a republic ruled by a group of talented and educated elite. Republicanism for them meant an end to hereditary aristocracy, but not an end to all social hierarchy. These more conservative republicans feared that the fervor for liberty would overwhelm the stability of the social order. They watched with great concern as the lower-class in society - the poor farmers, tenants, and laboring classes in towns and cities seemed to embrace a kind of republicanism with a level playing field. Thus, two groups of people formed different political ideologies.
The first weak national government, the Articl ...
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