The Creation of America 

By Weston Waite 

 The month of July figures prominently in our nation’s history, but August does as well. Coincidentally, some of the most important written when conceiving our nation were all created in the month of August, amazing right? Do you remember these from your history class?  

 The Declaration of Independence (1776) 
Anyone who celebrates the Fourth of July, should know what the Declaration of Independence is. Written by Thomas Jefferson, this is our official “break up” letter with England, sent to King George III in 1776. It lists his many tyrannical abuses, and in it, we also reassert our rights to choose our own government. I like to think of this as the metaphorical birth certificate of our country. While formally presented to the General Assembly on July 4, it wasn’t actually signed by most of the 55 men until August 2. 

 The Articles of Confederation (1776-1777, 1781) 
This document was our first shot at creating our own government. It unites the 13 colonies, not as one country, but more as an alliance, or a “league of friendship. It then only consisted of a very weak National Congress. It was not oppressive, but it was too passive. The National Congress wasn’t given the power to tax the 13 states, and so, it could not provide basic things to the states, such as an organized military. No military means no protection, and The Articles proved to be a failure after Shay’s Rebellion wreaked havoc across the land. 

 The Constitution (1787) 
The Constitution was written by James Madison and is perhaps the most well balanced and most just form of government ever created, as it blends the three main types: Monarchy, Aristocracy, and Democracy. Checks and balances prevent any of the three branches (legislative, executive, and judicial), from becoming more powerful than the rest. Otherwise, the U.S. could become a dictatorship or fall into mob rule. The Articles define what each branch can and cannot do. In addition, the Bill of Rights, consisting of 27 amendments, outlines our rights as American citizens.  

 If you’re up to the challenge, try reading the full texts of these documents. It will make you more knowledgeable about what it means to be American!