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Articles of Confederation Vs Constitution

Autor:   •  November 29, 2011  •  Essay  •  914 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,436 Views

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After victory over the British the newly independent nation needed to create a central government for the confederacy that was the United States of America. The thirteen states created and ratified the Articles of Confederation. The purpose was to tie all the states together and maintain each state's sovereignty but problems with the Articles of Confederation began to appear and the needed for a stronger central government quickly grew. The Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787, which was only six years after the states ratified the Articles of Confederation.

The Articles were first drafted by the Continental Congress in 1776 and went into use in 1777. It was only in 1781 when all thirteen states formally ratified and agreed to its terms. The Articles of Confederation lacked significant powers granted to the legislative branch. It gave too much power to the states; each state retained its sovereignty and every power and jurisdiction that was not explicitly granted to congress by this Confederation. By giving the states too much power it created many weaknesses in the central government. No changes could be made to the Articles unless all thirteen states had approved them. This created a nearly impossible environment in which to govern since each state acted independently from one another. The United States was not a nation or government but rather a "firm league of friendship." The Articles of Confederation did not unite the states but instead allowed them to remain independent and self-governing. This is what the states originally wanted but problems began appearing. There was no national military and the central government had no way of raising revenue or taxing its citizens. The Articles of Confederation made no mention of an executive branch and had no president and judicial decisions were left to each states legislature to decide. Expenditures by the United States of America was to be paid by funds raised by state legislatures, and apportioned to the states based on the real property values of each. However each state did not pay its share and the central government had no powers to enforce this. The Confederation Congress could make decisions, but lacked enforcement powers and implementation of most decisions were nearly impossible and they could not be done quickly since it required unanimous approval of all thirteen state legislatures.

The Articles of Confederation was a great starting point and was extremely useful in establishing the Constitution. The Articles, despite its many weakness, had many strengths and accomplishments. It set up a process for admitting new states into the union and established protocols for dividing up new land. The Articles were a complete break from the European model of governing and it provided the basis for future government in the United States

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