To what extent was the United States Constitution a radical departure from the Articles of Confederation?
The Articles of Confederation was written in 1777 and became operational in 1781. It put an emphasis on state rights. Without an executive branch or judicial branch the central government was run by a Congress. This Congress was unicameral, meaning it was a single branch; there was no House of Representatives or Senate. Each state got a single vote in Congress. In order to create major legislation you needed at least 3/4 vote and a unanimous vote to amend. With the Articles the government had little to no power. Without enough federal power, the states adopted the Articles of Confederation and went out on their own again seeking to help only themselves. The Articles stated that the government couldn’t tax or regulate commerce, this left the government with no money to put their “laws” into effect! The founding father’s quickly began to realize that if they didn’t strengthen this new government the United States would fall apart. When the founding father’s met to ratify the Articles of Confederation they simply decided to create a whole new document: The Constitution.
The Constitution was written in 1787, just 6 years after the Articles of Confederation had been adopted! This new document had a 3 branched federal system. The Congress was divided into the House of Representatives and the Senate. They appointed a federal judiciary called the Supreme Court. The executive branch (the President) would be elected by the people. This created a separation of powers called checks and balances. In checks and balances the President nominated the judges, but the Supreme Court could declare the presidents acts unconstitutional. The President can veto congressional legislation, but the Congress could veto the presidents laws and can impeach him from office. Congress confirm the President’s nomination’s to the Supreme Court and can impeach...
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