The Articles of Confederation versus The United States Constitution
Our country has been run under two constitutions. The first constitution, The Articles of Confederation, went in effect March 1st, 1781, and operated our nation until the second constitution, The United States Constitution. It replaced the Articles on September 17th, 1787, and has been operating our country since then. When thinking about the Articles of Confederation and the United States Constitution, there are many things that make those two documents similar, but they are significantly different from each other when you look at the details.
Compared to the structure of government we have now, the Articles were very different. The Articles called for a single branch of government, Congress. The Constitution provides us with Congress that is made up of three branches, Legislative, Executive, and Judicial. Those three branches provide us with the organized voting system that we didn’t have with the Articles. The Articles had unanimous approval of all states while the Constitution gives us the legislative branch, made up of Senates and House of Representatives. Their most important job is to make laws. They write, discuss, and vote on laws. Then those laws go to the executive branch, led by the president. He approves and carries out the laws from the legislative branch. Lastly, the judicial branch looks over the court system and explains the meaning of the constitution and laws.
Also, the Constitution has more powers than the Articles. The Articles had the power to declare war and make peace, regulate Indian affairs, and issue money. The Constitution gives Congress many more powers than that. It provides them with the power to lay and collect taxes, to provide for a militia, to regulate trade with other nations and among the states, and to borrow money. There is a much longer list of things it provides, with not many weaknesses that couldn’t be changed with an amendment.
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