Topics: United States Constitution, United States, Articles of Confederation Pages: 5 (1593 words) Published: September 29, 2013


From the years 1781 to 1789, the United States of America were governed under a document known as the Articles of Confederation. Prior to the ratification of today’s United States Constitution, this paper was the layout for the federal government that united the separate thirteen colonies in their movement for independence from Britain. It was put to the test as an effective form of command by a number of problems and events that arose shortly after America gained independence from its mother country. The signing of the Treaty of Paris granted the state’s new land and a new position in the world as a nation. Various ordinances came about in the mid 1780’s to address westward expansion. The Articles of Confederation were most successful in dealing with westward expansion due to the effectiveness of the Ordinances that were drafted under it and the benefits it brought. However the Articles of Confederation were substantially less ideal in managing America’s foreign relations. Therefore, rather than fixing the existing Articles, a new constitution was required. The Convention would draft an entirely new frame of government, at last it was “drafted in secret by delegates to the Constitutional Convention during the summer of 1787, this four-page document, signed on September 17, 1787, established the government of the United States”.( Comparison and Contrast

Both the Articles and the Constitution served to maintain a free government, away from the pressures and oppression like that which was endured when the American colonies were under the control of the British crown. Also, both documents gave states the power to regulate commerce, tax citizens, make laws, and provide for a common defense. However, the fundamental difference between the Articles and the Constitution was the fact that the Articles made no provision for the new federal government to exercise any power over the individual states, especially from the standpoint of being able to collect taxes from the states, impose laws that would apply to the states, and to organize a federal army for which the states would provide soldiers. “Each state only had one vote in Congress, regardless of size. Laws required a 9/13 majority to pass in Congress” ( The legislature under the articles was Unicameral called congress, while under constitution it was bicameral, divided into the House of Representatives and the Senate. Both the articles and constitution had its strength and weaknesses. Strength and weaknesses.

Under the articles there was “no system of federal courts, No provision to regulate interstate trade, No executive with power. President of U.S. merely presided over Congress”. (Feldmeth, Greg D). Under the Articles of Confederation, states often argued amongst themselves. They also refused to financially support the national government. The national government was powerless to enforce any acts it did pass. Some states began making agreements with foreign governments. Most had their own military. Each state printed its own money. There was no stable economy. While the Articles of Confederation had many weaknesses, it was able to accomplish much. It held the states together until the Constitution was written. It developed a fair policy for the development of the western lands. The states ceded their claims to the lands west of the Appalachians to the central government. This helped forge a feeling of national unity and congress under the Articles enacted laws to organize the western territories and admit new states on an equal footing with the original states. The Articles successfully negotiated a peace with Great Britain ending the Revolutionary War. Congressional departments of Foreign Affairs, War, Marine, and Treasury were established, each under a secretary. This set the precedent for the creation of the executive cabinets under the Constitution. The Articles also encouraged...

Bibliography: Aboukhadijeh, Feross. "Federalists versus Antifederalists " StudyNotes, Inc., 17 Nov. 2012. Web. 02 05/25/13
Feldmeth, Greg D. "Articles of Confederation vs. The Constitution," U.S. History Resources 05/27/13
Kelly, Martin. “Creating the US Constitution through Compromise” 05/30/13 05/30/13
“Constitution of the United States” ( 05/24/13
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