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Compare&amp Contrast: US Constitution and Articles of Confederation

TheArticle of Confederation was the very first documents that united 13states. The document was proposed immediately after the signing ofthe Declaration of Independence document but was not ratified until1781. After the war of independence, the document was replaced by theUnited States constitution.

Themost conspicuous similarity between the two documents is that thenation would be a democratic state with a representative form ofgovernment. Both documents did not give provision for monarchy andforbade the creation of titles of nobility. Both documents hadprovisions that the national government would be in control offoreign affairs, and citizens from a different state would be treatedequally as citizens from the host state. Additionally, both documentshad provision for the existence of a congress which would be a lawmaking body (Callahan 12).

Thereare many differences between the Article of Confederation and the USconstitution. The Articles of Confederation did not create a country.Each state would operate as an independent state. It only madeprovision for the creation of a free confederation between states,where every state would be autonomous. The article did not have agovernment where there was a separation of powers among the variousarms, and where there was a system of checks and balances. It onlymade provision for the existence of a unicameral legislature withoutan executive or judiciary. There was no executive with powers, thepresident was merely meant to preside over congress. Additionally,the national government had no powers under the article ofConfederation to impose taxes on any entity. Also it could notcontrol or regulate trade and commerce. Congress had no powers totax, had no powers over interstate and international trade. Under theArticle of Confederation, Congress consisted of only one body andevery state in the confederation had one vote. The Article ofConfederation was rigid and could only be amended through approval byall states. State government had powers to act directly on theircitizens without any input from the national government. Congresscould not draft troops and the nation relied on states to contributeforces (Callahan 13).

Onthe other hand, the US Constitution made provision for the creationof the country and a federal government stronger than the stategovernments, with three arms of governments Congress, judiciary andexecutive. Evidently, there would be separation of power between thethree arms and a system of checks and balances. Unlike under theArticle of Confederation where the states were sovereign, under theUS Constitution the people would be sovereign. This meant that theexercise of sovereignty would be shared between the nationalgovernment and the states. The executive would be independent andwould be put into office by the Electoral College. There would beseparate federal courts that would redress states disputes. Congresswould be bicameral, the lower House and the senate. The number ofmembers in the House of Representatives would be determined by thesize of the population in the state, and in the senate each statewould elect two members. The constitution s also gave congress powersto impose and collect taxes, exercise duties and imposts and controland regulate trade and commerce among the states and with otherforeign nations.. The US Constitution was flexible would be amendedwith the approval of ¾ of the States. Both the federal governmentand the state governments would act directly on the people (Callahan14).


Callahan,Kerry P. TheArticles of Confederation: A Primary Source Investigation into theDocument That Preceded the U.S. Constitution.New York, NY: Rosen Primary Source, 2003. Print.