The Articles of Confederation vs. The US Constitution

Essay by beckys1045College, Undergraduate May 2006

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The Articles of Confederation were written to form a government for the new states after they decided to declare their independence form Great Britain. The Articles were written in 1776 and ratified by all the states in 1781. The articles were a "league of Friendship between 13 sovereign or independent states." (Text p. 41). The Articles provided the US with a basic government that gave the state all the power and the central government very little power. The power that was given to the central government was only enforced when the states gave their approval. This was a main problem with the Articles. One of the main problems that the framers had was giving to much power to one particular branch or person. They did not want what happened in Great Britain to happen to them again.

The Articles gave the national government a Congress and empowered the congress to make peace, coin money, appoint officers for the army, control the post office, and to negotiate with the Indians.

Each state kept its independence and sovereignty within its territories. Each state had one vote in the congress; it took 9 out of 13 to pass a measure and needed a unanimous vote for an amendment. The states were responsible for the selection and payment of these delegates. The Articles governed the US from 1781 until 1789 this period is often referred to as the "Critical Period".

In May of 1787 Congress meets to try to figure out how to fix the Articles because there were so many problems with it. It was when they were all together 15 proposals to create a new government. The first plan was the Virginia plan. The smaller states did not want to give up to the larger states so they came up with the...