Articles Of Confederation Vs. The Constitution

1063 words - 4 pages

In May 1776, the Congress called on the colonies to form new state governments "under the authority of the people." Each state formed constitutions consisting of the curbing of the power of governors, which increased the power of the legislatures, making them the focal point of government. Americans then realized that legislatures also could act tyrannically, so each state's constitution eventually included some form of a bill of rights, which set limits on the power of government to interfere in the lives of citizens.Upon declaring independence in 1776, the Continental Congress needed to create a basis for a union of the states called the Articles of Confederation, which stated that "Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence, and every power, jurisdiction and right, which is not by this confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled." This effect would create a confederation of states.The central government had limited powers under the Articles of Confederation, such as no provisions for a national judiciary or a separate executive branch of government. The articles made Congress the sole instrument of national authority, but also restricted it with safeguards to protect the interest of the states. Each state had one vote in Congress regardless of size or population. Delegates carried out the intentions of state legislatures. Any amendments added to the Articles required the unanimous consent of the states. The central principal behind the Articles was the fear of oppressive, centralized power.Ratified in 1781, the Articles of Confederation led to problems. Struggling from financing the Revolutionary War, America was now in debt by 11 million dollars. A nationalist named Robert Morris sought out to enhance financial and political reform. Morris founded the Bank of North America, which he used to hold government funds and issuing bank notes, so people could pay taxes owed to the United States. To achieve his goals, Morris had to gain from Congress what it always lacked. "The Power to Tax." This amendment did not pass. Without the power to tax, Congress would have no authority over economic affairs. This led to a second problem in the form of a severe depression in 1784.Delegates from several states met at the Annapolis Convention, in Maryland in September 1786. While there, nationalist's leaders called for all states to send delegates to render the constitutions of the Federal Government to better the Union. The leaders who met at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia formed an entirely new framework called the Constitution of the United States, which called for a federal republic with a powerful and effective national government. The Constitution was adopted in 1788.As presiding officer of the convention, George Washington was introduced to two different plans. The Virginia Plan, drafted by James Madison, would give Congress the power to legislate or nullify any state laws. In addition,...

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