Constitution And The Article Of Confederation

998 words - 4 pages


“The Constitution devotes the national domain to union, to justice, to defense, to welfare and to liberty” (Maier 154). This quote, stated by William Henry Seward, displays the strength and stability that the Constitution had over the nation, and the liberty and justice it supplied for all of its citizens. Although the Constitution and the Articles of Confederation have similarities, they have many differences, which proved that the Articles of Confederation were a weaker document in comparison. It can be said that the Articles were the “rough draft” to the final living document, which significantly influenced and “ruled” our government, as it still does today.
Because of their experience with Great Britain, the 13 states feared a powerful central government. For this reason, the Articles of Confederation, written in 1777, gave the states more control than the government. The Continental Congress had been careful to give the states as much independence as possible and to specify the limited functions of the federal government. “The national government would consist of a single house of Congress, where each state would have one vote. Congress had the power to set up a postal department, to estimate the costs of the government and request donations from the states, to raise armed forces, and to control the development of the western territories. With the consent of nine of the thirteen states, Congress could also coin, borrow, or appropriate money as well as declare war and enter into treaties and alliances with foreign nations” (). A problem arose early in the first years of the Articles of Confederation. This problem was one of the main downfalls of the Articles, and one of the main reasons why the Constitution was born. This dilemma was that there were many

disagreements among the states, and there could be no amendments made to the Articles unless there was a unanimous vote. It is very rare in politics to have a common idea that
everyone agrees with. The small states wanted equal representation with the large states in Congress, and the large states were afraid they would have to pay an excessive amount of money to support the federal government. These disagreements also included quarrels over boundary lines, conflicting decisions by state courts, differing tariff laws, and trade restrictions between states (). In addition, the states disagreed over control of the western territories. The states with no frontier borders wanted the government to control the sale of these territories so that all the states profited. On the other hand, the states bordering the frontier wanted to control as much land as they could. Eventually the states agreed to give control of all western lands to the federal government, paving the way for final ratification of the articles on March 1, 1781 (). There was no independent executive and no veto of legislation. “Judicial proceedings in each state were to be honored by all other states. The federal government...

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