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Articles of Confederation and Constitution of the US Essay

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Updated: Jan 23rd, 2021

Drafted in 1776 and ratified on 1 March 1781, the Articles of Confederation was the first constitution for the government of the colonies. It remained an essential tool for states unity until 1 June 1788 when the constitution came promulgated. However, the central governments had limited powers under the rule of the Articles. It proposed a weak confederation of the independent states. The result was the creation of an extremely weak government that ended up failing in its mandate.

Faced with the weaknesses of the Articles, the need for a strict binding rule was imminent; hence the drafting of the current constitution in 1787. The two sets of law proposed governments that were more democratic. However, the Articles gave more power to the people and the states. The Second Continental Congress made changes to the Article through the borders and reduced the Congress powers.

The Articles of Confederation had other weaknesses, as noted in the paragraphs. It was difficult to have a strong central government as the Articles did not provide for an executive head to lead the government and had a weak judicial system with no federal courts. It was also difficult to make any change in the documents. Certain pertinent resolutions like adoption of treaties, war issues and regulation of coinage required at least nine of the member states to ratify through voting.

Nevertheless, the Articles of Confederation was used as a stepping stone towards the current constitution. The general powers for the central government were clearly outlined in the Articles of confederation and hence adopted by the constitution.

The Articles also settled territorial arguments that saw an expansion of the U.S. The most notable territorial argument was over the Ohio Valley, which was achieved through the Land Ordnance of 1785. It provided that the government was to sale the Old Northwest (Ranney & Austin, p.63). The proceeds were to be used to settle national financial obligations. In 1787, the Northwest Ordinance legislated and provided guidelines on the management of Old Northwest. It provided for logical admission of all states to the Union.

In conclusion, the Articles of Confederation was generally weak. It appeared to remain democratic only because it provided more powers and rights to the states. Despite the several successes the Articles had, there were enormous weaknesses and failures. The drafting of the current constitution relied much on the failures of these Articles. Therefore, a strong, democratic, central government was created with its current constitution.

Works Cited

McKay, David. “The Reluctant European: Europe as an Issue in British politics.” Britain at the Polls 2005, Ed. John Bartle, Anthony King. Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2006. 78-97. Print.

Ranney, Austin. The Doctrine of Responsible Party Government: It’s Origins and Present State. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2004. Print.

Seyd, Patrick. “Tony Blair and New Labor.” New Labor Triumphs: Britain at the Polls, Ed. Anthony King et al. Chatham, NJ: Chatham House Publishers, 2008. 49-75. Print.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Articles of Confederation and Constitution of the US." January 23, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/articles-of-confederation-and-constitution-of-the-us/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Articles of Confederation and Constitution of the US'. 23 January.

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