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History on the Articles of Confederation and Constitution

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Essay title: History on the Articles of Confederation and Constitution

History on the Articles of Confederation And Constitution

The first constitution and government of the colonies, the Articles of Confederation, was drafted by John Dickinson in 1776, during the Second Continental Congress, and was ratified by all thirteen states on March 1, 1781, remaining the unifying document of the states until June 21, 1788. The Articles provided for a loose confederation of the independent states, which gave limited powers to a central government. The Articles created a weak government and proved to have many major failures. However, the Articles did provide some successes as a tool of government.

The present U.S. Constitution was drafted in 1787 at the Constitutional Convention to modify and address the failures of the Articles of Confederation. Historians have argued over whether the Articles of Confederation or the Constitution provided for a more democratic government. Opposing to what most Americans believe, the Articles were more democratic because they gave more power to the states and the people. Some of the failures of the Articles of Confederation can be reviewed through the borders and restricted powers that Congress possessed under the Confederation.

First and foremost, Congress had no power to levy taxes on the states; instead it depended on donations made by the states. The states repulsed the idea of federal taxation, which led to overwhelming increase in the currency by 98 percent, because Congress did not have enough funding. Another handicap of Congress was that it wasn't able to control interstate or foreign commerce, which resulted in doubt and higher prices for merchants and consumers. Congress could pass laws, but were not able to force the states to obey with them. Consequently, the government was dependent on the willingness of the different states to comply with them, and often times, the states refused to cooperate. Congress did not have the power to draft troops; they were needy on states to contribute forces. Although Congress did have the power to coin money, very little money was coined under this government.

Many other weaknesses still existed under the Articles of Confederation. First of all, under the Articles, there was no executive head of the government. Therefore, having a strong central government was nearly impossible, because there was no executive to be in charge of over the nation. In addition to, there was no judicial system with any federal courts. The Articles of Confederation required ratification by all thirteen states, which nearly eliminated any chance of change. On voting matters, certain resolutions dealing with war, treaties, regulation of coinage, etc., required the approval of nine states to be ratified.

Finally, this government created protective disputes over lands west of the Appalachian, which led to open hostilities. The Articles of Confederation created a wide variety of failures for the United States. Although the failures drastically outweigh the successes, there were still some successes under the Articles of Confederation. The most important success was probably the settlement of land disputes over the Ohio Valley. The Land Ordinance of 1785 provided that the land of the Old Northwest should be sold and proceeds should be used to pay off national debt. Next, the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 was passed and dealt with the governing of the Old Northwest. The passage of the Northwest Ordinance provided for logical admission of states to the Union. Under the Articles of Confederation, territorial arguments were settled, which led to greater expansion of the U.S.

Another success of the Articles was that it proved to be a stepping-stone towards the present Constitution. General powers that were to be exercised by the central government, such as making treaties, establishing a postal service, and borrowing and issuing money were clearly outlined in the Confederation. The Articles of Confederation, although very weak, proved to be a landmark in government.

Since the Articles were the first written constitution of the Republic, they kept the ideal of the union alive and held the states together. The Articles provided an example for the writing of the future Constitution, and proved to be a sign in government laws, making it a success as a tool of government. The Constitutional Convention first met on May 25, 1787, to change the Articles of Confederation, by creating a new constitution. On June 21, 1788, the U.S. Constitution was ratified and adopted, specifically addressing the many failures of the Articles of Confederation.

First off, the Constitution created a strong central government with a firm combination of the people, unlike the loose confederation of the states, established by the Articles. An executive branch was created, and headed by the President, who

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