Articles of Confederation vs the United States Constitution

The Articles of Confederation versus the United States Constitution Before the Consitution, there was the Articles of Confederation. Created during the Revolutionary War; the Congress began to put in motion the Articles for ratification in 1777. This was the first attempt of the United States to establish a working government. At the time, it became a requirement for all 13 colonies to ratify the Articles in order for the Articles of Confederation to become officially certified and effective.

The first state to ratify the Articles of Confederation was Virginia on December 16, 1777. The process became stalled when some states refused to repeal their claims to land they declared in the West. Whereas Maryland refused to go along with the ratification until Virginia and New York agreed to relinquish the claims they declared in the Ohio River Valley, leaving an unrelenting Maryland as the last holdout. When Virginia and New York finally agreed Maryland came around, and the Articles became ratifyied on March 1, 1781. One of the first failures of the Articles of Confederation is that the federal government had no power to compel the states to implement anything. The Articles of Confederation were a creation of a frail central government, there was no federal court system under the Articles. Most of the power went to the state governments because there were fears of recreating a British Monarchy like government.

This made it so the Congress could not enforce the laws or levy taxs; this was one of the major weaknesses under the Articles, along with the lack of power to regulate the trade between states, and with foreign nations. Most of the military power was in the hands of the state militias, as the Congress could not force any state to meet its alloted quota for troops or for the armaments and equipment needed to support a Federal Army. This was because the Articles of Confederation did not have the teeth to punish a state if it did not contribute its share to the federal budget. Another weakness in the Articles of Confederation was the veto.

All amendments not only had to have the ratification of all of the 13 states but also all significant legislation needed approval of at least nine states. Because a number of delegates were often not in attendance, one or two states were regularly able to overturn legislative proposals with ease. The Articles of Confederation did not permit nor create an executive branch, and the Congress became a one-body legislature. This placed too much power into the hands of individual states. It took four years before the Articles of Confederation receive approval by the states.

“They were superseded by the Constitution; ratified in 1788” (History Central, 2000, p. 1). The Articles of Confederation stated that there was a perpetual union between the states, while individual states remained sovereign. Even though many of the same people established the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution, the two documents are very different. The United States Constitution addresses the imperfections in the Articles of Confederation by giving more of the power to the federal government. This is so the federal government can resolve disputes between states and compel states to pursue federal laws. This provides for a stronger central government with an elected executive branch, a powerful legislature, and the appointment of judges. T