Articles Of Confederation (Weaknesses) Versus Constitution (Strengths) Essay, Research Paper
The Constitutional Convention to revise the Articles of Confederation ended up resulting in the overthrow of the Articles and the writing of the Constitution. Originally, the Articles of Confederation had provided America with a loose form of government that gave more power to the states than anything else. While at first this seemed to be the most logical way to govern the new country — seeing as how they were trying to avoid a central authority such as a powerful national government — it ended up being a disastrous method of self-rule.
Indisputeably, there were more weaknesses in the Articles of Confederation than there were strengths. This plan for a loose confederation of states gave the central government that the document itself established almost no power whatsoever; Congress could not authorize to raise money by way of taxation, control commerce, draft troops, enforce laws, coin money, or regulate interstate trade. Each state was only given one vote in Congress; this meant that lesser populated states were represented the same as more densely populated states, thus resulting in unfair representation. Under the Articles, there was no system of federal courts. All thirteen of the states had to agree to amend the Articles of Confederation if it were deemed necessary, and nine of the thirteen had to approve any potential laws. Once again tying into the fact that sovereignty resided in the states, there was no executive with power under the Articles. All the president did was merely preside over Congress, which had barely enough power as it was.
The delegates at the Constitutional Convention, even with the initial intentions of simply revising the Articles, agreed that it would almost be easier just to rewrite the entire thing. The Constitution of the United States of America fixed nearly all the terrible defects within the Articles of Confederation. Even though it gave the majority of power to the central government, it was clear to see that such self-rule was their only alternative. The Articles made them see that weak is good, but not that weak. Under the Constitution, Congress was given the power to levy taxes, regulate trade between the states, raise an army, control interstate commerce, and more. A three-branch government was established in which a judicial branch handled disputes in a federal court system, a President headed a exective branch, and a legislative branch with both population-based and population-independent representation made laws. Amending the Constitution took only a 2/3 vote from both houses of Congress plus 3/4 of state legislatures or national conventions, unlike the unanimous vote demanded by the Articles. Passing laws required one vote over half of both houses plus the signature of the President, not nine out of thirteen like before.
While even the Constitution couldn’t solve all the problems of the Articles, it certainly took care of the vast majority. Americans got used to the idea of trusting a central power once again, even if it was what they were trying to get away from being having a revolution in the first place. Scrapping the Articles and devising a Constitution was the first step in the right direction in terms of American democracy and its future.