Articles of Confederation vs Constitution (With Table)

Before we learn Articles of Confederation vs Constitution, let’s learn a bit about USA’s history. The changes during the American Revolution were noted down on the Articles of Confederation and Constitution. Efforts of successful mobilization and organization are found in the Articles of Confederation. All the 13 states of the United States of America accepted and signed the regulations of the Confederation. On the other hand, The Constitution consists of the rules and regulations that are to be followed by the citizens of the country.

The Articles of the Confederation were adopted by the Continental Congress on November 15, 1777. In the articles, the colonies (now states) had retained most of the power which caused a weak central government. The central government had no important powers like control over the tax or foreign policies. The growing need for domestic unity and assistance had led to the ratification of the documents in 1776.

In 1781 the members were able to finalize the document. The Articles of Confederation gave added power in matters of diplomatic affairs and negotiation of land deals. In 1787, the shortcomings and flaws of the Articles were discussed in the Constitutional Convention held in Philadelphia. This led to the birth of the Constitution in the month of September. After a time period of ten years, the United States had adopted a new and better Constitution.

Comparison Table: Articles of Confederation VS. Constitution

Criteria Articles of Confederation Constitution
Legislative decisionsFollows the unicameral system of governance.Follows the bicameral system of governance where the power is divided among the Senate and the House of Representatives.
VoteEach state, irrespective of its size, was given one vote to cast.Each senator or representative is given one vote to cast.
Executive decisionsThere is no provision of an executive branch in the Articles of Confederation.The executive head of the government or the President is chosen with the help of the electoral college.
Drafting lawsApproval of nine states out of the total thirteen states is needed.Approval of half of the nominees is needed out of the total nominees of the state.
Tax lawsOnly the State was allowed to carry on responsibilities regarding the taxes.Both the federal government and the state government were allowed to levy and collect taxes.
Judicial decisionsThe state court enforces all the laws.The federal court enforces all the laws.
Articles of Confederation Vs Constitution Table
Articles of Confederation vs Constitution: Difference Between Articles of Confederation and Constitution
Difference Between Articles of Confederation and Constitution

About The Articles of Confederation

A bond of the Articles of Confederation and the Perpetual Union was signed between the 13 states of America. It was one of the earliest agreements for the central government which led to a weak system.

The Articles of Confederation was a written document that was formed with the main idea of dividing the powers among all of the states. The committee that finalized the draft was led by John Dickinson. Arguments relating to the distribution of power still continued for a long time. The provisions of the articles gave minimum power to the central government. The Government was refusing to settle down with this solution.

About The Constitution

The Constitution decided how a country should be governed. The American Constitution was formed in 1789. It permanently replaced the Articles of Confederation. A more detailed system of governance was laid out by the Constitution. It placed emphasis on the relationship between the federal government and the states.

The foundation for civil liberties was established in the Bill of Rights. A bicameral system was created by the Constitution. The powers were divided between the upper house and the lower house i.e. the Senate and the House of Representatives. Each legislative representative was allowed one vote. One of the main features of the Constitution was the executive branch of the Government.

The Executive head i.e. the President, was chosen by the electoral college. The federal government was given more power over money and taxes. It was also given the right to tax individuals. This right gave the new government the ability to raise and support the military and the Congress.

The Constitution gave the federal government the right to raise an army that can be used to deal with conflicting and troubling situations. The Constitution formed the backbone of the country as it divided the power among the different departments.

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Difference Between Articles of Confederation and Constitution

1) Legislature

The Articles of Confederation had a unicameral system of governance in the form of Congress. On the other hand, the US Constitution had a bicameral system. The United States Congress is divided into the upper house known as the Senate and the lower house is known as the House of Representatives.

2) Vote

The Articles of Confederation had one vote for every single state. In the case of the US constitution, every senator or representative had one vote.

3) Branch of Executive

The Articles of the Confederation didn’t facilitate the establishment of the executive branch. But the new Constitution eliminated the flaw by introducing the executive brand of the government. The executive, in other words, the president was chosen by the electoral college.

4) Making of laws

Previously the Articles were considered to be the supreme law. The national government in order to pass new laws had to gain the approval of nine states out of the thirteen states. With the ratification of the new constitution, this changed and now the approval of half of the total nominees is needed.

5) Taxes

In the Articles of Confederation, the national government was not allowed to levy taxes on the citizens. The State was in charge of the tax laws. On the other hand, the loophole created by the confederation was fixed by the constitution, Both the federal government and the state government were allowed to levy and collect taxes.

6) Judiciary

Previously, the law of the land was the Articles of Confederation. The state court-enforced all the laws as the federal courts were not in the picture. The whole system was changed by the Constitution. A greater emphasis was placed on the federal court system. The task of resolving disputes and cases between the states as well as the citizens was assigned to the federal court. The disputes were solved by the Supreme Court and not by Congress.

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