The Constitution and the Article of Confideration

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The Articles of Confederation were the first constitutions of the United States of America, which were formed in 1781 by thirteen former British colonies (Krill, 2014). During this time, the colonies needed to band together to resist the British government and seize control. While the article of confederation was effective in granting the states a unified voice, it struggled to create a stable nation, giving way to the constitution. Power was vested in the states under the Articles of Confederation, and the central government had no control over them. The constitution, current supreme law in the United States of America, was passed in 1787 from the need to have a single nation with one government that would verse the country’s operations (Sidlow & Henschen, 2010). This research analyses the article of confederation and the constitution with the aim of establishing the strengths of the constitution as the foundation.

Features of Article of Confederation


The article of confederation made all states sovereign. All the thirteen states could hence make their own rules that would govern them without requiring the discretion of the national government. Each state hence decided on their taxation, military and even monetary policy (Krill, 2014). Every state set rules depending on their current needs and financial position.

Power to enter into treaties

The different states also had the power to enter into legal and trade treaties with other nations without needing the approval of the national government. In this case, each state would have its trade terms including tariffs and the goods that would be allowed inside and outside their state (Sidlow & Henschen, 2010).

Make own money

In the article of confederation, each state would make its money and establish their currency (Sidlow & Henschen, 2010). There as hence no overruling power about the financial matters as each state understood its needs better. Further, every state had the right to borrow the money that would need from other states and nation to run their affairs.

Features of the Constitution

National government control

With the constitution, the national government gained the overall power to mint money, make and implement fiscal and monetary policies. As at the time when the constitution was passed, different states had accumulated a lot of debt that would only be dealt with using the right policies. Although the states also had some powers like settling court disputes among the members, the federal government would then form a unified legal structure that would serve as a foundation of maters that would be settled in court (Krill, 2014). The constitution also helped to establish a federal court system that would also help to solve disputes arising between Different states.

Military control

The national government had full control over the military. The constitution would decide on the number of militants that would be engaged in war and their compensation (Sidlow & Henschen, 2010). Since the national government now had mandate over the other states, it could command each state to submit a specific number of soldiers that would be engaged in war.

Explain why you support or agree with the final decision to select the constitution as the foundation versus the article of confederation

The constitution was indeed a better option compared to the article of confederation. While using the article of confederation the national government had no power and it was indeed under the mercy of the different states to function. For instance, the different states would decide on their military troops that would engage in war and even the amount of finances to submit to the national government (Sidlow & Henschen, 2010). The federal government also had dues to pay to the militants and the constitution gave them the ability to manage their finances.

Every state had varied needs meaning that finances were articulated differently which also brought resentment among the different states. While some states would focus on paying the veterans solders, others would simply improve their states and this brought hostility between the nations. A nation ought to have a singular superior power that other states can look up to. It is important that a nation is identified with what it can do and the article of confederation lacked this provision. If the national government was always at the mercy of the states and would not even enforce laws, the nation was on its way to its downfall.

Having the article of confederation would likely bring America down. For instance, different states would print their own money which seemed high on their face value but had low purchasing power. There was hence a threat of inflation and this would further devastate the country (Bardes, Shelley & Schmidt, 2009). Each state would also make their laws regarding taxation and there lacked uniformity within the country. Further, every state would also make their own laws regarding trades and tariffs which meant that each state would have to comply and this further brought confusion between them.

In times of difficulty, the different states would each decide on the military troops that they would send to war. Sometimes the country would remain understaffed in the military and this would also threaten the country’s security since they were vulnerable to attacks. The former colony, Britain would also equip the Indians and this would help them attack the Americans (Bardes,et.all., 2009) . Since the security was weak at the borders, farmers were denied access to various markets and even the chance to trade their goods across the port of New Orleans on the Mississippi border (Amar, 2005).

Issues within the community members were also solved by the state courts and there was no uniformity between the thirteen states. Having a national government in this case would help bring sanity in the different states. The constitution would hence allow the different states to have their by-laws with the supreme authority lying with the national government (Amar, 2005). There was also uniformity in how decisions were made. In this case, the size of the states did not matter when it came to passing laws as compared to the article of confederation where power was determined by the size of the states. The constitution was also a better option since it helped to establish a sound financial system and enter into treaties with other nations. The constitution hence helped to streamline trade in the country and the ability to establish cordial relationships with different nations.


Although the article of confederation was established to unite the three American states, it only created a gap between the nations. Every state selfishly catered for its needs without considering the state of the nation. For instance each state would make its own laws, print money and even tax thus leaving the national government at their mercy. The constitution thus helped to bring sanity in America and helped to revive the dwindling economy. With the constitution, the member states would be assured of better court procedures, economic stability and protection under the military. The constitution was hence the best form of law for America and it has since helped it be the great nation it is today.


Amar, A. R. (2005). America's Constitution: A biography. New York: Random House.

Bardes, B. A., Shelley, M. C., & Schmidt, S. W. (2009). American government and politics today: The essentials. Belmont, Calif: Wadsworth.

Krill, J. P. (2014). Fedzilla vs. the Constitution. BookBaby.

Sidlow, E., & Henschen, B. (2010). Govt. Boston: Wadsworth Pub. Co.

October 07, 2021

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