The U.S Constitution vs. The Articles of Confederation: A Review
The two documents, namely the U.S constitution with amendments and the articles of confederation several distinct differences although they are both political entities. The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the United States of America while the Articles of Confederation served as its first constitution and was in effect from March 1, 1781, to June 21, 1788. The main objective of this paper is to review both documents and critically analyze them in order to ascertain which one is better. There are a lot of documents that have been used to govern countries all over the globe but for the sake of this essay, only these two will be looked at.
2. The U.S Constitution with Amendments
One key area where there is a difference between these two documents is in terms of the legislature power. According to the U.S Constitution, there are two houses in Congress; the Senate and House of Representatives while the Articles of Confederation had only one house in Congress. The second document also provided that each state would be represented by two senators irrespective of its population size while the first document gives every state equal representation in the Senate. In the House of Representatives, seats are apportioned according to the population size of each state as against equal representation of each state in the House under the Articles of Confederation. The second document also places more power in the hands of the president as compared to when operating under the Articles of Confederation. For instance, under the second document, presidents have veto power over legislation while this was not provided for in the first constitution. Presidents are also given powers to make treaties with foreign nations and appoint ambassadors with Senate approval while this again was not expressly provided for in the Articles of Confederation. These presidential powers were not absolute as they were subject to some checks and balances by Congress and the Supreme Court according to provisions contained in the second document. One such check was that any treaty made by the president had to be approved by two-thirds majority vote in the Senate before it could be effected. The articles of confederation also did not provide for how long presidents could serve while under the U.S Constitution, presidents serve a four-year term which is renewable once subject to winning another election into office. The process for amending both documents is quite different as well with it being easier to amend the Articles of Confederation than it is to amend the U.S Constitution. Under Article Vlllofthe Articlesof Confederation, any alteration or amendment that states may wish to make must be unanimously agreed upon by all 13 states for it to take effect. For amendments to be made tothe U.S Constitution however, it requires a two-thirds majority vote by both housesin Congress or a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of state legislatures followedby ratification by three fourths or 38 outofthe 50states,
3. The Articlesof Confederation
The main reason whythe Articlesof Confederationwere replaced was because they were foundto be too weakand had given too much powerto individual statesat a timewhen what was neededwas a strongcentral government that could unifythe countryand help it grow economicallyand militarily especiallywith threatscoming from outside forces such asthe Britishand French who still had their coloniesin North America.Underthe articlesof confederationthere was no effectivewayto raise taxesand so mostofthe financialburdenfor runningthe governmentfell on stateswhichwere unableor unwillingto meet their obligations.There was also no nationalcurrencyand so different statesissued their own money leading to inflation.The confederationalso had no standing armyor navy and so it was unableto protectitself from foreigninvaders or put down domesticrebellions such as Shay’s Rebellion.
From the foregoing, it is quite clear that the Articles of Confederation were quite weak and this is why they were replaced by the U.S Constitution which is much stronger. The U.S Constitution has been in effect for over 200 years now and it has served the country well even as it has undergone several amendments to keep up with the changing times.