Articles of Confederation

The Articles of Confederation were the first written constitution of the United States. These Articles created a legislature where there was equal representation of each state. The Congress had the power over relations, foreign, with the capacity to create alliance and form treaties, make peace and war, sustain the navy and army, coin money, form admiralty courts, create a postal service and settle disputes (Burgess, 19). The Congress had the power to operate with moderation over states. They were successful in allowing equal state votes in Congress.

The Articles of Confederation were created from past experience and urgent necessity. After independence declarations by the colonies, a government was needed to oversee war operations and help peace settlement. Basic issues were supposed to be addressed. Articles of Confederation and the Perpetual Union were submitted to states after being drafted in 1777 (Patterson, 67). These articles were designed on colonial charters. The legislative branch has power over other branches.

There were several weaknesses related to the Articles of Confederation. The government came up with a new strategy to solve these weaknesses. A constitution was written to clarify and rectify these weaknesses. The states were loosely controlled by a national legislature under the Articles of Confederation. However, the national legislature could not impose or tax (Patterson, 72). The system lacked a chief executive. Taxation would be requested by the national government to each state and states wanted to only level up their debts. The national currency was not available.

Some of the other weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation were giving states too much power and limited power to the central government. Basically, they helped create a central government that is weak. Under this, the states failed to operate effectively as a unified nations. The Articles of Confederation lacked separate executive departments which would enforce and carry out congressional acts. The National court system was unavailable to interpret laws and their meanings. For a major law to be passed, nine of the thirteen states must vote in approval (Farrand, 43).

In the case of an attack, there was no ready army to fight for and protect the nation. The Articles of Confederation gave states the power to create their own foreign policy that included the passing of other states. The war had crippled the country with debt. The Articles of Confederation did not, however, allow the congress collect taxes. The congress would only request money from other states. The Articles helped create a unicameral legislature. This legislature made it impossible to separate powers.

Under Articles of Confederation, the congress solely governed the country. When not in session, an executive committee managed government affairs. If disputes arose amongst states, temporal courts could be established by the congress to hear and solve disputes. Articles of Confederation granted the government the power to establish measures and weights, appoint military officials and print, requisite and lend or borrow money.

Under the Articles of Confederation, the central government was weakened since states had the majority of powers. Changing or amending the Articles of Confederation was impossible since these Articles required a unanimous approval from all the states. Congress, under the Articles of Confederation, lacked the power to manage and control commerce because it would cause state competition and diplomatic issues.

States disregarded, blatantly, rules made by the congress. The league of friendship bound the states together. This meant that states were not obligated to make any contribution to support or improve other states.

Having witnessed the weaknesses the Articles posed, the founding fathers agreed to create a strong federal government to act as an arbitrator when conflicts ensued in and between states to enforce solutions to these disputes. Over time, these weaknesses magnified. The founding fathers decided to write the constitution (Dougherty, 2006).

Just like the articles of confederation, the constitution allowed the congress to control foreign policies by treaties. However, the articles failed to check on regulations on conflicting states but the constitution mandate that all state control must have a consent from the congress (Hoffert, 1992). There would be only a single house in national legislation. The articles of confederation required every state legislature confirmation unlike the constitution’s three-fourths of the state legislatures or conventions.

The constitution of 1787 however held different views in the houses of congress, house representatives where they were chosen for two years by the people, unlike the annual term (Partner, 2000). The state legislature would select the US senate and serve for six-year terms. By having a non-unanimous vote and longer terms, consistency was achieved in the tactics of governing. Petty problems arising from disagreements were cut down also. Since the articles had no executive branch, the constitution remedied this weakness by electing the president who has executive power alongside the Vice President.

There was a noticeable difference between the judicial and executive views between the constitution and Articles of Confederation. There was a preference for no separate branches of the executive in the Articles of Confederation. The constitution preferred executive branches to be separate. Both the constitution and articles of confederation agreed to elect their citizens as president. Constitutionally, the president would serve for four years whereas the president would serve for one year as stated in the articles.

The constitution fixed the problem of the congress not having enough power to raise an army, regulate foreign and interstate trade, collect taxes and enforce laws on states by allocating enumerated powers to the congress. Enumerated power must be listed, case in point, the power to raise taxes. The congress is also provided with wiggle room by the constitution. The General Welfare Clause in the constitution states that congress can make laws that will better the wellbeing of their citizens. The Necessary and Proper Clause in the constitution gives congress the power to make laws that are proper and necessary to enact listed powers.

On states having more power than the central government was remedied by the constitution by facilitating federalism. Power is divided between the state and federal government as stipulated in the United States Constitution. Under delegated powers, specific powers are given to the central government like making treaties and declaring war. In reserved powers, states are given specific powers like education regulation and license issuance and concurrent powers are shared between the state and federal government like taxation policies (Burgess, 75). The Supremacy Clause declares that the supreme law of the land, US, is its constitution. Therefore, conflicting laws cannot be made by states nor can state neglect or ignore laws passed by the congress. States cannot make laws that conflict with congress laws.

On the fear by the Framers that the federal government will have more power, the constitution solved this by power separation. The constitution gives each branch-executive, legislative and judicial- different and specific powers and tasks. This way no one branch has more power. There are also balances and checks in the constitution (Sobel, 2012). Each branch, say the executive, is allocated power to a ‘check’ or limit other branches-legislative and executive power. The president has the power to reject or veto laws passed by the congress. The congress also has the power to impeach the president. No branch can take over because it is checked by the other branches. A limited government is also created by the constitution. The central government has limited powers that the constitution grants it. People authorise the constitution, therefore, the central government cannot do what the constitution has not authorised.

The legislative branch passes laws. In checks and balances, the legislative branch can override a veto by a two-third majority vote of both houses, remove the president from office by impeaching, form executive programs and agencies and appropriate funds over the executive branch (Vile, 81). Over the judiciary, the legislative branch creates federal courts, lower, assign salaries for judges, and propose amendments that overrule court rulings. The legislative may also remove and impeach federal judges fail to confirm judicial appointees.

The constitution tasks the executive branch with law enforcement. The executive branch checks and balances the legislature by vetoing congress acts, calling special congress sessions and recommend legislation. Over the judiciary, the executive branch appoints federal judges, grant pardons and reprieves and fail to implement court rulings.

The judicial branch is tasked to interpret the law by the constitution. Over the legislature, the judicial branch can make legislative acts unconstitutional and the Chief Justice chairs the removal of the president or his/her impeachment. The judiciary can overrule over executive actions on the ground of being unconstitutional.

On fixing the domestic economy, the constitution gave congress the power to collect and levy taxes for the central government. The central government was given the power to form a uniform currency. Unlike the league of friendship in the articles of confederation, the constitution has joined states in a permanent union. States depend on others to solve their problems and issues (Landever, 41).

On remedying the voting issue, the constitution formed the House of Representatives. The house is based on state population and each representative has one vote. In the senate, there are two representatives from each state. The senate representatives also have one vote. The senate has the power to manage and control the power of larger states.

There were no federal courts in Articles of Confederation. The constitution remedied this by creating a judicial arm of the government. The one Supreme Court will hold all judicial powers together with the inferior courts. Some of the inferior courts are local courts, state supreme and appellate courts. Federal judges were appointed by the president. Federal offenders may be granted pardons and reprieves by the President in the constitution (Sloss, 58).

Rules and regulations are made by the congress for the navy and military personnel to abide by. Articles of Confederation failed to allocate power for control and regulation of military service and personnel. The congress must support and create the military service.

The current constitution does not mention crucial political structures that citizens take for granted. Congressional committees and political parties are not mentioned at all. There is a compromise in very bill passed. The US constitution is chaos recipe (Landever, 54).

The Framers actively opposed the constitution. They feared for populist caprice and demagogic excess. They created gatekeepers and buffers between government and voters to stop this from happening. The House of Representatives would be the only chamber where the representatives were elected directly. A radical would have to pass through the state legislature to get into the senate. One would also have to pass the Electoral College to be able to be the president. The Electoral College comprised of elders. These elders will then choose the president unlike the current system.

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