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American Constitution V. the Articles of Confederation

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America's revolution against the British was fought for freedom from high taxation. Many Americans did not approve of the monarchial government of Britain. When the American Revolution ended, America formed a new type of government based on the ideas of republicanism. This idea revolved around the concept that ultimate political authority should be vested in the citizens of the nation. Republicanism was a very radical idea because no government in the past had ever tried or succeeded with the ideas of republicanism. America's first constitution was called the Articles of Confederations and it was drafted in 1777. This constitution only lasted for eleven year because the Federalists wanted to strengthen the government. In 1788, the new Federal Constitution was ratified by all the states except North Carolina and Rhode Island. In Document A, James Madison discusses how the "smallest state in the Union ha[d] obstructed every attempt to reform the government; that little member ha[d] repeatedly disobeyed and counteracted the general authority." The changes proposed by the new constitution only strengthened the initial system of government and proved essential to the survival of the nation.

The Articles of Confederation did not support a strong federal government. Many antifederalists did not want the government to have so much control over America. Amending the articles would require the confirmation of every state legislature. Unlike the king of Britain, the antifederalists were against one person ruling America and so they refused to appoint one single president under the Articles of Confederation. This created a weakness in the government. Under the Articles, the individual states would be represented by one to seven delegates with each state holding only one vote in Congress. The Articles gave the individual states more power than the federal government. When Congress needed money, it would have to ask the individual states to contribute money to the federal government. This complicated the government and made it extremely inefficient. Additionally, all of the judicial power would be given to the states. Regulation of commerce would be regulated by treaties that would hold no check on conflicting state regulations. The Articles of Confederation essentially gave much more power and control to individual states than to the federal government.

The Articles of Confederation were a failure because they gave the states more power over the federal government. In Document F, George Washington argues how the "Thirteen Sovereignties pulling against each other, and all tugging at the federal head will soon bring ruin on the whole." In support of the Constitution, Washington also states that "a liberal and energetic Constitution, well guarded and closely watched, to prevent encroachments, might restore [America] to that degree of respectability and consequence, to which [America] had a fair claim" (Document F). Rebellions were more likely to occur under the Articles of Confederation because it would be difficult for the states to raise an army in order to stop the rebellion. Additionally, it would be extremely hard for all the states of America to agree upon and issue and bring about change. The lack of a federal court



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