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The Difference between the Articles and the Constitution



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The Difference between the Articles and the Constitution

There are distinct differences between the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution. First is the codification of law where the articles adhered to unicameralism which involved mandating a single chamber in the parliament while the Constitution followed bicameralism where parliament is divided into two chambers (Van Cleve, 2017). There is also an apparent difference in voting power such that every legislature was allowed to vote in the parliament according to the new constitution but the Articles accorded each start a single vote. Another difference is the distribution of power where power in the Articles was distributed between numerous unions while in the Constitution, the central authority had the ultimate power with power division between subordinates (Maggs, 2017). Bill of rights is another area with distinct difference in that the Articles did not allow citizens to claim the Bill of Rights while the Constitution regarded all the citizens as equal and could claim the Bill of Rights. Finally, law enforcement differed significantly between the Articles and the Constitution. In the Articles of Confederation, the law could be enforced everywhere only with the support of 9 out of 13 states (Maggs, 2017). Contrarily, the Constitution mandated that both the houses in the parliament should support that law for it to be amended in the country.

The primary objective for rewriting the Articles of Confederation was to empower the strong central government. The Articles of Confederation established a government where the colonies, currently states had most of the power (Van Cleve, 2017). As such, the central government was rendered weak without fundamental powers such as the ability to control tax or foreign policy. For instance, in 1786, some of the residents from western Massachusetts under the leadership of Daniel Shay, former Continental Army Captain rebelled as a result of the high taxes of the state as well as wartime debt (Van Cleve, 2017). It is therefore, clear that the federal government that the Articles established was incapable of addressing internal rebellions since it lacked the necessary funds and the military power. As such, the Constitution Convention met in May 1787 in Philadelphia to solve the inadequacies of the Articles, resulting to the new Constitution.


Maggs, G. E. (2017). A Concise Guide to the Articles of Confederation as a Source for Determining the Original Meaning of the Constitution. Geo. Wash. L. Rev., 85, 397.

Van Cleve, G. W. (2017). We have not a government: The Articles of Confederation and the road to the Constitution. Chicago: IL, University of Chicago Press.

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