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Remedy the Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation (Research Paper Sample)


This task was a research report that discussed how the United States (U.S.) Constitution remedied the Articles of Confederation. The Articles of Confederation represented the first attempt by the U.S. to form a functional government to replace the British Crown. However, the Articles were lacking in several aspects such as legislative inefficiencies, economic disorganization, and central leadership, which resulted in governing challenges and political deadlocks. The paper discussed the various ways in which the U.S. Constitution addressed these challenges. The font style required was the Bookman Old Style.


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The United States Constitution: How did it Remedy the Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation?
The Articles of Confederation were adopted by the Continental Congress on November 15, 1777 and ratified by the states on March 1, 1781. The Articles, which created the United States, were the first attempt by the thirteen colonies that had fought in the American Revolution to form a functional government that could replace the British Crown. In response to their antipathy towards the British unitary government in which King George III wielded all legislative, executive, and judicial powers, the colonists were eager to create a decentralized system. Under the Articles of Confederation, the states retained their powers and freedom while the national government was kept weak. Article II established the predominance of the states that “Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled (Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, 1777).” However, the leaders were too concerned with limiting the powers of the central government that they neglected to make it adequately powerful to address the issues facing the new nation.
Challenges of the Articles of Confederation
The lack of a strong and powerful national government in the Articles of Association resulted in economic disorganization among the states, legislative inefficiencies, and inadequate central leadership (Brackemyre). On the economic front, Congress had no authority to regulate interstate trade. It was only allowed to manage trade with Native Americans, but could still not restrict any individual state from monitoring its own trade. Additionally, Congress could not engage in trade negotiations with foreign countries. While the national government had the power to enact foreign treaties, such treaties must not have restricted trade exports and imports by states (Ferrand, 534). The consequences were that each state had a different trade agenda and import and export policy. Economic coordination among the states, and between the central government and the states was minimal. The challenges were further compounded by the lack of a uniform currency system. The Articles empowered Congress to regulate state currencies, but failed to establish a uniform United States’ currency (Brackemyre). The absence of a common currency made interstate trade inefficient and trade with foreign countries difficult.
Under the Articles, Congress had no authority to raise revenue or impose taxes. Only the states could impose taxes. The states were obligated to contribute funds requested by the national government prorata to their land values. The states, which were also paying off their debts from the war could barely fund the national government (Farrand 536). As a result, government lacked adequate revenues to dispel its functions. Congress had no established budget. The economic inefficiencies arising from the Articles of Confederation plagued the United States with economic chaos. The mid-1780s was a period of low business and farming incomes, rampant inflation, farm foreclosures, and reduced export trade. Not only did the national government stand to lose its standing in the international economy, but an internal revolt by an impoverished population was also inevitable (Brackemyre).
Moreover, the design of the Articles of Confederation led to a lack of central leadership in the emerging nation. Since the national government could not raise money, establish the military, or regulate trade, it was inherently incapable of providing sufficient leadership. The national government had neither an independent judiciary nor a functional executive. The states could ignore national laws without the fear of retribution since the Confederate Congress had no instruments to enforce the laws it enacted (Ferrand, 540). Also, the ability of the government to deal with internal and external threats was significantly compromised. The Articles allowed the government to declare war, but had no powers to raise an army. It could not quell interval revolts such as the Shay’s rebellion which arose due to the post-war depression and the harsh taxation policies imposed by the states (Ferrand, 540). Congress was unable to compel states to send their militia to put down the uprisings, enlarging their scale and impact. The flaws in the Articles of Confederation made them ineffective in governing the new nation. To address the weaknesses, the United States constitution was written.
The United States Constitution
The objects of the constitution were to strengthen the powers of the national government and establish a federal system of checks and balances. The Constitution enhanced the authority of Congress by giving it enumerated powers. It empowered Congress to make laws that provided for the well-being of its citizens. In the new federal system under the new U.S. Constitution, power was clearly divided between the federal government and the states. The national government was bestowed delegated powers such as the power to declare war and make treaties. Reserved powers regarding the regulation of education and issuance of trade licenses remained with the states. More importantly, the Constitution contained the supremacy clause that barred states from passing laws in conflict with the Constitution or with the laws made by Congress (Ferrand, 542).
Although the Constitution enhanced the powers of the federal government, its framers were still afraid of the government having too much power. They, therefore, established a system of check and balances through the separation of powers between the legislature, executive, and the judiciary. Each arm of government was given power to check or limit the powers of the other two arms (Kian). For example, on the one hand, the executive could veto or reject laws made by Congress. On the other hand, Congress could impeach the President. In the new dispensation, the President whose function hitherto was to preside over Congress, would head the executive arm of government, choose a Cabinet, and would have checks on the powers of the legislature and judiciary. Whereas under the Articles of Confederation each state received one vote regardless of its size, the legislature under the Constitution would comprise a lower house (House of Representatives) and the upper house (Senate) wh

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