Compare and contrast the Articles of Confederation with the U.S. Constitution

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The differences between these two documents are, in general, more significant than the similarities.  That is why the people who wrote the Constitution felt that it was so important to have a new constitution rather than simply amending the old one.  However, there were a few similarities.

The most important similarity was that the country set up by each document was to be a democratic country.  There is no provision for a monarch in either document.  In both documents, it is forbidden to create and grant “titles of nobility.”  There was to be no monarchy or aristocracy.

There were some other relatively important commonalities.  Each document asserted that the national government should be in charge of foreign affairs.  Each one said that the states had to treat the citizens of other states as equals of their own citizens.  Each document had a Congress.

But the differences are much greater.  To begin with, the Articles did not even really set up a country, but rather a loose confederation between states that were to be sovereign and independent.  The Articles did not have a government with separation of powers and checks and balances.  The Articles only had a unicameral Congress without executive or judiciary.  The national government under the Articles had no power to impose taxes on anyone.  It could not regulate commerce.  In short, the Articles did not create a government that is in any serious way (other than being democratic) like the one that the Constitution created. 

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