The Articles of Confederation

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From 1781 to 1789, did the Articles of Confederation provide the United States with an effective government?

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The Articles of Confederation was the first Constitution of the United States and was in operation from 1781 to 1789. It united the newly created states and provided an important foundation for the American system of governance.

However, despite the unification that the document established, the Articles of Confederation emphasized the powers of the individual states over the central powers of a federal government. In fact, the Articles of Confederation did not provide for a national office of President. It called for a unicameral legislature, meaning there was only one house of Congress. This differs from the bicameral legislature—composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives—that we have today under the Constitution.

The Constitution improved on the Articles of Confederation in many ways. It introduced the executive office of the presidency. It also established a clear separation of balanced powers, both in the bicameral legislature and in the balance of the three branches...

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