How did the Constitution increase the strength of the federal government from the Articles of Confederation?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There were many problems with the Articles of Confederation.  The national government did not have the power to levy taxes on the people.  Instead, it had to ask the states for money and hope that they complied.  The government did not have an executive branch led by a chief executive who could actually lead the country.  It did not have the power to maintain a standing military.  The states had a great deal of power over the national government and could veto its actions.  The states were practically independent and, therefore, were able to do things like engaging in trade wars with one another. All of these weaknesses were fixed by the Constitution.

The Constitution gave the federal government the power to “lay and collect taxes.”  It created a separate executive branch of the government that would be headed by a single president with relatively important powers.  It had the power to “raise and support” an army and to “provide and maintain” a navy.  The states no longer had the power to veto actions by the federal government.   The Congress had the power to regulate trade between the states, thus making the states less like independent countries and less able to engage in trade wars with one another.  In these ways, the Constitution strengthened the federal government in areas where the Articles of Confederation had left it weak.


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