How did federalism and the constitutional convention solve the problems from the Articles of Confederation?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The system of government created as a result of the Constitutional Convention helped resolve some of the issues we faced while the Articles of Confederation was our plan of government. The main issue under the Articles of Confederation was the federal government didn’t have much power. This was done intentionally because the colonists feared a government with too much power like we had when Britain ruled the colonies. The federal government wasn’t able to tax and couldn’t make people join the military. As a result, we had economic issues, and other countries felt they could push us around.

Under the federal system of government created by the Constitution, both the state governments and the federal government shared some powers. While federal laws were supreme, there were things both governments could do. For example, both governments could levy taxes. This helped the state governments and the federal government to raise money. The federal government could require people to join the military. Both the state governments and the federal governments were able to create courts under the Constitution. This allows for a way to resolve disputes. By giving the government more power, it had the ability to deal with other countries more effectively, to tackle our economic issues, and to provide a place where disputes could be resolved.

At the same time, there were mechanisms put in place to prevent the government from having too much power. Each branch of government had a different job to do as a result of the provision of separation of powers. No branch could do everything by itself. The branches also had the ability to control each other with the system of checks and balances. Government officials could be removed from office through the impeachment process. Thus, as a result of the Constitution, the government got enough power to run our country, and safeguards were put in place to make sure the government and its leaders didn’t become too powerful. By creating this federal system of government, many of the problems the government faced under the Articles of Confederation were reduced or eliminated.

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