How did the U.S Constitution overcome the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation? 

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mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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The Articles of Confederation had several weaknesses. As a result, a new plan of government, the Constitution, was written to clear up the weaknesses. Under the Articles of Confederation, there were many things the federal government couldn’t do. It couldn’t tax, make trade treaties, resolve disputes between states, keep order, and pay its debts. To help solve these issues, the writers of the Constitution created a federal government with three branches. Each branch had distinct powers to carry out its responsibilities. 

For example, the legislative branch, made up of the Senate and House of Representatives, had the power to make laws.  This included the power to tax, to print money, and to control trade. The judicial branch, or the court system, had the power to settle disputes, including those between the states.

Additionally, the government had the ability to create an army.  This army could be used to keep order at home as well as fight wars with other countries if needed.  The Articles of Confederation can’t be criticized for being a weak government because it was set up to be a weak government. 

However, the Constitution was much better, in part because the writers of the Constitution learned from the past mistakes that were made.  They also included an amendment process to correct future problems that might arise.  The Constitution was written, in part, to correct the mistakes and resolve the issues that existed in the Articles of Confederation.