How was the Constitution different from the Articles of Confederation?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There were several ways that the Constitution was different from the Articles of Confederation. The Articles of Confederation was created to have a weak federal government. For example, the federal government could not tax, could not control trade, and could not require people to join the army. There was one house in the legislative branch. There would be between two and seven members from a state in Congress. Each state, however, had only one vote in Congress, regardless of the size of the state’s population. A three-person committee ran the executive branch. The people were very afraid that one person would have too much power and begin to act like a king. In order to pass a law, nine of the thirteen states had to agree to the law. All thirteen states had to agree to change the Articles of Confederation. There also were no federal courts in the Articles of Confederation.

The Constitution had several differences. The federal government had more power. The federal government had the ability to tax the people. The federal government could also control interstate and foreign trade. There were two parts of the legislative branch. In one house of Congress, called the Senate, states would have equal representation. In the other house, called the House of Representatives, representation was based on the size of the state and therefore was unequal. The President led the executive branch. If the President acted improperly, the President could be impeached. The Constitution also did not require all the states to approve a change to the Constitution. There were federal courts created by the Constitution so states would have a place where they could resolve disputes.

The Constitution was written to try to resolve some of the issues that were created by the weak federal government that was established by the Articles of Confederation.