How were the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution similar?

Expert Answers
mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While there were more differences between the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution than there were similarities, there were a few similarities. One similarity is that there were limits placed on the federal government by both plans. The Articles of Confederation was designed to create a weak federal government because people were afraid that a strong federal government would abuse its powers. The federal government couldn’t levy taxes or force people to join the military. The Constitution also limited what the federal government could do to some degree. There are certain powers that are reserved only for the states. For example, each state government makes decisions for educational policies within that state. The Constitution also has a Bill of Rights, which was added to the Constitution, to protect individual liberties.

One additional similarity that is not commonly known is that both the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution had a President. While the President in the Constitution has many more powers than the President had in the Articles of Confederation, both plans of government had a president. In the Articles of Confederation, the President was the President of Congress and served an appointed term for one year. In the Constitution, the President is elected and leads the executive branch, serving a term that lasts for four years.

While there are more differences than similarities between both plans, there are a few similarities in both of these plans of government.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There really were not very many similarities at all between the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution that replaced them.  The people who wrote the Constitution were so unhappy with the way things were under the Articles that they changed most things about the government.

The only truly important similarity is that both documents set up democratic systems of government.  This was a truly important thing at the time because it was very different from any other form of government.  Both documents explicitly went away from monarchy, which was the most prevalent system at the time.

In addition, both documents set up governments that were in some ways limited.  They both set up systems in which governments were not allowed to do certain things.  This was an important idea at a time when governments tended to be able to do whatever they wanted.

There were a few other similarities, like the fact that the states are not allowed to conduct foreign policy under either document.  But these similarities are very minor.  The only major similarity is that both documents create systems in which there are democratically elected limited governments.