The Constitutional Convention

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How were the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution similar?

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The Articles of Confederation and the Constitution share a few similarities despite the latter being drafted to correct the former's inadequacies. Both documents grant only the Federal government the power to negotiate with foreign powers and declare war. They also allow states to levy taxes and maintain their own militias, although these fall under federal command in times of war. Importantly, both documents recognize the significance of states, with the Constitution's 10th Amendment retaining significant power at the state level.

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Considering that the US Constitution was drafted and adopted to correct the inadequacies of the Articles of Confederation, there are not too many similarities. However, the Constitution does retain a few of the elements of the earlier governing document.

First of all, both documents dictate that only the Federal government can enter into treaties and negotiations with foreign powers. You can imagine the complications that would arise if individual states could do this. Therefore, the signing of international treaties, sending and receiving ambassadors, and establishing diplomatic missions can only be done at the federal level.

Also, only the Federal Government, namely Congress, has the power to declare and wage war under both documents. Both the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution allow states to levy their own militias, but they fall under the command of the Federal Government when deployed in times of war.

Both allow states to levy taxes. Under the Articles of Confederation, only states and local governments could tax their citizens. This made it difficult to fund federal programs. Therefore, the Constitution allows for federal taxes as well.

Perhaps most importantly is that both documents recognize the importance of the states. The Articles of Confederation gave much more power and independence to the states than the Constitution does. However, the 10th Amendment to the Constitution still allows for a lot of power to be retained at the state level.

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As the Constitution was drawn up to remedy the numerous deficiencies of the Articles of Confederation, it's not surprising that there aren't too many similarities between them. Though generally speaking, one could say that the Articles and the Constitution are similar in nature yet different in design. Both documents attempted to put in place a system of government that would most effectively express the inheritance of the Revolution. Where they differed was in how they sought to achieve this.

The most important principle they shared was that power should be dispersed as widely as possible in the American system of government, hence a common commitment to a formal separation of powers. The framers of the Constitution maintained the Articles' fundamental principle of representative democracy; to that end, they retained the system of appointing the Senate to act as a counterbalance to the elected House of Representatives.

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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.

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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.

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