Compare the specific powers granted to the national government by the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution.

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The Articles of Confederation, unlike the Constitution, did not include three separate branches of government with checks and balances. There was only Congress, which could elect a "president," but the office had no independent power.

There was also no consideration given to the population of the states. Each state got...

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one vote in Congress for their several representatives. Congress was not elected by the people, but by the state legislatures.

Only Congress could declare war for the nation, but it needed a vote of nine states. Otherwise, Congress had the power to name ambassadors and negotiate foreign treaties, but treaties also required nine states' assent.

The Articles of Confederation gave the national government no taxing power, although it could request support from the states, proportional to their population.

The Articles of Confederation did not include a national court system or a Supreme Court. Your answer might explore how this would have affected the federal government in trying to enforce a treaty or support request on an unwilling state.

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The Articles of Confederation was a weak central government that gave most of the powers of government to the states.  Its framers were so concerned with their rights being taken away that there was no single executive, rather an executive committee.  The main powers lacked by the nation were the powers to tax or enforce laws.  The result was a financially and politically unstable nation. 

The Constitution was born out of the necessity for the national government to have more power.  The national government has the power to tax and enforce laws under the Constitution.  The framers of the Constitution set up a system of checks and balances and separation of powers to ensure that the individual liberties of its citizens were secured while giving the government the powers necessary to maintain itself.

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How do the Article of Confederation compare with the Constitution, esp. regarding specific powers given or denied the central government under each?

The Confederation Government was formed with the intent and purpose of retaining the sovereignty of the individual states, as is stated in its opening language. There was a single House of Congress with no Presidency of the United States and no judiciary. The Confederation had jurisdiction over foreign affairs and the unorganized territories of the U.S.; but not much else. There was no power to tax or regulate commerce between the states; a two thirds vote of the states was required to pass legislation and unanimous consent was required to amend them. They were, in fact, never amended. The system created was cumbersome and unworkable and understandably did not last long.

The Constitution arose from a convention called to "Amend" the Articles of Confederation. It soon decided they were unworkable and were abrogated. The Constitution grants eighteen specific powers to Congress under Article I Section Eight, including but not limited to the power to tax, the power to regulate commerce among the several states, declare war,  coin money, issue patents, etc. It also grants Congress any power necessary and proper to carry out the enumerated powers. It's limitations are that Congress may not pass ex post facto laws or Bills of Attainder, or grant powers of nobility. By Amendment, the rights listed in the Bill of Rights are protected. Finally, the 10th Amendment states all powers not prohibited to the states are given to the Federal Government are reserved to the states. The latter amendment is a favorite of Tea Party supporters.

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