Articles of Confederation vs. The Constitution

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In May 1776, the Congress called on the colonies to form new state governments "under the authority of the people." Each state formed constitutions consisting of the curbing of the power of governors, which increased the power of the legislatures, making them the focal point of government. Americans then realized that legislatures also could act tyrannically, so each state's constitution eventually included some form of a bill of rights, which set limits on the power of government to interfere in the lives of citizens.

Upon declaring independence in 1776, the Continental Congress needed to create a basis for a union of the states called the Articles of Confederation, which stated that "Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence, and every power, jurisdiction and right, which is not by this confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled." This effect would create a confederation of states.

The central government had limited powers under the Articles of Confederation, such as no provisions for a national judiciary or a separate executive branch of government.

The articles made Congress the sole instrument of national authority, but also restricted it with safeguards to protect the interest of the states. Each state had one vote in Congress regardless of size or population. Delegates carried out the intentions of state legislatures. Any amendments added to the Articles required the unanimous consent of the states. The central principal behind the Articles was the fear of oppressive, centralized power.

Ratified in 1781, the Articles of Confederation led to problems. Struggling from financing the Revolutionary War, America was now in debt by 11 million dollars. A nationalist named Robert Morris sought out to enhance financial and political reform. Morris founded the Bank of North America, which he used to hold government funds and issuing bank...