Problems with the Articles of Confederation that were addressed by the Constitution and the importance of the issue of power centralization in American politics today

Essay by MathDebaterHigh School, 11th gradeA+, February 2007

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Since the birth of the United States, the issue over how strong the national government should be has always been a controversial one. While some believe that decentralization will inevitably lead to chaos, others contend that a powerful central government will inevitably become a tyranny. Although the United States would wholeheartedly embrace the idea of a loose alliance of independent states at first, the many glaring problems that the nation faced under the Articles of Confederation would quickly change the minds of many Americans. Indeed, the nation's confederal system of government was eventually rejected and replaced by federalism, a political philosophy that calls for a sharing of power between the national government and the smaller state and local governments. But how should this power be shared? Who should have the final say in the event of a dispute? As they have throughout history, these questions continue to divide Americans to this day.

In this essay, three of the problems that the Constitution solved will be described in detail and the modern issue of the rights of the disabled will be used as an example of a disagreement between national authorities who are interested in fulfilling the needs of the entire country and state authorities who do not want the central government to undermine their right to address regional problems on their own.

When the United States won its independence from Great Britain, her leaders were quick to throw out the idea of a powerful central government. After all, the people of every prior civilization in history that chose to adopt a unitary system of government would find themselves subjected to despotism after a very short period of time. The Americans, a people whose desire for liberty motivated their fight for self-determination, were desperate to make sure that they would never...