Confederation and Constitution

Every nation has a legislative document of laws and settings to follow from day to day, and its name is the Constitution. The USA has been operating under the regulations of two constitutions. The first was the Articles of Confederation, established in 1781, and ratified in Maryland. The second was the Constitution, which replaced the Articles and got ratified in 1788 in New Hampshire. The two documents have much in common but they differ more than they do resemble each other, when one looks at the details. Below weaknesses and strength of both The Articles of Confederation and the Constitution are considered through comparing them.

First, the Articles of Confederation were the chief operating laws of the US Government before the Constitution. The country could not work effectually under the document; this was the reason the states advocated to replace those regulations with the Constitution. The latter gave the Congress and the President much more authority then the Articles did. "Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated” (Tansill, 1927, Article II). Each state, according to the Confederation, has its rights and had the authority on the local level. Contrasting the Constitution, the Articles developed a sovereign uniting of states, which unified ". . . for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them . . . "(Tansill, 1927, Article III ). The country in the Articles is trying to unify, but the practice showed that it was inefficient. Second, the Constitution established the freedom of movement, which meant that anyone could pass freely in various states, excluding "paupers, vagabonds, and fugitives from justice” (Tansill, 1927, Article IV). Comparing to the Constitution, under the regulation of the Articles, people were not able to travel so openly.

The Articles of Confederation had their strengths and weaknesses, although the positive sides were minor than negative ones. Developing the USA, the Government initiated the creation of Departments of Treasury, Foreign Affairs, Marine, and War. They also proceeded in the War for Independence against the British as well as signed an entente of association with France in 1778 and negotiated the ending to the American Revolution in the Treaty of Paris. The weaknesses of the Articles were significant for the nation to leave the document to exist. For example, the Government could not control trade with distinct countries that led to the poor foreign relationships. Moreover, the Articles of Confederation trapped the national debt. “All bills of credit emitted, monies borrowed, and debts contracted by,… considered as a charge against the United States, for payment and satisfaction whereof the said United States, and the public faith are hereby solemnly pledged” (Tansill, 1927, Article XII). One more weakness was the Western problem, which occurred in western Massachusetts, where people protested against petrifying debt and economic disorder. The issue was that the national government could not gather a compound military army amid the states to assist in putting down the rebellion.

The Constitution of the USA disposes on the country’s fundamental laws. The document defines the liberties and rights of the American people and form of the state government. Drafting the Constitution, delegates from the boundless and admired states argued the representatives from the small ones about the delineation in the national lawmaking. “The larger states favored the Virginia Plan, under which population would determine the number of representatives a state, could send to the legislature”(The Constitution of the United States of America, 2004). They had to compromise, as the spokespersons from the smaller lands supported the New Jersey Plan, which claimed an identical number of representatives for all nations. Compromises also were taken regarding conflicts over the matter of slavery. The Northern states made Congress forbid the overseas slave trade and utterly abolish slavery. The Southern delegates did not want to prohibit the bondage. A compromise was reached on the issue that Congress would not regulate the trade of slaves until 1808. One more agreement revealed the query of how to calculate slaves comparing to the number of congressional representatives a nation could have. The bondsmen were not citizens, so the concession agreed that three-fifths of them might count. The leaders compromised for each state to hold an exceptional convention to vote and discuss the Constitution. The document was designed to be in service of the people’s interests, no matter rich or poor, Southerners or Northerners, workers, farmers, or business people.

There was the compromise drafting the Constitution, called then The Great Compromise. The delegates from Connecticut suggested an equal representation in the Senate from every state. Another proposition was representation in correlation to the residences in the House of Representatives.

The debate over ratification between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists was held when drafting the Constitution. America separated supporting two different political leaders, which were Federalist and Anti-Federalist. The representatives of federalism wanted to implement an influential central government system, and the Anti-federalists required a weak central government. On the one hand, the Federalists, who were led by Alexander Hamilton, presented the interests of urban commercial of the seaports. “Federalists, the name adopted by those favoring the ratification of the Constitution” (Wilson, 2000, p. 18). On the other hand, Anti-Federalists, who were led by Thomas Jefferson, represented rural interests. Hamilton claimed that America must precede commercial activity, industrial development and implemented the Bank of the USA. In comparison with him, Jefferson recommended a decentralized farming republic.

The political leaders agreed to come up with the Constitution and, subsequently, the Bill of Rights. The latter document appended to the Constitution the amendments. The Federalists were the first supporting the Bill of Rights. Comparing to Federal, the Anti-Federal states protested against them but eventually recognized the significance of making such inclusions to the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution. Then they formed the first ten alterations to the constitutional document. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” (Bill of Rights, 1791, p. 1). The amendments guaranteed to inhabitants of the USA the freedom of speech, religion, assembly, and the press. The result of the modifications of the Bill of Rights was supporting of the Constitution by the Anti-Federal states.

The new Constitution was drafted for the reason that the Articles of Confederation, which prefaced it, did not satisfy the expectations. The Constitution gave the Government and people more authority and freedom. After the implementing of this document, the army consolidated, the laws gave the freedom of humans’ views, and the economic growth was undertaken. The drafting of the new regulations was rather strenuous, because Federal and Anti-Federal nations could not come to a common understanding, however, the states managed to find compromise concerning to the Constitution as well as the Bill of Rights. The amendments contributed cleanliness to the Constitution.