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Constitution and Articles of Confederation Comparison

There are several ways in which the constitution differs from the Articles of confederation. First of all, going by the article on Robert Yates, “The letters of Brutus,” it argues that in the articles of confederation, the legislature shall be bestowed with the power to make each and every law which shall be very much useful in executing the powers which are foregone, and it should apply to all the powers which are provided by the constitution in the United States government and also in any department and office which can be applicable. Also, going by the 6th article, it is stated, “the constitution and the laws of the United States that shall be passed under the United States legislature, will be used as the laws of the land, and all the judges in all states should abide by these laws. The laws of any state which states otherwise shall not be accepted. In these articles of confederation, the laws were mainly made by the legislature. This article demonstrates that the state government in the articles of confederation was rendered a free state, and all the powers which were not given to the federal government were given to the state government. The state governments are also rendered dormant not to execute any laws which are between the congress and the people. But the general government is also given powers to execute all the powers which are vested in the general government directly to the people and not through the state governments. In the constitution, laws of the state government are adopted by all other states, and also the decisions reached by the various states concerning the court cases are respected, while in the articles of confederation, the generated government laws are given priority as opposed to that of the state governments. The articles of confederation, therefore by application of these powers, describe the general government as a complete one and not a state government. It appears, though, because the general government possesses powers just like any other state, e.g., it can enact and execute all the laws, it can select and appoint officers who are going to work in the highest level, can be able to institute courts wherever and whenever necessary, can declare offenses and even provide penalties or prosecutions for the same. But in the articles of confederation, all the states governments are accorded a very small amount of power. This amount of power cannot be able to prevent the full execution of each and every power that is given.

In the article for Richard Henry Lee, “letters from the Federal Farmers,” the constitution mainly consisted of the state governments these governments were supposed to be consisting of the governors, senators, officers, and representatives. There could be numerous representatives to the people from the different states. The representatives will enhance the close association of the people and the state government. This would then increase the confidence of the state government. The proposed constitution will also consist of the general government. This government will consist of the House of Representatives to represent all the citizens who might be more than four hundred miles away; it will also be composed of the judges and officers. But in the articles of confederation, the general government will have all the powers that will overshadow those of the state governments. The collection of taxes which are to be used to govern and to maintain the internal police and to pay all the militia, will be the work of the general government. This is mainly the work of the state government in the constitution. The constitution allows the state government to make and pass laws that will enable them to execute this kind of service. The constitution gives powers to the general government to institute the judicial court. These courts can then be used in the making and implementation of laws (Madison, 1785).

The article on Robert Yates, “the letters of Brutus,” states that the powers of the United States legislature extended to many areas, including where it was not considered meaningful. There is no important thing to freeman other than the power that is within his grasp. This clearly demonstrates that the articles of confederation enable the legislature to make laws which in turn will change the lives and the way of living all over the United States. These laws, which are made by the legislature, cannot be impeded by the state government laws, and therefore, all the laws which are passed by the general legislature were applicable to each and every state. This provides a clear difference regarding the way the articles of confederation viewed the state governments. The constitution, on the other hand, gave limits to the powers of Congress regarding the state governments. In the articles of confederation, the legislature power involved the laying of taxes duties impost and carrying out excises. This clause, though, does not have any limitations. The legislature can therefore be able to handle all the matters relating to the settling of the government debts, they can decide on issues relating to their defense system, and they are the only ones who can determine what is best for each and every one. These powers, therefore, involve the collection of taxes, imposts, and excises whenever and wherever they want. They can collect taxes of whatever amount they require, and they can raise it in whatever way they deem pleasing. According to the articles of confederation, the legislative arm of government was responsible for the collection of taxes. While in the constitution, the state governments are responsible for the collection of the state taxes, which are later contributed to the federal government. The articles of confederation reduce this system of government into an entire republic. The collection of taxes is a great responsibility that can be accorded to a given arm of government. By giving this power to the general legislature as in the articles of confederation, the state governments are deprived of having and maintaining their own defense, security, and protection systems. This was one of the places which required amendments (Madison, 1790).

In the first case, in the articles of confederation, the state governments were rendered dormant the rule was mainly changed from the federal one to a complete entire public government as opposed to the constitution, which was mainly governed by the state governments. These kinds of changes in which the entire government is allowed to rule or the consolidation of power as stated by the articles of confederation should only be put in place whenever the leadership which should be given the responsibility to rule is actually trustworthy, honest, and transparent. This mode of leadership should also be adopted by a country whose population and whose boundaries are limited and can be accessed easily. This is because, under one general government, there could be one judiciary, the existence of various inferior courts, and one supreme. This cannot really work in a country like the United States, which consists of a large number of people, and these people are increasing very rapidly, as is the case in the present United States, as is explained in the constitution. By quoting the sentiments brought about by Baron de Montesquieu, the spirit of laws chap. xvi.Vol. 1 (book VIII). He lamented that it is a natural thing to have a small territory in a republic. Otherwise, it cannot last for long. He added that in a large republic where there is a large territory, there are wealthy men who have a thirst for riches. These men have their own motives of oppressing others by taking away their deserved country’s resources. In a large country, the public interest is not well addressed. The required information is not gathered and only depends on trial and error. In a small state, the public interest is well addressed, it is easy to access the services, and therefore there are fewer incidents of abuses and crimes. An example is that of the Grecian republic. The republic was very small. It resembled that of the Romans. But these two extended their boundaries as time went by. Their territories then extended and became large as the territories extended. Their way of governing changed from a free government to a general government which led to serious consequences. This was mainly caused by the large expansive country. In the process of people practicing a pure democracy, they have to present themselves and make their issues known and decide on them so as to reach a conclusion. But in this kind of government, democracy cannot be exercised fully because the country is so large, and even though people can be brought together, all the necessary issues cannot be debated well and therefore the necessary conclusion cannot be reached.

In the second case, the constitution was changed from an entire republic which was practiced by the articles of confederation, to that of the State government in the constitution. In a state government, the people select their representative in the senate, and they can present their views to be discussed at the state level. Citizens can therefore monitor their leaders and assess their efficiency. Leaders who are not working and who are not ready to listen and to iron out people’s view is going to be sent home. Leaders or the people’s representative can also have time to associate with the state’s citizens so as to identify all areas which need an urgent address. State governments are also responsible for the collection of state taxes, duties, imposts, and excises. The taxes are used in settling debts, raising and maintaining state security. They are also responsible for ensuring that laws and order are followed. The state magistrates can therefore ensure that law and order prevail by use of its people. Therefore such government should be having confidence, respect, and affection for its people. People also have confidence in their leaders because they know them and they are responsible to them.

In the third case of the articles of confederation, there is a clause in the 8th section of the 1st article if applied, can do away with the idea of joining devolution of power in each and every individual state. (Confederated states) can result in the institution of the general government. This is because the power which the article of confederation provided is very general and can result in the passing of very many laws. These laws, after being passed, should be well executed. The powers which are mainly provided by the constitution are always very detailed and can overshadow those which are used in the state government e.g. if at all the state government passes a law which is to be used in collecting tax to support their government in terms of paying the state debt, the United State congress can prevent such a power which they might not think it is good for the state government to carry out or the government may block it incase they want to collect taxes themselves (Jefferson, 1789).

This clause can also mean that, the congress have enormous powers of collecting taxes, duties, imposts and excises. They can also regulate the country’s trade, support the security personnel, start courts wherever they want and they can maintain their own militia. The clause also enables the congress to make all laws and to ensure that these laws are executed. They can as well enact laws which can suppress the powers of the state governments thus reducing the country into a single government. The various states will then be completely eclipsed and displaced. According to the article on Robert Yates “The letters of Brutus,” it is stated that, it is a known fact that each and every man who has access to power is known to increase it so that he/she can have superiority over everything else. This availability of power to the United States congress can be used to overshadow that of state authority. This is exactly what this constitution wants i.e. it want to consolidate the various parts of the state governments into one government state which consist of legislature, the judiciary and the executive. All these are to be given powers with intentions and purpose of eradicating the state government. The entire government republic is known to be beneficial only to those small countries of which their territories have not been extended. This easiens the way in which various constituent representatives can associate with their leaders. In the constitution, the state governments are the most persuasive. This is because the leadership of a state is brought into its lowest level. This level can enable the citizens to interact with their leaders and iron out all the issues which they think can be useful to them and to the entire state. These can then be discussed and a common conclusion is reached. The state can also be autonomous and all policies such as tax collection, duties, imposts and excises can be handled by them.

Works Cited

“The Letters of Brutus.”1787.1st.2007.

“Letters from the Federal Farmer.”1787.

Paine, Thomas.1787.

Madison, James. Memorable and Remonstrance.1785.

Jefferson, Thomas. Letter to Madison.1789.

Madison, James. Letter to Madison.1790.

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StudyKraken. (2022, September 9). Constitution and Articles of Confederation Comparison. Retrieved from


StudyKraken. (2022, September 9). Constitution and Articles of Confederation Comparison.

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"Constitution and Articles of Confederation Comparison." StudyKraken, 9 Sept. 2022,

1. StudyKraken. "Constitution and Articles of Confederation Comparison." September 9, 2022.


StudyKraken. "Constitution and Articles of Confederation Comparison." September 9, 2022.


StudyKraken. 2022. "Constitution and Articles of Confederation Comparison." September 9, 2022.


StudyKraken. (2022) 'Constitution and Articles of Confederation Comparison'. 9 September.

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