Articles of Confederation and Constitution Addressed a Essay

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Articles of Confederation and Constitution

Constitution addressed a number of complaints listed in the Declaration of Independence against Great Britain's King. In addition, the Constitution cured a number of weaknesses in the Articles of Confederation by giving powers, rights and divisions to the federal government, as well as providing a different method of amending the Constitution. At times, the Constitution was developed through compromises such as the Great Compromise, which set up our bicameral federal government and the manner of determining each state's representation in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Through these historical documents and others, we can see the ideas and development of the United States of America.

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How the Constitution addressed the Complaints in the Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence, finalized on July 4, 1776, was our announcement to Great Britain and to the world of our freedom from Great Britain. In the document's third section, the American colonists present a long list of specific complaints or grievances against Great Britain and particularly her King, explaining the reasons for our rejection of their rule over us (United States of America, 1776). The United States Constitution, ratified on March 4, 1789, addressed those specific complaints in its Articles and Bill of Rights (United States of America, 1789) to ensure that our government and our citizens would be free from those oppressive practices. For example, the Declaration of Independence states that the King forced the colonists to quarter British troops (United States of America, 1776); therefore, the Constitution's 3rd Amendment and its ban of using troops to carry out civilian law would prevent that practice in the United States of America. For another example, the Declaration of Independence complained that the King imposed taxes on the colonists without their consent (United States of America, 1776); therefore, the Constitution's Article I sets up the circumstances and process for taxation by Congress, preventing taxation without representation (United States of America, 1789). For a third example, the Declaration of Independence complained that the King repeatedly dissolved our representative houses (United States of America, 1776); therefore, the Constitution's Article I created our Congress and enumerated its powers in Section 8 (United States of America, 1789). For a fourth example, the Declaration of Independence complained that the King "has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good" (United States of America, 1776); therefore, the Constitution's Article I, Section 7 specifically explains how laws will be passed, how each House of Congress and the President will participate in passing those laws, the requirement that the laws must be passed by both Houses of Congress, and about the President's signing of those laws (United States of America, 1789). The Constitution, as the supreme law of the United States of America, addressed and remedied each of the King's actions that the colonists complained about in the Declaration of Independence.

b. How the Constitution addressed the weaknesses in the Articles of Confederation

The Articles of Confederation were ratified on March 1, 1781 as essentially the first constitution of the United States (United States of America, 1781). There were many weaknesses in the Articles of Confederation in that they did not give sufficient powers to the federal government. These weaknesses were addressed and solved by the U.S. Constitution, ratified on March 4, 1789. For example, the Articles did not set up an executive branch; therefore, the Constitution's Article II, Section 1 created the offices of the President and Vice President, explaining that they must hold office for a term of four years (United States of America, 1789). For another example, the Articles did not give the government power to tax or regulate commerce; therefore, the Constitution's Article I, Section 8 gave congress the power to set taxes and collect them, and to regulate commerce among the states and with foreign nations (United States of America, 1789). For a third example, the Articles did not establish federal courts; therefore, the Constitution's Article III, Sections 1 and 2 created a federal court system with the Supreme Court and "inferior" courts (United States of America, 1789). For a fourth example, the Articles required a unanimous vote to amend the Articles; therefore, the Constitution's Article V gave the process for amending the Constitution, requiring in part a 2/3 vote of approval by both Congressional Houses to propose an amendment and ae vote of approval by state legislatures to ratify an amendment…[continue]

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