Q:

What were the pros and cons of the U.S. Constitution compared to the Articles of Confederation?

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Quick Answer

The Articles of Confederation's only pro was to repel the dangers of a strong federal government. The incapacitating limitations in that regard were rectified by the U.S. Constitution, which maintained all the pros of the Articles of Confederation and eliminated its cons.

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Full Answer

The Articles of Confederation were established to promote national unity, yet it failed in doing so by focusing more on the rights of states and individuals. The powers granted to Congress, such as making treaties and alliances, conducting foreign affairs and war, and regulating currency, in this first Constitution contained holes that made the nation impotent. Without the ability to regulate commerce, levy taxes and request money or troops from states, Congress could not make effectual decisions.

Following America's victory over Great Britain, the necessity of a more stable form of central government became more prominent. The Constitutional Convention set out to maintain the primary pro of the Articles of Confederation: protecting the rights of states and individuals. However, it also intended to introduce policies to ensure the country's capacity for growth, thereby removing the Articles' cons.

A system of checks and balances was applied to three branches of government, which alleviated the fear of excessive power within the central government. To guarantee accurate representation of the people, the Constitutional Convention settled on a bicameral legislature containing the House of Representatives (proportional representation) and the Senate (equal representation). Most importantly, the addition of amendments required approval from three-fourths of all states rather than the unfeasible consensus of all.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What was the purpose of the Philadelphia Convention?

    A:

    The Constitutional Convention, also known as the Philadelphia Convention, was an official meeting of the United States government that was convened to make changes to the Articles of Confederation, an early federal government document. The Articles of Confederation were adopted in 1777 before the Revolutionary War had been won, and over the next decade, it became clear that this founding document was flawed in many ways, including that it placed severe limitations on the powers of the federal Congress. The most significant outcome of the Constitutional Convention was the creation of the United States Constitution, a document that is still in effect as of 2015.

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  • Q:

    How was the Constitution a product of its time?

    A:

    According to the explanation of the Constitution on the official White House website, the Constitution was a product of its time in that it addressed various contemporary political concerns, such as the weakness of the Articles of Confederation. The integration of checks and balances into the political system was also an alternative to an overwhelmingly strong central government, such as that of the British monarch and Parliament.

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  • Q:

    What was America's first Constitution called?

    A:

    America's first Constitution was called the Articles of Confederation. The Continental Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation on November 15, 1777, although ratification of the Constitution by all 13 states did not take place until March 1, 1781.

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  • Q:

    What was the first constitution of the United States?

    A:

    The first constitution of the United States was the Articles of Confederation. It was a document signed among the 13 original colonies that established the United States of America as a confederation of sovereign states.

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