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A Comparison And Contrast Of The Articles Of Confederation And The Constitution Of 1787 (Essay Sample)

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A Comparison And Contrast Of The Articles Of Confederation And The Constitution Of 1787

The Articles of Confederation and the Constitution of 1787 are two of the most important documents in American history. They provided the legal framework through which the United States of America was formed and how it will be governed. In a way, these documents gave birth to the United States government. They are similar in some aspects, but are also very different in what they put forward.


To better understand the differences and similarities between Articles of Confederation and Constitution, it is essential to first examine first the distinct historical context in which these documents were crafted. The Articles of Confederation is considered to be the first Constitution of the United States. A committee formed by the Second Continental Congress finished the draft for the articles in the summer of 1777. After more than a year of intense debates, all thirteen states reached a consensus to ratify the articles on March 1, 1781—signaling the document's coming into force. These all happened at the height of the American Revolutionary War.
In contrast, framers of the Constitution of 1787 started work a few years after the American War of Independence. This was a period marked by a weak economy and a powerless national government that was incapable of quelling discontent and uprisings, most notably Shays' Rebellion. Delegates of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia tried to address these problems, and carefully studied two proposed versions of the charter: the Virginia Plan and New Jersey Plan's similarities and differences. In the end, thirteen states agreed to ratify the Constitution on June 21, 1788, taking into account a consensus reached through the Connecticut Compromise.
Social Contract
Given this context, it can be said that among the Articles of Confederation and Constitution's similarities is that they both established governments. These governments are basically acts of self-determination, and a response to the tyrannical rule of the British.
Both are also attempts to establish laws of the United States that are accepted by its members. In social and political philosophy, this sort of agreement is called a “social contract” –

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