Review the Legal Documents of Vital Significance to American History

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There are two legal documents of vital significance to American history: the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution. While both share some similarities, they also differ drastically in goals, formulation, and context. As per the Articles of Confederation, they were the first documents created on July 12, 1776, to establish formal power over the American states as a unified political entity.1 The agreement was signed by the thirteen states’ representatives with John Dickinson as the head of the committee to ensure that all the participants will follow the standard rules and be equal in power.2 Although John Dickinson presented the final version of the Articles to that included all the needed power distribution regulations, the debates about the document’s legitimacy and fairness continued. While the Articles of Confederation were formally accepted among the states and supplemented by proceeding rules added in 1779, the unofficial power dynamic remained chaotic.3 The document did not establish a respected central government institution, which resulted in further conflicts; however, its creation was necessary since it was the first attempt at centralized decision-making.

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In its turn, the Constitution was formulated and signed in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787, as a fundamental national document that established all the necessary rights for the American citizens.4 The Constitution collected all the regulations and policies necessary for the United States to function as a unified and centralized institution. To ensure that the government protects its residents, the Constitution also included the Bill of Rights, which initially consisted of ten amendments that allowed any citizen to exercise their rights regardless of their characteristics. The equality among regions was primarily cultivated by the establishment of a coherent federal government with clear separation into the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.5 As opposed to the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution was accepted because it achieved tremendous success by diluting some states’ ultimate power and giving more opportunities to others, leading to more equality.

There are three significant differences between the Constitution and the Articles. The first primary peculiarity is the type of codification of law. The Articles of Confederation’s initial document was unicameralist, meaning that it involved a single chamber of the parliament.6 The Constitution, on the other hand, followed bicameralism and established the two-chamber system.7 This drastic change allowed the United States to control the power dynamic and prevent the abuse of authority by any legislative branches, independent states, or individuals.

The second significant change done in the Constitution was the equalization of access to the Bill of Rights. In the Articles of Confederation’s provisions, not every American citizen could exercise their government-given rights.8 According to the Articles of Confederation, the rights and their enactment applied only to the federal government. However, the Constitution changed that by introducing a more comprehensive and unified system.9 Most importantly, it extended their use to the state level, allowing equal distribution of power to all.

In conclusion, the Constitution and the Articles of Confederation’s main difference is the voting system pertaining to the laws introduction. Per the Articles of Confederation rules, if nine of thirteen states agree on a particular legal direction, it gets implemented in all the United States regardless of the opposition.10 This majority vote system was not beneficial since the unequal distribution of authority allowed more powerful states to manipulate the laws and introduce those that were not beneficial to the dissenting regions. The Constitution changed this regulation and implemented a system where all the states had to agree on a law for it to be implemented.11 Such a strategy allowed for an even distribution of authority and equalization of the states.

References

Chet, G. (2019). We have not a government: The Articles of Confederation and the road to the Constitution. Journal of American History, 105(4), 1000-1001. Web.

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Klarman, M. (2016). The Framers’ Coup: The Making of the United States Constitution. Oxford University Press.

Footnotes

  1. Chet, G. (2019). We have not a government: The Articles of Confederation and the road to the Constitution. Journal of American History, 105(4), 1000-1001. Web.
  2. Chet (2019).
  3. Chet (2019).
  4. Klarman, M. (2016). The Framers’ Coup: The Making of the United States Constitution. Oxford University Press.
  5. Klarman (2016).
  6. Chet (2019).
  7. Klarman (2016).
  8. Chet (2019).
  9. Klarman (2016).
  10. Chet (2019).
  11. Klarman (2016).

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DemoEssays. (2022) 'Review the Legal Documents of Vital Significance to American History'. 19 February.

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DemoEssays. 2022. "Review the Legal Documents of Vital Significance to American History." February 19, 2022. https://demoessays.com/review-the-legal-documents-of-vital-significance-to-american-history/.

1. DemoEssays. "Review the Legal Documents of Vital Significance to American History." February 19, 2022. https://demoessays.com/review-the-legal-documents-of-vital-significance-to-american-history/.


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DemoEssays. "Review the Legal Documents of Vital Significance to American History." February 19, 2022. https://demoessays.com/review-the-legal-documents-of-vital-significance-to-american-history/.