The Constitution - Midterm Project

The Constitution Vs. the Articles of Confederation

By Makenzie Novak Period 3

Some Background Information

The Constitution, the base of our country and it is still in use today. It is one of the most famous documents to Americans along with The Articles of Confederation, but what do you really know about them? The Articles of Confederation were created during the American Revolution to form a new government for the colonies. The Constitution was later created by the Constitutional Convention after abolishing the Articles of Confederation. The Constitution was more effective than the Articles of Confederation because it gave the people a say and it gave the federal government an appropriate amount of power and a system to ensure it would not become corrupt.

The Articles of Confederation

The Articles of Confederation were written during the American Revolution and became accepted by the Continental Congress in 1777. The ratification of the Articles took three years, so all thirteen colonies did not approve them until March of 1781. The Articles depicted mainly a weak central government and strong state governments. The states were sovereign over the national government, but they considered themselves somewhat united for defensive purposes. Article II states, "Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every Power, Jurisdiction and right, which is not by this confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled" (Articles of Confederation). Furthermore, it was extremely difficult to amend the Articles being that every single state had to agree on it. This created separation and chaos. Once Shay's Rebellion occurred, it became clear that the Articles were not sufficient enough for the country (Primary Documents).
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Shay's Rebellion

In 1786, a problem developed when many farmers and land owners could not pay their harsh taxes and debts that the government was demanding. In response to this, they decided to rebel. This rebellion was led by Daniel Shays in Western Massachusetts. Steven Strom and Karen Mead write, " Villages organized themselves to petition the government for relief, but when the government refused their appeals, the farmers turned to more violent means. Armed resistance to local officials and creditors prevented the collection of debts" (Strom). This means that these people openly resorted to violence when the government did not accept their repeals. One of the more severe conflicts was when Shays led protestors to attack Springfield, Massachusetts. After these incidents, it became evident that the Articles of Convention were not a proper foundation for the country. This led to the development of Constitutional Convention.

The Constitution

The United States Constitution was created by the Constitutional Convention and is still in affect today. The Constitutional Convention was a group of 55 delegates from twelve states, all except Rhode Island. Glenn L. Starks writes, "Many concerns existed among the delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, particularly among those from smaller states, who feared any plan where national representation would be based on population because the larger states would have more control" (Starks). After a lot of debate, it was decided that slaves would count as three-fifths of a person. The Constitution calls for a sovereignty to be divided between states and federal government. It also has a separate federal court to handle disputes between states. It states that there would be a separate executive to be elected by the electoral college and a stronger central government with a system of checks and balances to balance the power between the people and the government. It also only needs 3/4 states to agree for amendment (Amending the U.S Constitution).
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Why The Constitution is More Effective

The Constitution is more effective than the Articles of Confederation because it gives an appropriate amount of power to each state, the federal government, and to the people. Furthermore, it is possible to amend. This is an important aspect being that society and morals change and new problems arise. It is important to have flexibility in government. This is the reason that The Constitution saved America and is still in affect today.

Research Log

Research Question: What made the Constitution more effective than the Articles of Confederation?


1.Primary Source: The Constitution US Const. amend. XII, sec. 3. http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/Constitution.html


Summary/ How it relates to the project: The United States Constitution is a document that lays down the basic laws of a new government created after the Articles of confederation were destroyed. It contains some of the same ideas as the Articles of Confederation. I can use this in my project to compare the ARticles of Confederation and the Constitution.



2. Primary Source: The articles of confederation https://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/articles.html Primary Documents in American History. (n.d.). Retrieved January 20, 2016, from https://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/articles.html


Summary/ How it relates to the project: The Articles of Confederation were the first document containing basic laws for the new free Americas. It was created during the American Revolution and called for a weak central government with stronger state governments. This will help me in my project because it will provide evidence that will show the Articles of confederation was weaker than the Constitution. I can use actual text from it to give examples of where it was weaker than the Constitution.



3. Source: Starks, Glenn L., and F. Erik Brooks. "U.S. Constitution." American Government. ABC-CLIO, 2016. Web. 15 Jan. 2016.


Summary/ How it relates to the project: This database provides a detailed summary about the Constitutional Convention, Democracy and Federalism, the Three Branches of Government, and the Types of Federal Government. This will help me in my project to explain what the Constitution was basically about and the main topics within it. It also tells a little about the Constitutional Convention, which I can use as good background information about how the Constitution was created.



4. Source: http://americangovernment.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/1682384?terms=the+articles+of+confederation "Articles of Confederation." American Government. ABC-CLIO, 2016. Web. 19 Jan. 2016.



Summary/ How it relates to the project: This database discusses creating the Articles of Confederation, the states and congress under the Articles, and its strengths and weaknesses. I can use this to tell more about the Articles of Confederation and to explain and make the reader understand what was intended when writing the Articles of Confederation and why they were ultimately unsuccessful.



5. Source: http://americangovernment.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/201071?terms=daniel+shay Strom, Steven, and Karen Mead. "Shays' Rebellion." American Government. ABC-CLIO, 2016. Web. 19 Jan. 2016.


Summary/ How it relates to the project: This database tells that Shay’s rebellion was led by a man named Daniel Shays and explains in detail about how and why the farmers rebelled in 1787. It also says that the rebellion ultimately led to the Constitutional Convention. I can use this to prove why the Articles of Confederation were not as effective as the Constitution.



6. Source: http://americangovernment.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/200860?terms=the+U.S+constitution "amending the U.S. Constitution." American Government. ABC-CLIO, 2016. Web. 20 Jan. 2016.


Summary/ How it relates to the project: This is a database that explains why the Constitution was and is still effective. It explains how the Constitution can be amended and how the Articles of Confederation were near impossible to amend due to all of the states having to agree. I can use this to backup my claim that the Constitution is more effective.



7. Source: https://history.state.gov/milestones/1776-1783/articles

Articles of Confederation, 1777–1781 - 1776–1783 - Milestones - Office of the Historian. <https://history.state.gov/milestones/1776-1783/articles>.

Summary/ How it relates to the project: This source has a better explanation of the Articles of Confederation. It also goes into more detail about Albany’s Plan and the Treaty of Paris. I can use this to provide a better explanation on what the articles of confederation were all about.




Thesis: The Constitution was more effective than the Articles of Confederation because it gave the the people a say and it gave the federal government an appropriate amount of power and a system to ensure it would not become corrupt.

Works Cited


"amending the U.S. Constitution." American Government. ABC-CLIO, 2016. Web. 20 Jan. 2016.



"Articles of Confederation." American Government. ABC-CLIO, 2016. Web. 19 Jan. 2016.




Articles of Confederation, 1777–1781 - 1776–1783 - Milestones - Office of the Historian. <https://history.state.gov/milestones/1776-1783/articles>.



Primary Documents in American History. (n.d.). Retrieved January 20, 2016, from <https://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/articles.html>




Starks, Glenn L., and F. Erik Brooks. "U.S. Constitution." American Government. ABC-CLIO, 2016. Web. 15 Jan. 2016.




Strom, Steven, and Karen Mead. "Shays' Rebellion." American Government. ABC-CLIO, 2016. Web. 19 Jan. 2016.


US Const. amend. XII, sec. 3.