Differences between the articles of confederal and the current constitution

Published: 2019-10-28 10:00:00
438 words
2 pages
4 min to read

The significant difference was that articles of confederation had limited power to a central government while the constitution created a strong central government. The confederal system reserves most of the powers for the different states, whereas, the federal government which gains its powers from the US Constitution reserves most of the power to the central government. The US embraces the current constitution over the articles of confederation because it has a bill of rights, has an executive branch, can easily be amended and it can collect its tax (Ahmed & Fatima, 2013). Such powers are not bestowed to the article of confederal. Furthermore, in the confederation, the federal state obtains its legitimacy from the powers bestowed upon it by the local states. Thus, it has limited or no legitimacy on its own.

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Separation of powers and check-and-balance system

Separation of powers refers to the constitutional principle that restricts the powers bestowed upon any institution or person (Waldron, 2013). It divides the authority of the government into three distinct branches: the executive, the legislation, and the judiciary. The separation of powers principle is expressed in the US Constitution. On the other hand, checks-and balances refer to the system that regulates and challenges the powers bestowed to the different branches of the government.

Examples of balance and power system

Legislative branch

The legislature checks on the executive through the trial of impeachment for Senate, impeachment power, senates approves the departmental appointments, overriding presidential vetoes, selection of the vice president (Senate) and President (house), the power to declare and the authority to allocate funds and enact taxes (Vile, 2015).

They also check on the judiciary by;

Power to set courts inferior to the Supreme Court

Senate approves the federal judges

Power to alter the size of the Supreme Court

Impeachment power

Power to set jurisdictions of courts

Checks on the legislature

Bills must be passed by both houses

Neither house can adjourn for three or more days without the approval of the other house

Judicial branch

Checks on the Executive

The chief justice acts as the president of the Senate when the president is being impeached

Judicial review

Checks on the legislature

Compensation cannot be diminished

Judicial review

Seats are held on good behavior


Ahmed, M., & Fatima, Z. (2013). Separation of Power: Analysis of Theory and Practice. The Government-Annual Research Journal of Political Science., 2(02).

Vile, J. R. (2015). The Nation and the States: The Arrangement Is Federal, Not Confederal or Unitary. In The United States Constitution (pp. 87-98). Palgrave Macmillan US.

Waldron, J. (2013). Separation of Powers in Thought and Practice. BCL Rev., 54, 433.

Cite used http://www.shmoop.com/constitution/checks-and-balances.html

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