0 votes

Why were the Articles of Confederation replaced by the Constitution?

The Articles of the Confederation are what established the name " The United States of America" and was replaced by the Constitution. I am sure this has been discussed before, since it probably is what lead to the civil war, but I am just curious as to why it isn't considered a superior document to the Constitution. For one thing it clearly doesn't leave as much room for interpretation and therefore allow for our monsterous Central government. It appears to me when reading the Articles of the Confederation that the document is much clearer in defining the role of government. Just want to educate myself with your opinions.

Trending on the Web

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Thanks for the education.

I appreciate all the education on this subject. It was very educational, and thanks for understanding my ignorance with some of my questions. It will lead me to study more and I hope will lead a few others as well.
Thanks again,

Republicae's picture

All of us need more

All of us need more education and understanding when it comes to the Constitution, that is one of the reasons we are here and why we support Dr. Paul with such fervor and excitement.


"We are not a nation, but a union, a confederacy of equal and sovereign States" John C. Calhoun

We need a stronger Constitution.

I understand how the two differ and I realize that the Constitution does retain the rights of the individual States. But since extra powers are given to the executive branch and the Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution, the document becomes virtually dead. Any Constitution should establish the limits of the government, not the other way around. We shouldn't give that much power to the Supreme Court or the Executive branch. All we do is replace the King the Revolutionary sought to remove. The Congress should be the ultimate ruling body operating under the rules of a Constitution from the authority of the people, not the top down system of government we have today, which is unfortunately a result of the flexibility or to be blunt the weakness of the Constitution. My point is that between the two documents, the Articles of the Constitution was much more strict and direct, which lead less to interpretation. While on the otherhand the Constitution allows for loopholes and lawyer tricks.

Republicae's picture

Actually, extra powers were

Actually, extra powers were not given to either of the other Branches in the Constitution. Those powers have been systematically usurped and abused by all the Branches, especially after the War for Southern Independence and the advent of the Ultra-Hamiltonian Nationalist. Prior to the Coup d’état effected by Lincoln and his followers during the Reconstruction Act, there was an expressed balance prescribed by the checks and balances of each of the Three Branches and those checks and balances provided for in the Constitution by the Several States. The Constitution WORKS, the problems we now face are from the USURPED AND ABUSED POWERS OF THE NATIONALIST CENTRALIZED GOVERNMENT. The problem is not within the Constitution, but within those who have overthrown the legitimate government of these United States of America.

The Constitution is, at least in my estimation, one of the clearest and most direct documents governing the attributes and distribution of authority and power ever presented to a People of this earth in history.

Please refer to the following articles:


"We are not a nation, but a union, a confederacy of equal and sovereign States" John C. Calhoun

Republicae's picture

Actually, the Articles of

Actually, the Articles of Confederation was not replaced by the Constitution. The Constitution was in the same style and the same basic legal format. The differences were primarily in the structure and extent of government each instituted. One formed a Confederation of States, whereas the other formed a Federation of States. The Confederation was a much looser structure that did not provide for certain instruments that were later found necessary to perform particular functions on behalf of the State Republics. In both forms, the State Republics remained Independent and Sovereign States, each with their own respective Constitutions and governments. Each form, whether the Confederation or the Federation, were, in contradistinction to a national government, a governmental form of the States united in a political union, not a physical union; both forms were also in contradistinction to a government of the individual States, so each form was a social compact between the States created and agreed upon to provide the community of States with a united voice on the foreign stage and a voice for relations between the States themselves, but providing either of the forms of government with no internal jurisdiction within the States themselves.

Either form, whether a Confederacy or Federation, provided an expression of the Several States united in their common character, through the Consent of the People. As we know, the instrument that was formed and utilized called the “Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union” was styled in a form that would created a united character between the Several States, through Consent and it formed “the united States of America” or the States united of America” or “ the union of these States.” Each distinct and independent Sovereign State would stand to each other, in an agreement between them, as a Confederacy. As it is witnessed and declared: “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.”

As you see, at that time there was one “branch” within this Confederated government established by the Articles of Confederation and that was the Congress. The style, both of the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution, followed the same style as that of The Declaration of Independence in stating, as its form as “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America”. The government, whether formed by the Confederacy or the Federation, was a plural government, not singular or national.

In their letter to Congress, the Constitutional Convention stated the reasons for the changes that had been made to the Articles of Confederation, and those reasons only refer to the necessity of a slightly different type of “organization” of the government under the Articles, it was not scrapped or dissolved, only enhanced in the means in which it was organized and that difference in organization was to form a more efficient means to establish a very limited, but effective function on behalf of the community of Sovereign and Independent States. Much of the reasoning behind the change can be found in the following: “the friends of our country have long seen and desired, that the power of making war, peace, and treaties; that of levying money and regulating commerce, and the correspondent executive and judicial authorities, should be fully and effectively vested in the government of the Union; but the impropriety of delegating such extensive trust to one body of men is evident; hence results necessary of a different organization.”

If you look at the definition of the “United States”, you will see that from the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution of the United States, was the same definition from beginning to end. There was no difference effected to the Union of These Several States, only in the organization. The United States was never considered a geographical place except through foreign eyes. In Foreign Relations this country was seen as and dealt with as one country, but when viewed from within, even within our own federal government, this county was considered a community of Several States, Independent and Sovereign, only united for specific, limited purposes through a political compact called the Constitution.

During the Constitution Convention, before the Constitution was Ratified, this was stated: “The ratification of the conventions of nine States shall be sufficient for the establishment of this Constitution BETWEEN the States ratifying the same”. There was absolutely no divestment of any powers or any authorities of the States to the general or federal government, each State only DELEGATED a limited scope and utility of their powers and authority to the general government. The only way that the States could DELEGATE such power and authority was if they remained absolutely Independent and Sovereign, since only an Independent, Sovereign and Superior Power is able to DELEGATE. There is no indication anywhere in the letters of the Constitutional Convention or in the Constitution itself, where any power or authority was divested from the Several States. Besides, the Founders recognized that all Sovereignty was Reserved in the People and through their respective States they readily exercised that Sovereignty.


"We are not a nation, but a union, a confederacy of equal and sovereign States" John C. Calhoun

There is No Need

There is no need for a new Constitution or a return to the Articles of Confederation. Our current constitution would suit us very well if we were simply to follow it.

Also, the Articles are not the magic pill that will make everything better. Our current government has distorted and misdirected our country in spite of the Constitution not because of it. The decay occurred because we the people did not oppose those who disobeyed the law of the land over the past two centuries. You can see this in how many ways we currently are not following the Constitution according to its current form -- even with all of the amendments. No written law is impervious to the creativity of men who are intent upon subverting it. Even the law handed down by God Himself (the Ten Commandments and Mosaic Law) were so twisted, misread, misused, or ignored that God Himself was rejected when he came back to correct their error.

If God cannot create a law impervious to the manipulations of man, what makes us think that we can construct one that is better. The Constitution was/is a revolutionary and amazing work, but it, like all laws, will take diligence and a love of justice to stay relevant and continue to protect those under it.

Here is a page comparing the

Here is a page comparing the two.


thank you

that was interesting. there seems to be good aspects from both. somehow i've forgotten-or maybe it was excluded- alot of this from highschool. 25+yrs. i'd like to study this further. maybe the good points could be amended back into the constitution. but ultimately we need to save the constitution first.

Thinking this through:

Some have suggested abolishing the constitution and going back to the articles. This would seem an impossible task without a full scale armed rebellion. For one, there is no mechanism available under the current constitution to repeal itself in its entirety. You can always amend the constitution, but there is no way to repeal it en toto once it comes into existence and is ratified by the requisite number of 'states.' If someone has a way to do this, I am all ears and am willing to hear how it could be done.

Second, the Articles of Confederation simply would not work well in today's world. Back then, the colonies were basically acting as small countries - each with their own currencies, governments, militias, etc...Some had ties to foreign countries, others didn't. It is exactly this separation and lack of federal government protection that led to the constitution. I think it was a wise choice at the time, but as we all know, the constitution has been abused now to the point where its almost as if it doesn't exist.

We dont need to abolish the constituttion - we need to follow it. That means limiting Congress to those powers enumerated to it in the constitution. That means honoring both the 9th and 10th amendments and giving individuals and State's much more control over people's lives. It means abolishing the 16th amendment. (by constitutional amendment) In effect, it means simply following the constitution's instructions. Shrinking government so we dont have to pay so many taxes and being free to live our lives as we see fit.

Why should we believe that this will happen.

Do you actually believe that full scale armed rebellion won't be necessary to get back our rights guarenteed by the Constitution? There was no mechanism to abolish the Articles of Confederation, but it happened. And what would be the difference of having 50 different currencies from the one we have now that is worthless. Articles of Confederation could just as easily be re-written to require a gold/silver standard. Probably even easier than abolishing amendments.

Re: Articles being abolished

I think there is a historical difference to note between the two (This goes to your question of the articles being abolished and replaced by the constitution)

When the articles came into being, the colonies were all essentially independent countries. After the articles came into being, they were unified in a confederation of independent states (but still retaining many of the features of independent individual countries)

When this was shown to be too ineffectual against foreign powers and armies and hence liable to be taken over and defeated - the people voluntarily relinqished the 'confederation' and opted for a 'federation' of states. Throw in a whole bunch of checks and balances and compromises and you have the constitution.

The point being, once the states confederated, they were in a different position from there to moving towards a constitution. Its not like the Americans simply went from british rule to nothing to American constitutional rule. Likewise, we have to look at our current position, and analyze the situation from there. We are now a few hundred yrs, one bloody civil war, and many constitutional amendments past the beginning of the federation stage. We need to figure out how to scale back, not demolish. But as noted by me elsewhere, how that can take place, is a question I do not have an answer for.


At this point, the federal government and its attendant beauracracy has grown so large, that I cannot see how it will willingly shrink itself or allow itself to be shrunk by any "process" democratic or not.

At the same time, a full scale armed rebellion could possibly accomplish one thing: removing all vestiges of the current government. But tearing something down is quite a different task than building something up.

Honestly, I dont see how we could go back in time - as it were - to fix the mistakes that led to our current super-bloated federal (and increasingly intrusive State) government(s). I dont know what to do anymore. Im afraid that truly limited government principles in America are breathing their last breathe through people like us and the electricity for the life-support machine that has been keeping us alive for the last 80 yrs or so is about to be cut off by the same people who got us so damn sick to begin with.

Sorry if this is so negative, but I truly believe this to be the state of affairs as they currently stand. I 'd be happy to be wrong. And you all do give me hope. Sometimes it just feels like im peeing off a balconey only to have a government wind blow it all back in my face. All the while America tunes into see who got cut from American idol and still asks, "Who is Ron Paul?"

Republicae's picture

Personally, I believe that

Personally, I believe that the Powers of Usurpation will never relinquish their power or authority voluntarily, they simply have far too much to lose. That being said, I firmly believe that we are in a battle, a war, just as real and just as dangerous as the one fought in 1776. The sacrifices will be no less expensive to us then they were to our Founders or those who rose in rebellion against the forces of tyranny.


"We are not a nation, but a union, a confederacy of equal and sovereign States" John C. Calhoun

There is no need for full

There is no need for full scale armed rebellion. All that is needed is for the citizens of this country to wake up, learn the law and apply it and help Eric Madsen and the others undertaking this monumental task to reseat our original jurisdiction government.

If you want to know how many original jurisdiction Governors are already seated go to teamlaw.org and click on the Governor's Corner.

The Articles of Confederation were scrapped because they weren't working. The States were beholden to no one but themselves. They didn't operate as a union and they didn't pay attention to the central government. During the 10 years that the Articles were in place things got very bad here, worse than they were when we were under the rule of Britian.

Check out these books regarding just how bad the conditions were in the country under the Articles of Confederation:

Are We to Be a Nation?, by Richard B. Bernstein

The American States During & After the Revolution, 1775-1789, by Allan Nevins

The Sovereign States, 1775-1783, by Jackson Turner Main

Time to react.

That's what I am afraid of for my 4 children. How much further must we back up. There is no excaping to another country, neo-cons control almost every country with their network of archism stretching to all world governments. At some point we have to stand up and fight. Our ancestors stood by while FDR stole their gold, now they are stealing our liberties and no one is standing up. Wouldn't this be a time for an uprising or are we just going to wait for Ron Paul to become president and save us. Are we children who have to wait for an adult to give us permission. I raise my children to be responsible, so I don't have to chew their food for them.


but we will have more strength if we all go step by step together. lets keep trying to get Ron Paul in...enlighten our neighbor...work as a team. any small thing that we can do to keep truth alive.

the articals of confed plus the bill of rights with a clause

masons and such,also something on conflict of intrest (carlyle,hallaburton)

Is this a Revolution or not?

The problem is that the Bill of Rights is no longer held up as law along with many parts of the Constitution. Sure we need to support Ron Paul for president, but as a Revolution we should be looking forward to either re-writing the Constitution, eliminating all the trash that has been attached to the Constitution, (Income/slave tax, Patriot Act ect...) or draw up a new document limiting government once and for all. The government can pay off the debt by selling all it's properties freeing the people once and for all.

Bring back Articles of Conferderation and add a Bill of Rights.

As we can see the Constitution was drawn up to give more power to the Federal government, but look where it has lead. The only time the government supports the Constitution is when they want to get more power, so why not start anew.

Republicae's picture

That is no necessary, what

That is no necessary, what is necessary is to eliminate the forces of Statism, and the influences of the Hamiltonian/Lincolnite Nationalist.


"We are not a nation, but a union, a confederacy of equal and sovereign States" John C. Calhoun

Ron Paul would have been an anti-federalist...

had been alive at the time the constitution was drafted,

See this post by PlanetaryJim on StriketheRoot.com: Link


My understanding is that one of the major reasons for the constitution was to address the hyperinflation of the fiat Continental. That's why the "only gold and silver shall be legal tender" is such an important clause. Thank God we learned that lesson early and will never have to repeat it!


I wonder, I get cynical like that, I always figured it was from having 6 kids, who have gone thru teenage years, and dealing 6 times with the I am so smarter than my parents thing......

The lesson I got from that page in history

Even though the USA won the Revolution (with the help of the french) the federal government struggled badly and failed to come through properly for the conferderate troops and also administer policy effectively. The founding fathers all agreed that the problem was that the federal government didn't have enough power. An anonymous group wrote the Federalist Papers as a solution (turned out to be Madison, Hamilton, and Jay), which laid the groundwork for the Constitution and a stronger Federal Government.

As 21st century

As 21st century Revolutionaries we certainly could draw up a renewed Article of Confederation and include a Bill of Rights. It is not that I am against the Constitution, but even if we were to return to the Constitution, what would prevent neo-cons in the future from using it against us again with fancy arguements and interpretations. It is like giving up our guns to the government and trusting that they won't shoot us. Shouldn't we be bold enough as Revolutionaries to draw up a new document. It certainly didn't stop those in the past when the Constitution was drawn up to replace the Articles of Confederation.

Did the articles of Confederation

Fortune Favors the Bold

contain a bill of rights though?

Fortune Favors the Bold

Bill of Rights

The problem was that the Constitution didn't have a bill of rights....they were trying to change from the AOC to the constitution and that would have taken away most rights from the people...in favor of a huge conglomerate goverment, ( sound familiar) .But the people, being smarter than we are today, saw what they were doing and refused to pass, sign etc. the Constitution before demanding they give the people rights...hence, the Bill of Rights...

"and the truth shall make you free"
John 8:32

In the wording of the Articles

there is a retaining of rights, by each state. Actually, one of the most vocal against the Constitution, and for the Articles, was Patrick Henry, and it was he who made sure that the Constitution included a Bill of Rights before he would vote for it.

Logical step.

It just seems to me we should go back to the original document of "The United States of America". Start all over. Recognize the Articles of Confederation as our true American cornerstone. Especially since it would be much easier to do so than to eliminate questionable amendments made to the Constitution and all Supreme Court interpretations. The Articles of Confederation are clean cut true Conservatism.

Nah. There's an easier way

Just amend the First Amendment so it says "Congress shall make no law." :)