Compare and Contrast the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution of 1787 and discuss what led to the writing of the Constitution of 1787 (including weaknesses of the Articles).  Include how this new constitution structured government in a way that created a stronger central government than existed under the Articles of Confederation, but also placed limits on the power of the central government so it, or one of its branches, would not get too strong.

Consider the following to help you answer the above essay question:

  • How government was structured under the Articles of Confederation
  • How government was structured under the Constitution of 1787 (branches and an overview of the most important powers within the branches of government). Discussing the powers shows that government could do more than it could previously do.
  • How is power more removed from the people under the Constitution of 1787? Think of how politicians were supposed to be elected according to the Constitution of 1787 and what offices were citizens allowed to vote for directly.
  • With the Constitution of 1787, even though power was centralized more than previously and more removed from the citizens’ direct control, how was power limited? Think of checks and balances across branches of government, division of power between states and central government (federalism), 10th amendment reserving powers for the states.
  • Be sure to include a brief description of how government was structured under the Articles of Confederation and perceived flaws of this structure. You may want to mention Shays Rebellion, but do not spend too long on it.

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