Ask Difference

Articles of Confederation vs. Constitution — What's the Difference?

By Fiza Rafique — Published on October 9, 2023
Articles of Confederation were the first U.S. government framework, deemed weak and replaced by the stronger, enduring U.S. Constitution.
Articles of Confederation vs. Constitution — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Articles of Confederation and Constitution


Key Differences

The Articles of Confederation offered the initial design for the government of the United States, whereas the Constitution provides the current governing framework.
The Articles of Confederation, established during the Revolutionary War, devised a "league of friendship" among states, whereas the Constitution constructed a stronger federal government.
The Articles of Confederation grappled with problems like disjointed state sovereignty and lack of centralized power, whereas the Constitution addressed these by establishing checks and balances among three governmental branches.
The process of law-making and amendment under the Articles of Confederation demanded unanimous state approval, often leading to gridlock, while the Constitution streamlined these processes, rendering the government more agile and adaptable.
The Articles of Confederation, while a symbol of early American collaboration and defiance against British rule, were pragmatically flawed, contrasting the Constitution which, despite critiques and challenges, has endured as America's foundational legal framework.

Comparison Chart

Government Strength

Weak federal government
Stronger federal government

Amendment Process

Unanimous state approval required
Less stringent processes


Slow and often ineffectual
More streamlined and effective


Equal regardless of state population
Bi-cameral, mixed representation

Federal Power vs. State

State sovereignty emphasized
Balanced federal-state powers

Compare with Definitions

Articles of Confederation

The Articles of Confederation required unanimous approval for amendments.
The rigid amendment process of the Articles of Confederation hindered governmental evolution.


The Constitution establishes a federal government with three branches.
The Constitution ensures checks and balances by creating legislative, executive, and judicial branches.

Articles of Confederation

The Articles of Confederation were America’s first governmental structure.
The Articles of Confederation struggled to unify the fledgling states.


The Constitution is the foundational legal document of the United States.
The Constitution outlines the structural and legal foundation of the U.S. government.

Articles of Confederation

The Articles of Confederation created a unicameral legislature with equal state representation.
Every state had one vote in the legislature under the Articles of Confederation.


The Constitution includes a Bill of Rights safeguarding individual liberties.
The First Amendment of the Constitution guarantees freedom of speech.

Articles of Confederation

The Articles of Confederation could not levy taxes or regulate commerce.
Financial struggles during the Articles of Confederation prompted discussions on government reform.


The Constitution implements a bicameral legislature.
According to the Constitution, Congress comprises the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Articles of Confederation

The Articles of Confederation established a “firm league of friendship” among states.
Under the Articles of Confederation, states retained significant autonomy.


The act or process of composing, setting up, or establishing.


The composition or structure of something; makeup.


The physical makeup of a person
Having a strong constitution, she had no trouble climbing the mountain.


The system of fundamental laws and principles that prescribes the nature, functions, and limits of a government or another institution.


The document in which such a system is recorded.


Constitution The supreme law of the United States, consisting of the document ratified by the original thirteen states (1787-1790) and subsequent amendments.


The act, or process of setting something up, or establishing something; the composition or structure of such a thing; its makeup.


(government) The formal or informal system of primary principles and laws that regulates a government or other institutions.


(law) A legal document describing such a formal system.


(Catholicism) A document issued by a religious authority serving to promulgate some particular church laws or doctrines.


A person's physical makeup or temperament, especially in respect of robustness.
He has a strong constitution, so he should make a quick recovery from the illness.


(dated) The general health of a person.


The act or process of constituting; the action of enacting, establishing, or appointing; enactment; establishment; formation.


The state of being; that form of being, or structure and connection of parts, which constitutes and characterizes a system or body; natural condition; structure; texture; conformation.
The physical constitution of the sun.


The aggregate of all one's inherited physical qualities; the aggregate of the vital powers of an individual, with reference to ability to endure hardship, resist disease, etc.; as, a robust constitution.
Our constitutions have never been enfeebled by the vices or luxuries of the old world.


The aggregate of mental qualities; temperament.
He defended himself with . . . less passion than was expected from his constitution.


The fundamental, organic law or principles of government of men, embodied in written documents, or implied in the institutions and usages of the country or society; also, a written instrument embodying such organic law, and laying down fundamental rules and principles for the conduct of affairs.
Our constitution had begun to exist in times when statesmen were not much accustomed to frame exact definitions.


An authoritative ordinance, regulation or enactment; especially, one made by a Roman emperor, or one affecting ecclesiastical doctrine or discipline; as, the constitutions of Justinian.
The positive constitutions of our own churches.
A constitution of Valentinian addressed to Olybrius, then prefect of Rome, for the regulation of the conduct of advocates.


Law determining the fundamental political principles of a government


The act of forming something;
The constitution of a PTA group last year
It was the establishment of his reputation
He still remembers the organization of the club


The way in which someone or something is composed


United States 44-gun frigate that was one of the first three naval ships built by the United States; it won brilliant victories over British frigates during the War of 1812 and is without doubt the most famous ship in the history of the United States Navy; it has been rebuilt and is anchored in the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston


The Constitution permits amendments to adapt to societal changes.
The 19th Amendment to the Constitution granted women the right to vote.

Common Curiosities

What was the legal status of the states under the Articles of Confederation?

States were sovereign entities linked through a “league of friendship.”

What was the primary goal of the Articles of Confederation?

To create a unified government for the 13 American states during the Revolutionary War.

Which document includes the Bill of Rights?

The Bill of Rights is part of the Constitution.

Were the Articles of Confederation ever officially ratified?

Yes, they were ratified in 1781.

What is the supreme law of the United States?

The Constitution is the supreme law of the land.

Why were the Articles of Confederation replaced?

Due to their inability to establish a robust federal government, maintain order, or facilitate economic stability.

Why was the Constitution drafted?

To establish a stronger federal government, addressing weaknesses in the Articles of Confederation.

How many amendments does the Constitution have?

The Constitution has 27 amendments as of the last update in 2022.

Did the Articles of Confederation have a president?

Yes, but the role was ceremonial and lacked significant power.

What role did the Federalist Papers play related to the Constitution?

The Federalist Papers aimed to garner support for the Constitution’s ratification by explaining and defending it.

Could the Articles of Confederation regulate interstate commerce?

No, the Articles did not grant power to regulate interstate commerce.

What year was the Constitution ratified?

The Constitution was ratified in 1788.

What were the shortcomings of the Articles of Confederation?

Notably, inability to levy taxes, regulate commerce, and enforce laws.

Which document establishes the three branches of government?

The Constitution establishes the legislative, executive, and judicial branches.

How is the Constitution amended?

Through proposal by Congress or a convention of states, followed by ratification by state legislatures or conventions.

Share Your Discovery

Share via Social Media
Embed This Content
Embed Code
Share Directly via Messenger
Previous Comparison
Dippiness vs. Logicalness

Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.

Popular Comparisons

Trending Comparisons

New Comparisons

Trending Terms