Compare the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution. Which Document Did a Better Job of Protecting Liberties? Explain Your Answer with Specific Examples

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President Woodrow Wilson wrote “the he Constitution of the United States is not a mere lawyers’ document, it is a vehicle of life and its spirit is always the spirit of the age.” One must keep this fact in mind when comparing the Constitution and the Articles of Confederation. There was a vast difference in the “spirit of the age” when these documents were drafted. Coming on the heels of the Declaration of Independence and the war against England, and afraid of a dictatorship or a government that did not listen to its people, the Articles of Confederation (which will be referred to as AoC) were written it a way that gave more power to the states. The problem with this type of government was that it was too difficult to enact or enforce laws and the government could not collect enough taxes to support itself. I believe the Constitution did a better job of protecting liberties, specifically in the areas of the federal court system, representation of the people, and the levy of taxes. Alexander Hamilton, statesman and economist, proclaimed "Laws are a dead letter without courts to expound and define their true meaning and operation”. The Articles of Confederation which gave rise to the Confederation government that took effect in March 1781, did not give the national government any means to enforce the federal laws. The states could, and often did, choose to interpret or enforce federal laws in any manner they saw fit. This led to disputes amongst the states that could not be readily settled, as it relied on each state’s court system which invariably chose to discount the ruling of the other states. The Constitution, under article III section I, allowed for a central court system, including one Supreme Court and a system of lower courts. This would alleviate the dissention in the AoC court system and allow for cases to be heard and decided based on a central system of
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