Difference Between Articles of Confederation and Constitution (With Table)

Articles of Confederation and Constitution are two known documents that note the changes that American Revolution made. The regulations of the Articles of Confederation were accepted and signed by the 13 states of the United States of America.  A constitution consists of all the rules and principles that are to be followed by a democratic country.

The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union was the agreement that the 13 states of the United States agreed to follow. This was considered as their earliest constitution. The Second Continental Congress approved it on 15th November 1777. It came into act on 1st March 1781 to implement independence and sovereignty of the states.

A constitution is the collection of all the principles, rules and regulation that is to be followed by the government and the citizens of a country. It is the backbone of a democratic country. The constitution in India is the longest one containing 444 articles, making it the largest democracy. Constitutions can also be implemented by individual institutions to prescribe the rules for them.

Articles of Confederation vs Constitution

The main difference between the Articles of Confederation and Constitution is that the Articles of Confederation are the rules that were agreed by the United States of America in the 18th century whereas the constitution is the rules that democratic countries and other legalized institutions develop to implement law and order in their body.


Comparison Table Between Articles of Confederation and Constitution (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonArticles of ConfederationConstitution
Codification of lawIt followed the unicameralism, which is having a single chamber in the parliament.The constitution follows bicameralism, that is the parliament is divided into two chambers.
Voting powerEach state had a single vote according to the Article of Confederation.Each legislative representative has a vote in the parliament according to the constitution.
Distribution of powerThe Articles of Confederation distributed the power between many unions.The constitution divides the power between subordinates but the ultimate power resides with the central authority.
Bill of rightsThe citizens were not able to claim the Bill of Rights under the Articles of Confederation.The Constitution considers everybody equally and hence the Bill of Rights can be claimed by the citizens.
Law enforcement9 out of 13 states should have supported the law to enforce it everywhere.Both the houses in the parliament have to support the law to amend it in a country.


What are Articles of Confederation?

The Articles of Confederation and the Perpetual Union was a bond that was signed between 13 states in the United States of America. It consisted of the rules that were to be followed by these states in the 18th century. It was the earliest agreement for a central government and hence the central system was a weak one.

The Articles of Confederation was a written document that embellished the idea of introducing a friendly bond between the states.  This process was a long one. After many discussions and reorganizing, the document was accepted by the people. The main idea of the system was to equally divide powers among all the states.

The committee included 13 people to finalize the draft. John Dickinson was the head of the committee and he presented the final draft of Articles of Confederation on 12th July 1776. Even after presenting the final document, there were arguments related to the distribution of power among the states.

Virginia ratified the Articles of Confederation and was followed by the others in the early 1779’s. But these articles gave minimum power to the central government and hence there it was headed by an unstructured central government. So this was not a solution for the government to settle with.


What is Constitution?

The Constitution of a country is the collection of all the rules and regulations that a citizen has to obey in the country. This is made by a group of people who are trusted by the government because of their social knowledge. This document decided how a country or an entity should be governed.

This is a written document where the principles are written by considering the behavior of the entity. If the constitution is written in a single comprehensive unit, then it is known as a codified constitution. When the constitution is written as parts of Acts, then it is known as an uncodified constitution. The constitution of the United Kingdom is an uncodified one.

Anybody who intends for a systematic and organized working structure can create a constitution that they need. A constitution is the backbone of a democratic country and hence the power is divided among different departments. They also specify the power that is given to the majority, minority, and the individuals.

The constitution considers the central government as the epitome of powers. The central government can decide or nullify the laws that the state government implied. Also, the constitution considers an individual citizen as a carrier of power. The government is decided by the vote that the individuals cast.

Main Differences Between Articles of Confederation and Constitution

  1. The articles of confederation follow a unicameral system whereas the constitution follows a bicameral system that has two houses at the parliament.
  2. A single vote is given to each state according to the Articles of Confederation but in the case of the Constitution, every legislative member has a vote in the parliament.
  3. All the states had equal power according to the Articles of Confederation. The powers were divided between different departments by the constitution. But the ultimate power holder is the central government.
  4. The individual citizens were not allowed to claim the Bill of Rights according to the Articles of Confederation. Anyone can claim their rights according to the constitution.
  5. If 9 out of 13 states accepted a law, then it was brought to act by the Articles of Confederation. The constitution demands that both the houses have to pass the law for enforcing it on the public.



The Articles of Confederation was an early representation of a government drafted by the United States of America. This was drafted to divide the powers among the states. It came into action by the late 18th century. After so many arguments and re-draft, this document was accepted by the head of the states.

The constitution is the latest document that is prepared by the officials to decide the way their government has to operate. Constitution is the document that leads to a democratic government. The constitution divided power among the different levels of government. For an organized and smooth running, even institutions go for coining constitution.


  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=lDH5SMKrl2EC&oi=fnd&pg=PP2&dq=Articles+of+Confederation+and+Constitution&ots=tWoIT9mlne&sig=VupjLYrIUBro6w49tupVACfFdTk
  2. https://digital.sandiego.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3066&context=sdlr

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