Articles of Confederation vs Declaration of Independence: Difference and Comparison

The Articles of Confederation was a set of agreements made officially in the United States among the 13 original states. The Articles of Confederation were considered to be the first constitution of the United States of America.

It was created by the Second Continental Congress with the aim to structure a perfect new Government and also to serve as a confederation for the whole country.

The Declaration of Independence, on the other hand, is an official document of the United States that was embraced by the Continental Congress.

The Declaration of Independence officially announced the separation of the 13 American British colonies from Great Britain.

The Declaration of Independence was signed on August 1776 at the Pennsylvania State House by some congressional delegates. It was believed that about 56 had signed the document but only two people had never signed it.

Key Takeaways

  1. The Articles of Confederation established a weak federal government with limited powers, while the Declaration of Independence was a statement of grievances against British rule and a proclamation of independence.
  2. The Articles of Confederation failed to effectively govern the new nation, leading to the drafting of the Constitution. At the same time, the Declaration of Independence served as a symbol of American ideals and values.
  3. The Articles of Confederation did not provide for a national executive or judiciary, while the Declaration of Independence did not establish a system of government at all.

Articles of Confederation vs Declaration of Independence

The Articles of Confederation were the first written constitution of the United States, in force from 1781 to 1789, which created a weak national government and granted most powers to individual states. The Declaration of Independence is a document adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, which declared the 13 American colonies were independent states and no longer a part of the British Empire.

Articles of Confederation vs Declaration of Independence
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Law Quiz

Test your knowledge about topics related to law

1 / 10

A contract is considered _____ when given through mistake, violence intimidation, undue influence or fraud.

2 / 10

What is the name of the organization established by the United Nations in 1945 to promote peace, security, and cooperation among nations?

3 / 10

In “Promissory note” and a “bill of exchange” how many parties involved?

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What type of law is based on judicial decisions and precedents?

5 / 10

An agreement made without free consent is

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What type of law involves disputes between private parties?

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What type of law governs the enforcement of contracts?

8 / 10

What is the legal definition of arrest?

9 / 10

Where both the parties to an agreement under a mistake of fact essential to the agreement, the agreement is

10 / 10

Which one of the following element is not necessary for a contract?

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The only similarities between the two agreements/documents were that both were created by Congress and also by the same people.  

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonArticles of ConfederationDeclaration of Independence
Executive BranchThere was no executive branch.An executive branch was there in the case of Declaration of Independence.
National Court SystemNoYes
Congress Powers Of LawsThe Congress party had no power to enforce the lawsIn the case of the Declaration of Independence, the Congress had the power to enforce laws.
Setting and Collection of TaxesCongress did not have power to set or collect taxesCongress had gained power to collect taxes.
Raise an ArmyCongress was not allowed to raise an armyCongress was allowed to raise an army.

What are Articles of Confederation?

The Articles of Confederation is nothing but a constitution. It was an agreement made among the 13 original United States of America states.

The constitution was formulated by the Congress party to plan a new Governance structure in the country.

The Articles of Confederation were founded by Congress and here they could not exercise some powers because there were restrictions made in it Congress did not have the power to enforce the laws that it made and they did not even have the power to collect taxes.

The Articles of Confederation only allowed the state governments to impose taxes. The national government could not impose taxes, and this became one of the biggest problems.

In order to raise money to pay for the expenses, the national government had to request for monetary benefits from the states.

However, The Articles of Confederation did not last long because it became a massive failure. Soon after the failure, the Constitutional Convention had a meeting in Philadelphia and in the year 1781, the Articles of Confederation was effectively shut down.

The Articles of Confederation only lasted for four years, from 1777-1781.

What is Declaration of Independence?

The Declaration of Independence, on the other hand, is an official document that was embraced by the Second Continental Congress that separated the 13 American colonies from Great Britain.

It is the document of the United States of America, and it was explained why the US colonies wanted to be free and independent states.

The Declaration of Independence was signed a month after the approval and signed in the House of Pennsylvania.

The congressional delegates were the ones who had signed the document, and eventually, there were 56 signs in the document.

The original documents of the Declaration of Independence are currently kept in the National Archives Museum hall, Washington DC.

It gave certain rights to the national government to exercise some powers, like enforcing laws and also collecting taxes.

Most of the things were included in the documents of the Declaration of Independence, but it was not applicable to everyone. There were several reasons why the Declaration of Independence was designed, like for the King, the Colonists, and also for the World.

Main Differences Between Articles of Confederation and Declaration of Independence

  1. There was no executive branch in the Articles of Confederation case, whereas there was an executive branch in the case of the Declaration of Independence.
  2.  Delegates did not enjoy the power of enforcing the laws in the Articles of Confederation case, whereas in the case of the Declaration of Independence, enforcing laws were exercised.
  3. Congress also could not raise an army in the case of the Articles of Confederation, whereas in the case of the Declaration of Independence, Congress had the power to raise an army.
  4. In the case of the Articles of Confederation, Congress could regulate neither interstate trade nor international trade, but in the case of the Declaration of Independence, Congress had that power.
  5. Articles of Confederation was a document that served as a constitution for the United States of America whereas the Declaration of Independence stated that the American colonies to separate the British American colonies from Great Britain.
  6. Both the Articles of Confederation and the Declaration of Independence were introduced by Congressional delegates.
Difference Between Articles of Confederation and Declaration of Independence
References
  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=lang_en&id=RHlYssMw6oUC&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=articles+of+confederation+and+declaration+of+independence&ots=JAolz_qwTd&sig=_oKYatZ7kvDJ0BlBeY83W24hVCs
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/3491637

Last Updated : 14 October, 2023

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19 thoughts on “Articles of Confederation vs Declaration of Independence: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The balance of power between the national government and individual states was a central issue in both the Articles of Confederation and the Declaration of Independence.

  2. The Declaration of Independence was a bold move that led to the founding of the United States as an independent nation.

    1. Absolutely, the ideals and values expressed in the Declaration of Independence continue to influence the United States today.

  3. The change from the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution was a significant moment for the United States.

  4. Avatar of Campbell Jennifer
    Campbell Jennifer

    The limitations of the Articles of Confederation highlighted the need for a more robust system, eventually leading to the drafting of the Constitution.

  5. The differences between the Articles of Confederation and the Declaration of Independence underline the evolving nature of the United States government.

    1. Indeed, the transition from the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution marked a critical period in American history.

  6. The weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation underscored the importance of creating a more effective and balanced system of governance.

    1. The transition from the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution was pivotal in defining the structure of the U.S. government.

  7. The role of the Congress in enacting and enforcing laws was a key distinction between the Articles of Confederation and the Declaration of Independence.

    1. Absolutely, the limitations of the Congress under the Articles of Confederation highlighted the need for a more robust legislative framework.

  8. The lack of an executive branch and nationwide court system in the Articles of Confederation was a significant contrast to the structure outlined in the Declaration of Independence.

    1. The differences in the allocation of powers between the two documents played a crucial role in the development of the U.S. government.

    2. Absolutely, the shortcomings of the Articles of Confederation necessitated a reevaluation of how the national government should function.

    1. Indeed, the principles outlined in the Declaration of Independence continue to be a cornerstone of American society.

  9. The Articles of Confederation limited the power of the Congress, which posed a significant challenge during its time.

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