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Central Government vs Loose Confederation

The original U.S. Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, created a representative democracy, though the trend since has been more toward a pluralist democracy. There had been earlier efforts to establish self-government in the colonies, the most extensive of which was the Articles of Confederation passed before the Revolutionary War was ended. In this approach, the states came together in a loose confederation which allowed each state to retain its own sovereignty and independence. The states in this confederation were supreme over the national government. The Articles did establish a Congress, but it had limited powers. There was no executive and no judicial branch. The way the Articles were shaped reflected the fears of the colonists concerning centralized power such as applied in England. The Articles also showed that there was as yet no national identity among Americans. The trend was toward representative democracy in the individual states, and many preferred the decentralized system offered by the articles because they believed they could better influence decisions made on a local and state level than they ever could on a federal level. However, the government created by the articles of Confederation was too weak to promote economic security or assure peace (Welch, Gruhl, Steinman, Comer, and Vermeer, 1997, 25-26).

The concern about giving a central government too much power would infuse the debate over the Constitution as well, and the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists argued about the degree of power that should be given to any federal government over the states. In The Federalist Papers, James Madison addressed a different but related issue as he talked of the danger of encouraging factions, a trend he called a "dangerous vice" and that he saw as breaking up the necessary unity of any government. In some sense, states themselves can be seen as factions, existing under the larger control of the federal g...

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Central Government vs Loose Confederation. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 16:33, March 20, 2019, from