Reference on the Central Government: Articles of Confederation Compared to the Constitution

The left column shows common governmental responsibilities. The two columns on the right show whether the responsibility is assigned to the central government with the Articles of Confederation and with the Constitution.



Central Government With


Articles of Confederation


Responsible to conduct foreign affairs

Yes Congress.

Failure: Jay-Gardoqui Treaty

Yes Executive with Congressional approval

Responsible to declare war and peace

Yes Congress

Yes Congress

Able to coin money


Yes Congress

Able to levy taxes


Failure: impost duties amendment

Yes Congress

Able to raise troops


Yes Congress

Able to regulate commerce


Failure: No commercial treaty with Britain

Yes Congress

Method to change the system

13 state legislatures agree

Amendment process


2/3 to propose Congress or state legislatures

3/4 to ratify conventions or state legislatures

Method to write laws

9 votes (1 vote per state)

Majority of House and Senate




Copyright C. J. Bibus, Ed.D. 2003-2015


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