The Articles of Confederation and Tyranny

The Articles of Confederation had done everything it could to defend against tyranny, but failed. It was missing a central government, a president, a court system, and currency for the country. Tyranny is defined as a government or ruler with total power. In 1787, 55 delegates met in Philadelphia to fix the Articles of Confederation. Everybody from the states could have a say in this, and they all agree to guarding against tyranny. The Constitution guarded against tyranny in several ways such as federalism, separation of powers, checks and balances, and the equality of large and small states.

The first guard against tyranny was federalism, which means, a system of government in which power is divided between a national government and state governments. For example, powers given to the central government are powers such as to provide an army and navy, make immigration laws, and to conduct foreign relations. Powers given to states are powers such as to pass marriage and divorce laws, and regulate in-state businesses.

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Federalism protects against tyranny because it gave powers to the central government and to the states, and they share powers together.

The second guard against tyranny was separation of powers, which means powers and responsibilities are divided between the legislative branch, executive branch, and judicial branch. This is effective so one person or branch of government cannot become too powerful. For example, while federal judges are appointed by the President (executive branch), and confirmed by the Senate; they can be impeached by the legislative branch (Congress).

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Separation of powers protects against tyranny because it limits the power of each branch in order to prevent the abuse of power.

The third guard against tyranny is checks and balances, which means it made sure no one branch would be able to control too much power. Each of the three branches can limit the powers of the others. Each branch “checks” the power of the other branches to make sure that the power is balanced between them. For example, the legislative branch is the part of the government that makes laws, but the executive branch gives veto power to the president. Checks and balances protects against tyranny because it ensures that no branch would grab too much power.

The fourth guard against tyranny was the equality of large and small states, which means all states were represented equally in the Senate. For example, the Senate consists of two senators from each state, meanwhile the House of Representatives are appointed by population. Equality of large and small states protects against tyranny, because each state was able to have at least one or more representatives. Equal representation in the senate protected the small states from domination by the large states.

In conclusion, the constitution protected us from the evil of tyranny using the four methods, federalism, dividing the government into three branches, a system of checks and balances, and making sure that larger states are not powerful over small states. This question is important, because it has shaped our government and country. If our constitution did not guard against tyranny, we could be living in a dictatorship.

Updated: May 19, 2021
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The Articles of Confederation and Tyranny. (2020, Sep 05). Retrieved from

The Articles of Confederation and Tyranny essay
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