Articles Of Confederation Essay

757 words - 3 pages

"From 1781 to 1789 the Articles of Confederation provided the United States with an effective government." Using the documents and your knowledge of the period, evaluate this statement.Soon after the Revolutionary War in America, a new government was started when the Articles of Confederation (Articles) were adopted by the Continental Congress. The Articles set up a democratic government that gave the States the power to make their own laws and to enforce them. However, the Articles were ineffective and failed to provide a strong government. During this Critical Period in the history of the United States, regionalism and anarchy were growing because of the following reasons. 1) The Continental Congress controlled public affairs but there was nothing in the Articles that gave Congress the power to enforce laws or unify the States. 2) There was no solid monetary system to ensure that taxes would be paid or to protect commerce, both nationally and foreign trade. 3) The country lacked unity and strength because there was no leadership.The Articles were ineffective because Congress only had the power to recommend actions to the States. It could not enforce its recommendations or laws. Each State had its own constitution, monetary system, and means to enforce the law. Each State had a stronger commitment to the State laws and to the State's own self interests than to the recommendations of Congress. Regionalism pitted one State against another, which decreased the sense of unity in the country. For example, when Congress recommended an impost, or duty, on imported goods, the State of Rhode Island voted to reject the idea because they felt it was unfair and was against the constitution of the State (Document A).The Articles failed to provide a solid monetary system to ensure that taxes would be paid or to protect commerce. Congress had no way to collect taxes to pay off pre-war debts. This led to chaos and anarchy when soldiers that hadn't been paid marched on Philadelphia, and Congress had to flee to Princeton New Jersey (Document C). Each State had it's own money, but there was no national money system. Since the money had no value from state to state, the people began to use the barter system of...

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