Articles Of Confederation Essay

932 words - 4 pages

AP US History Andrew AhnThoma Campbell HallBlock G 10/18/07Articles of Confederation DBQBreaking off from the English monarchy, the colonists of the new American nation needed a new government. As a replacement of the old monarchy, the Articles of Confederation was drafted in 1777 and ratified in 1781. Although the Articles contributed to the shaping of our modern day Constitution, it is inaccurate to say that the Articles provided an effective government from 1781-1789. The main fault in the Articles was the lack of central power; an effective government has control and power over its nation. The inadequacy of power in government led to huge problems in the new economy and many issues with foreign relationships. By the start of the 1780's, it was clear that the Articles needed to be radically changed.United as the "League of Friendship," the United States had no central government (Carnes). The second article of the document limited the power of the Congress because "each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence" (Carnes). Thus the Congress has no right to impose itself upon the independent but "united" states. Having just survived a war, America was suffering immense debt and needed to revive the damaged economy. But having no right to impose taxes on the states, Congress' requests for funds were ignored or only partially met (Thoma). After requesting funds from Rhode Island in 1782, Congress was rejected because the Rhode Island Assembly believed that giving money to the central government was "repugnant to the liberty of the United States (Document A). The combination of a weak government and failing economy personally affected individuals and veterans who have lent money during the war or served in the army (Carnes). The veterans and creditors recognized the "inability of Congress to pay their demands" and weren't satisfied until fully paid (Document C). In response, all Congress could do to relieve the veterans and creditors was to attempt to tax British imports; all states but Rhode Island agreed and the tax was a failure (Carnes). Soon everyone in the country became impatient with Congress and their lack of power. People began "losing confidence in their rulers" and politicians were aware that the state of the nation was "going and doing wrong" (Document G). Daniel Shays, a veteran and farmer, led many other dissatisfied farmers on a revolt against the state government (Carnes). Although his rebellion was put down (with no help from Congress), it served as a wake up call to Congress and all the states that the Articles were simply ineffective (Carnes). Another factor in economics was the states' ability to print their own money. The Articles entitled the Congress to print and regulate currency for all states (Thoma). But because of the debt, large amounts of paper money were distributed creating inflation and since the...

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