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Foreign Policy Problems With The Articles Of Confederation Lehman College, Senior Essay

1449 words - 6 pages

Siku Bokum
From the Articles of Confederation to The United States Constitution
When the thirteen colonies declared their independence on July 4, 1776 many were concerned with the pressing question of how the former colonies would govern themselves now that they had severed political ties with Great Britain. A committee led by John Dickinson, of Delaware, submitted a draft of The Articles of Confederation eight days after the thirteen colonies declared independence.[footnoteRef:1] The leaders of the colonies feared centralized government because they believed that it put too much power in too few people's hands. After over a year of back and forth, the Articles of Confederation were ready for ratification.[footnoteRef:2] However, the Articles of Confederation did not last long because it made the central government too weak especially in foreign affairs.[footnoteRef:3] Under the Articles of Confederation, states created their own trade deals with Europe which hurt other states and also the national government couldn’t enforce treaties that it made with other nations.[footnoteRef:4] These problems combined with the other issues led to the replacement of the Articles of Conferation with the United States Constitution which solved many of the problems that the Articles of Confederation had. [1: Sellers, Christine. The Articles of Confederation: The First Constitution of the United States | In Custodia Legis: Law Librarians of Congress, 16 Sept. 2011,] [2: Sellers, Christine. The Articles of Confederation: The First Constitution of the United States | In Custodia Legis: Law Librarians of Congress, 16 Sept. 2011,] [3: Frederick Marks, III. Independence on Trial: Foreign Affairs and the Making of the Constitution. (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 1986) p. 76.] [4: Frederick Marks, III. Independence on Trial: Foreign Affairs and the Making of the Constitution. (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 1986) p. 76.]
The United States economy, before declaring its independence, had been part of the British Empire. They enjoyed privileges such access to credit and access to the British West indies[footnoteRef:5]. Under the Articles of Confederation, British politicians viewed the American government as weak in the area of trade. Because the Articles of Confederation prohibited the national government from making commerce treaties with other nations that restricted the “legislative power of the respective states… from imposing such imposts and duties on foreigners”[footnoteRef:6]. The British government decided on July 2, 1783, to close the “British West Indies to American ships and sailors,”[footnoteRef:7] The effects of the new British policies were felt at all levels in America and the inability of the American government to effectively respond...

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