Problems Of Decentralization What Were The Problems Of Decentralized Power That Existed Under The Articles Of Confederation?

1242 words - 5 pages

After the American Revolution was won and the Treaty of Paris formally recognized the United States of America as a country, there was still much to do . Major parts of the country were in shambles, and there was a strong need for a central government. At the time, many states drafted their own state governments, but soon realized that a national government was needed, so delegates went to the Second Continental Congress to draft the Articles of Confederation. Though it provided a legislative branch of government with one house that had the power to declare war, had the power to make treaties, and could also borrow money to pay debts, it was nothing more than a declaration of friendship between the colonies . The weaknesses of the Articles were apparent after the government showed helplessness after Shay’s Rebellion. The governor of Massachusetts asked Congress to send troops, but they didn’t have the money or the men to send aid . It also exposed the fact that the Articles of Confederation also failed to see that the states would adequately protect the rights and liberties of all their citizens .In the process of writing the Articles of Confederation so that it would not resemble a parliamentary government like Great Britain’s, the authors unintentionally created many problems pertaining to centralized power. The states kept their sovereignty which made it seem like there were thirteen separate countries rather than thirteen states unified together to create a country. There was no executive branch which translated into no follow through on decisions and there was a lack of leadership of the armed forces. No standing army meant that there was constant internal strife and state conflict, as well as making the threat of external invasion very real. There was also no trade regulation, which resulted in numerous trade disputes and also resulted in states taxing one another. State conflict was not only limited to trade disputes; laws in one state weren’t always recognized in others. Bigger states often bullied smaller states because of their smaller population size. And there was not a judicial system to help states settle disputes so states sometimes would even war against each other . Since it was evident that these problems were hindering the growth of the country, a meeting was called to fix and strengthen the existing form of government, the meeting was later known as the Constitutional Convention .At the Constitutional Convention, their main goal was to create a strong central government that had power that would exceed the states, but not so much power that it would resemble a parliamentary government . James Madison, the leader in the convention, also wanted to put a series of checks and balances into effect so that the three branches of government could all control each other and at the same time also govern themselves . After compromising between the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan, which both dealt with state...

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