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The Articles Of Confederation Essay

1064 words - 4 pages

The first constitution of the United States was known as the Articles of Confederation. The Articles were written in 1977, after independence from Great Britain had been declared and while the American Revolution was in progress. As a constitution, the Articles had a short life. The document was not fully ratified by the states until 1781, and it remained in effect only until 1787. Under the Articles, Congress was the sole organ of government. Also under the Articles the thirteen states had most of the power, which led into many problems. Some of the many problems were that the states taxed import and export between states, no equality in number of votes according to the population, each state can volunteer to pay taxes, and also each state can produce their own money. All these problems led many people to bankruptcy and debt, which they could not pay off. In 1786, there was an uprising in Massachusetts in opposition to high taxes and stringent economic conditions. Armed bands forced the closing of several courts to prevent execution of foreclosures and debt processes. In 1786 Daniel Shays and other local leaders led several hundred men in forcing the Supreme Court to adjourn; also a small band of farmers in Massachusetts rebelled at losing their land to creditors. As a result of the rebellion, Daniel Gray addressed the people of several towns in the county of Hampshire; also George Washington sent two letters to James Madison and Henry Knox about concerns pertaining to the Articles of Confederation. Daniel Gray was a leading participant in Shay's Rebellion; he gives numerous reasons to justify Shays' Rebellion. He says that the United States is in a time where money flow is scarce, and by putting debtors in jail will do no good to society. In other words, by putting debtors in jail it does not solve the problem; it only increases the problem by making people angry, and ultimately the creditors will never get their money back. A second reason he brings up in his address that justify Shays' Rebellion is the misuse of money. Gray says that the money collected from import and excises are being used on government bonds and are not properly used on foreign debt. He also adds that the government bonds are not even subject to taxation; and the government is using money from import and excises tax money inappropriately towards government bonds, when they are better off used towards foreign debt. A third reason that Gray said that justify Shays' Rebellion is that termination of the writ of Habeas Corpus are liable to be taken and convey even to the most distant part of the nation, and therefore subject to an unjust punishment. The fourth and final reason that justifies Shays' Rebellion is that Justices of the Peace and Sheriffs, Deputy Sheriffs and Constables are given all the power and protection from all prosecution. Daniel Gray address tries to attempt that the rebels were not enemies of the American people by telling them that these people were...

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