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Articles of Confederation

Uploaded by KyraDean on Oct 29, 2002

The Articles of Confederation, one of the first official documents establishing the government of the United States, was ineffective and failed to provide a strong government. During this significant period in the history of the United States, anarchy and revolution 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.

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. 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 trade. This reduced the amount of trade and importation of goods. There was very little economic progress and growth during this period even though the population was increasing. However, Article six of the Articles of Confederation states that “No state shall lay any imposts or duties.” This was a strong point of the Articles, yet it needed modifications. Self interest of the States and of individuals added to the cause of the problems. For example, John Jay tried to create a treaty with Great Britain that would have been bad for the merchants of the...

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Uploaded by:   KyraDean

Date:   10/29/2002

Category:   American History

Length:   4 pages (872 words)

Views:   1545

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