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Articles of Confederation

Essay by   •  December 17, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  1,678 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,216 Views

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History paved the Way

Each of us has a history, a past that shapes us into who we are today. Whether it is a good history or a bad one, it has something to do with who we have become. We are able to learn from it and it helps us not to make the same mistakes of the past. The mistakes that our forefathers made are very important to know in the present time because we do not want to commit the same errors they did. The mistakes they've done paved the way for us to know things better and be more knowledgeable. One of the more prominent mistakes they committed were on the Articles of Confederation. The Articles of Confederation were the first evidences of law making in our country. The few established states back then had just gained their freedom from the British and they were ready to make a nation of their own. But standing on their own two feet did not come easy for them because not everyone would get along and agree to one thing or another. These disparities and differences were very much reflected on the finished product of The Articles of Confederation. It proved to be a weak document. It made one of the strongest nations into a weak one and it did not even show that the states were actually united as one. The Congress, which was supposed to be one of the uniting factors of the states were ineffective and pointless because of The Articles themselves. It was like creating a law for advisory purposes. The Congress was ineffective in three ways, economically, politically and internationally.

In countries today, a Congress is a unifying and governing body that manages most of the affairs of a certain country. Economically, the Congress failed to do their duties because the Articles stated that they had no power to levy taxes, they could not raise money without the states' permission and even though they printed new dollars because the other currencies had proven useless, their efforts were still futile. In short, the Congress failed to exercise their power economically because it could not implement laws that would help the country with it's monetary affairs and issues without the consent of the other states. It was quite useless because Congress could not fully exert power due to the fact that the states can still decline their plans. Not being able to levy taxes resulted to the federal government being left at the hands of the states, which most often chose not to pay any of their taxes. This meant that they could not raise any money at all and therefore, they did not have any funds to support any of their affairs. It makes no sense that the Congress was to collect money from the states as it says so in the Articles but the states could refuse that. It seemed like every law in the Articles contradicted what the Congress was supposed to do. The Articles did not manage provide a solid monetary system to ensure that taxes would be paid or to protect commerce. Congress could not collect taxes to pay off pre-war debts. This led to a huge dispute and chaos when soldiers that hadn't been paid marched on to Philadelphia and the Congress had to flee. There was no national money and each sate preferred to have their own monetary system. Congress was not granted any rights to control interstate commerce. States made up and drafted laws and rules of their own that made trading difficult with other states. There was very little economic progress and growth during this period even though the population was increasing.

Secondly, in the area of politics, the Articles did not fail to make the Congress pointless and useless too. Politically, the Congress was supposed to be the head of all the states and handle the disputes and debates between them. But the states did not take into account the efforts that Congress gave to fix the disputes. The Articles gave them the right to solve interstate problems but it also gave the states the right to ignore what the Congress suggested. Every effort that the Congress did was ignored or refused by the states. They were merely friendly suggestions. States were given the power to make their own laws and enforce those. The Articles were supposed to set up a government that was democratic but it failed to provide that. All the powers that were not granted to the Congress were given to the state governments, which made the Congress even more ineffective. Any amendments made to the Articles required unanimous agreement from the states. Each State was committed to their own laws and interests rather than to that of Congress. It was like a state for itself and this decreased the level of unity in the country. The Americans were so afraid to have a strong central government that would govern them because they all thought that their fight for independence would become futile once they've built up a stronger nation and another ruler might take up their independence. The government then established and approved by the people a congress with very limited powers. The country lacked leadership. There was no president or any form of authority that led the countries. The Congress could not even be considered as an authority because they were proved ineffective. The Articles established the United States as a confederation of states. This was a system wherein the states were all independent and the Congress was weak. It was just a binding factor that did not really bind anything. Leadership was very



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