Last year, our new government was formed. We agreed to what the Articles had said. It seems that now we are having issues with what we had once agreed with. In this newsletter, I will only address four of the most problematic things in the Articles of Confederation. However there are many more that will not be brought to light today.
However, an uprising led by Revolutionary War captain Daniel Shays that took place in western Massachusetts in 1786 was the event that got the attention of the founding fathers. The Shay’s Rebellion demonstrated to the founding fathers that the Articles of Confederation brought commercial problems, threaten civil order, and conflicts between states. Likewise, at the constitutional convention the founding fathers crafted and ratified the U.S constitution to address the problem the Articles of Confederation could not tackle. Unlike the Articles of Confederation, the divided the powers of the national government into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. Furthermore, the constitution established a one true currency system and presented the job duties and requirements the three branches and individual states. Unlike the Articles of Confederation, the constitution presented the rights of its people (Bill of Rights) and a system of check of balance and separation of powers that the United States as democratic country. The Articles of Confederation was a popular democracy with its chaotic results and the constitution was a responsible democracy with its civilized outcomes.
The Articles of Confederation was first written in 1777. It was passed by the Confederation of Congress. Congress decided that they needed a firm government to organize the states as a whole. At least that was their primary goal. Since each state had separates rules. The Articles of Confederation was later ratified by each state in 1781. It was “America’s first federal constitution” (Keene 138). The confederation had a few strengths but many weaknesses. The nation faced many economic and political issues that lead people to controversy.
The topic of this paper is the Constitution. The paper will cover the weaknesses in the Articles of Confederation, which was addressed in the Constitution. The paper will cover the how the Constitution addressed the complaints in the Declaration of Independence. Another topic of the paper will be the Great Compromise and how the representation of states in Congress was determined. Finally, the paper will view the treatment of slaves for the purpose of representation and the effects thereof.
The most significant issues that the United States had under the Articles of Confederation were: “managing the western expansion, foreign relations, and debt.” The first significant issue was with the western expansion as Americans relocated to the Nashville, western Pennsylvania, and Kentucky areas in mass numbers in the 1780s. The result of this meant that the areas were enhanced greatly that had western charters. At the time, the northern and southern areas (in the Appalachian Mountains and Mississippi River) had specific boundaries based on the original colonized charters which meant that the western area was the Pacific Ocean. The states that did not have part of the western area resented the condition and as a result, Maryland protested by not approving the Articles of Confederation unless the state of Virginia yielded its western land to the federal government which they did in 1784. However, their yielding was not without strings attached as they demanded that they be allowed to keep a small portion of the land reserve for their own use as a part of the deal which Congress had no choice but to accept. Eighteen years later in 1802, every state had yielded their western land to the federal government.
Speaking against the ratification of the Constitution, Patrick Henry says, "If a wrong step be now made, the republics may be lost forever. If this new government will not come up to the expectation of the people...their liberty will be lost and tyranny must and will rise..." The leaders of the country created the U.S. Constitution due to an immense dissatisfaction with the system of government stated in the Articles of Confederation. The Articles of Confederation support a government in which there is only one branch, but it's power would be limited in order to protect the people's liberty and rights. Although the Articles of Confederation establish a better system of government than when the states were under British rule, some weaknesses were found and amended in a new document called the United States
It all started after the Declaration of Independence during the time America was busy fighting the Revolutionary War, when Congress realized that they needed to form a plan to move forward and unite the thirteen states as a nation.
Rules would be the new topic of discussion at the end of the American Revolution amongst the newly formed Free states that won their independence from Britain. One huge question loomed over the Free states, how could they conduct a civilized way of living without another ruler such as the king of Britain here in America? There needed to be some sort of system that would generate a control to create a unified country. States were acting and conducting business as if each state was its own country and this left the America vulnerable on many fronts. Some of the main issues that surfaced were; How to divide powers between local and national governments? Which laws should be made, and by whom and who would enforce them? I will address some of the differences between the Constitution and The Articles of Confederation.
After fighting for our country against Great Britain in the American Revolution, the United States gained independence. We had to figure out how to govern ourselves since we would no longer be under the power of the monarch. The Articles of Confederation was the answer to our problems; even though it established a very weak central government and had many problems, it was our first constitution and our first step towards a solid government. Some of the problems with the Articles included that the Congress had no power to tax, no power to regulate commerce, no power to regulate domestic affairs, no power to enforce laws, and many more. The problems lead to troubles with the States which convinced the Continental Congress to create a convention of delegated people to revise them; this convention was called the Constitutional Convention. The Convention fixed these problems by throwing the Articles out altogether and creating a new Constitution.
The Articles of Confederation was a loose “league of friendship” between the thirteen colonies that would create a confederation in contrast to Great Britain 's unitary system. While the Articles of Confederation helped establish a systemic role in trying to unify many of the states under a weak central government, it later created many more problems than solutions. One of them being that Congress had no ability to propose taxes to deal with war debts and running the government. Another weakness was that Congress did not have the ability to regulate commerce among states and foreign nations which hurt Congress’s credibility. One of the most considerable weaknesses of Congress under the Articles of Confederation was its failure to provide for a strong central government. The Articles of Confederation was created to not compare with the totalitarian regime of the British and made sure of not creating a strong central government. The problem was that without a strong central government it eliminated all sovereignty that the central government had, giving increased sovereignty to states which lead to increased chaos. It is seen that Shays Rebellion was that nail in the coffin of The Articles. Lead by David Shay a group of farmers who had served in the Continental Army marched to Springfield, Massachusetts to stop the state court from foreclosing on the veterans farms. Congress’s failure in being able to formulate a militia and stop the disgruntled farmers was the end of The
The Articles of Confederation was needed to conduct foreign affairs, such as war. The Confederation wanted to tax states for their whole population, whites and blacks. The southern states did not approve of this because there were a larger number of slaves in the south. With the Articles of Confederation, there was only the legislature which existed. No president and no judicial branch. To amend the articles of all thirteen states, all would have to agree, therefore, this would bring a great deal of difficulties. (History.com, Articles of Confederation)
After Shay’s Rebellion and the nation on the brink of bankruptcy it was clear that the Articles of Confederation would not be adequate to preserve the nation. So began the great battle for the balance between order and freedom. The main point of dispute between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists in the battle over the ratification of the Constitution surrounded the question of what powers and rights were required in order to insure the security and liberty of the nation. The Federalists advocated that a strong central government was needed, which was supported by the failure of the Articles of Confederation. However the Anti-Federalists were determined on keeping the sovereignty of the states and by doing so also retaining their secured political freedom.
Daniel Shays Rebellion took place during the time of America's post war depression that from 1784-1787. The rebellion fits into the theme of ‘culture and society’. The confederation had an enormous debt that had built up during the Revolutionary War. Congress showed its weakness that weighed heavily on debtors and having no power to tax. The confederation could only make requisition on the states but even then could only receive one-sixth of the money. Robert Morris and his Philadelphia allies had an idea for a centralized government after the flaws found in the Articles of Confederation.
American elites simply expected that their power in governing the common masses would be taken as simply unquestionable. Shay’s Rebellion, staged by a large mass of farmer militia, in 1789 however was a hazardous insurrection that proved the Articles of Confederation was far too weak and lacked many vital qualities such as a national army and the ability to collect taxes. Equally important, Shay’s Rebellion illustrated that the common people would not be silent when facing discontent, similar to the pushback against the British for the Stamp Act. The Founders, American elites, then turned to creating a centralized government under the Constitution which would place them, the natural aristocracy, at the head of this new
The national government of the United States had many challenges under the Articles of Confederation. The Articles caused money problems and the most essential detail, a weak government. This also caused America conflicts among each of the 13 states. These problems greatly impacted the United States and it’s government as well.