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Articles of Confederation

As the first written constitution of the United States, the Articles of Confederation created a legislature where each state was represented equally. The Congress had jurisdiction over foreign relations with the authority to form alliances and make treaties, make war and peace, sustain an army and navy, coin money, establish a postal service, create admiralty courts, and settle disputes between states. Thus, the power vested in Congress allowed it to operate with moderate control over the states.

Another successful point was in the allowance of qual votes in Congress for each state and the decree that most decisions be decided by majority vote. However, through these articles, the United States government lacked a sufficient system of taxation. Under the Articles of Confederation the Congress had no power to tax the states, instead it depended on donations by the states. The states desired moderate government involvement and thus, were repulsed by the idea of federal taxation. Lacking in adequate funding, inflation soon overwhelmed the nation.

Another obstacle in effective governing was that The Articles did not grant Congress the power to enforce its laws, instead depending on voluntary compliance by the states. In place of executive and judicial branches, The Articles created an inefficient committee system branching out of Congress. Most importantly, any amendment to the Articles of Confederation required the ratification by all the states, a measure that virtually eliminated any chance of change. The negatives of The Articles gradually magnified.

The British refused to evacuate from forts in the American Old Northwest. Finally, Shay’s rebellion in Massachusetts symbolized the feebleness of the nation, and inadequacy of the Articles of Confederation. Although, some states opposed a radical change in governmental form , it was inevitable by 1787. The Articles of Confederation provided effective management of expansion for the United States. It also gave Congress ample control over guidance of the country. However, The Articles were insufficient in several important matters.

Without an executive branch the country lacked a clear, decisive leader. The Congress had no power to lay and collect taxes, nor did it possess the power to enforce its laws, making it virtually dependent on the states. On matters of amendment The Articles left little room for change, relying on an unanimous decision to alter it. Despite, success in expansion policies, The Articles of Confederation was a failure in creating a prosperous and efficacious country that could support and defend itself and its people.

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