Article of Confederation Essay

Submitted By yelmogus314
Words: 1288
Pages: 6

To Amend or Not to Amend The Articles of Confederation is the first governing mechanism devised for the United States. As the precedent, many Americans, especially the Foundering Fathers, knew that it had many weaknesses, but that’s precisely what they intended: a Confederacy. Out of fear of replicating another British monarchy, the colonists attempted to construct an extremely weak government and avoid concentrating powers in the hands of a few individuals. However to assess the effectiveness of the government set up by the Articles of Confederation it is paramount to discuss the problems faced by the country during the post-Revolutionary decade from 1781 to 1789 and to what how effectively and to what extent those issues were dealt with. However, by doing this more problems were created than the government could solve. Additionally, the word “effective” is a bit ambiguous. In terms of securing personal liberties and continuing the American lifestyle, the Articles did a fantastic job but in terms of national security and building world superpower country, the Articles failed miserably. In other words, while the Articles may have its advantages inherent to a Confederacy, the various problems facing the country such as an economic crisis, foreign threats, and a lack of general unity inevitably created an ineffective and feeble method of governing the new nation. Primarily one of the main causes of the Revolutionary War was to become political independent from the British Crown and instate a form of a weak central government to protect individual state rights. However, the Coalition of States have yet to actually become economically independent. Both before and after the Revolutionary War, states have continued to export millions of dollars worth, averaging around 5 million pre-revolution and 4.5 million post-revolution. (Doc B). In addition, the interstate commerce between states were more like 13 different nations with 13 different currencies floating around. Even more, Congress and the States shared the ability to coin money and issue currency, which quickly prompts inflation as too much money was floating around with no gold or sliver to back up the currency. Shays’ Rebellion was actually caused by the lack of trust and instability of the Massachusetts dollar prompting a downward spiral of farm foreclosure and making farmers even less able to pay off the debt. Furthermore, because Congress itself was denied the right to tax, they were also denied the power to excise regulatory tariffs or taxes. State tariffs within the states would have caused prices to skyrocket every time it caused a merchant to travel state boundaries. Urban artisans would have favored tariffs to protect their profits and merchants would have enjoyed open markets around the world both of which Congress was incapable to achieving. Even when Congress recommended some impost on imported goods, Rhode Island unanimously decided to ignore that action, because it harmed state interests, even those it might have helped national interests. (Doc A). On top of that, since Congress had no ways of raising revenue or steady sources of money besides “requesting money from state legislature,” which rarely occurred, the U.S. wasn’t able to pay back the war-related debts, make good on public bonds, or even properly pay veterans. (Doc C). The current economic situation was extremely precarious between a national deficiency of assets and a fluctuating dollar; it’s almost to conduct business within the United States or with other nations. In fact, because the nation was so splintered nations would probably sign treaties or other types of agreements with multiple parties besides one single state. On the other hand, relations with foreign powers were especially hazardous. Spain controlled the Mississippi thus impeding Western expansion and depriving colonists of a major transportation and trade route. In addition, Spain like other major powers looked down on the…