Articles of Confederation Essay

Submitted By Laura-Noble
Words: 851
Pages: 4

Laura Noble
U.S. History Essay
A Stronger Government for a New Country
The Articles of Confederation were successful in unifying the independent colonies during the American Revolution but did not adequately provide a strong central government, so were therefore nearly completely replaced by the Constitution, which more specifically outlined powers of the government. The weak and ineffective Articles resulted in the Constitutional Convention meeting in Philadelphia on May 25, 1787 to create a new form of government. A total of 55 delegates from 12 of the 13 states, with the exception of Rhode Island, worked to create the Constitution. The Constitution changed the structure of the government, stabilized the economy and reformed the social and cultural attitudes of the citizens of the United States. The transition from the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution drastically changed the structure and power of the government. The Articles of Confederation was a document that loosely linked the thirteen states for united action to deal with common problems. Such as, Shays Rebellion and the Whiskey Rebellion. It was designed with Congress as the chief agency with no executive, or judicial branches and without a single leader. Each state, regardless of size or population had a single vote. Hardly any bills or amendments were passed since bills required 2/3 vote and amendments required unanimous consent. The Articles were designed to have a weak central government and allowed the states too much power. The Constitution, on the other hand, produced a completely different government. The executive branch was created and the Electoral College was used to elect a president rather than a direct vote in order to prevent mobocracy. The Commerce Compromise allowed Congress to tax imported goods but not exported ones. Checks and balances were put into place for the different branches of government to help prevent one branch from gaining too much power over the others. The executive branch enforces laws, the legislative branch makes the laws and passes laws, and the judicial branch interprets the laws. The Judiciary Act of 1789 created the Supreme Court with a chief of justice and five associates, a federal district and circuit courts, and an established office of attorney general. The Constitution’s radical changes from the decentralized government outlined in the Articles of Confederation created a new, centralized government for the United States. The economy of the United States benefited from the ratification of the Constitution. The Articles of Confederation were weak and ineffective. Some states abused the power and declared embargos and taxes on other states who wanted to trade. There was no authority from the central government to enforce a tax collection; therefore, paying off the national debt was a growing, problem. The “Father of the National Debt,” Alexander Hamilton, designed a tariff to pay off the large debt. The first tariff law placed close to an 8% tax on dutiable imports; it was passed by Congress 1789, before Hamilton swore in as president. Later in 1791, Congress passed an excise tax on whiskey, which Hamilton created for internal revenue. This not only led to the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania in 1794, but it also challenged the new government. As a result, the government got involved and President Washington ended the rebellion. The new government gained new respect from the states. Hamilton also proposed the idea of having a National Bank. The bank would stimulate business