The Articles Of Confederation
United States Government
After their victory in the American Revolution, colonists came together as one to make the United States of America and to reorganize the colonies after the war.
Everyone held the same complaints with the King, and from those shared feelings came the first Continental Congress. The first Continental Congress was put together in 1774 in Philadelphia, and there they compiled their list of grievances. They also made another step towards uniting as one. they decided to have militias in each colony and boycott British trade together (History.com Staff). One year later, a second Continental
Congress met, and from that meeting, a colonial army was formed, with George
Washington as the leader. In 1777, the Articles of Confederation were drafted. This was monumental because it was the United States’ first written constitution. It did not get approved until 1781 ("Primary Documents in American"). The motivation for writing the
Articles was to unify the states at a time when they were trying to gain independence from England. At this point in time, however, there were people who were still loyal to the English throne, and also there were people who were scared of government being too big. The biggest goal of the Articles of Confederation was to provide a strong national defense in the colonies (Feinburg 45). Because of this, the Articles of
Confederation failed to protect economic stability and western expansion policies in the late eighteenth century.
The Articles did not give the government the ability to raise revenue effectively or to enforce a uniform commercial policy. The United States, under the Articles, advocated a “firm league of friendship”. Each state retained its sovereignty, freedom and independence, meaning that each state still had the highest rule within its borders.
The jurisdictions and the rights that the state put out were protected against questioning with the Articles of Confederation (Tansill). Because of the high levels of fear about big government, the Articles limited the control of government to agree on the vital issues.
Widely shared political speculation was that a republic could not appropriately serve a large nation such as the United States. The legislators of a large republic would be incapable of remaining in touch with the their people, and the republic would certainly deteriorate into a tyranny. To many Americans the nation seemed to be simply a league of independent states, and their Congress a diplomatic assembly representing them.
The document required a unanimous vote from state legislatures for ratification or amendment. For years in a row, change was not authorized to be made, because of the
Articles’ requirement that all states vote unanimously. Congress was denied the power to control commerce by the Articles. Because of this, foreign trade had no limits
(Fensen). With no limits, foreign imports flooded the American market, making
American products seem less favorable. American goods and services were threatened because their goods were more expensive than the imports. With England being the
United States’ biggest trading partner, the victory in the War for Independence lost the
U.S. the trade that came from there. The lack of economic regulation provoked a crisis.
Instead of having a national policy for the economy, each state had developed their own economic policy ("Primary Documents in American"). This proved ineffective