Articles Of Confederation

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Soon after the Revolutionary War in America, a new government was started when the Articles of Confederation were adopted by the Continental Congress. The Articles set up a democratic government that gave the States the power to make their own laws and to enforce them. However, the Articles were ineffective and failed to provide a strong government. During this critical period in the history of the United States, pandemonium and anarchy were growing due to: controlled public, nothing in the Articles that gave Congress the power to enforce laws, no solid monetary system, and also the country lacked unity and strength The Articles were ineffective because Congress only had the power to recommend actions to the States. It could not enforce its recommendations or laws. Each State had its own constitution, monetary system, and means to enforce the law. Each State had a stronger commitment to the State laws and to the State's own self interests than to the recommendations of Congress. Regionalism pitted one State against another, which decreased the sense of unity in the country. For example, when Congress recommended an impost, or duty, on imported goods, the State of Rhode Island voted to reject the idea because they felt it was unfair and was against the constitution of the State (Document A). Defending the Articles is tough but not impossible. Even though Shays' Rebellion did not succeed, Congress did get to raise troops which, at the end were not needed (Document G). The Articles failed to provide a solid monetary system to ensure that taxes would be paid or to protect commerce. Congress had no way to collect taxes to pay off pre-war debts. This led to chaos and anarchy when soldiers realized that there is a delay in what they requested (Document C). Each State had its own money, but there was no national money system. Since the money had no value from state to state, the people began to use the barter system of trade. This reduced the amount of trade and importation of goods. There was very little economic progress and growth during this period even though the population was increasing. (Document B). Self interest of the States and of individuals added to the cause of the problems. For example, John Jay tried to create a treaty with Great Britain that would have been bad for the merchants of the United States but it would have paid off the war debt.

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