The Articles of Confederation

850 Words4 Pages
The articles of Confederation were the first attempt at a federal government for the United States. They only lasted for about seven years (1781- 1788) until they were they were thrown out and replaced by the Constitution As a whole, they did not lay out a very strong or effective central government. Some positive things were accomplished, but the biggest accomplishment of the Articles was that they pointed put what would not work for the United States and they paved a was for the writing of the Constitution.

The Articles of Confederation started out as a radical plan for a strong central government written by John Dickinson in 1776. By the time there were approved by Congress, the Articles were an extremely watered-down version of Dickinson’s original plan. Under the new Articles the United States government had the power to wage war, make treaties, sent foreign diplomats and borrow and spend money. The rights to levy taxes and regulate trade were left to the individual state governments. In fact, the Articles were written in order to protect the sovereign power of individual states. Under the Articles, each state had one to seven representatives in Congress but only one vote each. In order for an amendment to be passed, the vote to pas it had to be unanimous. In some cases, this proved to be a problem.

In 1788, James Madison pointed out a flaw in the Articles’ requirement of a unanimous vote for amendment. Madison stated that in some cases, when crucial revisions of the Articles were proposed, only one state (and a small state at that) did not agree. Because of this failure to comply, one little state prevented the betterment of all of the other states that were involved in refining the Articles. When...

... middle of paper ...

...Once a legislature was formed in the district, they had the opportunity to become temporary states represented in Congress and eventually to become actual states. The territories were also protected by six articles that included freedom of religion and the outlawing of slavery.

The Articles of Confederation are often viewed was a mistake for the most part, but more than a complete mistake, they were a learning tool for those creating a system of government for the United States. The Articles outlined a loose central government. Through seven years of experience, Constitution writers learned that in order to function well, the United States of America required a strong central government. Without the prerunner of the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution would never have become the great and effective document we know as the base of our government today.

More about The Articles of Confederation

Open Document