Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Article of Confederation Essay

The first constitution was written in the United States was called the â€Å"Articles of Confederation. † It established a loose league of friendship between thirteen sovereign states and proposed that each state have its sovereignty, freedom, and independence. The Articles of Confederation approve in 1781, which led to a period of crisis between the years 1781 and 1789. This period refer as the Critical Period. The Articles of Confederation was the precursor of the United States Constitution because of the many reasons it had weaknesses and replaced by the United States Constitution. The Constitution of the United States comprises the nation’s fundamental law, providing the framework for its governance and the principles under which it must operate. When the constitution was written, it was intended to endure for ages, be flexible, and adaptable for future generations. The constitution was intended to be the supreme law of the land. â€Å"To win the required approval from all 13 states, drafters changed the plan and granted the Confederation control of western lands. After four years, the Articles finally won ratification in 1781. † (Created Equal, pg. 77) The Articles of Confederation, which were ratified in 1781, became the first constitution. The Articles of Confederation dealt with three problems: taxation, representation, and the extent of control over western territories. First, the Articles of Confederation weakness was that the central government did not have the power to collect taxes. As the Articles of Confederation illustrate, â€Å"According to the Articles, Congress could not collect taxes or regulate trade; it could only requisition funds from the states. Shares would vary depending on each state’s free population. (Created Equal, pg. 177) Under the Articles of Confederation, the state government can only send its contribution annually to the national government but they cannot be compelled to pay taxes. Due to this huge weakness, many problems arose in the U. S, which were signs of the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation. The trade agreements Congress had made with other nations were not always carried out. Many people soon started importing goods from other countries that they refused to pay for. Consequently, people in other nations soon became reluctant to trade with the U.  S; even Great Britain closed its commerce to it, which resulted in the loss of a lot of money because of lack of trade. There was also competition among the states, as they started levying taxes on goods passing through them to other states. Taxes are the lifeblood of the nation. Without it, no government machinery will function. Thus, the national government could not perform its functions because it did not have the funds. Second weakness was the enactment of laws. Under the Articles of Confederation, the enactment of laws needed the approval of 9 out of 13 states. The voting obligation is quite high. As a result, five states could easily prevent the enactment of laws, which seriously jeopardized the enactment of laws that needed to be passed. The Articles of Confederation note, â€Å"Moreover, the Confederation had no separate executive branch; executive functions fell to various committees of the Confederation Congress. † (Created Equal, pg. 177) There was no executive branch to institute the policies for the entire nation. As a result, the state governments did not have a cohesive policy that every state government should follow. Consequently, the state governments individually created their own policies. Since there was no national judiciary, the state courts were tasked to interpret laws. As George Mason indicates, â€Å"The Judiciary of the United States is so constructed & extended, as to absorb and destroy the Judiciarys of the several States; thereby rendering Law as tedious intricate and expensive, & Justice as unattainable, by a great Part of the Community, as in England, and enabling the Rich to oppress & ruin the Poor. † (Mason, Paragraph 2, pg. 10) It had become clear that it was necessary to abandon the Articles of Confederation in favor of a constitution that provided for a stronger national government, created a national judiciary and strong Congress. Finally, the United States had different issues that they had to deal with. These were foreign affairs, economic conditions, and Western land. The Articles clarify, â€Å"In addition, to the dismay of land speculators, the Congress would not control the western domains that several large states had claimed. † (Created Equal, pg. 77) The government was weak due to poor economic conditions and the people still feared the power of the central government. These weaknesses posed a threat to the effectiveness of the government. Under the Articles of Confederation, there was a unicameral legislature. There was one house and there were no executive or judiciary branches. Each state had the same number of representatives and their own currency. The states taxed each other and affecting the value of money to decrease and posed a threat to the economic stability of the United States, which was already weak and in need of reformation. The Articles of Confederation was the precursor of the United States Constitution because of the many reasons it had weaknesses and replaced by the United States Constitution. It brought the colonies together as a loose confederation with the state’s rights being more important than the power of the federal government. Even though the government under the Articles of Confederation was very weak, it was still more democratic because it gave more rights and power to the states. The Articles unified the states under a loose confederation, which lacked a strong, central government. Although the Articles of Confederation had several successes, it created far more weaknesses and failures. The failures of the Articles had to be addressed, so a new constitution was created and drafted at the Constitutional Convention, which determined the many failures of the Articles, and created a strong central government. A controversial issue has been debated over whether the government under the Articles of Confederation or the Constitution was more democratic. The Articles of Confederation created a more democratic government because it gave power to the individual states and to the people.

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