Articles of Confederation DBQ Essay
The Articles of Confederation were adopted by the 2nd Continental Congress on November 15th, 1777. The 2nd Continental Congresssought to combine the disparate colonies under a single governmental entity. They were the first attempt at a government for the United States, but were eventually replaced by the Constitution. The Articles gave the American government no separation of powers, and an effective government is one that imposes its will on its people and nation and defends the people’s rights. It also needed to be able to regulate trade, commerce, impose and collect taxes.
Although the United States desired an effective government, they comprised an ineffective government because there was no president, the U. S. wasn’t able to pass taxes and laws, it had no army to protest the nation, it had a weak government, and it had no courts to settle problems between states. The U. S. government did not have no president or any other independent executive, nor was there a federal judicial branch so there was not much power given. An example pf that is the Letter from Rhode Island Assembly to Congress (A).
The letter explains in the second principal of reason that, “Because it proposes to introduce into this and the other states, officers unknown and unaccountable to them, and so is against the Constitution of this State” (A). This explains that without a president the U. S. could not impose on imported goods. The Articles of Confederation did not have a strong government, but instead a weak one. It is evident that the Articles had a weak government because the government did not promote trade, and an effective government would have promoted trade.
It is evident in the Estimated Market Value of United States Exports to Great Britain and Estimated United States Population (B) that the trade from 1785 to 1792 was not getting any better, but in fact was decreasing. In the Letter from John Jay to George Washington (G) it states that their government was a failure and problematic. This was described as a loss of public faith, because John Jay describes the government as “going and doing wrong” (G).
The Congress’ role in this government shows that the Articles’ was in the position of an ineffective government. The Articles of Confederation were indeed an ineffective government. Its failures to have power to tax the people of the states, amendments added on the Articles, having no courts to settle problems, inability to regulate trade were the main reasons why the Articles played an ineffective role. However, the Articles eventually led to protecting the people’s rights and the path to a new Constitution.