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DBQ on Articles of Confederation



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    “From 1781 to 1789 the articles of Confederation provided the United States with an effective government”. I disagree with this quote because the articles was to weak to keep the nation unified which made the article a failure. The Articles were set up intentionally to be weak because of the memory of a strong central government of the British. The articles were to weak to govern effectively so it did not have the ability to carry out designs with out controversy from other states. This caused major problems later down the road for America.

    The Articles did had some good points to it like the Land Ordinance of 1785 but it was ultimately a failure due to financial, foreign, and domestic problem the Articles had made. The Articles could not provide Congress to tax. This led to major problems for America after the American Revolution. The government acquired a large amount of debt from the American Revolution. The only taxes that could be collected was the the amount of money each state wanted to pay. This led to America not paying off their large debt when the Articles of Confederation was in place.

    The other problem the Articles provided was that each state can print out there own money. The only way to pay off there debt at the time was to print out more money which caused inflation. This caused confusion on the act that each state had to figure out how much money each states currency is worth. This opened the door to trading problems between states and other countries. The states depended on trade for their main source of revenue but the states did not have direct control over trade, so the states seen very little revenue which in turn did not help Americas big debt.

    Doc A (Letter from the Rhode Island Assembly to Congress) under the articles of Confederation the central government could not levy taxes because to need unanimous votes and Rhode Island objected so the bill did not pass. The Shays Rebellion was also due to the economic conditions. Farmers could not pay off their debt which led to many of the farmers land to be seized. This led to about 2000 armed farmers to rebel against the government. These are the reason the Articles failed due to the lack of authority over our finances. The other reason that the Articles of Confederation was the problem of foreign affairs.

    Other countries put tariffs and trade restriction on the United States and the U. S could not respond. Other countries did not give respect to America because it could not pay off its debt and could not be united even in a time of crisis. The United States did not had a strong navy so it could not defend it’s merchants. U. S merchants were often attacked by pirates form Africa. Another reason was that the central government could not raise an army, which made the U. S vulnerable. Even though the Treaty of Paris was passed it was not enforced, which led to British soldiers not leaving American territory.

    Under the Articles of Confederation, Congress showed weakness in foreign policy. It failed to successfully negotiate a treaty with Spain for the use of the Mississippi River. Doc F (John Jay’s Speech to Congress on Negotiation with Spain’s Minister Diego de Gardoqui) John Jay is facing foreign pressure and suggesting the Jay-Gardoqui Treaty and give up navigation rights on the Mississippi but it was later rejected by congress. The last and final reason that the articles were a failure was because of the domestic issues the articles had made.

    The Articles of confederation could not deal with their domestic problems because it gave the states simply to much power. Under this legal system their was little to no central power in the federal government. This was established because of the huge fear of having a strong central government from the monarchy of Britain, but because of this the colonies were not united together. In 1786 Daniel Shay a revolutionary war vet led a rebellion with the help of other Massachusetts farmers against the high states taxes, imprisonment for debt and lack of paper money.

    The farmers forced the closing of the debtors courts, this was later called shay’s rebellion. America could not defend it’s self from Britian or Spain because the government could not call for a draft. Since America had no unity many states acted like individual countries. Connecticut and Virginia almost went to war over land clams. The nation also lacked a national court system and did not have a president or a Chief executive. Laws were hard to pass because it needed the approval of 9 states. Doc C (Letter From Delegate Joseph Jones of Virginia to George Washington) George Washington for shadowed the event of the Shay’s rebellion.

    He wrote a letter warning of the implication if the troops were not paid. These things caused the articles to be a failure. n conclusion, the Articles did not prove effective for the US government. The reason it failed were the lack of power for the central government, as it could not tax the colonies, raise an army, or regulate commerce. These issues were addressed during the Constitutional Convention. Had it not been for the Articles, certain issues would not have become apparent to our nation’s leaders. The Articles of Confederation was ultimately a failure.

    DBQ on Articles of Confederation. (2017, Jan 22). Retrieved from

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