Effectiveness of the Articles of Confederation
Blake APUSH- 5th Articles of Confederation’s Effectiveness Although the Articles of Confederation, from 1781-1789, had a higher purpose of attempting to create a stabilized government, while limiting its power, the overall effectiveness of this plan is not up to the standards as needed by the newly formed nation of America, and thus the government broke down by around 1786 - Effectiveness of the Articles of Confederation introduction. Throughout these few years, the lack of a central government seemed to be an overwhelming factor when it comes to the effectiveness of this document.
A large fault in the Articles is the inability of Congress to create taxes and regulate trade. There is simply no way that a central government can survive without taxes. Also, since the government had no authority over the colonies, they could not force anyone to contribute to the overwhelming war debt caused by the American Revolution. And without their ability to control the colonies, there is no central government. Also, the difficulty to make amendments to the Articles made it almost impossible for anything new to be put into action.
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With so many different ideals coming from the different parts of the nation, the Articles lacked in that it called for a nine-state majority to make amendments. It seems nearly impractical to try and acquire nine completely different states to agree on one topic, seeing they came from different parts of the country, and thus, making Congress close to nothing. And finally, if the U. S. were to be attacked by Britain again at this time, there would be no way for them to defend themselves, seeing that Congress could only ask states for troops, but could not raise an army.
This would have been catastrophic if another country had decided to attack the U. S. for any reason. To sum that up, the inability to create taxes and trade regulations, the difficulty to make amendments, and the inability to rise up an army contributed to the ineffectiveness of the Articles of Confederation. Another factor to consider is the overall fairness of the Articles. One of these troubles seemed to be the in ability to control the colonies, or no executive. While Congress had the power to regulate foreign affairs, war and ostal service, and to appoint military officers, the Articles left them no power to enforce its requests to the states for money or troops, thus making all of those capabilities worthless. Also, on the topic of votes, with the “one state, one vote” rule that was based in the Articles; there is a completely unfair advantage for smaller states. Knowing that not all states have the same populations, it was a bad decision to allow the states to have an equal amount of votes, but taking that into consideration, there shouldn’t be a total dominance of the larger ones, thus leading to the House of Representatives and Senate.
And finally, the lack of a supreme judicial branch in the government is a large cause of the contentions. A major factor about not having an official judicial branch would be the inability to settle disputes between states, and cases that extended past state’s rule. This can show to be a major problem, and can lead to a collapse of a central government power. Overall, the unfairness of the two-thirds vote for amendments, the one state, one vote for laws, and the lack of a judicial branch proved to show the ineffectiveness of the Articles of Confederation.
Although the Articles deemed ineffective, there were some effective qualities about them, too. First of all, it gave all the state’s debt to the federal government, unifying them all under one national sovereign. This is a quality that the government still has to this day. This shows to be effective in the sense that it establishes a central government, and puts power in the hands of the national leaders, and not just state leaders.
Another factor to consider is that, although there was a central government, the Articles kept most of the power in the hands of the states, because no one could care as much about the state as much as it could. This also proved to be popular with the people, and under a democracy, that is an important component. And lastly the several land ordinances were helpful in almost all aspects. They were successful in providing for territorial government, setting aside a section for education, and forbidding slavery north of the Ohio River.
These actions display a forward movement of western civilization, and can only be described as prosperity for the colonies in both the economic and social aspects of things. To sum that up, the state’s reliance on the federal government for debt, the power being placed in the state’s hands, and the land ordinances all proved to be good qualities of the Articles of Confederation. In conclusion, although the Articles of Confederation were ineffective due to things such as a lack of central power and the overall fairness of it, there were also some qualities that could be used for future writings, such as the Constitution.