From 1781 to 1789 the Articles of Confederation Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 17 July 2016

From 1781 to 1789 the Articles of Confederation

From 1781 to 1785 the Articles of Confederation provided the United States with an effective government. The main goal of the Articles was to allot as much independence as possible to the states compared to the idea of a central government for fear of conflict with Britain. Despite the many advantages of its systematic rule it did not provide enough power to the Congress in order for them to adequately control commerce, land expansion and regulate taxes. This was very expected since the Articles of Confederation were a starting point and this article was used to persuade individual states to adopt a more powerful form of government in the future.

After the ratification of the Articles of Confederation, a loose confederation was formed and granted power to a controlled extent. A house of Congress was also established which allotted each individual state one vote. Congress dealt with many important issues such as improving the military and anything relevant to homeland security, declaring wars and loaning money.

One prominent conflict was the fact that Congress does not have the adequate power to regulate commerce and trade between foreign countries. This presented a significant problem because states started enforcing individual laws of which Congress had no say in. In turn, this rendered Congress helpless in making laws regarding to taxation and tariffs. In a sense, the Americans were taking full advantage of the lenient government, often passing laws without consulting the Congress.

Many states refused to pay tax to the congress stating that it was preposterous and claiming that they saw many similarities to the policies of the British Parliament. In 1782, outspoken representatives from the Rhode Island assembly wrote a letter stating how it was ludicrous that they were subject to paying taxes to the government (Document A). Under the Articles of Confederation the Federal government had no power to coerce the states into complying with their tax demand. This was a dire problem since the government needed to tax the individual states to pay for the debts that were amassed during the war. The Articles of Confederation did not have any control over the economy thus creating much conflict within the states.

John Jay, in the year of 1786, tried to negotiate with Spains Minister Diego de Gardoqui because he felt as if it was Americas right to be able to navigate the Mississippi River. This was a difficult feat because not only was America, a newly found nation, going against Spain, a predominant country, but America at that point did not have a strong military to defend their standpoint. The army was growing discontent as the Congress repeatedly failed to pay them.

The Articles of Confederation, although flawed, provided a good foundation for the newly founded nation. It was used as a basis in the Constitution and we still feel its effects today. It provided coverage for many important factors in a nation that is ruled based on unity between people and states, independence granted to states, how bills are passed, land dispersion and many other imperative factors. It was apparent that without the Articles of Confederation there would not of been initial agreement amongst the states.


5 Steps to a 5 AP US History. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004.

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