29 August 2008
The Articles of Confederation was the first governing document, or constitution, of the United States of America. The final draft was written in summer 1777 and adopted by the Second Continental Congress on November 15, 1777 in York, Pennsylvania after a year of debate. In practice it served as the first plan of government used by the Congress, until the final ratification on March 1, 1781. At that point Congress became the Congress of the Confederation. The Articles set the rules for operations of the United States confederation. The confederation was capable of making war, negotiating diplomatic agreements, and resolving issues regarding the western territories; it could print money and borrow inside and outside the US.
The Articles of Confederation had many serious weaknesses. The Articles of Confederation never gave congress the right to tax U.S. citizens or regulate trade nationally or internationally. With no power to tax U.S. citizens, congress could not reduce the national debt, and with no power to regulate trade it could not have stopped imported goods or the flow of gold and silver to Europe. Another weakness was that the Articles of Confederation gave congress very little power overall. This left voters within a state to do whatever they wanted. For that reason that lead to Shays’ Rebellion and other revolts. Daniel Shays led a group of 1,200 angry farmers in a rebellion against the government of Massachusetts. The farmers prevented the courts from foreclosing on the farms of farmers who could not pay their mortgages and/or taxes. The farmers needed more guns to keep their rebellion alive, so they tried to capture the arsenal at Springfield in January 1787, but were defeated. Shays’ Rebellion frightened many property owners in all states and convinced many people that the Confederation government was not working.
The Articles of Confederation had some strength’s also. It...