Document Based Question 1985 #1
From 1781 to 1789 the Articles of Confederation provided the United States with an effective government. Using the documents and your knowledge of the period, evaluate this statement.
Although the Articles of Confederation did provide the United States with some sort of effective government such as states rights, expansions of lands, and a legislative branch, it did not have enough power to govern efficiently, regulate trade, and levy taxes . The Articles had weaknesses that overshadowed the strengths. They had numerous meetings to revise the provisions of the articles, which the government referred to for eight years, but as time went on the delegation realized the nation needed a detailed Constitution. The Articles of Confederation, written in 1777 by the Second Continental Congress, were initially proposed to enforce a strong central government but the thirteen colonies feared a central government because of the clash with Great Britain. The articles were written very cautiously especially towards issues pertaining to states' independence. The Continental Congress wanted to give as much freedom possible to the states. After much internal debate in the states, the articles were ratified on March 1,1781.
A loose confederation of independent states was created by the articles that gave limited powers to a central government. The articles also established a house of Congress in which one vote would be given by each state. Congress would engage in the development of western territories, boosting the armed forces, setting up a postal department and estimating the costs of the government. Borrowing money and declaring war (and alliances with nations) also was in the hands of Congress.
The Congress seemed to cede much land from 1781-1802. Some states gained land such as Georgia (as observed on the map of Western Lands ceded by the States source: John Blum, et.al, The National Experience, third edition). As for boosting the armed...
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