Articles of Confederation - 3

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Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses, successes and failures of the government established by the Articles of Confederation.

At Philadelphia in 1776, while Jefferson was writing the Declaration of Independence, John Dickinson drafted the first governmental plan for the United States as a nation. The Articles of Confederation, as the document was called, was adopted by Congress in 1777. After ratification regarding the vast stretches of wilderness that lay west of the Alleghenies, an agreement on The Articles of Confederation was reached. However, this early form of Government in United States history proved to be ineffective.

The Articles of Confederation established a central government comprised of just one body, a congress. In this central legislature, each state was given one vote. Nine votes out of thirteen were required to pass important laws, and a unanimous vote was required for any ratification of The Articles of Confederation. A Committee of States, with one representative from each state, was established to make minor decisions when full congress was not in session. The Articles gave the Congress the power to wage war, make treaties, send diplomatic representatives, and borrow money. However, certain crucial powers were not given to the Congress such as the ability regulate commerce or collect taxes. Also, Congress had no executive power in which to enforce the laws they made.

Despite its weakness, congress under The Articles of Confederation did have some accomplishments. The United States government could claim some credit for Washington's victory over the British. Also, negotiating some favorable terms in the treaty of peace with Britain. Congress established a policy for the surveying and selling of western lands, called the Land Ordinance of 1785. Another ordinance called the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, set rules on creating new states in the territory lying between the Great Lakes and the Ohio River. The Northwest ordinance granted...
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