Critical Period

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Melissa Kabb
Mr. McKee
AP US History
December 7, 2012

The Critical Period was one of the most essential times in the history of the United States. The ideas that the colonists were fighting for during the Revolutionary War were being put to the test to see if they could actually be enacted in a running government. The critical period consisted of a power struggle between the states and the central government for the balance of sovereignty. The Critical Period was the launch of the way that our country runs today.

The Articles of Confederation was the first set of terms that were adopted for the United States in 1781, however, there were many problems that arose with it. Congress had to get approval from 9 of 13 states before laws could be passed and all 13 states had to have a unanimous vote before any changes could be made to the Articles. Obviously, getting either of these two things done would be virtually impossible. In the Articles, the states were said to have entered a firm league of friendship while in actually, each state was thinking of itself as its own separate nation and doing things to only benefit themselves. These thoughts led to what some call a Dis-United States of America. Even though these two factors, along with many others not mentioned, make the Articles seem as if they were a disaster for the country, they did help to bring about a sense of national unity resulting from the separation with Britain.

An event that had a tremendous impact during the Critical Period was Shays’ Rebellion. The leader of the rebellion was a farmer by the name of Daniel Shays. He and many other farmers were victims of high debt as they were trying to start new farms in Western Massachusetts. The rebels wanted the Massachusetts government to pass a law that would forgive any debts that they had and print more paper money that would help debt stay down. In response to the rebellion, Thomas Jefferson stated that “a little rebellion now and then is a good...
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