Failures of the Articles of Confederation

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The United States of America took the first step towards a democratic country by declaring independence from Great Britain. Since it's separation, the Second Continental Congress, a convention of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies, established a document known as the Articles of Confederation. The Articles set a precedent for the U.S. Constitution, the supreme law of the land that stands even today.

After the United States became an independent country, people feared the build up of power in the hands of a central government, much like when they were in the hands of Great Britain. The Articles of Confederation were created to secure freedom, sovereignty, and independence of the newly found nation. Ratified in 1781, the Articles gave the United States its name and its sense of freedom. To prevent a tyranny, delegates decided to weaken the central government and give the majority of power to individual states. The government and only the government, however, was allowed to declare wars, whereas the individual states had no standing armies and had no right to engage in wars. The Articles of Confederation was weak in terms of governmental power. There was only a unicameral legislature; thus no separation of powers or checks and balances existed. The authority of Congress and the executive branch(the president) was vastly diminished. To change the Articles, unanimous approval of all thirteen states was required, and to pass laws, 9 out of 13 states had to approve, both of which deemed near impossible. The national government did not have power over state laws nor could it tax its citizens, making it difficult to reduce the national debt. Without the ability to tax, inflation occurred. Farmers became outraged because their produce would not sell and they had no source of income to pay off their debts, usually mortgage. This led to Shay's Rebellion, a revolt of farmers, which made Congress realize that the Articles of Confederation were failing and that they needed...
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