Why the Articles of Confederation Was Flawed

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Vincent Liao FRQ 12B 10/14/10

At the time the Articles of Confederation were written in 1777, the United States was a new nation fresh from a war for their independence. With that new independence, the United States was full of raw political ideals. To say that the Articles of Confederation were effective in solving the problems facing the new nation would be too high of praise, The Articles resulted in a powerless central government and the lack of a global economy.

The United States under the Articles of Confederation was more a country of thirteen nations rather than thirteen states. Each state had unanimous consent for ratification or amendment of clauses. Congress allowed states to retain all land claims derived from their original charters. That resulted in states with large claims having the ability to overpower their neighbors. An example would be Maryland refusing to accept the Articles until 1781, because they feared that Virginia’s western holdings would be to overpowering under their own jurisdiction. The unicameral legislatures under the Articles were inefficient and unwieldy to govern efficiently. There was no adequate way to distribute power within the national government or to the relationship between the Confederation and the states. The Land Ordinance of 1785 might be considered the major success of the Articles of Confederation, but that law couldn’t even be properly enforced since states wielded so much power. States wielded so much power that they didn’t have to adhere to the division of land set by the government. Of course the whole reason of the Land ordinance of 1785 was because Congress couldn’t levy taxes from the states and had to result selling land for money.

Another restraint of the government under the Articles of Confederation was that it did not allow the government to raise revenue effectively through a...
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