The Articles of Confederation
As the Revolutionary War was coming to an end, there was an atmosphere of anti centralized government that bordered on a phobia. While realizing that some government was necessary, the American people were extremely wary of granting the government too much power. Congress appointed a committee to draft a plan for a confederation of states. The head of the committee first presented a plan for a strong centralized government. The states and the public had such an objection to a powerful central government, that when finally finished and ratified, the Articles of Confederation had undergone such changes that it was unrecognizable from the original. Because of the public’s fear of what could happen if the government was given too much power, the Articles of Confederation made a government so weak that it was ineffectual and a failure.
One of the reasons that the colonies decided to break away from Britain was the corruption of the government and the infringement on the people’s rights. To prevent the new government from becoming corrupt, the Articles limited what the government had control of. While preventing a government from turning into a tyranny is a good thing, the limitations put on the government went beyond protection. They crippled the government.
At first glance, the main problems were that the U. S. did not have any power to tax the people. They had to rely on states to pay. There was no set amount, so states paid whatever amount they wanted to. This led to major shortages of money for the government. There was no way for the government to operate effectively.
However, when the states refused to pay, the second flaw became apparent: the inability of the U. S. to enforce the laws. Several other problems became more eminent as time went on, such as the specific mention of the amount of states required to pass laws and declare war. While the original number, nine, was a two-thirds majority of the current states, when more states were added, the number stayed at nine. This allowed a few states to overrule many more states.
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