Articles of confederation

Essay by adj12345 February 2004

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From 1781 to 1789 the Articles of Confederation did not provide the United States with an effective government. The remarkably weak central government provoked a hostile environment within the United States and led to the diminishing of the country politically and economically.

Under the Articles of Confederation, tensions in the United States threatened peace and unity. With such a weak and powerless central government, the states acted as individual countries. Numerous states had no choice but to cede land to the federal government. This was the result of the inability of the states to control territories which were too spread out too far. In Document E, it is made apparent that New York had to yield most of its Midwest territory. In 1785, Massachusetts gave up parts of Michigan formally owned by New York four years earlier. If land was not ceded, war would have been a likely result between the states.

As the idea of the 'coming together of the states' deteriorated, the British were still present, upholding forts in the United States. In Document D, John Jay is ordering the departure of Britain from United States territory. Because there were only state militias, the power of each was only a portion of what an army should be. John Jay held little control and even less power in the situation with Britain. The necessary army was not willing to cooperate due to the government's failure to pay promised requests as seen in Document C. A similar situation with Spain shown in document F led to the same conclusions. The Mississippi River was a vital element of commerce and without a strong foreign relationship the river was inaccessible to American traders. Without a strong central government, foreign relations lacked the necessary control.

The Articles of Confederation nearly destroyed the...