The Articles of Confederation (A Document Based Question) (Documents not included)

Essay by nickcarr90High School, 10th grade April 2006

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The Articles of Confederation were passed by Congress in 1777 during the revolutionary war. They were needed to form coordination among the colonies during the Revolution. At the end of the Revolution, the colonial leaders found that the Articles were not strong enough to govern the new nation. The colonial leaders decided that they would meet at Philadelphia to draft a new Constitution. Representatives from twelve of the thirteen states arrived at Independence Hall in the spring of 1787. This Constitution established a new, stronger central government. The Articles of Confederation merely united the states under one loose confederation, but under the new Constitution, the states were united under a strong, central, democratic government.

The Articles of Confederation created a central government with virtually no power. Americans were worried that the nation would become a monarchy, so their leaders gave the federal government almost no power. The federal government did not have the power to impose taxes on the states.

This was a problem because the government needs the taxes paid by citizens to fund wars. The Articles had no separate executive branch leaving Congress without a president. Presidents are needed to make quick decisions like when the nation is under attack. The Articles state that any form ratifications or amendments to the Articles could only be passed by a unanimous vote from every state legislature. This was bad because as James Madison stated in document A, one small state could stop the reform of the government. The Articles of Confederation gave states the power to make their own laws and judge their own criminals. The only court cases handled by the federal government were territorial disputes between states, which were settled by the Northwest Ordinance described in document B. The federal government's only other power was to make treaties.