The Articles of Confederation: Effective or Ineffective

In 1781, the newly independent states in America developed thefirst written constitution in the United States, known as the Articles of Confederation. During what was known as the “critical period,” the Articles of Confederation served as the written law in the United States. While creating this document, the need for a confederation of states, similar to that of the Iroquois Indians, was stressed. The Articles of Confederation grouped the individual states with a weak central government to be sure the government of the United States would not be similar to that of Britain. This document took Americans through the American Revolution successfully, but contained many flaws. Although the Articles of Confederation had some effectiveness and, many points needed great change.
One major flaw in the Articles of Confederation was that the state governments were given much more power than the central government. For example, the Confederation Congress could not levy taxes without approval of the states. They could only present their ideas to the states, hoping to reach an agreement. When the central government requested a tariff on imported items, the state of Rhode Island refused to pay. This inefficient method of funding resulted in inflation and overall lack of money for the central government. To amend the Articles of Confederation, all thirteen states had to agree. Although this weak central government was though of as ineffective in governing the states, it provided equal rights for every state. Each state had the same amount of power, allowing a small state with few people to have the ability to cancel the vote of another state. Many of the states had conflicting views, resulting in large struggles over the amendment of laws. The Articles of Confederation was very effective in supporting small, minority states like Rhode Island. (Document A) John Jay, an American federalist, spoke of the immense power of the states compared to the …

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