The Articles of Confederation and Its Impact on the United States

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The Articles of Confederation, formally the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, was an agreement among the thirteen founding states that established the United States of America as a confederation of sovereign states, and served as its first constitution. Drafted by the Continental Congress in 1776, it was sent to the thirteen states in 1777 for ratification and was successfully passed by all in 1781. The weak government formed by the Articles of Confederation became a matter of concern for nationalists, with many flaws exposed during its tenure as our constitution. While serving as a building block for what later would become one of the most powerful documents in history, the Articles of Confederation had both positive and negative effects on our country in the late eighteenth century. The glaring flaw in this document was that it gave the states immense authority and little to no authority to the central government. Each sovereign in its own right, the states formed their own policies, controlled their own budgets, and formed their own militia. The only branch of federal government was Congress, with no executive or judicial branches. While being given the power tax, Congress had no way of enforcing those taxes. Without an enforced base tax, there was no way for the fledgling country to pay off state and national debts from the war years, except for requesting money from the states which seldom came. The Articles of Confederation did give the federal government control over many things. Foreign relations lied solely with the central government, but the weakness of the Articles was frustrating in conducting foreign policy. In 1789, Thomas Jefferson, concerned over the failure to fund an American naval force to confront the Barbary Pirates, wrote to James Monroe, “It will be said there is no money in the treasury. There never will be money in the
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