The Inadequacy of the Articles of Confederation

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The Articles of Confederation was a first attempt at a constitution for the United States while it was fighting to gain independence from the British government in the Revolutionary War. First proposed in 1776 by Richard Henry Lee at the Second Continental Congress, the Articles of Confederation were able to maintain some stability for the country through the end of the war. However, it proved to be a highly inadequate form of government when it could not provide for the economic and political demands of a developing nation. The Articles of Confederation were not able support a strong centralized government, therefore resulting in a lack of an authoritative presence with regard to domestic and foreign affairs affecting the thirteen states. The national government was weak and disconnected, and the federal powers were greatly lacking. After the drafting of the Articles of Confederation, the system controlling domestic affairs was heavily flawed. The federal government was given little power while the states were almost autonomous, creating the root of all problems for the struggling central authority. As a result of the decentralized government, Congress had no authority to impose taxes or regulate domestic and foreign affairs. There was no national court system to settle interstate disputes, forcing settlements to occur in the courts of one of the states involved. Also, propositions for new laws had to be approved by all thirteen states, often resulting in divided votes making progress difficult. The value of the national currency quickly depreciated as the states began to print their own money, eventually harming interstate trade. The American market was soon flooded with European goods while hefty tariffs and trade restrictions were imposed on many products being exported from the United States. The weak and divided economy kept the United States
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