What were the Articles of Confederation? What were their strengths and what were their weaknesses? Do you view them as strengths and weaknesses? Why? or Why Not?(250 words and need work cired in MLA style)
Reply( one paragraph and 75 words for each)
1.The Articles of Confederation was the original binding document of the United States. The document was signed amongst the “13 original colonies that established the United States of America as a confederation of sovereign states and served as its first constitution” (Kennedy). The Articles of Confederation also served as the supreme law of the land from 1781 until the ratification of the United States Constitution in 1787. It defined the powers of the Continental Congress and provided for a weak federation of autonomous states.
The strengths of The Articles of Confederation, were as follows: “they were allowed declare war and make peace, coin and borrow money, detail with foreign countries and sign treaties, and operate post offices” (Kennedy). The reason I view these as strengths is even though they had many weaknesses, it was able to accomplish much. The Articles encouraged “cooperation among the states” (Kennedy). Although, the attempts were not always successful, the Articles provided that each state gave "full faith and credit" to the legal acts of the other states (Kennedy).
Whereas, weakness of The Articles of Confederation were as follows: “national government could not force the states to obey its laws, it did not have the power to tax, it did not have the power to enforce laws, congress lacked strong and steady leadership, no national army or navy, no system of national courts, each state could issue its own paper money, and each state could put tariffs on trade between states” (Kennedy). The reason I view these as weaknesses is because the articles “allowed the states to have too much power and it did not give enough to the central government” (Kennedy). There was no president or federal judiciary. Essentially, the colonies could not operate effectively as a nation. Also, Americans of the time were generally opposed to a strong central government, which they feared would lead to despotism, and the Articles delegated most significant powers to the individual states. The Congress was granted power only over foreign policy, war, and setting standards. It had no power over trade, could not directly tax the people, could not enforce laws, and could not compel states to cooperate with one another. As such, the early United States was more similar to an alliance of 13 independent countries than to the federal state of modern times.
2.The Articles of Confederation was America's first constitution. They outlined the general powers of the central government, such as making treaties and establishing postal service. They stated that Congress would be the chief of the government, there would be no executive branch because everyone still hated King George III, and the judicial branch was left to the states. The Articles' basically outlined the present day Constitution.
The weakness was that Congress was crippled by its lack of power to regulate commerce, which left the states free to establish conflicting laws regarding tariffs and navigation (Kennedy). Since Congress lacked power, the government would only get about a quarter of the money per year that they requested from the people. In spite of their defects, the anemic Articles of Confederation were a steppingstone to the present Constitution (Kennedy). The Articles held the states together until the Constitution was written. Without the Articles, the states would have never allowed such a jump from the old boycott Association of 1774 to the Constitution of the United States.
I think the main weakness of the Articles, was that Congress lacked power. So, they weren't able to tax the people, and when they asked the people to volunteer and donate money, they only received about 1/4 of what they wanted. I think the main strength of the Articles was that it held the people together until the Constitution was written.
3.The Article of Confederation were “America’s First Constitution” that is what our textbook describes them as. Reality is before America was a nation they were simply thirteen individual little countries. Chapter 9 explains “In nearly all respect, the thirteen states we sovereign, for they coined money, raised armies, and navies, and erected tariff barriers” (Kennedy, Cohen & Piehl, 2012, 118). They were states in the same area but they did not need each other except for maybe some sort of exchange between the resources each state produced. However, the thirteen states understood that at some point they had all been one. They had been one nation in unity that decided to separate from Britain. Thus, they comprehended that in order to be independent and be a nation they had to have constitution in which they explained the type of government they had and what their country, now independent would stand for. So as the text explains “Shortly before declaring independence in 1776, Congress appointed a committee to draft a written constitution for the new nation” (Kennedy, Cohen & Piehl, 2012, 119). Uncertain of what exactly these thirteen states would stand for, they were certain of one thing wanting to be independent and this drove them to create the Articles of Confederation.
The Articles of Confederation are described by our book as a “firm league of friendship” in which they were separate but would consult each other if an issue came up that pertained to all the states. For example in regards to how they would regulate their own state, other states had no say. But, if a state wanted to go to war with another country then all the states would have to also approve. In other words, I view the Articles of Confederation as a contract between friends in which they would standby one another. As the text explains it the only strength the Articles had were that they began a movement towards a real constitution. Aside from this everything else the Articles consisted of weaknesses. The book explains “Congress was crippled by its lack of power to regulate commerce, which left the states free to establish conflicting laws regarding tariffs and navigation” (Kennedy, Cohen & Piehl, 2012, 120). We also learn that Congress had to beg for money and would rarely obtain even a portion of what it asked for. However, in spite of everything they lacked I know the Articles were a strength into a progressive movement that ultimately granted the United States Constitution. Everything we do has to start with a draft, sometimes the draft is done well and can be used. Nevertheless, when it is not, the draft can also be used in the re-making of something better. A draft gives us a starting point and starting can is never a weakness only a strength.
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||03/04/2015 10:00 pm