Flaws Of The Articles Of Confederation

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On March 1st, 1781, the Articles of Confederation were ratified by all thirteen states and adopted as the first official set of laws of the United States of America. After a short time, the Articles’ inadequacies became apparent to the newly formed country. These flaws included, over-powerful state governments, a weak central government, a lack of an independent judiciary system, and an impractical amendment making process. While the problems of the Articles were numerous, the excessively-dominant state governments, the federal government lacking the means to enforce economical parchment powers, and the lack of defensive powers granted to the federal government, proved to be the most detrimental to American society. These are the most important …show more content…

Each state was enabled to “retain its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction and right,” which awarded the states unlimited control over American government (Articles of Confederation, Art. 2). This sovereignty injured the federal government, as the states continued to make frequent decisions “without knowledge of [the current] national circumstances” (Madison, HCR, 197). For example, Virginia and Maryland, made “unlicensed compacts” with each other, Georgia abandoned treaties with Native American’s against federal law, and Massachusetts “raised . . . [and] kept up” troops, which was a power denied to states (Madison, HCR, 197). Additionally, with their unlimited powers, states infringed upon the rights of other states. This was very detrimental to America’s commerce, as states “restrict[ed] commercial intercourse with other states,” and “restrict[ed] foreign vessels to certain ports.” Virginia, Maryland, and New York practiced port restriction to confine the benefits of foreign trade to their own states, which resulted in poor foreign trade (Madison, HCR, …show more content…

The powers granted to the federal government, like the abilities to “ascertain sums and expenses” and “borrow money or emit bills” were “recommendatory only” (Articles of Confederacy, Art. 9; Madison, HCR, 200). In theory, these laws were “constitutionally binding on the members of the Union,” but in practice, “they [were] mere recommendations which the States observe[d] or disregard[ed] at their option” (Hamilton, HCR, 243). Many times, the states chose to disregard the requisitions for funds because of the lack of penalties for failing to oblige; this often led to consequences, like national debt, and the absence of commerce or currency regulation. This weakness of the Articles needed to be improved to preserve the union, as the central government required a means to achieve their end goals of controlling the economy. The Constitution fixed this problem with the taxing and spending clause, the vestment clause, and the creation of an independent judiciary system. The taxing and spending clause states that “Congress shall have [the] Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts, and Excises,” which ensured that the federal government had the means required to enforce states to pay their dues (Art. 1, Sec. 8). The vestment clause, dedicated all executive powers to the President, granting him unilateral

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