United States History 1492-1865 Term Paper

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United States History 1492-1865

Q.1) Why was it necessary to change the Articles of Confederation?

Drawbacks of the Articles of Confederation

Under the Articles of Confederation, the Congress was given charge of many affairs such as making decisions about war and peace, regulating the postage system and the currency, settling disagreements between various states, conducting foreign affairs, and managing the western lands. Nevertheless, in spite of this authority, the Articles of Confederation did not give Congress the power whereby it could actually put its resolutions into effect.

The basic reason that necessitated changing the Articles of Confederation was their impracticability to offer executable authority to the Congress. Additionally, there were certain other weaknesses in the Articles of Confederation from 1781 to 1789. The Congress found that it was impossible to pass any laws since there was neither an executive, nor a national judiciary. The Congress did not possess any power to raise an army in unison with all the states. Moreover, every state of the Confederation had its own foreign diplomats that it delegated to foreign countries.

Even rivalries existed among all the states in matters of commerce and trade. Additionally, the Congress had no power to collect taxes and each state printed its own money.

Inabilities of the Federal and State Governments' Administration

These direct weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation were witnessed by the United States during the Revolutionary War. The inability of the Congress to tax residents left the national army without any food, shelter or clothing. The troops battled without being paid for extensive durations.
In the post war period, the persisting national governmental problems came into the limelight.

Another disaster arising out of the federal powerlessness was the Massachusetts rebellion of 1786. Led by a skilled officer of the Revolutionary War, Daniel Shays, the rebellion was launched against the Massachusetts government by the state farmers. The growing economic difficulties formed as a result of the Articles of Confederation made it problematical for the state farmers to pay taxes and dues. Consequently, the state confiscated their farmlands and threw farmers into debtor's prison. The rebels attacked the state courthouses and eradicated tax and debt records with intimidating to take over the Springfield federal arsenal. Since there was no national army under the Articles of Confederation, the private army of Massachusetts alone fought and seized the rebellion. However, the event was an eye-opener for all to realize the drawbacks of the Articles of Confederation that needed immediate revision.

The Need for Strong Unification

The self-centered objective of all the states to safeguard and guarantee their own authority under the Articles of Confederation was a major cause of the vulnerable and powerless national government. The confederation framed by the Articles of Confederation was not centered on unification, rather slackened for individual state benefits. The matters of nationalism worsened as residents felt privileged to identify themselves by their state name, instead of being called Americans.

All these shortcomings left the central government of the United States at the clemency of the states, causing the unity to fall in jeopardy. In addition, the unicameral system of government was.....

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