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Articles Of Confederation Dbq

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Between 1781 and 1789, the Articles of Confederation provided the United States with an ineffective government, Although there were flaws, strong steps were taken in the attempt to try and make the United States a better country. The Articles set up a government that gave individual states the power to make their own laws and enforce them. This was ineffective for the following reasons: 1) The Continental Congress controlled public affairs but there was nothing in the Articles that gave Congress the power to enforce laws or unify the states. 2) There was no solid system of money to ensure that taxes would be paid or protect commerce, both nationally and with foreign trade. 3) The country lacked unity and strength because there was no leadership.

The Articles were ineffective because Congress only had the power to recommend actions to the states. It could not enforce its recommendations or laws. Each state had its own constitution, money system, and means to enforce the law. Each state had a stronger commitment to the state laws and to the State's own self interests than to the Congress. The competition among states and the lack of rule decreased the sense of unity in the country. For example, when Congress recommended an impost, or duty, on imported goods, the State of Rhode Island voted to reject the idea because they felt it was unfair and was against the constitution their state (Document A).

The Articles of Confederation failed to provide a solid money system to ensure that taxes would be paid or to protect commerce. Congress had no way to collect taxes to pay off pre-war debts. This led to chaos and anarchy when soldiers that hadn't been paid marched on Philadelphia, and Congress had to flee to Princeton New Jersey (Document C). Each State had it's own money, but there was no national money system. Since the money had no value from state to state, the people began to use the barter system of trade. This reduced the amount of trade and importation of goods. There was very little economic progress and growth during this period, even though the population was increasing. (Document B). Self interest of the states and of individuals added to the cause of the problems. For example, John Jay tried to create a treaty with Great Britain that would have been bad for the merchants of the United States but it would have paid off the war



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