The Articles of Confederation were the first basis of law and order in the newly formed United States.
They built the first government and all the accompanying rules. The Articles of Confederation may have been a descent start, but it was not at all an effective one.One of the main problems with the Articles of Confederation was the poor management of money by the government. Because of the sour taste left in the American’s mouths by British tariffs, they did not want to stress taxes very heavily. This proved to be a bad move on the part of the government.
It was difficult to turn the people around to accept that the government did need money to keep the country stable, and the only resolution would be to tax goods. This reluctance is seen in document A, as the Rhode Island Assembly tells the government that their ways are unfair to the smaller states. The poor planing of the Articles of Confederation did not properly take into consideration all the factors necessary in taxation or collection of money, and this displeased many of the states.The government had no money to pay the militaries across the country, which was a great disappointment to the army, who felt they should be rewarded for their efforts against England.
In document C, Delegate Joseph Jones writes to George Washington to tell him of the restlessness of the army over their inadequate compensation. Also, England’s trade restrictions, and demands to collect debts obtained prior to the war were taking a toll on the economy of the struggling U.S. In document B it is clear that the market value of U.S. exports in England were dropping rapidly, as the population grew greater and greater every year. This meant more people with no place to sell or trade their goods.
In addition to that, in document D, John Jay instructs the U.S. mister to England to relay America’s great displeasure with their current actions.
He tells him to demand that England’s territories in North America be handed over to the U.S. He also asks that England lift the pre-war debt, for they are unfair.
The United States also had a problem with obtaining the land around them; that they felt was rightfully theirs. Spain was very stubborn in letting the Americans use and settle past the Mississippi River. John Jay, in document F, tells congress how Diego de Gardoqui would not see the reason in allowing settling in his lands. The weakness of the government could not persuade Spain to change their decision and left this problem unattended to.John Jay again expresses his worries to George Washington in G, saying that the current state of America was a highly unstable and dangerous one. He mentions that during the war they at least had a purpose in their struggle, but now he could see no good outcome to the matter, in the near future, at least.
If something was not done soon, he knew that bad things would come of this infant country. But despite all the flaws of the Articles of Confederation, it was not a complete failure. It was only a weak foundation that needed to be improved, not rebuilt. As shown in document H, Rawlin Lowndes describes this point to the South Carolina House of Representatives. He uses the analogy of a man who has a magnificent building and instead of repairing the building upon discovering a flaw he completely rebuilds it. Lowndes’ ideas soon became a reality as the new Constitution was written, strengthening the government, and satisfactorily solving the problems of the economy.
Although the Articles of Confederation may have provided the U.S, with its first independent government, it was a very weak one that was accompanied by many years of hardships. The fist years of the U.S. were hard on the economy and the people.
It did, however, provide for a foundation for what we now know as the constitution, which to this day serves as the basis for our government.