This Meaning Official Approval Required the Agreement of 9 or the 13 States

On the other hand, Article VII of the draft constitution stipulated that it would take effect without unanimity after ratification by only nine states: George Washington had been one of the first supporters of a strong federal government. The army had almost disbanded several times during the winters of the war due to the weaknesses of the Continental Congress. . Delegates could not recruit soldiers and had to send requests for regular troops and militias to states. Congress had the right to order the production and purchase of supplies for soldiers, but could not force anyone to deliver them, and the army nearly starved to death during several winters of war. [18] The document contained clearly written rules on how the “League of Friendship” of states should be organized. During the ratification process, Congress considered articles to guide the conduct of business, direct the war effort, diplomacy with foreign states, address territorial issues, and deal with Native American relations. Politically, little changed when the Articles of Confederation came into force, as ratification only legalized what the Continental Congress had done. This body was renamed the Congress of the Confederation; but most Americans continued to call it the Continental Congress, because its organization remained the same. [2] When the Confederate Congress attempted to govern the ever-growing U.S. states, delegates discovered that restrictions on the central government made them ineffective. As the government`s weaknesses became apparent, especially after the Shays rebellion, some prominent political thinkers in the young union began to call for changes to the articles. Their hope was to create a stronger government.

Initially, some states came together to solve their trade and economic problems. However, as more and more states were interested in meeting to amend the articles, a meeting was scheduled to take place in Philadelphia on 25 May 1787. It became the Constitutional Convention. It was quickly agreed that the amendments would not work and that the entire articles would have to be replaced. [3] On March 4, 1789, the government was replaced by the federal government according to the articles of the Constitution. [4] The new constitution provided for a much stronger federal government by establishing a chief executive (the president), courts, and fiscal powers. At the same time, new manufacturers faced fierce competition from British products, which were suddenly put back on sale. Political unrest in several states and the efforts of debtors to use the people`s government to repay their debts exacerbated the fears of the political and economic elites who had led the revolution. The obvious inability of Congress to resolve public commitments (debts) made during the war or to become a forum for productive cooperation among states to promote trade and economic development has only exacerbated a bleak situation. In 1786-87, the Shays Rebellion, an uprising of dissidents in western Massachusetts against the state`s judicial system, threatened the stability of government.

[34] Although the articles provide that Congress would have the power to repay the national government`s debt, it did not provide the national government with funds to directly increase revenues. Although Congress had some authority that could be used to regulate the economy, it did not have the power to enforce it. Moreover, the perceived fragility of the national government has tarnished the nation`s diplomatic image. Only a few years after the Revolutionary War, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and George Washington feared that their young country was on the verge of collapse. The first U.S. constitution, the Articles of Confederation, gave the Confederate Congress the power to legislate rules and solicit funds from states, but it had no enforcement power, could not regulate trade, or print money. Disputes between states over the territory, war pensions, taxes and trade threatened to tear the young country apart. Alexander Hamilton helped convince Congress to organize a Grand Assembly of State Delegates to work on the revision of the Articles of Confederation. 5. The document was also virtually impossible to amend.

The articles required unanimous approval of each amendment, so all 13 states would have to agree on one amendment. Given the rivalries between the states, this rule made it impossible to adjust the articles after the end of the war with Great Britain in 1783. Political scientist David C. Hendrickson writes that two prominent political leaders of the Confederacy, John Jay of New York and Thomas Burke of North Carolina, believed that “the authority of Congress was based on the previous actions of the various states to which the states gave their voluntary consent, and until those obligations were fulfilled, neither the authority of Congress nor the exercise of the powers to which it was entitled, nor was the secession of the Covenant itself in conformity with the terms of their original commitments. [45] The Style Committee, chaired by William Samuel Johnson (1727-1819), in collaboration with James Madison (1751-1836), Rufus King (1755-1827) and Alexander Hamilton, gave its content to the Constitution. Governor Morris (1752-1816), a delegate from Pennsylvania, is credited with uttering the preamble phrase “We, the people of the United States, to form a more perfect union” – a radical change from the opening of the previous version. This simple phrase anchored the new national government in the consent of the people and not in a confederation of states. The Articles of Confederation and the Eternal Union were an agreement between the original 13 states of the United States of America that served as the first constitution. After much debate (between July 1776 and November 1777), it was approved by the Second Continental Congress on 15 November 1777 and submitted to the States for ratification. The Articles of Confederation came into force on March 1, 1781, after being ratified by all 13 states.

One of the guiding principles of the articles was to preserve the independence and sovereignty of States. The weak central government established by the articles received only those powers that had recognized the former colonies as king and parliament. [2] It was a time of constitution-writing – most states were busy with the task – and the rulers believed that the new nation should have a written constitution; a “set of rules” on how the new nation should function. During the war, Congress exercised an unprecedented level of political, diplomatic, military, and economic authority. It adopted trade restrictions, established and maintained an army, spent fiat money, created a military code, and negotiated with foreign governments. [5] Congress had also been denied the power to regulate foreign trade or interstate trade and, as a result, all states retained control over their own trade policies. Both the states and the Confederate Congress incurred large debts during the Revolutionary War, and how that debt was to be repaid became a major topic of discussion after the war. Some states have repaid their war debts and others have not. Federal assumption of state war debts has become an important topic in the deliberations of the Constitutional Convention.

On September 17, 1787, 38 delegates signed the Constitution. George Reed signed for Delware`s John Dickinson, who was absent, bringing the total number of signatures to 39. It was an extraordinary achievement. Tasked with revising the existing government, the delegates developed a brand new one. Distrustful of centralized power and loyal to their states, they created a powerful central government. They represented completely different interests and points of view and forged compromises. Today, it is considered one of the most enduring and imitated constitutions in the world. The Articles of Confederation represented an attempt to reconcile state sovereignty with an effective national government.

Under the articles, it was the states, not Congress, that had the power to tax. Congress could only raise funds by asking for funds from states, borrowing from foreign governments, and selling western land. Moreover, Congress could not call soldiers or regulate trade. No national or executive court was envisaged. In May 1786, Charles Pinckney of South Carolina proposed to Congress that the Articles of Confederation be revised. The recommended changes included granting Congress powers over foreign and domestic trade and providing funds to Congress to raise funds from state treasuries. However, the amendments required unanimous approval and Congress could not reach consensus. The weakness of the articles in establishing an effective unifying government was underscored by the danger of internal conflict both within and between states, especially after the Shays Rebellion threatened to overthrow the Massachusetts state government. .