Articles of Confederation: Introduction
The Articles of Confederation is referred to as the first American constitution in black and white which was officially known as the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union. It was the shared agreement made among the thirteen founding states of the United States of America.
What was the purpose of the Articles of Confederation
The underpinning of the Articles of Confederation was that, after the Revolutionary War where the Americans victoriously obtained independence from the Great Britain, the country was in need of a proper government system. To fill the void of which, the Articles of Confederation came under the spotlight. A need to unify all thirteen states of America to become one nation emerged when the thirteen states began to proceed alone in their own best interest after the victory of independence. A necessity then came into view to bring the thirteen states together as one nation to stand strongly against Britain.
Drafting and Ratification of the Articles of Confederation
The Second Continental Congress began the drafting of the Articles of Confederation in the mid-1776 . Six drafts of the Articles were prepared before the Congress approved it in 1777. John Dickinson of Pennsylvania wrote the approved draft of the Articles. However, the Congress-approved Articles of Confederation was subsequently forwarded to all states for ratification but was not ratified by all states promptly. The state of Virginia was the first to endorse it while Maryland was the thirteenth. Subsequent to the ratification of the Articles, the country put it into effect on March 1, 1781. However, under the Articles, each state retained its sovereignty and independence.
Strengths of the Articles of Confederation
However, a number of disagreements which were there prior to the approval continued, especially, with regard to several aspects of the Articles. The Articles of Confederation had its strengths and weaknesses. Although the strengths of the Articles of Confederation are not something everyone likes to talk about as allegedly the first constitution swiftly grew unpopular. The key strength and the accomplishment of the Articles of Confederation would be the US government negotiated an end to the American Revolution by a treaty signed in Paris, named the Treaty of Paris, in 1783. Further, its strengths include the Congress having the single power to declare war, assign treaties, strengthen foreign rapports, to coin and borrow money, and to operate post offices.
Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation
The Articles of Confederation weaknesses were larger with its prime one being the national government being unable to force the states to obey its laws. The Articles of Confederation weaknesses also include having no power of national taxation and not having authority to control trade due to which legislation could not be enforced. As well, having neither a national army nor a national court system also contributed to the demise of the Articles.
Demise: Why the articles of confederation failed
Considering the number of flaws appeared in the Articles, several efforts were taken to amend its content and rectify the faults, a task which the Congress failed to accomplish. Consequently, the Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia in 1786 and marked the closure of the Articles of Confederation.