Articles Vs Constitution Essay Research Paper Although

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Articles Vs. Constitution Essay, Research Paper Although ht the Articles of Confederation did possess several redeeming features, for the most part, they were plagued by a number of defects, which stultified their efficacy as a government from 1781 to 1789. That is to say, despite their role in providing a transitional form of government, maintaining some semblance of union among the states, and promoting the organization oaf western lands, the Articles of Confederation exhibited numerous weaknesses that hampered their ability to function as an efficient government. The most salient of these weaknesses were defects in the governmental structure, a lack of essential legislative powers, and t the inability to promote economic growth. As mentioned earlier, the Articles did

foster some favorable developments from 1781 to 1789. First of all, while governing during a period of political disunity (extreme state loyalty), the Articles preserved the flickering ideal of union that held the states together, until such time that the states were ripe for a strong constitution by peaceful, evolutionary means. In this sense, the Articles served as a transitional government. The Articles were also responsible for settling western land disputes between several states by encouraging the cession of western lands to the nation al government. Several states, including New York and Virginia claimed to own overlapping territories. In ceding their western lands to the government, however, the conflict as to who actually owned the lands was resolved. Finally, after

encouraging the cession of western lands by the states. The Articles provided for the organization of these lands and their subsequent evolution into new states. This was accomplished through the Land Ordinance of 1785 and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. Despite these accomplishments, the Articles were a far cry from being a consummate and effective government for the weaknesses of the Articles heavily outweighed the strengths. As a result of the experience under British domination, Congressional leaders were apprehensive about creating a strong central government. Consequently the Articles provided for a weak central government. Consisting of only a one-house legislature. The Articles contained no provision for a chief executive to enforce the laws and no provisions for courts

to handle disputes between citizens of different states. IN addition, for Congress to add an amendment, the Articles required the unanimous approval of the thirteen states. Thus, the Articles undoubtedly contained various structural defects. Perhaps of paramount importance was the government s lack of legislative power under the Articles of Confederation. This weakness created a myriad of problems for the government, particularly in regard to the economic sector. For example, under the Articles Congress could not tax the people directly. Instead, it could only request the states to supply funds. However, such requests were generally rejected. Furthermore, under the Articles, Congress lacked the power to mandate a uniform currency. Consequently, many merchants were reluctant to

engage in business outside their own states. This factor, coupled with the inability of Congress to control foreign currencies hampered American trade. Finally, another factor that shows the Articles were ineffective was Shay s Rebellion. Shay s rebellion was a disgruntled agrarian revolt. It was an uprising of economically depressed farmers in western Massachusetts in 1786. The debtor farmers demanded relief and attacked the Springfield arsenal. Many of the leaders, like Jefferson., were afraid this event might trigger others and start a new revolution. This revolt led to call for amends to the Articles and as stated earlier this could only be achieved by unanimous vote. When leaders realized that the Articles needed to be amended they formed the Constitutional Convention, a