Articles of Confederation
The United States’ Articles of Confederation led to the establishment of the first American government structure that brought peace among the thirteen American States. The Articles of Confederation came into force in 1781, but later the US constitution replaced it. Thus, it only lasted for eight years – until March 4, 1789 – when the US Constitution replaced it. The Articles of Confederation succeeded in ensuring that states maintain their sovereignty, freedom, power -these were not granted to the Union government. On the contrary, the Union government governed issues of general welfare, issues of defense, and protection of liberties of Americans (Janda et al 50). The Articles of Confederation necessitated its replacement as it succeeded in creating a weak nation government. Since they were aimed at creating an alliance of states, where each state gained a significant level of independence and autonomy, the national government had little power on many affairs.
The Revolutionary War made the Congress face massive debts. The U.S owed money to the French, who supported the war. In addition, the government owed money to Americans, who had bought bonds that helped to support the war. The size of the debt was so large that some people recommended that the government should forfeit paying off the debt (Miller 28). However, forfeiting of debts would have led to catastrophic effects on the U.S, as it would have restricted investments into the American economy. Under the Articles of Confederation Congress had no power to tax Americans, and thus it did not have money to pay off the war debts. Equally important, the Articles of Confederation empowered Congress to tax people as long as it shared the revenue with states based on the population of each state.
Furthermore, as per the Articles of Confederation, the national government had extremely little power with states empowered to act independently as sovereign bodies. Therefore, states could pursue their own interests to the detriment of neighboring states in matters of trade. This led to the emerging of tariff wars as each state tried to control trade and maximize its revenue (Davis 87). Several states taxed the imports from other states heavily in an effort to increase revenue or control trade with other states.
As per the Articles of Confederation, it was common for various states to argue on various matters. In addition, states refused to support the Union government financially. Lack of finances made the Union government incapable of supporting strong reforms that would protect the US from invasion. In addition, lack of finances made the federal government unable to enact legislation that Congress passed. Under Articles of Confederation, states had so much power that they printed their money, had their own military, and could even form agreements with foreign governments without seeking authorization from Congress (Wirkner 13). Thus, the Articles of Confederation created a state of chaos, where the only thing unifying the thirteen states was a common name – the United States. Problems of the Articles of Confederation necessitated the creation of a new system of government. The American Constitution helped to solve problems of the Articles of Confederation.
The Constitution solved the problems of the Articles of Confederation by creating the office of the president, who had power over all states. In addition, the Constitution created a national court system – the Supreme Court – making it easy to solve various legal disputes. The Articles of Confederation denied the Union government’s power to collect taxes. The Constitution allowed the Union government to collect taxes. Furthermore, the Constitution made the federal government the only organ that could print money (Janda et al 53). Thus, the Constitution helped in solving various problems that the US faced and created a suitable ground for economic development.