Confederation and Constitution

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HISTORICAL ESSAY #1
Confederation and Constitution

The Articles of Confederation was agreed to by Congress on November 15, 1777 and was ratified and in force on March 1, 1781. By the year 1787, this new government had fallen short of the expectations of the people it was intended to govern. The weaknesses in The Articles of Confederation were numerous and had, in the thinking of many prominent men of that time, failed and would lead to a state of anarchy. There was such a sense of urgency to amend it that there seemed to be an atmosphere of panic among many of our Founding Fathers. John Dickenson and fellow members of the 2nd Continental Congress, weary of monarchy rule, had created the Articles of Confederation as a listing of twelve specific Powers given Congress by which to govern. Legislation required nine votes to pass. Each state had only one vote and this was problematic to the larger states, as their problems, more often than not, were based on a larger population and it was not unusual that the smaller states didn’t understand or want to pay for the solutions. Some lesser acts did not require nine votes to pass, but simply a majority of those present. Acts of Significant Consequence did require nine votes. The trouble with all of this was that even if nine votes could be achieved, there was no enforcement of law to be implemented by Congress. Congress could make law but not enforce it. It could charge states for their share of national indebtedness, but lacked the power to collect. Congress could approve military provisions...but not raise an army without nine votes. Congress could borrow money on credit of The United States…but wasn’t allowed to raise its own revenue to repay the debt. It could appropriate money but would need nine votes to fund it. Congress could establish courts to piracy…but raising a Navy would take nine…...

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