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The Articles of Confederation were created in 1777 to bring order and a strong government to the states. The Articles gave the government very little powers. However, some of the powers passed national policies. Others settled disputes between the states. Due to the government having very little power, the states were not unified. The Articles had many weaknesses. Congress could not tax or regulate trade, that were solved by the Constitution. Some weaknesses also stayed.
One of the major weaknesses is that Congress could not tax. Congress not being able to tax means that they have no money. Money is needed for anything to happen in the states and for people to live their lives the way they are supposed to be lived. The Congress’ economic standpoint was not well put together. “The states did not have one uniform currency,” (Document 1) so it made taxing even harder. Having one uniform currency allows anyone to purchase items that they may need in any state. If there isn’t a well organized currency then each state could have their own form of money. Then, they would not be able to use their money in any other state. If Congress has no money they would not be able to keep the government up and make general necessities possible. They would need money for an army, to trade, keep up businesses, and many other important needs. If these necessities were not available the states wouldn’t have protection and resources. If another war arises, the states would need money to build an army. The army would give them protection and hopefully lead them to victory. At the end of the war, more money would be needed to rebuild everything that was destroyed during the bloodshed. Also, resources could be used to rebuild after the war. At the end of the The Constitution fixed this problem and allowed Congress to put tax on the states.
Another weakness is that Congress could not regulate trade. Not being able to regulate trade would lead to even more economic problems. The states had more power and could trade with anyone they wanted, even enemies. This could have led to an un-unified country. For example, New Jersey could trade with one country and become allies, while New York is trading with another. This could cause major conflict throughout the states. The states could buy anything they pleased and the government had no say. The Constitution fixed the problem by allowing Congress to have power over trade (Document 5). This way, the states could not get out of control. The country would be unified and trading would be regulated.
Even though the Articles were taken over by the Constitution, not everything was solved when they were ratified. When the Constitution was ratified the Bill of Rights were not in it. Without the Bill of Rights, the states did not have much freedom. “I will now tell you what I do not like. First, the omission of a bill of rights, providing clearly… for freedom of religion, freedom of the press, protection against standing armies,… and trials by jury…” (Document 8). Thomas Jefferson is expressing his feelings and shows that he wants a Bill of Rights to give the states rights that they need. George Mason, an American Patriot, statesman and delegate from Virginia, realized the states right were not at a fair level. He proposed the Bill of Rights to maintain the order of all the states so that they would be balanced. The government felt that the Bill of Rights were needed. So, they passed them to put into the Constitution. The Constitution still had many of the weaknesses that the Articles had when it was ratified. However, the Bill of Rights still was added into it. It helped make the Articles a lot better and more stable. “Their liberty will be lost and tyranny must and will rise…” (Document 7). This is saying that if the Constitution did not work, than a tyranny would begin.
The Articles of Confederation were not very durable for the government and the states. Though the Constitution did fix most of the problems that the Articles had, there were still some that needed fixing. For example, Congress was not able to tax or regulate trade. The problems before the Bill of Rights were created stayed while the Constitution was ratified. The Articles of Confederation did not work, so the Constitution took its place. It ended up working better, so the states kept it. The Constitution is still used today and is still working really well.
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