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The period of American history in which the articles of confederation were developed can be identified as the most demanding in the nation’s development. This time from 1781 to 1789 was a critical time in setting the precedent as to what would come next. After the war America was left with the american colonies that had been developed before the war, and these would now be called states. These states had to develop a new government in order to become a successful new country. Influential political figures at the time decided on the Articles of Confederation, a basic constitution, which was ratified by all the states in 1781 before the Revolutionary War ended. But from their conception in 1781 to their abandonment in 1789, the Articles were totally inadequate, providing the U.S. with an ineffective government. The fruitless nature of the articles in fact showed american that a strong central government was necessary in the development of a strong country, and success on a global scale.The Articles of Confederation were pretty basic. Since many people had little trust in the capricious systems of judgement from the monarchs of Britain, the Articles had nothing in terms of a judiciary or executive branch. The main body of government was the Congress, and it had members from all thirteen states. Congress was a weak body, and had little to no power in passing any laws, or even enforcing any. This was a direct reflection of the fear people had of oppressive monarchs and the independent heritage of separate colonies. Amendments could be made only by unanimous consent of all thirteen states, and this was a nearly impossible feat, and along with this national laws required a two-thirds majority, also somewhat improbable. Because of this, from 1781 to 1789 the U.S. had an ineffective form of government with individual states finding it easy to obstruct the law making process.When one takes a closer look at the outlines for foreign and domestic policy in the Articles, there is an obvious lack in practical outlines for a constitution to have, and it is an unrealistic document to use as the foundation of a new country. States were separated in that they did not share an interest in growth as a whole, and individual states held personal interest before caring for the bigger picture, this resulted in the blockage of legislation that did not work directly in their favor. The one area of growth that they were able to accomplish as a whole was a policy of land reform that all states were able to agree with. Major landholding states agreed to cede their land to congress. in 1785 and 1787 legislation, the Congress decided to put in placer a prohibition of slavery in these lands, and use land for education. They also set guidelines for what qualification would allow for their admission into the union as a state. They looked into the future and were extremely effective in this only, and can be noted as the articles greatest achievement. In most other domestic policy issues, Congress was blocked and ineffective at almost every point. The letter from the Rhode Island Assembly to Congress (Nov. 30, 1782) highlights one major problem of the Confederation government, they were unable to identify and enforce a uniform tax. Because no tax would be favorable to 2/3 of the states, and as this one was opposed by Rhode Island and most likely the other state centers of commerce, it was realistically impossible to enact a national tax on anything. The letter also reveals a distrust that the people had in the officers appointed in Congress and an unwillingness to surrender any power to Congress, or the greater good of the country. These attitudes were common to each of the states, and offer an explanation as to why most legislation presented to congress was never enacted. The articles were also unrealistic in that, Congress did not have the power to tax the individual states, as indicated in the letter from delegate Joseph Jones to George Washington (Feb. 27, 1783). Congress could ask for but not demand money, it could persuade and but not force. This weakness had severe effects on the development of the country. It meant that public creditors of Congress could not be paid, and added to the lack of trust the people had in a central government. This fault had furthur faults in that congress did not have the money to set up an effective army and it was unable to pay its soldiers. This left the country with little defense and an overall lack of funds. The vulnerability of the army and the factionalism of the individual states restricted the Confederation government from making any notable successes in foreign policy or any advances in the matter. Foreign nations lacked respect for Congress’ demands since there was neither a unified country or a strong army backing the demands that they were making. The lack of control that congress had over their people made the united states a joke on the global level. In 1785, John Jay instructed the US minister to Great Britain to demand respectively, but firmly, the return of frontier posts on US territory controlled by the British and the end to British restrictions on trade in and with the United States. Neither requests would be respected while the articles were in place, and trade with the british west indies was not opened until the 1830s. Two problems involving spain were then presented to congress, as noted by John Jay in 1786, Spain asked the US to give up navigation rights on the Mississippi and to give up its claims to certain western lands. Although navigation rights were essential to US farmers, Jay was pushed to concede them in his negotiations with a Spanish minister. Rights were not secured until after the Confederation government ended (in Pinckney’s Treaty, 1794), and the conflict over claims of the land were pushed to be settled by force much later. This is yet another example in why the articles were unable to settle and obtain foreign policy goalsThe overall weakness in the articles and them serving as the main outline for the government had major effects. In 1787, a  Massachusetts farmer by the name of Daniel Shays, provoked and led a rebellion against the central authority which was crushed only with difficulty. The rebellion had to be crushed with force due to the fact that if weakness was shown in the early days, the government as a whole would be weakened and people would rebel, knowing that they would succeed and get what they wanted. The rebellion was crushed despite discontent that was not limited to the popular masses. A letter from John Jay to George Washington, both of them being wealthy aristocrats at the time, expressed the fear that the wealthier members of society would be led by fear and a lack of confidence in their fulers. This showed the discontent almost everyone had with the confederation government and ultimately exposing its ineffectiveness further. John Jay would then propose a major change that came in 1789 when US statesmen met in Philadelphia to completely replace the Confederation and write a Constitution. It would create a different government, one stronger and more centralized. The Articles had failed to do many things from raising proper funds to maintaining national security and order, but they did serve a purpose. They made an example of the need for a strong central government, and served as a transition period from the disconnection of the colonial period to the creation of a United States of America. It worked as a symbolic change more than it worked as an effective constitution, the Articles were of value in this critical period in the nation’s history by showing the people what they needed from giving it what they wanted.

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