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  • History Lesson – The Articles of Confederation

    by Founder on December 19, 2008

    in Voice of the People

    What are the Articles of Confederation?

    Alexander Hamilton

    Once the Americans declared their independence from the British they were now on their own. What were they to do? How were they to act and govern? The founding fathers needed to determine just how the “States” would get along with each other. Each state wanted their own independence just as the collective group of them wanted their independence from the British. But how was all of this to occur? There was no Constitution yet – therefore a document titled “the Articles of Confederation” was drafted by Congress in 1781. It described the states as “a firm league of friendship”.

    Article II in the Articles attempted to make it very clear that the individual states were not subject to the rule of the United States. It says “Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled”.

    Because it was written during war the Articles of Confederation was more suited for this purpose of war. It even stated that the states would defend each other against any outside attacks “on account of religion, sovereignty, trade or any other pretense whatsoever”.

    But the Articles did allow all the states to test the waters of independence and co-exist with each other with little more than misty promises to help one another if there were problems. In this document there were no rules to enforce laws or to collect taxes – again it was more for war time. The Congress merely “asked” the states for contributions to the newly formed government – some would give some would not.

    Problems began to arise between the states themselves as far as trade, commerce and whose state laws would apply to who? Did one state have the right to impose its laws on another state? Could states tax each other? Could the states regulate the prices of goods and services bought and sold within their state? These are questions the current “Articles of Confederation” did not answer.

    It became very clear that to prosper, the states needed to do business with each other but the way the laws were currently written were conflicting with each other and just always seemed to get in the way. So a conference of all the states – all 13 – was called and convened in Annapolis, MD in 1786. Â At that conference the states all agreed to a suggestion by Alexander Hamilton – that there be a convention in Philadelphia the following year to change and update the “Articles of Confederation”. This has since become known as the Constitutional Convention of 1787. This is where the Constitution was born.

    Now you know what the “Articles of Confederation” were. You can tell someone about this document. It’s important to know because to see where we are as a nation we MUST know why and how we got here. Are you happy with where our government is heading this country? Can you see how far our government has drifted from the Constitution? Can you see why the people – We the People – must exercise our Constitutional rights and CHANGE what is happening in our government? Not the type of change the new President elect is promising and delivering – but the type of change that cuts the size of the government in half (or more) and restores the power back to the bosses – the people. Join me today and make your voice heard.

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