Articles of Confederation as the Basis of the U.S.
The Articles of Confederation provided limited economic power to the Federal Government. Still fearing an overpowering far away government that enforced mercantilism policies and unfair taxes, the drafters Of the Articles failed to give their new Central Government any real power to regulate trade or impose taxes.
Under the Articles of Confederation, the central government could not enforce any legislation it passed. Congress was denied the power to tax, and could only request money from the states. Since Congress’ requests ere generally ignored, the legislature never had enough money to run the government or to fulfill financial obligations.Many acts issued by Britain during the colonial revolutionary era, in times of oppression, inflicted the strict mindset against central power in the states. The Sugar act, which added higher tax on sugar ultimately to increase revenue in Britain, was one of the first acts of oppression on the colonies. The Stamp act, issued a year after, however, caused a great uprising within the colonies as it affected not only the poor but the wealthy as well. The act required that many printed materials in the colonies be produced on paper produced in London, carrying a revenue stamp.
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These materials such as legal documents, magazines, newspapers and many others, were used throughout the colonies daily. This heightened the anger among the colonists creating uprising and protests against England. Jean Jacques Rousseau, a French philosopher, influenced these revolts through his ideals. He believed those who are governed, should give consent for the government to do so. In the case of the colonists, Britain s doing the exact opposite, by taxing them without any representation in parliament.Through the hardships and financial suffering, undergone by the colonists, fear of any central power was immensely instilled within them, employing many of the principals found in the Articles of Confederation. The Articles of Confederation also failed to give any real political power to the Central Government.
Real power rested in the states. Fearing an overbearing executive and judicial branch due to their experiences with British policy, the drafters of the Articles created a central government that caked an executive department to carry Out and enforce the acts Of Congress and no national court system to interpret the meaning of laws.Each state created its own foreign policy, and its own money that might not even be accepted in other states. Due to the war, there was a huge debt and because of the Articles restrictions, congress was not allowed to collect taxes. John Locke, a natural rights philosopher, believed that all human beings were born with ‘natural rights’ that cannot be taken away or toyed with. His ideas influenced the resentment, by the colonists, against the King of Britain who as misusing his power to the colonies disadvantage.Due to the damage done by the Boston Tea Party, parliament Issued the Intolerable Acts, which punished colonists for their rebellion.
It shut down all legislature and closed the Boston Harbor, ultimately killing their economy. Britain also started to occupy Boston, Massachusetts, purposely to show the colonies who is in charge. Committees of Correspondence was created due to the oppression and was used as a way for the colonies to communicate their grievances, and let everyone know what was happening in each colony.Disgruntlement allowed for increased boycotts on British goods, however things would only worsen. Due to these ideals and events, the colonists quickly settled on the idea of having a weak political structure and influenced the regulations of Congress within the Articles of Confederation. Thomas Jefferson once said, ‘When the people fear the government, there is tyranny, when the government fears the people, there is liberty. ” The colonists had their share of sufferings and hardships in order to seek the sole thing they needed: liberty.
Due to their ongoing failure of achieving independence throughout the revolutionary era, the colonists demanded there be strict rules to prevent any possibility of tyranny arising in the new United States government. Ideals from philosophers, such as Rousseau and Locke, and acts that were passed by parliament, instilled rebellion among the colonies that truly molded the Articles of Confederation. Although there may have been several political and economic weaknesses within the articles, it eventually became the basis Of the United States Constitution.