Who should be authorized to govern those laws? How could the government be designed to protect the unalienable individual rights? Their first attempt at solving this issue was the Articles of Confederation, which was a failure for the most part, but not completely. After the failure of the articles, the state delegates tried to revise the articles, but instead, constructed the Constitution. There were so many changes made and very little remained the same. The states attempted to limit the power of the national government because they feared that it would become a monarchy.
In an effort to limit the power of the national government, Congress created one without enough power to govern effectively, which led to serious national and international problems. One of the main weaknesses under the Articles of Confederation was its incapability to regulate trade and levy taxes. The states controlled all of their “cash flows. ” Sometimes, the states were in debt because of tariff wars that they would engage in with one another. Because of these debts, the states refused to give the national government the money it needed.
Hence, the government could not pay off the debts it had gained during the revolution, including paying soldiers who had fought in the war and citizens who had provided supplies to the cause. Congress could not pass needed measures because they lacked the nine-state majority required to become laws and couldn’t amend articles because unanimous consent of the all states was required. The states largely ignored Congress, which was powerless to enforce cooperation, and it was therefore unable to carry out its duties.
The national government could not force the states to adhere to the terms of the Treaty of Paris of 1783 ending the American Revolution. Foreign countries saw lack of unity in states. Because of the lack of income the national government collected, the new nation was unable to defend its borders from British and Spanish abuse because it could not pay for an army when the states would not contribute the necessary funds. The country would not get rich as a whole because states controlled all interstate commerce.
States coined their own money and regulated its supply, so values of currency varied from state to state. In conclusion, In 1781 American colonists took hold to the Articles of Confederation, their first outline of democracy. The Articles set up a good base for government, but it was soon realized that it needed a lot of work. In Philadelphia a group of the most well educated and experienced men of America met to revise the Articles of Confederation. The result of this meeting was not a revised Articles of Confederation, but a new document that outlined the government we have today. This was the Constitution.