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The Articles of Confederation

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 06:29 AM
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The Articles of Confederation was the first constitution of the United States of America.   The

Articles of Confederation were first drafted by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia Pennsylvania in

1777.   This first draft was prepared by a man named John Dickinson in 1776.   The Articles were then

ratified in 1781.   The cause for the changes to be made was due to state jealousies and widespread distrust

of the central authority.   This jealousy then led to the emasculation of the document.

As adopted, the articles provided only for a "firm league of friendship" in which each of the 13

states expressly held "its sovereignty, freedom, and independence."

The People of each state were given equal privileges and rights, freedom of movement was guaranteed,

and procedures for the trials of accused criminals were   outlined.   The articles established a national

legislature called the Congress, consisting of two to seven delegates from each state;   each state had one

vote, according to its size or population.   No executive or judicial branches were provided for.   Congress

was charged with responsibility for conducting foreign relations, declaring war or peace, maintaining an

army and navy, settling boundary disputes, establishing and maintaining a postal service, and various lesser

functions.   Some of these responsibilities were shared with the states, and in one way or another Congress

was dependent upon the cooperation of the states for carrying out any of them.

Four visible weaknesses of the articles, apart from those of organization, made it impossible for

Congress to execute its constitutional duties.   These were

analyzed in numbers 15-22 of The FEDERALIST, the political essays in which Alexander Hamilton,

James Madison, and John Jay argued the case for the U.S. CONSTITUTION of 1787.   The first

weakness was that...


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