Articles of Confederation DBQ
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Articles of confederation created in 1776, was the first constitution of the United States of America. The Articles of Confederation had served as the agreement between the thirteen sovereign states and was ratified by 1777. The Articles had served as the start of a new government that had brought many benefits and prosperity to the country. Even with a strong state government, when faced with foreign and issues on a national level, the Articles lacked a strong central government. From 1781-1787 the articles started debilitating, even with all the gains that it had as a government. Articles of confederation gave the US a stable start for a certain period of time, until it faced a national conflict. In a letter from the Rhode Island Assembly to the Congress it is mentioned that the, States are being taxed differently based on their imported goods, and expenditure because of other states [Document A]. Commercial states such as Rhode Island itself, was taxed more than the other states. The Rhode Island Assembly was deeming this unequal taxation unfair.
Also, they were saying they are not accountable for the other states and it was unjust for the government to place an extended tax on them. This expenditure of taxes on other state because of one states debt might have help diminish national debt, but because of the lack of coherence between people or lack of nationalism between people due to the lack of Central power might have enraged people, because of their excessive payment of taxes which was unnecessary for them. By the passing years, the population of the US was increasing but the estimated market value of US taxes on exports to Great Britain was fluctuating mostly for the worse. [Document B] In the chart it is portrayed compared to the population the value of exports was well from 1770-1775, because it was mostly increased.
When counted in thousands, by the next decade, the Market value of US export in Great Britain went down by approximately $2000, which was a lot for that period of time. It could be said that there is an increase in National Debt. John Jay an American statesman and one of the founding fathers of the US send instruction to the US minister to the minister of the Great Britain with a formal demand to british to hand over the British held territory that is in U.S also about the consequences of interfering with the US merchants and how it affects both country. [Document D] This shows how a statesman has taken charge for foreign relations, while it should be the duty of a federal/central government to negotiate or represent the country.
In John Jays Speech to congress on Negotiation’s with Spain’s minister Diego De Gardoqui, emphasizes on the using of Mississippi river and how it could use to increase production and transportation of good also the right of US to navigate the Mississippi river. [Document F] This shows the territorial limits and shows the limits of Articles of Consideration because John Jay is the only one who is representing the country in this foreign matter. Also, his tries to create treaty and amicable relationship with Spain in order to use the river, shows that the government by the Articles weren’t even trying. This shows the Articles lack of Centralized power, due to their lack of communication and authority over all the states. In a report of Rawlin Lowndes’ speech to the South Carolina House of representatives, illustrates his opposition to the adoption of federal constitution, also, it sheds light on his views about whether or not it is better to add strength to the old Confederation, instead making a new confederation without thinking it through. [Document H] This document illustrates how he didn’t understand the conventions purpose of identifying the necessary changes required to the confederation.
While the convention might have met to create a new government that is much stronger and for a beneficial reason, Lowndes wrote to please the Old Confederation. In Reene C Rebmans book the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union between the state mention the sovereignty of states due to the Articles of Confederation, but it also illustrates the issues linked to banking, the interstate commerce, Judicial Concerns, the national defense and other broad economic issues. This book of Reebe C Rebmans serves as a great source of information about the early US, and the Articles of Confederation. Unquestionably, many benefits that Articles of Confederation had, has been mentioned in the documents, and it is undeniable.
These documents also, shed light on the weaknesses of Article of Confederation. Whether it is a weakness in the system that the Articles of Confederation have, or improvements that it needs, is also mentioned in these documents. The extent of the benefit that the Articles of Confederation had posed towards the US or the weaknesses in the government that the Articles of Confederation had created becomes really easy to determine because of these documents. So, it could be said that the government under the Articles of Confederation wasn’t that prosperous and weren’t really that beneficial to the government of this county due to the lack of central authority in the state and the lack of communications.