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Copy of Articles of Confederation: Pros and Cons

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Tony Magnon

on 6 March 2018

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Transcript of Copy of Articles of Confederation: Pros and Cons

Articles of Confederation: Pros and Cons

The American colonies gained independence from Great Britain after the treaty of Paris was signed in 1783. However, the success of the new nation and its revolutionary government was by no means guaranteed. The end of the war ushered in a period of conflicting ideology, economic depression, and minor insurrection under the Articles of Confederation .

Economic Depression
Post-War National Debt
Federal Government had no source of income
More imports than exports
Low wages
High taxes
No longer a guaranteed British market -- led to mass unemployment in port cities
Positive Results
Independence from oppressive monarchy
Treaty of Stannwix- Iroquois ceded most land to U.S.
Land Ordinances- facilitated expansion
Failures of Articles of Confederation
Didn't balance power between federal and state governments
Could not control interstate interaction/ trade
Could not levy taxes- Congress could only "ask nicely" for revenue to fund government projects

Conflict under the Articles Government
Army's refusal to demobilize without pay
Shays Rebellion- uprising over economic depression and foreclosure of farmers' land
Social Changes
Interstate Conflicts
Strained Foreign Relations
British ports closed to American commerce
Spain closed the Mississippi River, an essential intercontinental asset, to American trade
American war debts were mostly held by foreign countries
No single currency - each state had its own currency
Each state acted as its own country
Conflicting tariffs and navigation laws between each state

Questioning of slavery by Abolitionists and Quakers
Separation of Church and State
Growth of Federalism following the chaos of the Articles
Rise of Conservatism
Negative Results
Treaty of Fort Stanwix
Famous depiction of Shay's Rebellion;
artist conveys chaos and anarchy, appealing to Federalist arguments for centralized power
There were huge celebrations and a sense of nationalism; the fireworks shown here have become a staple of Independence Day celebrations
Views about Shays’s Rebellion

Congress had no power to raise taxes
Congress had no power regulate foreign or state trade
Laws had to be approved by 9 out of 13 states
Congress did not have the power to enforce laws

Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation

Shays’s Rebellion

Shays’s Rebellion

Northwest Territory

Strengths of the Articles of Confederation: Settling Western Lands

Strengths of the Articles of Confederation

The Articles were written in 1777 by John Dickinson, a Penn. statesman
The Articles were accepted by Congress in 1781 and is considered the first national constitution

The Articles of Confederation

Thomas Jefferson Said What?!

Samuel Adams Said What?!

Reasons for Shay’s Rebellion

Settling Western lands

The Articles of Confederation

The fear of one person
having too much power led the colonists to limit the power of the national Congress

The Treaty of Paris was signed,
The Northwest Ordinance was passed,
The confederation govt. had the
power to print money, make treaties
and settle state disputes.
The Land Ordinance of 1785, stated
that land in the west was to be surveyed
using a grid system to establish 6 mile
The Northwest Ordinance assisted in
the orderly expansion of the United
States and outlined a plan for applying
for statehood to western territories.
5,000 free males who owned 50 acres
could start a government. When you had
a population of 60,000, you could apply for
The Northwest Ordinance provided an
orderly settlement process in the West
It promised no slavery, education, freedom
of religion and trial by jury
The Northwest Territory was
east of the Miss. River and north
of the Ohio River. The states of Ohio,
Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconson
would be formed from this area
Farmers were required to pay
debts in gold; they had no money
because they were not paid during the war;
Wealthy lawmakers invested their money
in the war and sought to get their money back by collecting debts from the farmers.

Poor farmers were not represented in the
Mass. legislature and could not get debt
relief laws passed.The rebels hoped that debtors could be freed from prisons and that courts hearing cases against farmers could be closed.
The Mass. militia was called out to stop it.
Poor farmers in 1791 elected officials who supported their stance and agreed to close
courthouses and demand financial help
from Congress. The rebellion prompted
national leaders to create a stronger
central government. Why was this the case?
"Rebellion against a king
may be pardoned, or lightly punished,
but the man who dares to rebel
against the laws of a republic ought
to suffer death"
Adams will also write a law called the "Riot Act", which prohibits 12 people or more from meeting and gives the government the power
to shoot rioters
""A little rebellion now and then is a good thing. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government. God forbid that we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion"
In 1784, the government of the newly independent
United States entered into a treaty with the Six Nations of the Iroquois. Following the American Revolution, the Confederation Congress needed money. The Articles of Confederation did not permit the government to easily tax its citizens. To raise funds to operate the government, the Confederation Congress hoped to sell land in the Ohio country to the American people. Government officials realized that Native Americans controlled the land. Before any sales could take place, the United States would have to convince the natives to give up their claims on the land. The first step in the process was the Treaty of Fort Stanwix (1784) In this treaty, the Six Nations of the Iroquois agreed to relinquish all claims to the Ohio Country. Few of these groups actually lived in the Ohio Country, although they all claimed land there. The Ohio country natives, rejected the treaty. The Ohio country became a violent place as U.S. settlers began to arrive in the region in the mid-1780s.
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