Presentation on theme: "The Articles of Confederation America’s First Attempt at Government."— Presentation transcript:
The Articles of Confederation America’s First Attempt at Government
In 1776, the Continental Congress begins working on America’s first form of government, the Articles of Confederation!
Americans Yes, United … Not Exactly The Americas were divided both in regions and in states. It was 13 different countries with 13 different agendas.
Government Under the Articles Unicameral legislature (That means that there was only one lawmaking body, in this case, the Continental Congress). Each state was only allowed one vote, no matter how populous the state was. 2/3 majority vote needed to pass laws. Unanimous vote needed to amend the Articles.
But … There were additional problems with the Articles.
Why did the Articles of Confederation fail? I. Currency Issues The United States did not have a common currency. Americans carried money from the federal government, state government, and foreign nations.
Merchants stopped accepting money from outside of their own state, causing a lot of money to become worthless. This caused an increase in inflation.
Why did the Articles of Confederation fail? II. Debt Congress could not tax the people and depended on money from the states. Therefore, the U.S. was unable to pay its debts! Examples: - The U.S. owed money to France, Holland, and Spain for loans made during the Revolutionary War. - The U.S. had not paid many of their own soldiers!
Difficulty Passing Laws Under the Articles, 9 of 13 states needed to agree to pass laws. There was often only 10 standing members of Congress at any time and each state had only one vote. Making it further difficult, there became a rift between the 5 small states and the 8 larger states. Finally, to amend the Articles, all states had to approve the change.
The Articles created no Executive or Judicial Branch for the National Government The lack of a national executive and judiciary branch to enforce and interpret laws the laws that Congress enacted leaves the federal government at the mercy of the states to decide whether or not they wanted to enforce the federal governments law. This ensured Americans that there would be NO MORE KINGS!
The lack of power by the national government to tax the states or the people directly. Why does the federal government need money? A high war debt that the federal government had incurred, as well as funding the few federal agencies that the Articles had allowed made taxing necessary. However, the federal government did not have this ability and were therefore dependent upon the states to gain any type of revenue. Also, the national dollar was worthless.
No power granted to the national government to make a uniform currency. The federal government was given the right to create its’ own currency, but the national currency was only one of 14 currencies in the Americas. Each state had its’ own currency as well, and none of the states recognized the national currency as a legitimate monetary unit. This left the federal government with no recognizable currency.
The lack of power to control National or International trade The governments lack of power to regulate trade resulted in chaos throughout America because states could not agree on currency value. International trade was nearly impossible due to the lack of a national currency. States continued to work independently.
Why did the Articles of Confederation fail? III. International and Domestic Problems The U.S. lacked the military power to defend itself against Great Britain and Spain. States acted as individual countries and seldom agreed. Example: - Connecticut and Virginia almost went to war over land claims!
Why did the Articles of Confederation fail? Courts (Judicial Branch) The nation lacked a national court system. Supreme Court
The lack of power by the federal government to organize a national army. The federal government was dependent on the states to send troops when and how they chose to do so. This led to a national army that was so weak that it could not send enough troops to quash such minor uprisings as Shay’s Rebellion.
Americans vs. Americans Poor Massachusetts farmers, angered over losing their lands, began an uprising in Western Mass. Gov. James Bowdoin asked the federal gov’t for troops, but the feds could not help. Ultimately, outgunned, Shay’s rebellion was ended, but not without consequences.
Why did the Articles of Confederation fail? President (Executive Branch) The nation did not have a President, or Chief Executive. White House
Someone Steps Up! Why couldn’t the states come up with an amicable solution? Recognizing the problems with the Articles was not the problem. The states would only listen to someone they trusted and did not think they were trying to take over. What person in the Americas would everyone listen to and recognized the problems? The Revolutionary hero, George Washington.
Why did the Articles of Confederation fail? Congress (Legislative Branch) Laws were difficult to pass, needing the approval of nine states. Congress was responsible to the states, not the people. Congress had no power to collect taxes, regulate trade, coin money, or establish a military. Congress had one house. (unicameral) Capitol Building