GOVERNMENT Congress – Each State had one Vote. Powers of Congress 1. Make Laws 2. Declare War & Make Peace 3. Make Treaties & Alliances 4. Borrow Money 5. Maintain Army & Navy 6. Other Less Important Matters
1)Congress weak – Limited Powers (most needed 9 of 13 states to agree) 2)No Executive Branch – Enforce Laws 3)No Judicial Branch – Settle State Disputes 4)No Power to Tax 5)No Money = No Military 6)No Amendments – Needed Approval of all 13 States 7)Thirteen Tax and Trade Systems
Since the national government could not tax, and the national money was worthless, debt became a huge problem. Debt = owing money The biggest problem was that the soldiers who had fought the war, had not been paid, and they were mad.
British troops have not left US soil quite yet. French/Spanish will not allow use of Mississippi River. Debts contracted during the Revolutionary War have not been paid. Shay’s Rebellion. Economy is in very poor health.
Americans were afraid of a strong national government. After all, they had fought a war over it. So, the government they decided on was weak. The national government under the Articles did not have the power to tax or enforce laws. Those powers were left up to the states. The national government did have the power to wage war, but since they couldn’t tax, there was no way to pay for it. The government could also issue money, but the states didn’t have to use it. They had their own.
One of the things the new government was allowed to do was divide any new lands the United States acquired. (Or you could say taken. Most of the lands belonged to the Indians, but that didn’t stop anyone from taking them. Under the Northwest Ordinance, when 60,000 people lived in a territory, they could apply to become a state. Slavery was also outlawed, but runaway slaves were to be returned to their lawful “owners.” Freedom of religion and trial by jury were guaranteed.
The American Revolution ended in 1783 The money paid to the soldiers who had fought in the Revolution was worthless. This was because the government was not allowed to raise taxes in the Articles of Confederation. As a result, the farmers were unable to pay their debts.
The farmers were taken into court, then into jail, and their land was taken away from them. Most of the farmers were soldiers who had fought in the Revolution and they were mad. In 1786, an armed revolt by farmers against the state government took place. Led by Daniel Shays, the farmers began to forcibly prevent the courts from meeting so they couldn’t take anyone else’s land away or put them in jail. Early in 1787, the Governor sent 4,400 men against the rebels and the rebels were defeated. Shays and the other rebels were pardoned. (An official act of forgiveness)
Shays’ Rebellion showed the leaders of America that the Articles of Confederation were too weak, and a stronger national government was needed.