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Sovereignty of the States: the Articles of Confederation

            The Articles of Confederation provided the United States with an ineffective government by allowing the states to maintain its sovereignty. Because it allowed the states to remain independent, it could not control them or their actions. Under the Confederation, it was mandated that a unanimous vote was needed for the ratification of the Articles, along with nine out of the thirteen states in agreement for subjects of importance. Congress had no control over taxes or the collection of taxes, only to ask for a contribution by the states. Without taxes Congress did not have the ability to fund the military or to pay off national debts. Congress also did not have the power to regulate trade, a possession recently acquired from Britain; and it was not one that was going to be given up easily. The Articles of Confederation linked the states together for joint action in dealing with common problems, such as foreign policy, giving them the feeling of separate nations rather than a collective one. .
             The United States had no executive branch of the government; instead it had thirteen different law making bodies. Each law making body, or state, had one single vote in Congress. That meant that a more populous state had just as much control as a less populated state. When deciding on matters of importance nine out of the thirteen states needed to approve it and every vote was needed in ratifying the Articles of Confederation, a feat that was not easily accomplished. Instead of creating a new Constitution, the states fought with patching up the old Articles, creating turmoil and unnecessary struggles, " Upon discovering a flaw, instead of repairing the injury, should pull it down, and build another one." (Document H).
             Unrestricted trade was a newly acquired privilege within the United States. Exports leaving the country in the year 1771 was $5,978 thousands against a population of 2,211 thousands.

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