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The Articles of Confederation

            During the Revolutionary Era in America, there were several attempts to form a government system in the colonies. Following the strong government system of the Second Continental Congress, the Articles of Confederation were formed in 1777, but they weren't ratified until 1781. There have been many disagreements with whether or not the Articles of Confederation provided America with an effective, national government system. The Articles of Confederation can be seen as a stepping-stone to the United States Constitution, but are mostly viewed as a weak form of a central government. The Articles of Confederation had weaknesses in the areas of taxation, trade, military, and foreign affairs. .
             One of the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation was the inability to tax. Due to the fact that the states still had most of the power, the national government could only ask or suggest that there would be taxes placed on goods. There was no way to enforce it, however. According to a letter from the Rhode Island Assembly to Congress, the Rhode Island Assembly unanimously disagreed with Congress" suggestion to place taxes on imported goods (Document A). This document really shows the limited power that the Articles of Confederation had on the states. Such a small state could affect the entire nation, due to the law that stated that 13 out of 13 colonies had to agree to amend the Articles. This shows a weakness in how one small state could affect the nation. Another event that showed the limited authority of the Articles of Confederation was Shays" rebellion. In 1786, Daniel Shays led a rebellion by farmers against unsettled economic conditions and against politicians and laws, which were grossly unfair to farmers and working people in general. The main cause of this rebellion was the unfair taxation placed on property and on the polls. They were also upset with the lack of unstable currency and the high prices or lawsuits.

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