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Articles of Confederation. Aim: How were governments organized after independence?. Articles of Confederation (1781 – 1787). First constitution (plan for government) of the United States. Created a loose union of thirteen republics. The states retained the most important powers.

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articles of confederation

Articles of Confederation

Aim: How were governments organized after independence?

articles of confederation 1781 1787
Articles of Confederation (1781 – 1787)
  • First constitution (plan for government) of the United States.
  • Created a loose union of thirteen republics.
  • The states retained the most important powers.
    • Each state had one vote in Congress.
      • 9 out of 13 states had to agree to any decision (bills to be passed).
      • All 13 states would have to agree in order to amend the Articles.
structure of government
Structure of Government
  • Unicameral (single house) legislative body
  • Each state had one vote regardless of population size
  • Congress given sole authority to govern the country
  • An executive committee oversaw government when Congress was not in session
  • Congress would establish temporary courts to hear disputes among the states
powers granted to government under the articles of confederation
Powers Granted to Government under the Articles of Confederation
  • Declare war and make peace
  • Make treaties with foreign countries
  • Establish an army and navy
  • Appoint high-ranking military officials
  • Requisition, print, and borrow money
  • Establish weights and measures
  • Hear disputes among the states related to trade or boundaries
powers denied to the central government
Powers Denied to the Central Government
  • Congress
    • Had no executive power to enforce laws.
    • Had no power to make laws.
    • Had no power to tax, impose tariffs, or collect duties.
    • Had no power to regulate trade and there was no uniform currency.
    • No power to force states to honor obligations
    • Had no power to draft for war.
  • Congress
    • Could “recommend” laws.
    • Could ask the states for money.
    • Could ask the states to supply soldiers for the army.
accomplishments under the articles of confederation
Accomplishments Under the Articles of Confederation
  • Victory over Britain in the Revolutionary War.
  • Negotiated the Treaty of Paris with Britain in 1783
  • Organization of the Western Lands.
    • Established the Land Ordinance (1785) and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787

Map of the land settled in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787

land ordinance of 1785
Land Ordinance of 1785
  • Divided the Northwest Territory into “townships” to be offered for sale.
  • Each township consisted of 36 lots of 640 acres each.
  • A lot was the smallest unit that could be bought and couldn’t be sold for less than $1 an acre.
  • The proceeds from the sale of one lot in each township would be used for public education.
northwest ordinance of 1787
Northwest Ordinance of 1787
  • Provided a government for the Northwest Territory and admission to the United States.
  • No less than 3 states and no more than 5 states would be created as soon as the population in an area reached 60,000.
  • Each state would have a Bill of Rights.
  • Slavery was forbidden.
  • The new states would be equal to the original 13 states.
  • Education was provided.
problems facing the new nation
Problems Facing the New Nation
  • Trade with foreign nations
  • Financing the nation
  • Foreign relations
  • Interstate relations
  • You decide!!!

A 1783 cartoon satirizing relations between Britain and America

annapolis convention 1786
Annapolis Convention (1786)
  • Originally called to discuss British trade restrictions and the problems of inter-state trade.
  • The delegates arranged to meet the next year to discuss revising the Articles of Confederation.
  • U.S. no longer the favorite trading partner of Great Britain
  • U.S. exports to British ports had to be on British ships
  • Many U.S.-produced goods were barred from British ports
  • Britain sent vast amounts of cheap goods to U.S.
  • Potential Remedy
  • Establish a tariff on British goods
  • Weakness in Articles of Confederation preventing this solution
shay s rebellion 1786
Shay’s Rebellion (1786)
  • A revolt led by Daniel Shays, of the farmers in western Massachusetts against the state government.
  • The farmers were protesting high taxes, underrepresentation in the state legislature and the foreclosure of their farms for debts.
  • This showed the weakness of the national government and the need to change the Articles of Confederation
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