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The Articles of Confederation. Colonies’ first attempts to establish a national government Written in 1776-1777 during the American Revolution by the Second Continental Congress Enforced from March 1, 1781 to June 21, 1788 Replaced by the current U.S. Constitution.

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Colonies’ first attempts to establish a national government

  • Written in 1776-1777 during the American Revolution by the Second Continental Congress
  • Enforced from March 1, 1781 to June 21, 1788
  • Replaced by the current U.S. Constitution

Original proposal written by John Dickinson

  • Asked for a strong central government, but really was weak
  • Altered greatly by the states before ratification
  • Three years passed beforeall states approved (fighting over western land claims)
governmental structure under the articles
Governmental Structure under the Articles
  • Confederation of States
    • Each state had one vote in congress
      • Regardless of population or number of representatives
    • Individual State Court System
      • Voted on nearly all of congress’s decisions

National government

    • Unicameral (1) house of Congress
    • Had control over armed forces and western territories
    • Could request financial donations from states; COULD NOT LEVY TAXES
governmental structure cont
Governmental Structure (cont.)
  • Passing laws required 9 of 13 states’ consent
  • Amending the Articles required approval from congress and unanimous approval from the states
weaknesses of the government
Weaknesses of the Government
  • Central Government had no power over states
    • Couldn’t enforce taxation
    • Couldn’t coin money
    • Couldn’t regulate trade within US or with foreign nations
  • Difficult to make laws or amendments
  • No national leadership
accomplishments of the articles
Accomplishments of the Articles
  • Established a central government and a method for law making.
  • Northwest Ordinances
    • Established system for addition of new states
    • Ultimately, the territory was organized into the present states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin

The government could not require the British Government to live up to The Treaty of Paris

  • It was not effective in persuading the Spanish to allow Americans access to New Orleans to the sea.
  • It could not levy taxes to support an army( states had these rights)
  • Policies concerning Native American were not effective because more and more settlers began to push west.
  • Most of the power rested with the states.( economics)
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shay s rebellion
Shay's Rebellion

The state of Massachusetts decides to put a tax on the people to repay the loans in their state. Shay’s Rebellion takes place because farmers can’t afford to pay the taxes, so they would lose their farms. Daniel Shay and 1,200 other farmers rebel against the government because of heavy taxes.

The significance of this rebellion is that it showed the weak central govt. under the Articles of Confederation weren’t working. They knew something had to be done.

the constitutional convention
The Constitutional Convention
  • Representatives from 12 states met in Philadelphia in 1787 to REVISE the Articles
  • All changes had to be approved by congress and the states before taking effect
  • Resulted in the present-day constitution after throwing out Articles
areas of disagreement over articles
Areas of Disagreement over Articles
  • Country in economic depression
  • Govt. lacks power to do anything
  • States disputed over borders and tariffs on imported goods
  • Process established by the Northwest ordinance
  • States unwilling to surrender freedoms
  • Bigger states and smaller states are in turmoil over representation in Congress
virginia plan
Virginia Plan
  • Proposed a strong national Government
  • Bicameral (2 house) legislature
  • small states objected this plan
  • The more people a state has, the more representatives it gets in the legislature
new jersey plan
New Jersey Plan
  • Proposed by William Patterson
  • Proposed a stronger national Government
  • Unicameral Legislature
  • Small states preferred this plan, because each state gets the same number of representatives.
the great comprimise or connecticut comprimise
The Great Comprimise or Connecticut Comprimise
  • Recommended by Roger Sherman
  • An agreement between large and small states reached during the Philadelphia Convention of 1787 that in part defined the legislative structure and representation that each state would have under the United States Constitution.
  • The Great Compromise combined these two plans creating our current legislature with two houses, one based on population and elected by the people(House of Representatives) and the other house allowing two senators per state being appointed by state legislatures.

The Senate would have an equal number of representatives from each state. This would satisfy the states with smaller populations. The House of Representatives would include one representative for each 30,000 individuals in a state. This pleased states with larger populations.

three fifths compromise
Three Fifths Compromise
  • Compromise over how to count slaves in the population
  • Each slave was counted as 3/5 of a person in determining population of a state for representation purposes
  • Ex: if there were 100 slaves in a state only 60 would be counted towards the population.
addressing the articles flaws
Addressing the Articles’ Flaws

Articles of Confederation


  • Unanimous state consent for amendments
  • Single house- 2-7 reps per state
  • No separate executive branch- president of congress had limited powers
  • States levy taxes
  • Took unanimous consent required to ratify it.
  • ¾ states approval needed
  • 2 houses- upper with set number of reps per state and lower based on population
  • Separate executive branch established
  • Federal government can levy taxes
  • took consent of 9 states to ratify it.