Last Updated on March 17, 2021 by Filip Poutintsev
Alongside the Perpetual Union, the Articles of Confederation was the first United States’ inscribed constitution that was drafted in 1777. Due to the generation of this constitution during the urgency of the time of war, there developed fears related to the broad claims of land via the states and the dominant authority, leading to the degradation in the rate of its progress. The ratification of the Articles of Confederation was finished in 1781.
From its ratification in 1781 up to 1789, this served as the United States’ constitution where it acted as a bridge connecting the federal government and the initial government under and by the 1787 constitution of the United States and the revolutionary era’s central congress, respectively.
With the facility of the Articles of Confederation, the formation of a single governing body was made possible for the chief thirteen colonies while communicating with different countries. During war and politics, all the independent thirteen colonies were treated as a single nation within this form of constitution, permitting each colony to adapt its unique law on interacting with each other.
The Articles of Confederation played a significant role in the history of America by developing a foundation for the present free country we see the United States be. However, this form of constitution resulted in the divided believes of the people regarding its drawbacks and benefits and was relatively weaker governing.
Hence, the accurate pros and cons are required to clarify ones and for all about its nature. A brief, and easy to understand the pros and cons of Articles of Confederation are presented just after a thorough historical discussion.
History of The Article of Confederations
Historically, several of the first colonizers in the United States originated from Great Britain and initiated constructing the settlements, leading to being referred to as the original thirteen colonies throughout time. In 1775, there was an outbreak of the Revolutionary war due to the desire of the colonizers to be free of the British rule.
As per the articles, the Second Continental Congress appointed five men in 11th of June, 1776 for drafting a document for formally declaring the colonies’ freedom from the rule of Britain. This action resulted in the United States of America’s birth and was referred to as independence’s declaration.
The Continental Congress also inscribed the Articles of Confederation for unifying the independent thirteen colonies as well as for attaining a certain form of government. Being rectified in 1st of March, 1781, the Articles of Confederation was mended first by Virginia in 16th December, 1777 and last by Maryland in 2nd February, 1781 among the original thirteen states.
Pros of Articles of Confederation
Following are the benefits offered by the Articles of Confederation.
1. Exhilarated Trade
There was encouragement in the trade among the states within the Articles of Confederation. Because of it, all thirteen states united and shared assets correspondingly, leading to the encouragement in international trading.
2. Independent States
Regardless of the agreement and unity, each of the thirteen states functioned independently. Within the Articles of Confederation, states were only viewed as a single nation during international debates like war and politics. Besides they were able to function independently, providing people with opportunities of discovering various places and enhancing their life.
3. Reinforced Alliance
As per the statement of the first constitution’s supporters, the Articles of Confederation united the thirteen independent states and developed an alliance between them that, along with the encouragement of trade, united them for fighting against the external forces, which desired in disrupting this nation’s peace.
Within the Articles of Confederation, all the thirteen sovereign states were a union’s part, leading to freedom for the people to travel to any of those states without the requirement of any form of visa or identification.
Cons of Articles of Confederation
Following are the drawbacks of the Articles of Confederation.
1. Valued Slavery
Within the Articles of Confederation, taxation was compromised to be dependent on improvement and land. Since, the slaves were treated as some kind of property, within that structure of the government, slaves were valued as well as taxed, and being treated as merchandises.
2. Misuse of Freedom
Due to the building of the commerce regulation’s lack within the Articles of Confederation, all the states were extremely free to impose any law they desire. Because of that, each state issued their respective currency, leading to the degradation in their economic powers.
3. Absence of Power to Enforce Laws
Within this form of government, there was the absence of the branch of Executive. All the activities of an Executive were undertaken internationally, leading to the absence of any power for enforcing the law within the nation. Hence, people with the desire of uniting the country couldn’t make that a reality due to the sovereign states.
4. Flawed Document
As per the critics, the United States’ primary constitution couldn’t provide all that was offered by it due to it being weak from the beginning. Within this constitution, states were independent and hence, the national government couldn’t levy laws over them. Also, along with the president, this document didn’t include any army or government for the born United States of America.
Concluding, the Articles of Confederation did play a major role in the history of America and led to the birth of the United States of America, delivering facilities like freedom, trade, opportunity to globalize, etc., to the independent thirteen colonies and united them as a nation in international debates.
However, the cons of the Articles of Confederation highly outweighed its benefits, as it led to several problems due to people gaining excessive freedom. Slaved were viewed as nothing more than merchandise and there were no forces for enforcing rules and regulations.
Hence, knowing such drawbacks of this document, authorities gathered for replacing the article with the present form of governance with the Constitution and the Bills of Rights.