The Articles of confederation The Articles of Confederation was the first constitution of the United States. It established the Union and united the colonies. The Second Continental Congress appointed a committee in 1776 to draft a constitution and John Dickinson took the lead as the main author. The draft was sent to the states for ratification in November 1777. It was ratified in March 1781, establishing independent, sovereign states and placed emphasis on state rights and limited government. The articles lack of a strong government was opposed by federalist figures such as Alexander Hamilton and George Washington. They believed in a strong, centralized federal government that would supersede state rights. The Articles created a central government that consisted of just one body, a unicameral congress. Each State was given one vote, with at least nine votes out of thirteen required. A Committee of States, with one representatives from each state, that made decisions when Congress was not in session. Congress had the power to wage war, make treaties, send diplomatic representatives, and borrow money. It could not regulate commerce or collect taxes, and lacked an executive power to enforce its own laws.external image articlespix.jpg
The Thirteen Articles of the Articles of Confederation contained the following:
Article I entitled the Confederation as "The United States of America."
Articles II maintained that each state would maintain its sovereignty, freedom, independence, as well as every power, jurisdiction, and right not expressly delegated to the Confederation.
Article III stated that every state would enter a powerful friendship, an alliance, for the purpose of common defense, securing liberties, mutual and general welfare, and assisting each other on attacks made upon them on the basis of religion, trade, sovereignty, or any pretense whatsoever
Article IV allowed citizen movement among states and gave them the same rights, regardless of their state of origin. It also stated that if a person was to be found guilty of any crime and flee from a state, he'd be delivered back to the state from which he fled and brought to trial there, regardless of where in the United States he was found.
Article V gave one vote in Congress to each state and stated that members were to be appointed by state legislatures.
Article VI restricted states from conducting foreign relations and declaring war without the approval of Congress.
Article VII declared that when any state had to raise forces for common defense, all officers of a ranking of Colonel or below would be appointed by the state.
Article VIII stated that all charges of war and all other expenses used for general welfare or defense would by paid by funds raised by state legislatures, and paid in proportion to the property values of each individual state.
Article IX defined the powers of the central government - to set weight and measures, to declare war, and to use Congress as the final court for disputes between states.
Article X defined a Committee of States, specifically comprising of any nine states in decision-making, to be a government in the absence of Congress.
Article XI required the approval of nine states for the admission of any new state into the confederacy.
Article XII stated that the Confederation would accept all war debts acquired by Congress prior to the Articles
Article XIII declared that the articles were to be perpetually followed by all states, and that any alteration of the articles would require approval of Congress with the ratification of all state legislatures.

Under the Articles of Confederation, Congress was responsible for winning the war by enacting the Treaty of Paris. It also enacted the Land Ordinance of 1785, which established a policy for surveying and selling western lands. The policy provided for setting aside one section of land in each township for public education. It also created a system of selling lands in large squares, to create a grid system for the west. The greatest accomplishment was perhaps the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. For the large territory between the Great Lakes and the Ohio River (The Old Northwest), Congress enacted a law that set the rules for creating new states and granted limited self-government to the developing territory as well as prohibit slavery in the region.

Issues With Articles and Shay's rebellionProblems with the Articles
Shay's Rebellion exemplified the many problems with the Articles of Confederation
Shay's Rebellion exemplified the many problems with the Articles of Confederation
The central government was intended to be weak, but the government proved to be too weak. It created many financial problems including the fact that many war debts could not be paid and the states and congress printed worthless money. The underlying issue was that congress could not tax and could only request that the states donate money for national needs. Also, it created many foreign issues including: European nations had little respect for a new nation that couldn't pay its debts nor deal with a crisis; and Spain and Britain would take advantage of US weakness by expanding in the west. Domestic issues were outlined with Shay's Rebellion because it brought the issues with articles to the forefront and created a push for change.
Shay's RebellionIn the summer of 1786, Captain Daniel Shays, a Massachusetts farmer and Revolutionary War veteran, was angered by high state taxes, imprisonment for debt, and the lack of paper money. He banded with rebel farmers and war veterans to lead an uprising. They stopped the collection of taxes and forced the closing of debtors' courts. After months of raiding Massachusetts, they attempted to seize weapons from the Springfield armory. The Massachusetts state militia broke the rebellion and restored order, but the damage had been done. The rebellion proved to be pivotal in forcing a constitutional convention because the nation had become seriously alarmed and aware of the weaknesses of the articles and a weak central government.

American History: Alan Brinkley
United States History
The Articles of Confederation