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The Articles of Confederation were a reflection of some of the concerns that led us to the Revolutionary War. We entered the Revolutionary War for many reasons. One of these was because we thought the British government and its officials had too much power. We were determined when we created our new plan of government to limit its power.
The Articles of Confederation created a weak federal government. There were many things the government couldn’t do under the plan created by the Articles of Confederation. For example, the federal government couldn’t tax the people. It couldn’t require people to join the military. It also couldn’t control trade. The federal government was led by a weak executive branch consisting of a three-person committee. The people were so afraid of having one person have too much power, similar to that of the King.
Unfortunately, restricting the power of the federal government created many problems. The government experienced financial problems because it could raise money through taxes. It had difficulty dealing with aggressive actions of other countries because it couldn’t require people to join the military. It also had a hard time keeping order within our country.
As a result of these weaknesses, the people decided a new plan of government was needed. That plan led to the development of the Constitution, our current plan of government.
The major issue that caused the American Revolution was the problem of the colonist being governed by another set of people who were too far removed from the colonists and who therefore did not really care all that much about them. It was an issue of a strong central government that could abuse the rights of the people.
The Articles of Confederation were a reaction to this. They set up a central government, but made it as weak as they possibly could have. They gave it essentially no power to force the states to do anything. By doing this, they were reflecting their previous experience -- they were trying to ensure that the central government (relatively distant from the people in the states) would not be able to abuse the people the way (they felt) the far-off British government had abused the colonies.
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