The Articles of Confederation

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List and discuss the shortcomings and advantages of the new government created under the Articles of Confederation. What ideas and sentiments underlined the design of the Articles of Confederation? Give specific descriptions of the system of government created by the Articles. Why did the Founding Fathers decide to review and even replace the document? How different was the new Constitution from the Articles of Confederation? If you had been at the Convention, would you have approved the new Constitution or supported the initial Articles of Confederation? Why?

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One advantage of the government under the Articles of Confederation was that they provided more freedom than was enjoyed under Parliament's rule. They kept the new nation together during the American Revolution; however, after the common threat ended, the states started to look out for their own interests. No one state wanted to assume more debt than it thought it owed.

The main problem behind the Articles was that, while they provided for more rights for the states, they were essentially unworkable for a national government. States were free to do as they wished. There was no mechanism for paying the national debt. States claimed land going all the way to the Mississippi River. The new system also did not provide for an executive or a national army for fear of creating a despotism that the colonies had fought so hard against during the Revolution.

The Founders decided to replace the Articles with a Constitution due to the crisis of Shays Rebellion in which Massachusetts farmers who also...

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