The Articles of Confederation

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What political concerns were reflected in the Articles of Confederation?

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Our first plan of government was called the Articles of Confederation. It was very clear that many people were concerned about having a government that would have too much power. The Articles of Confederation was created to try to prevent this from happening.

The Articles of Confederation restricted the government from doing many things. For example, the Congress didn’t have the power to levy taxes. It also couldn’t require people to join the military. Congress was also not able to control trade.

Another example of this fear was that the executive branch consisted of a three-person committee to carry out the laws. The people were very afraid that one person would have too much power.

It also was fairly difficult to pass laws or to change the Articles of Confederation. Nine states were needed to vote to pass a law. All thirteen states had to agree to change a law.

Eventually, people realized these limitations were hurting the country. The government had financial problems and struggled to deal with other countries that were pushing us around. Eventually, a meeting was held to write a new plan of government that would create a stronger federal government.

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The major political concern reflected in this document, the first constitution of the US, was concern about a national government that would be too strong and would take rights away from the people of the states.  The colonists were afraid of this because this is what they had had while colonies.  They had had a very strong central government in London that was willing to (as they saw it) tread on their rights.  They were afraid that the government of the new United States might do the same.  For this reason, they made the national government very weak under the Articles of Confederation.

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