The Articles of Confederation

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What was one success of the Articles of Confederation? 

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One should never forget that the Revolutionary War was fought and won under the Articles of Confederation. The American colonists didn't need a strong, centralized government to help them win; they were able to rely on a passionate desire for liberty and a belief in the benefits of a republican system of government. The Articles of Confederation were an expression of both these factors. They established a permanent union of the states and gave it a name: The United States of America. Although this political union was a somewhat loose structure and proved to be wholly unsuited to the demands of peacetime, it nonetheless showed itself to be remarkably adaptable at handling the needs of a new nation in wartime.

The Articles of Confederation tended to be overshadowed by their far more extensive failures, but they did have some successes in peacetime. On the diplomatic front there was the negotiation of an alliance with the French; and of course the concluding of the Treaty of Paris in 1783 that ended the Revolutionary War. Domestically, the Northwest Ordinances were also of great importance, in that they allowed the United States to expand and to incorporate new territories into the union.

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The Articles of Confederation was our first plan of government after the Revolutionary War. One success this plan of government had was in how it dealt with the organization and the sale of western lands.

The Land Ordinance of 1785 was an excellent law that allowed for an orderly process to deal with lands in the West. The western lands were divided into townships that were six miles wide and six miles long. Each township was divided into 36 squares. The land was sold for $1.00 an acre. Most of the sections in a township were available for sale.

This law created a structured process for organizing the lands in the West. It also allowed the government to make money from the sale of these lands. Since the government couldn’t levy taxes, the sale of land was one way for the government to receive income.

The Land Ordinance of 1785 was one success of the government created by the Articles of Confederation.

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