The Articles of Confederation

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Why were the Articles of Confederation a failure, and how did the Constitutional Convention address the problems under the Articles?

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The Articles of Confederation were the basis for America's first national government during the Revolutionary War (1775–1783). Its powers were limited to conducting diplomacy, printing money, managing disagreements between states, and fighting the war against England. After England's defeat in 1783, it quickly became obvious that the Articles would not suffice.

The national government under the Articles had too many weaknesses. First, there was no executive. Second, there was no judiciary. There was only a unicameral legislature. All the states had a single vote in the legislature, and nine of the thirteen states had to agree for a measure to pass. Finally, the government lacked the power to regulate the nation's finances.

There was also a rebellion in Massachusetts. Daniel Shays led a revolt by indebted farmers. This event and the structural weaknesses of the country's national government led to the Constitutional Convention of 1787; the Founding Fathers met in Philadelphia in 1787....

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