In 1781, the Continental Congress ratified a weaker version of the Articles of Confederation. The ratification put all of the thirteen states under one central government. The Articles reserved to each state “it’s sovereignty, freedom, and independence” and established a government in which Americans were citizens of their own states first and then of the United States second. By the creation of this central government, it essentially possessed vast powers that were inferior to the states and created a weak government that was ineffective and inefficient.
As it is stated in Document A, the Rhode Island Asserably rejected Congress' proposal to impose a levy on imported gooRAB. There was no authority to regulate trade, which is apparent that the Articles of Confederation had created problems. One, of which these reasons are, is that it allowed every state one vote no matter how big or small it was. For example, Rhode Island being the smallest state had the same amount of votes as that of New York (being one of the largest states). Also, it stated that every state must ALL agree to pass a law or tax, making it impossible for anything to be passed if one state had any complain over them and the other states all agreed on it.
It is evident in Document B that after the Articles of Confederation had been passed, from 1784 and beyond; the gross income from exports to Great Britain had plummeted while the population of the United States continued to rise. By the late 1780’s, the states had fallen behind nearly 80 percent in providing the funRAB that Congress requested to operate the government and honor the national debt. The statistical chart in Document B shows that under the Articles of Confederation it had not profited the states because of the insufficiency of the government’s control. In addition, the inability of the central government to tax gooRAB and the lack of economic support by the states made it extremely difficult for the central government to fund it’s agencies and repay the national debt. Another example of the Articles of Confederation incapacity to increase its income is in Joseph Jones’ letter to George Washington (Document C). Joseph Jones stated that due to the mixed body of the Congress, and the ceaseless act of governing the states, that Congress was unable to obtain the financial means to repay the army within a reasonable amount of time. This basically hinted that that the states were unwilling to pay the army.
In Document D, John Jay instructed the United States Minister to tell Great Britain to move out of the western territories, also known as the land beyond the Ohio River Valley. By telling the United States Minister to get Great Britain to move out, shows that the Treaty of Paris in 1783 was ineffective and that The United States had troubles getting Britain to move out.
The inability of the government (Document G) led to a depression that began in 1784 and hit hard in Massachusetts after it had lost its best market in the British West Indies. To make things worse, state legislature voted to pay off its Revolutionary debt in three years, causing a huge tax hike. In 1786 a farmer and former Revolutionary War officer named Daniel Shays led some two thousand men in an attempt to shut down the courts. Shays’ and his followers occupied the courthouse, so that the courts could not go through foreclosing. The farmers stayed at the courthouse for 8 months and the legislature gave up and cut taxes also giving a pardon to their leader. By the surrender of the legislature and the farmers holding firm ground in the courthouse shows that the government was weak and would give up if there were action taken.
The states had approved the Articles of Confederation, which would form a central government and possess vast powers, but in fact it did not contain such powers of that of the states. With problems between the differential powers of the central government and the states, it became apparent that the Articles of the Confederation was not doing what it was intended to do, this causing an inefficient and ineffective government.