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Constitution Daily

10 Reasons Why America’s First Constitution Failed

It was on this day in 1777 that the Articles of Confederation, the first American constitution, was sent to the 13 states for consideration. It didn’t last a decade, for some obvious reasons.

On November 17, 1777, Congress submitted the Articles to the states for immediate consideration. Two days earlier, the Second Continental Congress approved the document, after a year of debates. The British capture of Philadelphia also forced the issue.

The Articles formed a war-time confederation of states, with an extremely limited central government. The document made official some of the procedures used by the Congress to conduct business, but many of the delegates realized the Articles had limitations.

Here is a quick list of the problems that occurred, and how these issues led to our current Constitution.

1. The states didn’t act immediately. It took until February 1779 for 12 states to approve the document. Maryland held out until March 1781, after it settled a land argument with Virginia.

2. The central government was designed to be very, very weak. The Articles established “the United States of America” as a perpetual union formed to defend the states as a group, but it provided few central powers beyond that. But it didn’t have an executive official or judicial branch.

3. The Articles Congress only had one chamber and each state had one vote. This reinforced the power of the states to operate independently from the central government, even when that wasn’t in the nation’s best interests.

4. Congress needed 9 of 13 states to pass any laws. Requiring this high supermajority made it very difficult to pass any legislation that would affect all 13 states.

5. The document was practically impossible to amend. The Articles required unanimous consent to any amendment, so all 13 states would need to agree on a change. Given the rivalries between the states, that rule made the Articles impossible to adapt after the war ended with Britain in 1783.

6. The central government couldn’t collect taxes to fund its operations. The Confederation relied on the voluntary efforts of the states to send tax money to the central government. Lacking funds, the central government couldn’t maintain an effective military or back its own paper currency.

7. States were able to conduct their own foreign policies. Technically, that role fell to the central government, but the Confederation government didn’t have the physical ability to enforce that power, since it lacked domestic and international powers and standing.

8. States had their own money systems. There wasn’t a common currency in the Confederation era. The central government and the states each had separate money, which made trade between the states, and other countries, extremely difficult.

9. The Confederation government couldn’t help settle Revolutionary War-era debts. The central government and the states owed huge debts to European countries and investors. Without the power to tax, and with no power to make trade between the states and other countries viable, the United States was in an economic mess by 1787.

10. Shays’ rebellion – the final straw. A tax protest by western Massachusetts farmers in 1786 and 1787 showed the central government couldn’t put down an internal rebellion. It had to rely on a state militia sponsored by private Boston business people. With no money, the central government couldn’t act to protect the “perpetual union.”

These events alarmed Founders like George Washington, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton to the point where delegates from five states met at Annapolis, Maryland in September 1786 to discuss changing the Articles of Confederation.

The group included Madison, Hamilton and John Dickinson, and it recommended that a meeting of all 13 states be held the following May in Philadelphia. The Confederation Congress agreed and the Constitutional Convention of 1787 effectively ended the era of the Articles of Confederation.

2 Comments
  • Walter Jones says:

    An overly powerful central government is just as dangerous as no central power at all. It’s a fine line.

  • SwiftJustice says:

    The Articles of Confederation were never rescinded or Nullified – where – show me the Documents stating such. State Militia’s – the PEOPLE – are to Enforce the Constitutions, which there are 3, which still stand. None have ever been Nullified. A couple have been well hidden by the usurpers, and the Contract of them broken, as well. The Govt. you see in D.C. is the British Territorial Govt., a Democracy, which is the Subcontractor/Employee of our Republic, which only very recently Re-Constructed. One of those Constitutions applies to THEM, to control THEM, not to the People. It is a Contract with them, affording them 19 Enumerated Powers, and nothing beyond. They are partners with the Papal Municipal Govt., which another Constitution/Contract (very similar) was written for, that OWNS the British Crown. They created the Civil War and assumed our Identity by FRAUD afterwards, because as now, they were given the area of Washington D.C. to operate from. Their authority is confined within that area, but as their “citizen” it extends to YOU. People assumed they are our Republic, but they are not. They are a “Democracy”, as they so often tout – a CORPORATION – which We the People stand above, since we are on the Land Jurisdiction. They allowed people to believe that they are our Republic – which is the Constitution that stands above the others – because they controlled the Media even then, and all the banks and politicians and Courts – everything – USURPERS. You have so much to learn that it is a very sad situation. You repeat the lies THEY propagated to destroy our Republic. This is what they are masters at. Their origins are with the “Name Stealers” of old, which you also are not aware of.
    I do not have the time to teach you, and it would likely never go anywhere, as you are programmed to believe the narrative they set forth over 150 years ago, and have worked very hard to reinforce. We are the united STATES, not the “central” British/Papal FRAUD that resides in Washington D.C., that you have been programmed to believe is your Govt., which you cherish, which has taken us straight to hell, robbed and murdered us for 160 years. They have assumed OUR identity and appear to be us, since they BOTH use a similar name as ours – the United States and UNITED STATES – British Territorial and Papal Municipal Govts.. We the People are “The United States of America” – nothing else. Talk about DUPES. We were all dupes at one time, but some just cannot grasp reality, no matter what – reinforcing their own slavery and the slavery of others. Just remember, when they come to take you as well as your guns, you only have those “PRIVILEGES” that your precious 14th Amendment gives you, because you are merely one of their “citizens”, with a small “c”. You possess no Constitutional Guarantees, but only those “privileges” given in a Corporate BYLAW, from a CORPORATION that was bankrupt in 1907, that called itself “The United States of America Incorporated” – lol. Sleight of hand to say the least. You have been allowed to believe that you have Constitutional Guarantees, by a snake under a rock, who is about to strike. You possess NONE whatsoever. You know NOTHING about Land, Air and Water – LAW – the Jurisdictions which govern the world. You are their “citizen”, under their Sea Jurisdiction, and you do not even know that the Legal definition of the word citizen, only means “Municipal servant”. I am one of the People, an American State National – a Living man – on LAND JURISDCTION, having all Constitutional Guarantees and GOD-GIVEN UNALIENABLE RIGHTS. You are a citizen, a “Vessel” and Corporation, a DEAD ENTITY by Legal definition, and you don’t even know it. You are Insured and Traded on the Stock Market through your Cestui Que Vie Trust that you do not know exists – and were never meant to. Yet you got all the answers, as if you truly know what is going on, or what has – merely repeating the program you were given. A carefully crafted satanic SORCERY. You don’t have a clue. That is why we are screwed, due to clueless embeciles – who drank the koolaid and think it is mothers milk. A true embecile remains such.
    They repeat their PROGRAM in as much parade as possible, unaware they are the slaves leading others to the same. All by design. A well established, finely tuned satanic design.
    “And I shall turn them over to strong delusion, to believe a lie, because they loved not the truth…”
    Sometimes the truth has to hurt. I hope it burns the hell out of you. If you are going to say this is “Truth” press, you better be figuring out what the truth is, first.

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