Skip to comments.Whatever Happened to the Articles of Confederation? Part II
Posted on 01/12/2017 1:41:25 AM PST by Jacquerie
Without a formal league until just a few months before the climactic battle of Yorktown in October 1781, the fledgling independent republics of the Revolutionary War somehow managed to frustrate the most powerful nation on earth. On March 1st, Maryland, under threat of invasion by General Cornwallis, joined twelve other states in confederation. As Maryland illustrated, the first purpose of the confederation was common defense from the English Army and Royal Navy.
The Articles of Confederation (AC) formalized the powers of a pre-existing congress of the states. With one vote each, Rhode Island had as much influence as Virginia. Congress decided peace/war, and foreign policy; it could build and keep a navy, borrow money, ask the states for men and money, and it performed some other duties of a general interest. Considering our experience with Parliament and George III, this was a very generous allotment of authority. However, its exercise was carefully guarded. To carry any measure required a majority of states, and anything of special importance required nine or all of the states.
Along with certain powers granted to congress, others were prohibited to the states. They could not enter treaties, or confederations or alliances, without the consent of congress. The Articles clearly marked the line between powers granted and retained. In comparison with historic leagues among independent republics, the AC framed a model confederacy.
Two important powers, whose absence and necessity were soon evident, were those over taxation and commerce. Combine these shortcomings with the lack of a chief executive, and it was soon clear to many that behind the façade of the AC was no government at all.
(Excerpt) Read more at articlevblog.com ...
Fascinating read, Jacquerie. Thanks.
History, education, current events BUMP!
However, despite the benefits conferred by the Constitution, the Federal government has morphed into a tyrannical central government dominated by an oligarchy. But for the election of Trump, we could have counted upon a new Clinton Administration inhibiting free speech through controlling the Internet and social media, plus reinstitution of the Fairness Act to shut down talk radio. Hate speech laws would have been used to inhibit politically incorrect speech, as is done in Canada, Britain, and Germany, and a reincarnated Warren Court would have supported these restrictions. Religious freedom would have been inhibited as well, as what was attempted in Houston, with the local authorities wanting to pre-screen sermons, would likely have been attempted on a national basis. We are very lucky, or more correctly, have received an undeserved benefit from Providence.
The Constitution has been a dead letter from the standpoint of limiting Federal authority since the days of the New Deal 80 years ago, when FDR and the Congress massively expanded Federal authority over commerce and industry. It has been a dead letter from the standpoint of war powers, as we have fought four to five wars (depending on whether you separate all Iraq and Afghanistan wars or not) without a declaration of war. We won none of these wars due to stupidity, treason, or indecisiveness.
The Constitution has not worked as an effective governing instrument for over 80 years, perhaps longer, though I see FDR as the real turning point. Perhaps we should look at bringing back the Articles of Confederation, or some looser foundational document.
As I see it, our first Constitution, The Articles, was all we needed, but we did need to provide for an Army and Navy.
This was the open door that led to an entirely new document that proved to be the way to enable big Gubmint, big Biz, big everything!
We traded simplicity and continuity for our present state of being overwhelmed! One crisis after another, w/o end.
Gary North, I believe’s the name of the writer whose book puts it all together.
The Articles, together w/the DOI, and perhaps the Bill of Rights was it! Simplicity and Continuity!
RED: Retired Extremely Deplorable
@ Planet WTF!
Keep Smiling, Folks!
I addressed your concerns here.
The reason I oppose a Convention of States or a Constitutional Convention is because such an assembly could well be hijacked by leftists to establish a unitary national state, which would then be dominated by liberal big cities. That being said, the Constitution has been ineffective in controlling the growth of government power. The last century, and the first few years of this century, show the failure of the checks and balances.
The United States is too large a nation, and for better or worse, too ethnically diverse, to support a representative republic. The Founders envisioned the future of America as a great nation, but one with a common culture, based on the British heritage of the colonies, and a common religion, Protestant Christianity, though with tolerance for Catholics, Jews, and Unitarians. This is no longer true.
Size is another issue. America now has over 300 million souls within its boundaries. The average Congressional district has over three quarters of a million people. If we were to limit the size of a district to 50,000 people. we would have a House of Representatives of 6,000 members, clearly an unwieldy body. As currently existing, the House of Representatives can no longer realistically represent the general electorate. The passage of the 17th Amendment eliminated the role of the Senate as representing the legislatures and therefore the interests of the constituent states. It now serves as a House of Representatives writ large, with the only benefit being allowing small population states the same number of votes as the big ones.
I don't know of any long term solution to the breaking and diminishing of Federal power within the current framework of the republic. It may be a good thing if the West Coast states (excluding Alaska) or the Northeast and Middle Atlantic states (excluding Pennsylvania) were to secede, although the United States could no longer be as great a world power with the loss of these states.
How then, as per the Declaration, are governments to go about securing unalienable rights?
Article 4 Free Inhabitant bunp
“The Constitution has been a dead letter from the standpoint of limiting Federal authority since the days of the New Deal 80 years ago,”
You’re a few years late. Any restraints on federal power were lost around 1865.
The Declaration was an announcement to North American colonials at large, and to interested governments like France and Holland, that the people of British North America were seceding and declaring their independence.
The Declaration didn’t secure any rights. It’s verbiage regarding the origin of rights is to delegitimize any claim that rights originate from Kings and to serve as a justification for rebellion and secession.
Unlike the Declaration,the Bill of Rights did secure rights. And without it the Constitution never would have been ratified. The Anti-Federalists insisted upon it.
And as it was the fears of the Anti-Federalists came to pass anyway. A warning there about what documents can do I suppose.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.