The Articles of The Confederation: Part 5

Ratification & Repeal

Once drafted, the Articles of Confederation were sent, as a pamphlet, along with a letter from the President of the Continental Congress: Henry Laurens to the 13 states.  They were all asked to look it over and be prepared to vote on it by March 10, 1778.  Most of the states had requests for alterations so the date got pushed back to July.  States started to send in their considerations for amendments to the Articles but in the end none of them were used.   Continue reading

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The Articles of Confederation: Part 4

The Last Articles

Article 9

It gives Congress the following powers.

  • exclusive right to determine War/Peace (exceptions for Article 6)
  • Foreign Affairs such as ambassadors, treaties, etc.
  • Establishing courts to prosecute cases of piracy
  • Giving out senior ranks during wartime
  • The power to answer any disputes between states​

It also creates a system for how Congress will work.  They must meet often enough that no break between gathering is more than 6 months.  They also must record in a journal all the votes cast unless it’s a top-secret operation that requires that it not be public knowledge yet.  The idea was that Congress would be very open about what it did while in session.  It would send out monthly reports, including the vote rolls.  They also must put forth the journal should any delegate or state request it.

Congress was given very limited powers.  Most of the powers went to the states.  It reiterates this point by stating that no decision of congress on several matters (including war, debt and national security) shall be in effect unless 9 states (2/3) agree to it.    At this point in time the colonists who were forming their own country were afraid that a stronger government would abuse their powers, such as they saw Britain having done.

Later they would find that having too weak a central government caused problems as well.  One of the things the Constitution set out to do was correct the imbalance and make a stronger Federal government that wouldn’t be too strong to abuse its powers.

Article 10

This article allows for the states to take the powers of Congress into their own hands should congress be in recess when need arose.  It still required 9 states to agree to it, and if congress was in session, it would of course revert to Congress to have those powers.  I’m not entirely sure how well this article would work out in practice.  I tried researching this article to see if had ever been invoked but at the time of this posting, I haven’t found anything yet.

Article 11

I think this is my favorite part of the Articles of Confederation.  Article 11 is a side note to Canada letting them know they can come join the US if they get tired of Great Britain’s rule.  It basically says that they can come and join us and we’d be okay with that, but after them, everyone has got to be agreed on by at least 9 states (effective 2/3rd majority).

Considering this is not in the Constitution, I guess in ten years they gave up on the idea of the State of Canada.

According to the National Constitution Center, the US actually attempted to get Canada ceded over to them by the British in the Treaty of Paris.  As you can tell by the fact Canada is not part of the United States, the British did not agree. America tried to take over Canada twice – in the American Revolution (failed) and in the war of 1812 (Failed – and led to the White House being burned).  There was a poll done relatively recently and it should come as no surprise that not a large group of people feel that America and Canada should be one.  On either side of the border.

Article 12

This is an article that makes its way into the Constitution.  The US had lots of debts in its early years.  While at war, they needed supplies, had to have a way to pay the soldiers who fought for independence and otherwise fund their government.  This article pronounces that these debts will be recognized by the United States and the United States will pay them.

The Constitution notes that they will continue to recognize/pay these debts. It was important for the young nation to recognize what it owed to keep the allies it had made as well as keep the trust with any soldiers they may need to enlist in the future.  Failure to accept the debt would make trusting them a bit harder.

Article 13

This is the article that gives the document its power.  The declares that all the states shall abide by what had been decided in this congress of their representatives.  It does not allow for much change, which the Constitution does.  The only way to alter the document is for Congress to agree to it and for every state to agree to it.  The Constitution made a method for Amendments where Congress proposes/passes them, and a 2/3rd majority of the States can ratify them.  So in that it is more flexible to changing needs of the Nation.

Articles of Confederation – University of Minnesota Human Rights Library

Articles of Confederation – Revolutionary War.Net

When Canada was invited to join the United States – Constitution Center Blog

 

This Day In History

When looking at my daily email about events in history on this day, I found out today in 1776, The Second Continential Congress voted to adopt the resolution of Independence from Great Britian.

The resolution was presented by Richard Henry Lee on June 7th, but due to some lingering doubts from some of the colonies, they decided to wait to vote on July 2nd.  In the meantime they set a group off the write up a declaration.  This group included John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, and of course Thomas Jefferson.  In the end Jefferson was selected to be the primary author (which is why he often gets credit but we don’t often hear about Sherman or Livingston).  They managed to present the declaration to Congress on June 28 for review.  Not bad, writing a document that will literally change the world in only three weeks.

Since I think most Americans (and probably alot of non-americans) can remember something about Adams Franklin and Jefferson (and not just that two are on our money) I googled the other two.

Roger Sherman is the only man to sign all the starter papers for the US  (The Continnental Association (which I just learned about today), The Declaration of Independence, The Articles of Confederation, and the Consitution.  He was greatly involved in the reorganization of the Connneticicut government and worked on developing guidelines for ambassadors, particularly those to Canada.  And according to Wikipedia, his Great-great grandson helped create the CIA.

Robert Livingston was the first Secratary of State (then called Secretary of Foriegn Affairs), and later as Ambassador to France.  It was then that he helped negociate the Louisana purchase, so a third of the country can thank him for being American and not French.  He also developed the first steamboat. He got the honor of swearing George Washington in as President.

On July 1st, Congress, like congress today, choose to debate the issue.  Unlike congress now, they unanimously voted for it, with only New York abstaining.  John Adams, according to History.com, thought that this would be the day we would celebrate.  In the end however, we celebrate the day they actually presented the Declaration to the public, July 4th.


Another key document was also signed today.  In 1964, Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law The Civil Rights Act.  It was something that John F. Kennedy had fought for and that Lyndon Johnson picked up after Kennedy was killed in 1963.  Still, I’m not entirely sure how someone uses 75 pens to sign ‘Lyndon B. Johnson’.  Even if he spelled out his middle name and the name of the country.

The Civil Rights Act prohibited discrimination against race in employment, education, and in public places such as buses, schools, parks, and pools.