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Unformatted text preview: if Congress allowed it. There was no national currency or system of
- Some historians (John Fisk) call the period from 1781
to 1788 the “Critical Period” b/c the AOC wasn’t strong
enough and the country consequently almost failed.
Others disagree (Charles Beard) and claim that it was a
time of recovery and progress and that only the elite
were hurt, which led to the creation of the Constitution to
protect their interests.
- Regardless of the side one takes it’s pretty clear they
had some major issues under the AOC… 52 *Problems under the Articles of Confederation*
- Finance was the biggest problem faced by both the
state and nat’l gov’ts. First they just tried printing
currency, which worked at first b/c there was high
demand for supplies and goods during the war. But when
the army suffered losses in late 1776 and Americans lost
faith in the gov’t inflation began. Although states made
efforts to stop inflation, it was pretty much a lost cause
and by 1780 American $ was worthless. Also on the
economic side, since the gov’t couldn’t implement
uniform commercial policies there was economic warfare
between the states, which was the last thing merchants
- The weakness of the nat’l gov’t also affected foreign
trade, as the AOC denied Congress the power to
establish a nat’l commercial policy. Right after the war
Britain, France and Spain restricted American trade
w/their colonies, but Congress could do nothing but
watch as cheap British goods flood US markets (causing
a severe drop in domestic prices, which hurt debtors,
- In foreign affairs, Congress was unable to deal w/the
Spanish presence on the nation’s Southern and Western
borders b/c Congress, which opened negotiations in
1785, was unable to make progress and had to end the
talks altogether when Congress split on what they would
exchange for the opening of the Mississippi River (which
Spain closed in 1784).
- Another big problem related to the fact that under the
AOC Congress couldn’t enforce treaties. Conseque...
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- Fall '10