the quartet orchestrating the second american revolution 1783 1789.pdf

Entering as article iii put it into a firm league of

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entering, as Article III put it, “into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defence, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare.” It was less a constitution than a diplomatic treaty among sovereign powers. 3 The key provision was Article II: “Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.” Those powers, jurisdictions, and rights were quite few, chiefly to resolve border disputes between states, establish standard weights and measures and a common currency (though the states were not prohibited from printing their own money), and create “a common treasury” from funds raised by taxes on the states to pay for the war. Whether the states were legally obliged to pay the tax levies was left ambiguous. Article VIII vested authority in the state legislatures to comply “within the time agreed upon by the United States in Congress assembled.” For three years the vast majority of states had failed to pay their share of taxes to support the Continental Army, leaving a legacy of confusion about where the power of the purse ultimately resided. In the absence of a clear resolution in the Articles, it
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effectively resided in the states. 4 In at least two other aspects, it was clear that the political framework created by the Articles was not designed to function as a national government. First, the proper model for a republican government had been established in the state constitutions, almost all of which followed the guidelines proposed by John Adams in his Thoughts on Government (1776). The central ingredients in the Adams political recipe were a bicameral legislature, an elected or appointed governor, and an independent judiciary, an early version of the separation-of-powers doctrine later embodied in the federal Constitution. The structure of the Articles—a single-house legislature and an appointed but powerless president—dispensed with all the political wisdom that had accumulated in the states about a properly balanced republican government, because, in truth, that is not what the Articles were intended to be. 5 Second, there was no way the Confederation Congress could claim to be a representative body. Article V put it succinctly: “In determining questions in the United States in Congress assembled, each State shall have one vote.” This meant, in effect, that Rhode Island, the smallest state, had the same political power as Virginia. The one-state-one-vote principle represented a continuation of the practice followed in the Continental Congress, which had come into existence in 1774, before the debates over state constitutions occurred and before the commitment to proportional representation in the state legislatures had become an accepted, indeed essential, constitutional feature. By rejecting proportional representation, the architects
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  • Fall '16
  • Chemistry, pH, American Revolution, Second Continental Congress, American Revolution, Continental Army

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