The American Revolution: Building A Nation To Benefit Rich, White Males

3173 words - 13 pages


When the American Revolutionary War ended, it did not mark the end of the American Revolution as a whole. Rather it marked the first step in a long and difficult process of forming a nation with a strong central government. Even before the Revolutionary War began, leaders of the thirteen American colonies recognized the importance and necessity of some form of centralized government. The Second Continental Congress, held in 1775 , was the first serious attempt to bring organization and unity to the thirteen individual and self- interested American colonies. At the Second Continental Congress, a committee was formed to produce the framework of a governmental system. The result, the Articles of Confederation, were weak and ineffective because they simply reinforced the idea of state soverngty and did not supply the Congress with the necessary power to form and run a strong central government. The Articles led this country down a path towards political and economic chaos, and drove Federalist leaders to make drastic changes in the powers supplied to the central government.
John Dickinson, a famous and powerful lawyer, was appointed head of the committee formed at the Second Continental Congress to write the Articles of Confederation. John Dickinson’s original version of the Articles was one that supplied a great deal of power to the central government and provided each state equal representation in Congress. Dickinson’s original version also stated that state taxes would be paid to the Congress based on the states total population, including black slaves. This version greatly outraged many states who refused to ratify the Articles as they were written. Larger states believed that their larger population entitled them to a greater representation in Congress. Southern slave states were outraged that they would be forced to pay taxes based on the black slaves that populated their states. Finally, in November of 1777, Congress accepted a very different version of the Articles of Confederation than Dickinson had originally intended upon. The Articles that were finally agreed upon overly protected the independence of states and did not supply Congress with the necessary power to run a unified country. In its existence under the Articles of Confederation, the United States were anything but “united.” Each state basically acted as an independent country with it’s own government and own set of rules. The Articles were faulty and unclearly thought out in many ways, which left the United States unorganized and on the verge of chaos for several years to come.
The most blatant and detrimental of the Articles’ flaws was that they did not grant the Congress the ability to levy taxes. The only way for Congress to raise money was to ask the individual states for donations, and this left Congress extremely low on funds. During the years of the Revolutionary War the United States Congress incurred a very large war debt. The Congress owed $12 million to foreign...

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