The Articles of Confederation – The Constitution Before the Constitution
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The Articles of Confederation – The Constitution Before the Constitution

The Articles of Confederation – The Constitution
Before the Constitution For four hot, humid July days, 56 delegates
of the Second Continental Congress gathered in Philadelphia with one purpose – to ratify
the Declaration of Independence. The document, originally drafted by Thomas
Jefferson with the help of Ben Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman, ad Robert Livingston,
declared that the thirteen American colonies were now independent and free of the tyranny
of the British Empire. On July 4th, with the final wording in place,
it was ready for the whole world to read; though, it would be about another month before
congress would actually sign it, contrary to popular belief. With independence now declared and the British
Empire booted as the governing body of the colonies, there was an immediate need for
a document that established an American government. While most people think that the Constitution
was the first such document, this is false. The Constitution would not be ratified and
established until 1788. America’s first attempt at a government
was based on a document called “The Articles of Confederation.” Even before any independence was declared
or any articles were written, leaders of the colonies knew they were going to need a government
in place immediately. Ben Franklin several times proposed documents
establishing “intercolonial collaboration,” including during the Albany Congress in 1754. Out of fear of a centralized government due
to their experience with the British Empire, colony leaders shot this proposal down. The suspicion of a centralized government
became a theme in the Articles of Confederation that eventually led to its downfall and it’s
replacement by the Constitution as the new nation’s governing document. On July 12, 1776, a mere eight days after
the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, a committee led by John Dickinson (former
President of both Delaware and Pennsylvania) submitted a draft of the Articles of Confederation. Despite the need for speed, the Continental
Congress took over a year to debate, rewrite, and fight over what should be in the document. Many in the Congress feared centralized government
and having too much influence in the hands of too few. The power of each individual state become
a hot button issue, plus how votes should be divided amongst the states. Many argued that states with larger populations
(or ones that had given the most money to the national treasury) should have more votes,
while others wished that each state be given one equal vote, no matter the size. After settling on these issues, the final
draft of Articles of Confederation was ready for ratification on November 15, 1777. It would not be completely ratified until
1781 (with Maryland finally signing off on it on February 22nd), but was used as the
de facto system of government beginning in late 1777. The Articles of Confederation asked each state
to “enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defense,
the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare,” but it was
different from the Constitution in a few significant ways. Under the AOC, the national government consisted
of only a one-house (unicameral) legislative branch. There were no executive (President) or judicial
(Supreme Court) branches. Delegates to Congress were appointed by state
legislatures, not voted upon by the public. Each state had only one vote, appeasing smaller
states who feared that bigger states would hold more power in the newly formed country. Most significantly, though, any power that
was not specifically granted in the Articles of Congress, was left to the individual states. It was no coincidence that slavery was not
mentioned at all in the AOC. The law of slavery was left at the discretion
of each individual state. The articles did allow for Congress to declare
war, deal in foreign policy, print/coin money, run the military (though the troops must come
from the states), and negotiate Native American affairs. To many citizens of the time, these were the
most important issues that they expected their government to deal with, but the lack of a
truly centralized national government began to take its toll. States regularly had conflicts with one another
over commerce, varying business interests, and matters of state-run militia.There was
no leadership, no one power source, to make determinations in these cases. Civil War amongst the states was a constant
underlying threat. In addition, Congress did not have the direct
power to tax – the states determined their own taxes – thus leaving the new government
broke and its currency nearly worthless. It all came to head in late 1786 with Shays’
Rebellion, led by American Revolutionary War veteran Daniel Shays. Shays and his followers revolted against the
Massachusetts’ state government because they believed that the lack of national control
and the inability to monitor state’s actions by the national government was making non-wealthy
citizens go broke. In May 1787, the Philadelphia Convention gathered
“for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation.” By 1790, with the help of James Madison, Alexander
Hamilton, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, and others of the original framers, every one
of the original 13 states had signed off and ratified the United States Constitution, replacing
the Articles of Confederation as the governing document in the United States. The framers of the Constitution had learned
lessons, both good and bad, from the AOC: the need for a centralized and empowered national
government, taxing as a source of income for the country, a checks and balances system,
and the ability to create a document that could be amendable and changed as time necessitated
it. For all it’s flaws, the Articles of Confederation
gave the framers of the Constitution a blueprint to get it right the next time.


  • Confused Rhino

    There were presidents, the first was John Hanson. George Washington said he was the first president of the USA. There is much discussion about this topic

  • Eliza Jane 34

    Why is Frosty Returns always shown as the sequel to Frosty the Snowman even thought it was written 20 years later by different people? Why not Frosty's Winter Wonderland?

  • Nik

    Nice video, like the channel…but c'mon this keying is terrible. How hard can it be to properly light one camera at one angle?
    Beard is a problem, i know, but there're workarounds better than cutting off whole cheek. Since you're using blue background in final videos – try Blue screen instead of a green, it will blend better and you won't need to cut edge so much. And for the love of cthulhu – get non reflective glasses (sides)

  • whuzzzup

    Found your channel some days ago.
    You are doing great stuff and deserve a lot more views.
    Keep it up and I'm sure they will come 🙂

  • John Cox

    Good to know that the constitution wasn't a "miracle" document that came out of nowhere, like it sometimes seems to be portrayed as, especially when people refer to our founding fathers in reverent tones, as if they were somehow all knowing. They made a lot of mistakes, disagreed on almost every topic, and their first shot at a national government wasn't great. But we picked up the pieces, moved on, and worked to make it better.

  • Katie Kat

    I love when you accidentally stumble onto an awesome channel. This channel is one of those awesome ones. I have been watching your videos non-stop for a couple days now. I can't get enough of them. However, is it possible for Simon to slow down a little. He speaks super fast without any breaks. Sometimes I don't think he even stops at the end of his sentences. I think maybe he only stop at the end of his paragraph…lol In addition to his super speed he has that accent going on. You know when you are listening to another language that you do not know and you can't figure out where the breaks between words are? That's kind of what's happening here and I've been speaking English for 47 years. I actually have to pay really close attention, concentrate, & sort of translate what is being said. It's taking a little work to watch these videos and I watch youtube so I don't have to pay attention. If you do decide to take my advice, you don't have to slow down dramatically just a little slower would be good. Plus I think I see you turning blue from lack of oxygen….I'm just kidding about that. I see you have a lot of subscribers but I'm wondering if maybe your subscriptions would increase faster if you did slow down a little bit. I could imagine that some people may be passing up on pursuing your channel because your videos do take a little work to understand and follow what is being said. Obviously Europeans probably have no problem following you because they are used British-English. I am American. I'm sure there are plenty of Americans that can follow you just fine but I am also sure there are plenty of Americans that cannot. I would also think people like Mexicans, Central Americans, & South Americans would have a lot of trouble since English is their second language and they are accustomed to American sounding English and not British/Australian sounding English. It's just a suggestion but I really hope you will consider this. Thank you so much for making such interesting videos. You are currently my 2nd favorite channel. You know what you have to do to become my number one favorite channel….lol

  • CherriesGalore

    Shay's Rebellion was as much a rebellion against the Federal government as it was against Massachusetts's government. In fact, one of the motivations was a fear of centralized government, even on the state level, and worries that the Constitution was institute an elected monarchy, which I find to be perfectly warranted.

  • American Patriot

    the articles were not enough government; but I think the constitution is too much government we should have a convention create a halfway governing document between the two keeping the bill of rights.

  • DarthKen

    Here's a question for you guys. Were there people with English accents fighting on the US side of the Revolutionary War? The assumption would be yes since they were still emigrating over. Follow up question. Had the US been "established" long enough for colonists to develop their own accents?

  • KohlenKnecht

    As a german i might misread the first words of the constitution as "WeiĂźe People" (White People)….just a sarkastic idea!

  • Chris Berrian

    The article of cofederation are the Constitution of the United States of America.
    This constitution we know know is a constitution that was for federal lands and the northwest territories after king george 111 lost it.
    the articles were never repaled are the law of the land.
    the united states is federal land. And the united states of america is soverin with free inhabitants.
    Check out Dr. Edwin Viera jr for proper constitutional knowledge.
    The schools are giving false information.

  • Ed Tolliver

    It is important to recognize that the Articles of Confederation was based on the Great Law of Peace of the Iroquois Confederation (Haudenosaunee –ho dee no saw nee). The date of the joining of the Five Nations is argued, but the Haudenosaunee place it at 1100 while others say it was formalized around 1450. In any case, it is also important to acknowledge that the Haudenosaunee are still governed by the Great Law. Apparently, they are better able to put the best interest of the Confederation above petty jealousies and greed.

    It is also worth noting that the male chiefs are appointed by the Clan Mothers and can be removed from office if they fail to live up to their responsibilities. The women's movements in Anglo society were based in many ways on the freedom and power of Haudenosaunee women.

  • Deepthawghtent

    Incorrect the Iroquoi confederation completed this contract for the quote "founding fathers" they had very little power under the articles of confederations it was only the 13 colonies during that time and the.. articles of confederation freed you from slavery set you the indentured servants free.. real talk..

  • K Kr

    The Articles of Confederation is what the Confederates cited as the legal basis for secession. It was the model for their constitution. It didn't work well for them, either. One might assume if the South had won it would have broken into pieces.

    Everyone who attended US schools should have been taught everything in your video.

  • Today I Found Out

    Now that you know about the Articles of Confederation check out this video and find out How a Donkey and an Elephant Came to Represent Democrats and Republicans:

  • mrdave2112

    You can't replace the Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union you can only amend it since it is perpetual. It was never vote on and agreed to amend it let  alone replace it.  History needs to be honest and accurate.

  • Yasha Mashiach

    so in essence the constitution is what ruined america cause it centralized the power in few hands well duh george was a george of the jungle and white folk are devils what else is new nice try thou shill whole world sees you freaks for what u r

  • Yohanan Rhinehart

    Not everything discussed in this video was fact. There are numerous errors it it. Let me know if you want to discuss it.

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