Sample Papers: The Articles of Confederation

The Success of the Articles of Confederation - WriteWork

Section 2. That so much of the first section of the seventh article of the constitution of this State as requires members of the Legislature and all officers, executive and judicial, to take an oath or affirmation to support the Constitution of the United States be, and the same is hereby, abrogated and annulled.

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, correspondence selections, 1780-1787. The Articles were "neither fit for war nor peace," wrote Alexander Hamilton, for they hobbled the fragile new nation that was struggling to defeat Britain despite its flimsy internal cohesion. What was wrong? What could fix it? Presented here are the thoughts of eight revered Patriots—George Washington, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Robert Morris, Henry Lee, and Henry Knox—from their correspondence in the last years of the war to the eve of the Constitutional Convention. How were their observations and recommendations reflected in the 1787 Constitution that replaced the unmourned Articles of Confederation? How would Anti-Federalists have answered the concerns of these eight men, all Federalists who supported the new Constitution? (8 pp.)


October 2014 DBQ Articles of ..

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James Madison, memorandum, 1787. Finally in 1786 the states agreed to meet as a whole and correct the "defects in the present Confederation." It was time to start over—and a road map was provided by James Madison, a member of the Virginia legislature, a former delegate to the Continental Congress, and a political theorist . As historian Jack Rakove aptly states, thirty-six-year-old Madison "was not so much a member of the generation that made the Revolution as he was of the generation that the Revolution made." On the eve of the Constitutional Convention, Madison composed a memorandum for George Washington, head of the Virginia delegation, listing twelve principal "vices" of the Articles. The first eight itemized the generally accepted weaknesses of the national government (i.e., Congress), and the last four specified defects of the states' laws—their , , , and . "The drafting of this memorandum," writes Rakove, "was essential to Madison's self-assigned task of formulating a working agenda that would allow the coming convention to hit the ground running." And that it did. Madison's "working agenda" spawned the Virginia Plan of Government that, with its emphasis on a strong national government in a federal system of checks and balances, provided the foundation of the U.S. Constitution. A challenging document it is, but one valued by Constitutional scholars and worth study. As Rakove stresses, "Vices" is a "truly remarkable as well as historic document. For one thing, it marks one of those rare moments in the history of political thought where one can actually glimpse a creative thinker at work, not by reading the final published version of his ideas, but by catching him at an earlier point, exploring a problem in the privacy of his study." (7 pp.)