THE DBQ: THE ARTICLES OF
CONFEDERATION
THE DBQ: THE ARTICLES OF
CONFDERATION

“From 1781 to 1789 the Articles of
Confederation provided the United States
with an effective government.”
–
Using the documents and your knowledge of the
period, evaluate this statement.
–
**WHAT IS THE QUESTION ASKING? WHAT IS
THE KEY TO WRITING THIS DBQ?
THE DBQ: THE ARTICLES OF
CONFEDERATION

Essay Prompt: The prompt makes the
statement that the Articles provided an
effective government from 1781 to 1789. It
asks you to evaluate the statement.

KEY: What constitutes an effective
government? What is an ineffective
government? How do we define “effective”?
THE DBQ: THE ARTICLES OF
CONFEDERATION

How do we define effective?
–
–
–
For most people it means strong.
But if the government was having trouble getting
its own way during the 1780s, then it was not
effective.
IS THERE ANOTHER WAY TO LOOK AT
“EFFECTIVE?”
THE DBQ: THE ARTICLES OF
CONFEDERATION



This poses another question: Was the central
government able to provide the US with the
kind of government the people wanted?
If we answer yes, then the government under
the Articles was effective.
Did the Congress intentionally set up a weak
government under the Articles?
THE DBQ: THE ARTICLES OF
CONFEDERATION



Yes, they did! Why?
Having learned hard lessons of a strong
govt., under the British, the Congress
intentionally set up a weak one under the
Articles, in hopes that such a government
would be less threatening to their rights and
liberties.
So was it an effective government?
THE DBQ: THE ARTICLES OF
CONFEDERATION



Effective in this sense means “protective of
individual rights and liberties,” and we need
to see at least the possibility that this
definition may be compatible with (or even
require) a weak national government.
If effective means the ability to tax, then no
the govt., was ineffective.
Any other ways it can be seen as effective or
ineffective?
THE DBQ: THE ARTICLES OF
CONFEDERATION

NEXT STEP: WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT
THE 1780s?
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
War and revolution still going on.
A peace treaty needed to be negotiated.
Hostile foreign powers to be confronted.
Interstate land disputes had to be settled.
Trade and business had to be rejuvenated.
Native Americans had to be dealt with.
The Constitutional Convention
THE DBQ: THE ARTICLES OF
CONFEDERATION

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE
ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION?
THE DBQ: THE ARTICLES OF
CONFEDERATION






First written Const.
Ratified in 1777.
13 states retained
sovereignty.
“Firm League of Friendship.”
Poorly written.
Central govt. could not levy
taxes.







Central govt., could
negotiate treaties.
Unicameral legislature.
No executive.
9 of 13 votes needed to
pass legislation.
13 votes needed for any
changes.
Land Ordinances.
Shays’s Rebellion
THE DBQ: THE ARTICLES OF
CONFEDERATION

CAN WE WRITE A THESIS STATEMENT
FOR ALL THIS INFORMATION?
–
–
–
Remember you should write your thesis before
reading the documents.
THE THESIS IS ALL YOURS!
NOW WE CAN READ THE DOCUMENTS.
THE DBQ: THE ARTICLES OF
CONFEDERATION





DOCUMENT A:
Source: Rhode Island Assembly.
RI refuses to go along with a protective tariff.
Under the Articles the central govt., could not
levy taxes. Changing this required all 13
votes. Because RI refused the tariff did not
go through.
Is this an effective government? Ineffective?
THE DBQ: THE ARTICLES OF
CONFEDERATION





DOCUMENT B:
Source: Chart
The chart shows exports to GB between
1770 and 1792 (any significance to this
timeframe?).
A strong govt., would promote exports.
Does the chart show this?
THE DBQ: THE ARTICLES OF
CONFEDERATION




DOCUMENT B:
1784 exports declined from their pre-war
high and rose slightly between 1784 and
1789.
What the chart does not show is trade with
non-British countries and territories.
WHAT CAN WE CONCLUDE?
THE DBQ: THE ARTICLES OF
CONFEDERATION




DOCUMENT B:
Remember the states no longer were
confined by the rules of mercantilism.
So it is at least possible that foreign trade
improved between 1784 and 1789.
The first years under the new Constitution do
not exactly show a boom in foreign trade
(1787-1792).
THE DBQ: THE ARTICLES OF
CONFEDERATION




DOCUMENT C:
Source: Joseph Jones letter to GW (outside
info?)
Letter warns of the implications of the
national govt’s failure to pay its troops.
Effective government?
THE DBQ: THE ARTICLES OF
CONFEDERATION




DOCUMENT D:
Source: John Jay letter to US Minister in GB (outside
info? Is the date 1785 important?)
Document should remind you that GB had not
vacated its forts on the frontier as required by the
Treaty of Paris of 1783.
There was a real fear that GB was not willing to
accept the verdict of the Treaty as final and were
plotting a return, (DID THEY RETURN?)
THE DBQ: THE ARTICLES OF
CONFEDERATION




DOCUMENT D:
Jay deals with this issue as well as the issue
of GB’s exclusion of American trade from the
empire and with British demands that
American merchants pay their pre-war debts.
EFFECTIVE GOVERNMENT?
ANY CONNCECTIONS TO OTHER
DOCUMENTS?
THE DBQ: THE ARTICLES OF
CONFEDERATION





DOCUMENT E:
Source: Map of Northwest Ordinance of 1787
At first glance, the map shows a host of internal
disputes.
Outside info: These disputes were solved peacefully,
that a plan for territories to achieve statehood was
put into effect, and that slavery was
abolished/banned in the territories.
EFFECTIVE GOVERNMENT?
THE DBQ: THE ARTICLES OF
CONFEDERATION





DOCUMENT F:
Source: John Jay’s speech to Congress on
negotiations with Spain (Jay’s Treaty)
Shows Jay giving into foreign pressures and
proposing that Congress ratify the treaty and give up
navigation rights on the Mississippi for a generation.
First analysis: Difficult to defend govt., but Congress
rejected Jay’s advice and the treaty. GW was also
attacked.
EFFECTIVE GOVERNMENT?
THE DBQ: THE ARTICLES OF
CONFEDERATION





DOCUMENT G:
Source: John Jay Letter to GW (1786?)
Jay expresses fear that once chaos reigns,
even solid citizens will turn to a tyrant in their
search for order (radicalism of the Am. Rev?)
Were Jay’s fears unfounded?
EFFECTIVE GOVERNMENT?
THE DBQ: THE ARTICLES OF
CONFEDERATION






DOCUMENT H:
Source: Rawlin Lowndes speech.
What is significant about the date of the speech?
Not everyone was persuaded that a proposed
change was needed.
Lowndes was only one of many who continued to
speak on behalf of the Articles (the Anti-Federalists).
Only when the Federalists agreed to add a Bill of
Rights were they able to swing even a narrow
majority in important states.
THE DBQ: THE ARTICLES OF
CONFEDERATION

KEY POINT:
–
–
The narrowness of the ratification victory,
combined with a thoughtful consideration of the
documents, suggests that the questions of the
national government’s effectiveness must not be
treated as an open and shut case. Many still
favored the Articles.
Historians continue to wrestle with the question of
the effectiveness of the Articles of Confederation.
THE DBQ: THE ARTICLES OF
CONFEDERATION

THESIS:
–
Despite its inherent weaknesses, the Articles of
Confederation provided the new states with an effective
government conducive to the times and relative to the
experiences the new nation had under the British.
–
WHAT DOCUMENTS TO YOU USE TO SUPPORT THIS
THESIS?
WHAT DO I HAVE DO IN THIS ESSAY TO PROOF MY
THESIS?
–
THE DBQ: THE ARTICLES OF
CONFEDERATION

EFFECTIVE:
–
A, B, D, E, F, H

INEFFECTIVE:
–
C, D, G
Download

THE DBQ: THE ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION