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Essay: Weakness of the Articles of Confederation

The weaknesses of the Article of Confederation included the fact that every state was in a position to follow whatever laws it desired, as the government was not strong enough to force it to enforce any laws. Moreover, the government could not tax its citizens and had to borrow money from the state. The country also lacked an army or any form of protective institution. Finally, Congress did not really have a strong leadership. The major problem with the Constitution is that the tax burden it placed on its citizens was sometimes too much for the people to bear.

Several specific instances demonstrated the weakness of the Articles of Confederation. One such instance was what is now called, ‘Shays’ Rebellion’. Farmers in the state of Massachusetts were tired of the heavy tax burden that was placed on them by their state government. These included the fact that the land tax was too high. This made many of them lose their land due to their inability to pay the taxes. This was worsened by the fact that they did not have the money to pay the legal fees that were expected of them and the economic depression experienced made the situation even worse. Between the years of 1786-1787 then, the farmers, led by Daniel Shays staged protests and even closed the courts in the state so they could not foreclose on their land (Heineman, Peterson & Rasmussen, 1995).

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