Concise History of The United States
Part 6

While the Treaty of Paris ending the war between England and the 13 colonies, now known as the United States, this didn’t put an end to the fighting inside the new nation.

“America” should probably be termed the “Somewhat” United States as organized under the Articles of Confederation drafted in 1877 with the Continental Congress in charge.

Initially Maryland refused to ratify the document until the new nation could settle the dispute over the “Northwestern” territories that made up the region South of the “Great Lakes” that we now know as Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Minnesota.

The nearby states of New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Virginia laid some claims to these new lands that became a part of “America” as a result of the 1783 Paris Treaty that ended the Revolutionary war. Maryland, on the far Northeastern portion of the new nation felt that this amount of expanded land would eventually make these other states more powerful and rich, so it held out on ratification until the Continental Congress finally decided to make these lands part of the Federal government holdings and not individual state holdings. Thus, these became “new territories” that would eventually become “states” in the nation further down in history. These new territories prohibited slavery of any person born in that region.

It was agreed in the 1787 Ordinance that once the population of any of these “territories” reached 60,000 they could apply for admission as a new “state” of the Confederation, until then they had limited representation with no actual vote power in Congress. Congress got to appoint judges and magistrates for these areas, which were being developed by private persons and companies who bought tracts of land, initially in Ohio.

One of the biggest shortcomings of the Confederated States of America was the “unanimity rule” which basically allocated “veto” power to any state that didn’t want a “law” or “ordinance.” One vote against was all it took to stop something from happening. Also the Confederated States of America didn’t have enough central power to deal with other nations, make and enforce treaties or open rivers to general navigation.

A lot of power was left to the individual states, who printed their own money, made rules for the waterways and voted against Federal laws if that law didn’t serve their purpose! As a result of this, few good leaders got into “Federal” government and instead ran for state posts where they could have a greater influence on internal matters and at times even national issues!

In an attempt to arbitrate and regulate affairs on the Potomac River only five states out of the thirteen original colonies (and not Confederated States) sent representatives. As a result of this “lack of interest” by the various states to work on “Federal” matters of importance to all people a meeting was called to meet in Philadelphia by the five states to work out the problems with the Articles of Confederation in 1787.

This meeting, however, would become a turning point in the history of world governments and politics as we shall learn next time...

Our look at America continues with...
Part 1 Colonization of the New World | Part 2: Towards Indepdence
Part 3: War Breaks Out | Part 4: War Takes It Toll


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