After the war, the Continental Congress of 1776 called the colonies to draft a new constitution. The rule of these new states, according to the theory of republicanism, would rest on the power of the people. The Articles of Confederation was in the making. The Articles of Confederation was America’s first Constitution in affect from 1781 to 1789. It provided the new country with a loose confederation, or a “firm league of friendship.” It however was not an effective government. Congress was very weak and was purposely designed to be weak. After winning the War of Independence, the people did not want to surrender their new privileges to an American parliament, even if it was their own. The government did not have an executive branch. The judicial arm was left to the states. Each state had a single vote. The government could advise, advocate, and appeal, but it could not command, coerce, or control. This is what made the Articles of Confederation so weak. .
The Articles of Confederation stated that Congress had no power to regulate commerce. This left the states free to establish different laws regarding tariffs and navigation. In the letter from Rhode Island Assembly to Congress on November 30, 1782, the assembly decided to unanimously reject the recommendation of Congress, respecting an impost on imported goods. One reason was that it would be unequal in the most commercial states, which draw their chief support from commerce, especially Rhode Island. Congress also could not enforce its tax-collection program. It established a tax quota for each state and then asked them to voluntarily contribute money to the government. The Assembly of Rhode Island stated that “by granting to Congress a power to collect moneys from the commerce of these states, indefinitely as to time and quantity, and for the expenditure of which they are not to be accountable to the states, they would become independent of their constituents.
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