Handout J: Main Headings from the Vices of the Political System of the United States
Background: In April of 1787, James Madison detailed the problems resulting from the system of government established by the Articles of Confederation. Here are Madison’s main headings.
- Failure of the States to comply with the Constitutional requisitions.
- Encroachments by the States on the federal authority.
- Violations of the law of nations and of treaties.
- Trespasses of the States on the rights of each other.
- Want of concert in matters where common interest requires it.
- Want of Guaranty to the States of their Constitutions & laws against internal violence.
- Want of sanction to the laws, and of coercion in the Government of the Confederacy.
- Want of ratification by the people of the articles of Confederation.
- Multiplicity of laws in the several States.
- Mutability of the laws of the States.
- Injustice of the laws of States.
- Impotence of the laws of the States.
Critical Thinking Question
- Based on a quick overview of this list from Madison, and on your background knowledge of the functioning of the government under the Articles of Confederation, which 3 to 5 problems do you think were the most serious and important? Be prepared to discuss your reasoning with others.