In the midst of my efforts to evaluate all the Federalist Papers, I realized that I had never read the Articles of Confederation which was the basis against which the Constitution was written and against which the Federalist Papers were generally basing their arguments.
The Articles of Confederation were the first attempt by the states at an independent and unified central government. As I have watched the rise of the European Union I have often thought that Europe was trying to recreate the structure of the United States government among their member states. As I read the Articles of Confederation I realize that what they have built looks much more like the Unites States from 1777 to 1788 under those articles than the United States after 1788 under the Constitution.
I will probably do more evaluation in a comparative fashion while reviewing the Federalist Papers and the Constitution, but a few points of interest that struck me as I read include:
- Article 5 – The states determine the size of their congressional delegation (from 2 to 7) but each state has a single vote. Even more interesting were the term limits placed on each delegate – they could serve no more than 3 years out of any 6.
- Article 9 – The congress of the united states, besides being the legislative body of the nation, served as the executive power for the nation (insofar as there was any executive power), and was charged with adjudicating, or establishing a temporary court to adjudicate, any dispute between two states – thus serving as (or controlling) the judicial branch of government.
- Article 11 – Canada was explicitly invited to join the united states if it desired to but any other colony could join without the consent of 9 of the states.