This section is from the book "Popular Law Library Vol1 Introduction To The Study Of Law Legal History", by Albert H. Putney. Also see: Popular Law-Dictionary.
The Articles of Confederation contained within themselves the germs of many of those evils which were to agitate the country for the next decade. The nature of this system of government can be shown by the second article, which provided that: "Each State shall retain its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, that is not by this confederation expressly delegated to the United States in Congress assembled." The next article provided that,"'The States severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their general and mutual welfare." The United States was thus in its inception, not a country but a league of sovereign states. The very word adopted as the name of their legislative body was one which had heretofore only been applied to the assemblies of diplomatic representatives. If the new Congress of the United States was in some respects something more than a congress of ambassadors, it was, nevertheless, in its powers, among the weakest of legislative bodies. The power of taxation was entirely lacking to it. Congress could indeed estimate the sum necessary for the expense of the government, and make requisitions on the states for their respective quotas, but there its authority ceased. There were no means by which the collections of such quotas could be enforced and the states soon became hopelessly in arrears. The domestic relations of the governments of the United States, under the Articles of Confederation, were with the States. The people had no part in the general government, and could not be acted upon by it, except indirectly. The resemblance between the Congress and a diplomatic body is further shown by the provisions allowing each State to determine the number of its representatives, between the limits of two and seven, and to recall them at pleasure. Each State paid its own members. The number of representatives from a State did not affect its voting power, as each State had one vote. The votes of nine states were required in order to pass a motion to engage in war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, enter into treaties or alliances, coin money, or regulate the value thereof, ascertain the sums and expenses necessary for the defense and welfare of the United States, or any of them, emit bills, borrow money on the credit of the United States, appropriate money, agree upon the number of vessels of war to be built or purchased, or the number of land or sea forces to be raised, or to appoint a Commander-in-Chief of the army or navy. As it was seldom that all the states were represented in Congress at the same time, the restrictions imposed by this clause, upon free action by Congress, was even greater than appears upon its face. As if to emphasize and perpetuate the evils contained in this instrument, the last article required the unanimous consent of all the thirteen states for the adoption of any amendments.
2 See Appendex F. 3 See Appendex G.