Lecture 21 - A Union Without Power

author: Joanne B. Freeman, Yale University
recorded by: Yale University
published: Feb. 14, 2013,   recorded: March 2011,   views: 2310
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)

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In this lecture, Professor Freeman discusses the Articles of Confederation. Although they seem hopelessly weak in the long view of history, the Articles made perfect sense as a first stab at a national government by a people who deeply distrusted centralized power - a direct product of their recent experience of the British monarchy. Among the many issues that complicated the drafting of the Articles, three central issues included: how war debts to European nations would be divided among the states; whether western territories should be sold by the national government to pay for those debts; and how large and small states would compromise on representation. When a series of events - like Shays' Rebellion - highlighted the weaknesses of the Articles, some Americans felt ready to consider a stronger national government.

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Reviews and comments:

Comment1 Julia Lyall, December 11, 2013 at 4:15 p.m.:

Thank you so much for making your lectures available online! I just finished taking a semester course titled "The Founders' Constitution."
Our professor showed us some of your lecture in class. I just had to find it. I really appreciate the humor you find in history and the information and ideas you pass on to students through your lectures. It sounds trite, I know, the saying that "history comes alive." But you definitely breathe life into the names and dates most of us have learned since grade school, and give a comprehensive understanding of not just the facts but of the people themselves and larger ideas of the time.
Again, my thanks!

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