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PostSubject: Historical context   Historical context I_icon_minitimeSun Jan 09, 2011 6:15 pm

Before the Constitution was drafted, the thirteen colonies operated under the Articles of Confederation, created by the Second Continental Congress. The national government that operated under the Articles of Confederation was too weak to adequately regulate the various conflicts that arose between the states.[2] These divides included a dispute between Maryland and Virginia over the Potomac River and Rhode Island's imposing taxes on all traffic passing through it on the post road that linked all the states. As the Articles of Confederation could only be amended by unanimous vote of the states, any state had effective veto power over any proposed change.[3] In addition, the Articles gave the weak federal government no taxing power: it was wholly dependent on the states for its money, and had no power to force delinquent states to pay.[4]
On January 21, 1786, the Virginia Legislature, following James Madison's recommendation, invited all the states to send delegates to Annapolis, Maryland to discuss ways to reduce these interstate conflicts.[2] At what came to be known as the Annapolis Convention, the few state delegates in attendance endorsed a motion that called for all states to meet in Philadelphia on May 14, 1787 to discuss ways to improve the Articles of Confederation in a "Grand Convention."[2] Rhode Island, fearing that the Convention would work to its disadvantage, boycotted the Convention entirely in hopes of preventing any change to the Articles. When the Constitution was presented to the United States of America, Rhode Island refused to ratify it.

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