Why the Hate for the Articles of Confederation?

May 10, 2013   |  

I, like many, used to buy the propaganda about the Articles of Confederation.  Perhaps there is a good argument out there for the abolishment of the AoC, but I haven’t heard it yet.  I don’t mean by “good” one that just sounds good, I lower the bar to mean one that contains any actual facts.

A recent one shot to me on Twitter was the 10th Amendment protects the sovereignty and rights of States, and the writer claimed that was absent from the AoC.  Perhaps he never made it to this portion:

Article II.  Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence, and every Power, Jurisdiction and right, which is not by this confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.

The old one, which I believed until I watched this Sheldon Richman video, is the one more people are familiar with: Tariffs between States.  That one turns out to be a big load of nonsense too.  What was actually happening at the time was a “price war” of sorts between States on import tariffs.

New York had a high import tariff at their ports, so New Jersey enacted a lower import tariff at their ports.  New York got upset, as New Yorkers are want to do, so they imposed a tariff on international goods that eventually entered their State through New Jersey ports.  There were a couple more little squabbles like that.

Another I heard recently, and it was voiced with alarm(!), was that nine States had Navies!  If you want to talk about a big nothing, this must be it.  Today New York still has one, Illinois had one until 1988, and in 2006 their now jailed Governor authorized a new one.  As a child I toured an Illinois Navy submarine, docked in Chicago.  No, it was not the U-505 German sub at the Museum of Science and Industry, nor was it the USS Silversides, that did not get to Chicago until 1987 (I am way older than that).  Sadly, I just cannot remember her name these days.

Follow Steve @AustrianAnarchy or view his Austrian Anarchy blog.  His work-in-progress, “The Anarchist’s Soufflé Book“, should be done any year now.

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