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The Articles of Confederation (1781-1789)

The Founding Fathers

Article 9

Articles 7-8

Article 9, page 2

page 1 of 3

Summary—Powers of Congress

Only Congress has the right to make peace and make war (except in those cases described in Article 6), to send and receive ambassadors, and to make treaties and alliances with foreign nations. Congress also has the exclusive right to give permission to private ships to attack enemy ships, and to oversee trials related to crimes on the sea.

Congress will help resolve conflicts between states relating to boundaries, jurisdiction and other issues, but only as a last resort.

Other powers of Congress include the right to determine how much precious metal is in each coin, and the value of coins made by them or any state. Congress determines the standard of weights and measures. Congress has authority over trade and other affairs involving Indians, as long as the Indians are not residents of any of the states and that Congress does not infringe on the states' rights by getting involved. Congress establishes the post offices in each state, and can charge postage on items handled by the post office to help pay expenses. Congress appoints all officers of the army except regimental officers appointed by states, commissions all officers that serve in the army or navy, makes the rules to regulate the army and navy, and has the sole power to direct the army and navy.

The Congress has the authority to create a committee called the Committee of the States that serves in place of Congress when Congress is not in session. The Committee is made up of one delegate from each state. The Congress can also appoint other committees and civil officers as needed to manage the affairs of the United States. Congress can appoint a president, but he may only serve for one year every interval of three years. Congress has the authority to determine how much money is needed to run the United States, to spend the necessary amounts, and to borrow money on the credit of the United States. Every six months, a finance report will be published for all the states. The Congress has the right to build the army and navy, deciding how many forces are needed and requesting the amount from each state, proportional to the number of white inhabitants in that state. Once the request for troops is made, the state has the responsibility to appoint the regimental officers, organize and equip the soldiers, and march to the designated place at the time requested by Congress.

In order for Congress to act on the specifically listed powers above, nine of the thirteen states must agree. Issues of any other type, except for the request to adjourn from day to day, must be decided by the majority of states.

Congress has the power to stop a session of Congress or move it to any other place in the United States, but Congress cannot be out of session for more than six months at a time. Each month, Congress will publish their proceedings, unless a matter of security requires secrecy. These proceedings will include the voting patterns of each delegate if it is recorded by request of a delegate, and each delegate may get a copy of the proceedings to present to the state legislature.

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