The Articles of Confederation

aka: What can and cannot do (in the past, that is!)

So... what exactly are the Articles?


  • The Articles were the first real form of government the colonies had after the Revolutionary War.
  • The Articles had various strengths, but it infamous for being incredibly weak.

During the Articles...

The colonies each had their own state constitution! New Hampshire was the first to establish their Constitution in 1776, and the rest of the colonies followed suit by 1780.

These state constitutions granted the states some power.


  • Distributed power more evenly through their legislature, their governor, and their courts.
  • They also prevented each branch from getting too powerful by instilling a system of checks and balances
  • Their constitutions were created by delegates and were voted in by citizens

Now back to the Articles...

What was so bad about them?

The Strengths and Weaknesses of the Articles


  1. It included a unified army
  2. It set up a national legislature
  3. It was able to build and control an army
  4. It was able to deal with foreign countries on the nation's behalf


  1. The national government wasn't able to enforce laws in any way
  2. They couldn't tax the states (They refers to the national government)
  3. 9/13 states had to approve a law in order to pass it
  4. All 13 states had to approve a law in order to amend it
  5. There was no executive or judicial branch on a national level
  6. It caused economic harm on the states because the states were taxing each other and stopped trade

Why would the colonies create a weak central government?


I believe that the delegates created a weaker central government because they didn't want too much power to reside in a central government.

They wanted more power spread out among the states, instead of one person holding all the power (like the monarchs and Parliament in Britain).

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