Elizabeth Cole

The Articles of Confederation


  • Was made after America gained independence to alliance the 13 states and set up a new government.
  • Made specifically to be an entirely different way of governing from Britain


  • Power to the states, not the central government
  • Congress given authority to make treaties and alliances, maintain armed forces, and coin money
  • Certain matters required assent from 9 states
  • States remained "sovereign and independent"


  • Congress had no way to tax the people
  • No executive or judicial system
  • Amendments required unanimous vote
  • Each state only got 1 vote regardless of size, population, etc.


  • Criticism led to the revision of the articles
  • Laid the groundwork for creating a new government
  • Shay's rebellion (final straw, showed that instability would only worsen unless a significant change was made)


"America under the Articles of Confederation." American Eras. Vol. 4: Development of a Nation, 1783-1815. Detroit: Gale, 1997. 200-202. U.S. History in Context. Web. 22 Sept. 2015.

"Articles of Confederation: Did the Articles of Confederation Provide an Effective National Constitution?" History in Dispute. Ed. Keith Krawczynski. Vol. 12: The American Revolution, 1763-1789. Detroit: St. James Press, 2003. 17-26. U.S. History in Context. Web. 22 Sept. 2015.

"The Confederation." Shaping of America, 1783-1815 Reference Library. Ed. Lawrence W. Baker, et al. Vol. 1: Almanac. Detroit: UXL, 2006. 28-47. U.S. History in Context. Web. 22 Sept. 2015.

Act of Maryland to Ratify Articles. 2008. Library of Congress, Washington DC.

Surrender of Lord Cornwallis. 1820. Rotunda of the US Capitol, Washington D.C.

Daniel Shays and Job Shattuck. 1787. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, New York City.