Articles of Confederation

The Advantages and Disadvantages


The Articles of Confederation made it so that the national government had the right to:
  • Declare war and make peace
  • Coin and borrow money
  • Deal with foreign countries and sign treaties
  • Operate post offices

It also allowed us to have a strong unified army, and set up a fair legislature where each state had one vote.


However, the Articles of Confederation seemed to do more harm than good. Some of the disadvantages included:
  • The national government did not have the power to enforce or get colonists to obey laws
  • It didn't have the power to tax
  • There was no executive or judicial branch (only legislative)
  • States began to tax one another, which was hurting them more than they realized
  • Laws could not be passed without the approval of 9 out of 13 states
  • Laws could not be amended without the approval of 13 out of 13 states

The Final Straw

Shay's Rebellion is the event that finally caused the government to acknowledge the weak state of the Articles of Confederation. This event was lead by Daniel Shay, whom lead 1200 Massachusetts farmers onto a state arsenal, all because of the heavy state taxes that was going on there at the time.The rebellion was eventually stopped, but the damage had already been done.

It Could Have Been Avoided

The downfall of the Articles of Confederation came with the lack of authority. Even if you do make laws, if you have no one to enforce them, it's like they do not exist. It gives the people the opportunity to do whatever they want, and before you know it, there is no control whatsoever in the colonies. If they had just enforced the laws a little more, none of this would have happened.