The Articles of Confederation

The Advantages and The Disadvantages

What Were the Articles of Confederation?

The Articles of Confederation were created by the Second Continental Congress as the first national constitution. The Articles were weak because the power was unbalanced between the states and the national government. After the Articles were deemed to be weak they were revised by delegates from 12 of the 13 states.

The Advantages

Advantages of the Articles of Confederation included:


  • They established a unified army for the U.S. states.
  • A legislature was included which gave one vote to each U.S. state.
  • The national government was able to deal with foreign entities for the U.S. states.

The Disadvantages

Disadvantages of the Articles of Confederation included:


  • The federal government did not have the power to enforce laws upon the states.
  • The federal government did not have the power to tax.
  • It was extremely difficult to pass laws because approval of 9 out of 13 states was needed.
  • To amend a law all 13 states had to approve.
  • There was only a legislature; no executive or judicial branch.
  • States economically suffered because the states started to tax one another and hurt trade.

Pictures of History

Why Were the Articles Weak?

The reason why the Articles of Confederation were so weak was because it gave too much power to the states and not enough to the federal government. The federal government didn't have the power to tax or enforce laws and there was only one branch of government, the legislature, there was no executive or judicial branch. Passing and amending laws was very difficult because the federal government needed the consent of the states. Overall, the cost outweighed the benefit. In the end the Articles weren't revised until after Shay's Rebellion when the Articles were shown to be weak.

Image Sources (MLA Format)

Articles of Confederation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 2016. Web. 1 Feb. 2016.


Second Continental Congress - Sobel Wiki - Wikia. Wikia. n.d. Web. 1 Feb. 2016.


Shays' rebellion, 1786. libcom.org. 2014. Web. 1 Feb. 2016.


Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation. HostMonster. n.d. Web. 1 Feb. 2016.