The Articles of Confederation

Advantages & Disadvantages

The Articles of Confederation

The Articles of Confederation, created on November 15, 1777, was a document ratified by the thirteen colonies that established the United States as a federation of separate political entities. The Articles served as a constitution in the US until the adoption of the current one, and provided national & foreign validity for the colonies during the American Revolution. However, the Articles of Confederation did have many disadvantages among its advantages, some of which will henceforth be explained.

Advantages of the Articles of Confederation

The Articles of Confederation, which served as a directional tool for the United States government during its early years, had many advantages for the federal government. These include:

  • The power to declare war for the colonies and end it in times of peace
  • The power to create new money and borrow money from outside sources
  • The power to interact with foreign nations on behalf of the states & create treaties with foreign powers
  • The power to create and operate post offices & the post system
  • The power to create, build, and uphold a unified army for the colonies
  • The power to create a legislature with one vote per state
  • The power to give pension to soldiers as compensation for service
  • The power to create ordinances for distributing land and shaping territories
  • The power to force states to recognize the decisions of others

Disadvantages of the Articles of Confederation

Though the Articles of Confederation helped the states in many ways, it had many disadvantages that limited the power of the federal government. Disadvantages include:

  • The government could not enforce taxation among the states
  • The government could not force people to obey laws & rules
  • The government could not make states live up to trade agreements with foreign powers
  • The government could not regulate trade among the states
  • The government could not prevent unreasonable taxation for state imports & exports
  • The government could not protect property rights
  • The government could not create an executive or judicial branch
  • The government could not create a law without approval from nine of the thirteen states
  • The government could not amend a law without the approval from all thirteen states


As we can see, the Articles of Confederation was an influential document that guided the states and governed America during the advent of the Revolutionary War, though the Articles of Confederation gave the national government many powers, such as those to create a unified army for the states and represent America while conducting foreign relations, it also withheld many important powers from the federal government, such as those to enforce taxation, create trade legislation, and create an executive & judicial branch of government. Thank you!