The Articles of Confederation are considered by some a good first draft for the Constitution. On the other hand, other historians consider them to be full of weaknesses and shortcomings. However, there is evidence to support both points of view on the Articles.
There are many points in the Articles that are also used in the Constitution. The legislative branch remained intact and retained the powers to declare war, maintain an army and a navy and coin money. The necessities not included in the Articles of Confederation were an important learning experience as well. After the Articles of Confederation, the founders understood the federal government needed the power to enforce laws, regulate commerce, and an executive to head the government. The Articles of Confederation proved to the colonies that while a confederation may be a good thought in theory, a democracy could be achieved by giving powers to a central government.
At the time, many Americans were afraid that by giving power to a central person or body, they would be taking a step backwards in their freedom. The failure of the Articles were a necessary step in proving otherwise to those people.
On the other side of the spectrum, there are those who say there were no good points to the Articles of Confederation. For eight years, the United States was incredibly weak and vulnerable. The central authority had no power to levy taxes on its citizens, regulate commerce, no court system, no way to settle disputes amongst states, and no plausible way to amend the articles. While they provided for an army and navy, there was no funding for them. In fact, with voluntary tax contribution by the states, there was no real funding for the central government at all. Therefore, if the United States were...