The Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation

Essay by NoTTiNzZz October 2004

download word file, 2 pages 4.3

The Articles of Confederation was the charter of the first national government of the United States that was in effect from 1781 until 1789 when it was eventually replaced by the Constitution. The Articles was definitely a necessary step toward democracy but it wasn't a very effective system of government. The Articles of Confederation served as a stepping stone toward the outlining of the democracy that we have today but the central government was overall unsuccessful in governing foreign affairs as well as domestic affairs.

        The confederation style of government had many weaknesses in domestic affairs. After the states won their independence they had to set up a government, and of course they didn't want it to be anything like the British so the central government was severely lacking in power. The Articles of Confederation gave sovereign power to each of the states to rule themselves, which isn't terrible considering they were under despotic rule of the king all this time, but they couldn't agree on anything.

Under the Articles of Confederation the Congress had no power to levy taxes or tariffs, which led to a shortage of money. The only way it could gain funds was to ask the states for money even though most of those requests were ignored or only partially met. Speaking of money, the congress did have the right to print its own currency, but so did the states. In the states in which the creditor classes controlled the legislatures, high taxes and a tight money system made it impossible for debtors to repay their debts but in the states where debtors did have a heavy influence over the legislatures, the amount of paper money became excessive, which led to high inflation.

        Under the Articles of Confederation, Congress had very little power and because of...