What system of government did the Articles of Confederation establish?
The government of the United States under the Articles of Confederation was, as the name suggests, a confederation. The Articles themselves described the United States as a "firm league of friendship." The Articles provided for a government that, like most confederations, had a relatively weak central government and a collection of state governments that reserved the majority of the powers of government for themselves. While the states were not technically sovereign, the fact that nine of thirteen had to agree to any legislation, and that they had to unanimously agree to make any significant alterations to the Articles, meant that they were in practice. Having declared their independence from a strong monarchy, the states were reluctant to delegate too many powers to a central government. As it turned out, the national government did not meet the needs of most of the states, and the Constitution devised at Philadelphia and eventually ratified by the thirteen states set up a federal republic that featured a much more powerful central government.