Describe the function of government under the Articles of Confederation.
The function of the national government under the Articles of Confederation was very limited. The Articles were described as a "firm league of friendship" rather than a strong central government, and its framers deliberately reserved most of the powers of government to the states. The national government was empowered to mediate between states, establish a national currency, and carry out diplomatic relations (treaties, declarations of war, and so on) with foreign nations. Beyond this, the government, which consisted entirely of a Congress, claimed the power to regulate the process under which new territories would be settled, governed, and admitted, which it did under the Land Ordinance and the Northwest Ordinance. But the government was far more notable for what it could not do than for what it could. It could not tax, regulate commerce, or coerce the state governments in any way. Most of the powers we associate with the federal government were denied to the government under the Articles. These deficiencies led to the Philadelphia Convention in 1787 and the eventual ratification of the Constitution.