From 1781 to 1789, did the Articles of Confederation provide the United States with an effective government?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would say the Articles of Confederation provided the United States with a government that was effective enough to keep the country functioning in the short term, but not one that was effective enough to last in the long term.

In the time from 1781 to 1789, it was not clear that the United States would be able to stay together.  The country was made up of thirteen different states that did not necessarily feel as if they were connected to one another.  The Articles of Confederation created a government that the various states could accept.  This kept the country together, which was very important.

In addition, the government was effective enough to take care of at least one important issue.  It was able to bring about a consensus on the issue of the Northwest Territory.  The various states were in conflict with one another as to who should control this area.  The government was effective enough to create the Northwest Ordinance, which settled the issue of the territory and allowed the states to stay together.

However, the government that the Articles created was not effective in the long term.  The Articles created a national government that was too weak to keep the country united.  The Articles allowed the various states to do things like engaging in trade wars against one another.  The Articles did not give the national government enough power to require the states to do anything, including basic things like funding a military.  Because the Articles did not do these things, they created a country that was not strong enough to last in the long term.  The Articles created a government that was effective enough in the short term, but not effective for the long term.