The greatest failure of the Articles of Confederation was that it played on the fear and distrust of government that came as a result of the tyrannical abuses of King George III and the British Parliament during the revolutionary era. The Americans obviously needed a government, but were very concerned about losing the freedom they had just won to a corrupt national government.
The first failure was the lack of a true leader. The American fear of tyranny led them to appoint an executive committee instead of having a singular executive. The national government was granted the power to pass laws, but it did not have the ability to enforce those same laws. In effect, there were national suggestions, not laws. Along the same lines, the national government could request funds from the states but it did not have the power to levy taxes. The new nation's fear of abuse led them to create a government that would soon be a rudderless and broke, resulting in a weak nation incapable of sustaining itself without significant political change.