How did the weakness of the Articles of Confederation affect U.S. relations?  

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mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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The Articles of Confederation created a weak federal government for our new country. Other countries knew this, and they were going to test us to see how we would respond. Under the plan developed by the Articles of Confederation, the government couldn’t force people to join the military. The Congress had limited powers. Congress couldn’t tax or control trade. As a result of these weaknesses, foreign countries took advantage of us.

We had boundaries issues with Spain regarding Florida and the use of the Mississippi River. Spain insisted Florida’s boundary was further north than we said it was. Spain also made it difficult for us to use the Mississippi River and the port of New Orleans. Spain and Britain blocked our trade with other countries. We were powerless to deal with this militarily. Britain also wouldn’t leave forts in western lands. There wasn’t much we could do about this at the time. As a result of the weak federal government created by the Articles of Confederation, other countries tried to test us and take advantage of our weaknesses. It was until after the Constitution was developed that some of these issues were resolved.