What were the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation?  

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The weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation were many, and it is important to remember that they were, in large part, deliberate. The Articles were written in the midst of the American Revolution, and its framers were understandably reluctant to replace Crown rule with another powerful government. But many of...

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The weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation were many, and it is important to remember that they were, in large part, deliberate. The Articles were written in the midst of the American Revolution, and its framers were understandably reluctant to replace Crown rule with another powerful government. But many of these weaknesses compromised the ability of the government to meet the challenges that confronted the new nation. They included:

  • a lack of an independent executive or judiciary. This made it difficult for the government to enforce its own laws.
  • the fact that the delegations of nine out of the thirteen states had to approve a law before it went into effect. This made it very difficult to pass laws.
  • Congress lacked the power to tax. While it could essentially request money from the states, this meant that the national government struggled to finance the nation's mounting debt from the Revolutionary war.
  • Amending the Articles required unanimous approval of all of the states. This made the government inflexible and unable to respond to the needs of the nation. This was especially true of the issue of taxation, which was often before the Congress and usually overruled by a small minority of the state delegations.
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