What was the reasoning behind the colonists creating a weak central government?

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

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The colonists had their reasons for creating a weak central (federal) government under the Articles of Confederation.  After fighting the Revolutionary War, the colonists were determined not to repeat the events which led to the outbreak of the war. The colonists believed the English government and the King had way too much power.  The colonists believed the English government taxed too much, abused military power, and restricted freedoms of the colonists.  The colonists had little to no say in any of these matters.  Therefore, the colonists intentionally created a federal government which was weak in nature.  The colonists believed the power should be in the hands of the people.  Not only did they create a weak federal government, they restricted the powers of the state governors because they were so concerned about the leaders abusing their power.  The federal government couldn't do many things which it can do today.  This included not having the power to tax, control trade, or force people to join the army.  While this sounded good on paper, in practice it created many problems.  Eventually, the Constitution was written to replace the weak Articles of Confederation.  The Constitution gave the federal government much more power than it had under the Articles of Confederation.

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