What are some good things about the Articles of Confederation?  

Expert Answers
rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Articles of Confederation was a product of its times, a response to conditions in the midst of the Revolution when it was created, and, ultimately, perhaps all that was possible at the time. It is usually regarded as weak and ineffective, and it was, but it was also a reflection of the fear of centralized government that understandably gripped many of the Founders. Under the Articles, the national government was empowered to conclude treaties and conduct diplomacy, print and coin national currency, and other powers. Each of these is a remarkable advance when we consider that the states that were party to the Articles had previously been colonies with no real history of cooperation. So for the time, the Articles represented a significant advance which only with time (albeit a fairly short period) proved to be inadequate. 

We can also see that the government under the Articles, while weak, had a few significant achievements. The Land Ordinance of 1785, for example, solved one of the most urgent problems confronting the new nation--setting up a process by which lands in the west could be parceled out and sold. This process had been extraordinarily complex, and open to corruption, in the colonies, and establishing a uniform method of land sale was a major accomplishment. The Northwest Ordinance, passed two years later, also facilitated national growth by creating a process by which newly settled lands might apply for territorial status and, eventually, statehood. Both of these were important steps toward true nationhood undertaken by a government that never claimed to be more than a "firm league of friendship." Moreover, many Antifederalists argued at the time that the Constitution represented a power grab by a national elite, one which stripped the states of powers that were best exercised at the local level. The Articles, they claimed, preserved the powers of the states and the people that controlled them.

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question