What was the most pressing challenge facing The United States of America during the Articles of Confederation period?

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dbello eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Articles of Confederation was the first written form of government in the United States. Those involved had to choose between a confederation form of government, which was a loose agreement between independent states or a unitary system which was defined as a stong centralized authority of government. It was no surprise that the representatives in congress chose the confederation, for the latter definitely had the reminder and feel of monarchy. By 1786 their was no argument that The Articles of Confederation had serious flaws. Known as the 'critical period' many of the founding fathers wondered whether the American experiment would survive into the 19th century. The Congress had no power to tax nor could it regulate interstate commerce and trade. The Articles of Confederation was unicameral, in that there was only one branch of government, congress. It lacked an executive and judicial which would prove difficult as the new nation tried to develop relationships with other nations. Individual states often passed laws that conflicted with one another and only had their individual interests at hand. In essence, the federal government was at the mercy of individual state power. The Articles of Confederation created the federal government, however gave it no power to act domestically or in foreign matters.

ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The most pressing problems was the weakness of the Federal government to be able to do almost anything significant. King George is said to have complained that he didn't know whether "to send one ambassador or 13 ambassadors to the United States" because each state did exactly what they wanted. As a result, the government was almost bankrupt, the army was in disarray, and had there been a national crisis, there would have been no central government response because the central government had no real power. All the power rested with 13 bickering states. The leaders of the revolution, including George Washington, recognized that without a strong central government, the United States was doomed. So, Washington offered his home as a place for a Constitutional Convention and eventually a strong central government emerged from the chaos.