What was the purpose of the Articles of Confederation?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After the Revolutionary War ended, we needed to develop a plan of government. That plan of government was called the Articles of Confederation.

The American people were fearful of having a government that had too much power. As a result, the plan of government created by the Articles of Confederation was a weak one. The federal government was unable to levy taxes under this plan. It also couldn’t make people join the army. The federal government also couldn’t control trade.

As a result of these weaknesses, the federal government had many problems. We weren’t able to pay our debts because the government couldn’t tax the people. When other countries pushed us around, there wasn’t much we could do about it since we couldn't require people to join the army. The federal government also had trouble keeping order. Shays’ Rebellion was an example of this.

Eventually, people realized that a new plan of government was needed to correct some of the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation. This led to the writing of and adopting of the Constitution.