What were some weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation and what effect did they have on the new country?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The main weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation were all things that made it so that the central government was very weak and the state governments were very strong.  These problems affected the new United States by making it weaker economically, militarily, and politically.  Here is a list of some of the problems:

  •         Congress could not impose taxes.  It had to ask the states to voluntarily donate money.  This made it hard to have a strong military because there wasn’t a guaranteed source of money to pay for it.
  •         Congress could not regulate trade with foreign countries or between the states.  This meant that states could try to restrict trade with one another.  This made the US economy smaller and more fragmented, preventing the country from getting richer.
  •         There was no executive branch.  This meant that there was no strong leadership to keep the country together politically (or to push for solutions in times of troubles).
  •         Congress could not coin its own money.  This meant that the various states had to coin their own, making it hard to have trade between the various states.  This, too, made the economy smaller and more fragmented.
  •         9 of the 13 states had to agree (one vote per state) to pass anything in Congress.  This made it hard for the government to do anything, thus weakening the country politically.

All of these problems weakened the new United States, helping to convince many people of the need for a new constitution.