The Articles of Confederation

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Why were the Articles of Confederation first written for the thirteen colonies?

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The Articles of Confederation were meant to preserve the independence of the new colonies. It was an agreement between them that ultimately formed a very loose federal government. The point of this was that the federal government possessed powers given to them only by the agreement between the colonies. One primary purpose of the Articles of Confederation was to guide the colonies throughout the Revolutionary War.

The problem with the Articles of Confederation was that the colonies soon realized the federal government needed the ability to do more. For instance, the federal government was extremely weak when dealing with several uprisings, such as Shay's Rebellion. These very observable weaknesses proved valuable, however. The U.S. Constitution followed the Articles of Confederation and was able to remedy many of the problems the loose agreement initially had.

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The initial goal of the Articles of Confederation was to create a system of government for the colonies that would join them together in their war against Britain during the Revolutionary War. The legislative branch of the government was the most powerful because the goal was to avoid centralized power as much as possible; after all, unresponsive centralized power was the colonial enemy during the Revolutionary War. The Articles were inefficient even during the war; Washington's army often had to do without basic supplies because the Continental Congress could only request money from the states. Many states did not want to pay for the defense of another state. While the Articles did prohibit the states from signing separate peace deals with Britain, they did provide a way for Britain to negotiate with the colonists in order to end the war.

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