The Articles of Confederation were the basis for America's first national government during the Revolutionary War (1775–1783). Its powers were limited to conducting diplomacy, printing money, managing disagreements between states, and fighting the war against England. After England's defeat in 1783, it quickly became obvious that the Articles would not suffice.
The national government under the Articles had too many weaknesses. First, there was no executive. Second, there was no judiciary. There was only a unicameral legislature. All the states had a single vote in the legislature, and nine of the thirteen states had to agree for a measure to pass. Finally, the government lacked the power to regulate the nation's finances.
There was also a rebellion in Massachusetts. Daniel Shays led a revolt by indebted farmers. This event and the structural weaknesses of the country's national government led to the Constitutional Convention of 1787; the Founding Fathers met in Philadelphia in 1787. They decided to scrap the Articles of Confederation and replace it with a new document: the Constitution.
America's new government would have a chief executive: the President of the United States. The Founding Fathers knew that the first one would be George Washington. They also established the Electoral College, which mediated the process of popular vote to select presidents.
The Supreme Court was created to act as America's to judicial body. It would be equal to the executive and legislative branches. The Court's members would be chosen by the President and approved by the Senate.
The legislature would be bicameral. Each state has equal representation in the Senate, but in the House of Representatives each state had representation in proportion to its population. It was also established that congress would manage the country's finances.
The Constitution fixed many of the problems that had plagued America's first government. Although it remains in effect today, parts of it are outdated, and the country's government often does not work very well.