What Are the Articles of Confederation’s Three Weaknesses?

While the Articles of Confederation had various flaws, three stand out: Congress’ lack of taxing power, the lack of a national court system, and the fact that each state had just one vote in Congress, regardless of size.

The Articles of Confederation were the first governing instrument in the United States, and it contained stipulations agreed upon by the 13 founding states. The purpose of this declaration was to identify the role of the national government after the country gained independence from the United Kingdom. It allowed states more autonomy while establishing a weak government. As a result, Congress lacked the authority to construct a strong national government. The Articles of Confederation, like many other early documents, had flaws. Though the initial government structure was only in place for a few years, it provided as the framework and foundation for current structures.

Congress lacked the authority to levy taxes. One of the most significant flaws of the Articles of Confederation was that Congress was not given taxing authority. It had to rely on states voluntarily agreeing to fund the central government, which many did not. Furthermore, because there was no executive branch to implement any laws approved by Congress, states did not follow national laws or react to tax warnings.

There is no national judicial system. The lack of a national court system constituted a significant problem for both the national government and state residents. Because the government had no mechanism of enforcing laws, states were free to ignore any acts or decrees without fear of retaliation. Furthermore, citizens who had a gripe with the national government lacked a venue or method in which to file a case. The Articles of Confederation, on the other hand, established separate judiciary branches for each state.

In Congress, each state had a single vote. Each state was given a single vote in Congress under the Articles of Confederation. This did not account for the population or size of each state. As a result, states with big populations were disproportionately represented compared to states with small populations. Virginia had a population more than ten times that of Delaware and twice that of all other states in the US, but it had the same one vote in Congress as the others. Citizens in smaller states had a louder and more powerful voice than citizens in larger states.

Addressing the Articles of Confederation’s Weaknesses The Articles of Confederation were drafted in 1777, but they were not accepted by all 13 states until 1781. The above-mentioned flaws are just a few of the early government’s flaws, therefore it should come as no surprise that the Articles of Confederation failed after only eight years. The government wasn’t working properly, so in 1786, at the Annapolis Convention, leaders assembled to review the Articles of Confederation’s flaws and other difficulties. This meeting resulted in the drafting and signing of the United States Constitution in 1787, as well as the election of George Washington as the first president of the United States in 1789.

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