The Articles of Confederation

The Articles of Confederation was the first constitution of the United States and it served as our central government from 1777 until 1789 when it was replaced by the current constitution, which we call the Constitution of the United States.

However, despite its weaknesses, many historians point to the Articles of Confederation as being one of America’s most important documents.

What flaws did this document possess? What did its authors hope to accomplish with it? Find out more in this history article!


The victorious 13 Colonies would declared their independence from Great Britain on the 4th of July 1776.

This created idependant sovereign states. These independent states were bound together by the articles of confederation.

The articles were ratified on November 15, 1777 and remained in effect until March 1, 1789 when Congress adopted the current US Constitution.

The Background of the Articles of Confederation

The Articles of Confederation

  • Agreed by Congress on November 15, 1777
  • Ratified by all 13 states on March 1, 1781

The Articles

The articles created an alliance between these states and outlined how they would work together as a country. As the first constitution written for an independent nation under the US Constitution, it is considered to be one of America’s most important historical documents.

Why the Founding Fathers Chose a Weak Central Government

Written in 1777, the Articles of Confederation was an agreement between the 13 founding American colonies. It created a weak central government that had no power to tax or enforce laws, and it also lacked a centralized system for managing trade and military affairs.

The articles were eventually replaced by the United States Constitution in 1787 which created a more powerful central government and established checks and balances to help ensure that one branch would not have too much power.

The Impact of the Articles of Confederation

After eleven years, it was clear that the Articles of Confederation were not working as they should. The first step to fixing this was to create a federal government with more power.

This document, which became known as the Constitution, gave more power to the central government and made it easier for them to control things like taxes, trade agreements and war.


The articles of confederation were created because the Founding Fathers wanted to make sure that power was not concentrated in just one person.

It was important that there be checks and balances on each branch so that no one branch had too much control over the other branches.

This is why they made it difficult for any state to withdraw from this agreement and also why they made it hard for any branch to amend it without approval from two-thirds of all states.