What Are the Three Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation?

Among the several faults of the Articles of Confederation, three stand out: Congress’ lack of taxing authority, the absence of a national court system, and each state’s one vote in Congress regardless of size.

Articles of Confederation was the initial Constitution of the United States and the first governing text with stipulations agreed upon by the 13 founding states. This agreement was created to determine the role of the national government once independence from Britain was declared. It granted the states more authority and produced a weak central administration. Thus, Congress lacked the authority to construct a strong national government. As was the case with numerous early documents, the Articles of Confederation contained several flaws. Although the old government structure was in effect for less than a decade, it provided as the framework and foundation for the current organisation.

Congress Had No Taxing Authority. One of the greatest problems with the Articles of Confederation was that Congress lacked taxing authority. It depended on states voluntarily electing to financially support the federal government, and many did not. In addition, since there was no executive branch to implement any measures authorised by Congress, states did not comply with national laws or respond to taxation letters.

Absence of a National Court System The absence of a national court system constituted a significant problem for both the federal government and state residents. The government lacked the ability to enforce laws, therefore states were free to disregard any acts or decrees without fear of reprisal. In addition, if a citizen had a complaint against the federal government, there was no venue or procedure in place to hear their lawsuit. Instead, the Articles of Confederation established separate judicial systems for each state.

Each state had one vote in Congress. Under the Articles of Confederation, each state was allotted one vote in Congress. This did not account for the population or size of each state. Consequently, states with big populations were overrepresented relative to states with small populations. Virginia had more than ten times the population of Delaware and twice the population of every other state in the United States, but it had one vote in Congress, the same as every other state. In essence, the residents of smaller states had a greater and more significant voice than those of larger states.

Taking Care of the Articles of Confederation’s Weaknesses The Articles of Confederation were drafted in 1777, but they did not take force until 1781, when all thirteen states ratified them. It should not come as a surprise that the Articles of Confederation failed after just eight years, given the numerous vulnerabilities in the early organisation of government. In 1786, officials gathered at the Annapolis Convention to review the shortcomings and other problems with the Articles of Confederation, as the government was not operating efficiently. This meeting eventually led to the drafting and signing of the United States Constitution in 1787 and the election of George Washington as the first president in 1789.


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