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Articles of Confederation

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  • 2nd Continental Congress
    • Articles drafted in July 1776
    • Debated for a year
    • Not adopted until 1781--dispute over state claims to western lands. Maryland would not sign until all states gave up their claims.
  • Discredited after 1786--proved to be ineffective. Still, a first attempt at cooperation and held the colonies together.
  • Used until 1789, when the Constitution was signed


Section II Sovereignty
Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence

Section III Objective
The said states hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defense,

Section IV Equal Treatment
The free inhabitants of each of these states, paupers, vagabonds and fugitives from Justice excepted, shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of free citizens in the several states; and the people of each state shall have free ingress and regress to and from any other state, no imposition, duties or restriction shall be laid by any state, on the property of the united states, or either of them.

Full faith and credit shall be given in each of these states to the records, acts and judicial proceedings of the courts and magistrates of every other state.

Section V Voting
No state shall be represented in Congress by less than two, nor more than seven Members;
In determining questions in the united states, in Congress, each state shall have one vote.

Section VI Foreign Policy
No state without the Consent of the united states in congress assembled, shall send any embassy to, or receive any embassy from, or enter into any conference, agreement, or alliance or treaty with any King, prince or state;
No state shall engage in any war without the consent of the united states in congress assembled, unless such state be actually invaded by enemies

Section VIII Finance
All charges of war, and all other expenses that shall be incurred for the common defense or general welfare, and allowed by the united states in congress assembled, shall be defrayed out of a common treasury, which shall be supplied by the several states, in proportion to the value of all land within each state,

The taxes for paying that proportion shall be laid and levied by the authority and direction of the legislatures of the several states within the time agreed upon by the united states in congress assembled.

Section IX Powers of the Colonial Government (following are some of the important powers)
Make treaties
Raise armies and wage war
Establish boundaries
Coin/print money and borrow
Establish weights and measures

Section XIII Ratification and Amendment
the union shall be perpetual; nor shall any alteration at any time hereafter be made in any of them; unless such alteration be agreed to in a congress of the united states, and be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of EVERY state.


  • Financing government
    • Inflation caused by printing money
    • Inability to collect payments from the states --had to rely on legislatures
  • Carrying on commerce with other nations
  • Diplomacy--ineffective treaties
  • Making changes--amendment required unanimous consent


  • No enforcement--no executive or judiciary
  • States were sovereign
  • National government operated through states


  • Annapolis Convention (1786)
    • Only five states sent delegates
    • Called to deal with trade problems
    • Called for a convention to revise the Articles of Confederation
  • Shay’s Rebellion
    • Farmer protest against their land being sold to pay back taxes
    • Led to violence
    • Increased the feeling that the government wasn't really in control

Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . factpetersen. (2007, October 12). Articles of Confederation. Retrieved January 08, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License