Pros and Cons of the Articles of Confederation


Being the first written constitution of the United States, the Articles of Confederation was brought about by the need of the central government during a time of war to ensure that the states maintain sovereignty and independence. These articles also included the authority of Congress to create alliances as well as coin money and America’s independence from Great Britain. Proposed by Benjamin Franklin before the Declaration of Independence, its ratification took awhile to be achieved. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages from supporters and critics.

List of Pros of Articles of Confederation

1. Independence of States
Advocates for the Articles of Confederation state that these articles gave the 13 states sovereignty and have their own forms of government. This has given citizens of these states to move freely from one place to another and seek better opportunities. Additionally, these citizens are afforded the same rights and privileges enjoyed by the citizens of these states.

2. Freedom to Negotiate
Supporters claim that this has given Congress the capacity and power to go into negotiations with other countries in times of conflicts. This has resulted to better relationships with other nations. The Articles of Confederation also gave Congress the authority to declare war and peace where it sees fit. Along with the power acquired by Congress came the creation of important departments in the US such as the Department of Foreign Affairs and Department of Postal Service.

3. Friendship among States
Proponents of the First Constitution posit that this has led to the coming together of the 13 states which not only ironed out conflicts but formed lasting friendships among them. Moreover, this has provided stronger support from different states to go against outside forces.

List of Cons of Articles of Confederation

1. Imposition of Taxes
The Articles of Confederation gave power to Congress but on the issue of tax collection, the latter remains weak. The government was not able to maintain balance in commerce and taxes came for the states. This has resulted to debts by the government as well as lack of resources to finance the acquisition of supplies during the war.

2. Flawed and Weak
Critics posit that these articles lacked power and one of the obvious signs was the time it took for its ratification. Moreover, not all the relevant issues have been addressed by the agreement. The central government was weak and there was no president or an army. Opponents claim that despite the power to build alliances and treaties such as the Treaty of Paris, there were still American citizens who were prohibited to enter the British West Indies. Also, British troops were still in American territory even after the ratification.

3. Revision of the Constitution
People from the opposition say that the Articles of Confederation has shown weakness and failure in some aspects like taxation. Although there were chances given to Congress for amendment, these attempts failed. According to critics, these are signs that the First Constitution was not perfect and the central government was weak.