Limitations of the Articles of Confederation

ryanGovernment, Mini Lessons

Common Sense Government eBook: The Articles of Confederation, Shays’ Rebellion, and the Call for a Constitutional Convention

While a league of friendship was undoubtedly better than many of the alternatives, it was by no means sufficient as a governing concept for the United States. The failures of the Articles were felt almost immediately, and most acutely by none other than George Washington. Under the Articles, the states were repeatedly unable to respond to requests for men, supplies, and money during the Revolutionary War.

After the conclusion of the War (but before the Treaty of Paris was even signed), Washington sent his Circular Letter to the States in order to address the many defects of the Articles, and to urge his fellow countrymen to act while there was still time.

  1. While watching the video, consider what conditions were necessary before a new constitutional arrangement could be contemplated. Without the unrest, do you think it would have been possible?
  2. There are indications that the United States is beginning to face a constitutional crisis. What is bringing this about?

This reading is an excerpt from Certell’s Common Sense Government eBook.  Certell offers curriculum materials and eBooks free of charge for use by students and teachers.  Click here to download the Common Sense Government materials.

Image Citation:

28, Aug. 2018, Cartoon Federalism vs. States Rights [Digital image].  Retrieved from <>.