20 Crucial Pros and Cons of Article of Confederation

Article of confederation is an agreement among the 13 original states of the United States of America that served as its first constitution. It was to preserve the independence and sovereignty of the states. It provided written rules on how the state could be organized. The laws needed approval from all the 13 states. Any changes were to be approved by all the 13 states.

Pros and Cons of Article of Confederation

Pros of Article of Confederation

  1. The system of government was similar to tribal government

Before that, there were very many tribal attacks that were caused by European settlers coming in to take the lands of the locals. Article of confederation was brought in so that the system of government could be familiar to the locals which offered the potential of finding some common grounds to prevent the warfare.

  1. It gave chances to people to solve their differences

The article was a way to help the United States to begin to heal. There were different groups of people. There the loyalties that did not want their colonies to become an independent country, patriots who were protesting against British authority and the Quakers who preferred to speak out of neutrality. This made the Quakers to be attacked by the patriots as they kept on doing business with the British. With the introduction of the article of confederation, it made the fights to stop.

  1. It allowed domestic and foreign trade

The article encouraged trade between different states since the states could come together to obtain and share resources equally. It was to make sure that everyone could access the same opportunities. The whole process helped to create unity among the states.

  1. Reduction in the threat of political polarization

Article of confederation required absolute agreement for any of it to be changed. This made it difficult for government documents to be altered. Politicians could not change the documents to favor them hence the voice of every citizen was heard.

  1. Each state had its preferred level of global influence

Some states preferred independent relationships while others preferred to join with others to have a unified front on the global level. All states were allowed to work together to create more influence when working with the international governments with the emergency of the article of confederation. The article helped to provide unified leadership to access American colonies.

  1. It allowed free movement of Americans in their country

As the states were part of the union, the citizens did not require documents to travel to another state. The article only allowed for a defined border for each state and for the United States at the same time. It allowed citizens to travel to any colony they wished and at any time.

  1. The United States could maintain independence

The states were able to maintain their colonial sovereignty under one governing banner with the articles of confederation. It allowed the usual bond without destroying the independence of the state government. The states were allowed to nominate their own ambassadors or handle their own territorial issues.

  1. It allowed states to send ambassadors to other states overseas

With the article of confederation in place, the states were able to send their ambassadors to other states overseas as there were peace and unity in the states.

  1. It required complete agreement to make changes to it

To make changes to the article, all the 13 states were to ratify the change. That made it impossible to change the constitution which was attempted to be changed twice but it was not possible. The governing consistency was at a level that everyone could rely on.

Cons of Article of Confederation

  1. There was a restriction on the ability to act on emergency

As there are guidelines to be followed, it is not easy for the article to be changed. In case of emergency, the state cannot do anything as the article does not allow them. This can lead to one state taking advantage of another hence affecting its running.

  1. It allowed slavery

The article allowed slavery in that it included taxation assignment. Slaves were listed as property and their value was taxed by the government structures. The southern states wanted only the white citizens to be counted for taxation while the northern states wanted everyone except the native Americans to be counted for taxation.

  1. There was too much independence

According to the article, each state was given a chance to act as a small nation of its own. At a point, each state was allowed to issue its own currency and this led to inflation which reduced the economic powers of the state.

  1. It did not have the authority to levy a tax

The government was coming in to finance every project that was to be undertaken as there was no money in the states. This was because there was no correct order on how the tax could be asked from the members of the public and this made the government lack sources of income.

  1. No authority to regulate commerce

The authority to regulate commerce was delegated to the states. There was no centralized authority of commerce. Trade opportunities were negotiated independently with each state. That made a trade to be difficult among the states.

  1. It took a long time for it to be implemented

As there needs to be consultation among the states for a law to be enacted, it led to spending a lot of time on one point to be implemented before moving to the next. This led to the usage of a lot of time for the whole article to be written and implemented.

  1. Governing was slow

The article avoided anything from Britain hence they did not want anything related to the king. Their structure of government was limited and they had no authority to impose laws on the states. Those in position could do little to affect the course the country would take.

  1. It allowed high levels of bureaucracy

The decisions were made by the state officials and that led to each state having its own currency which eventually affected trade in the states. US-based currencies were accepted and that meant that for one to do trade he had to exchange 14 different currencies. This created high inflation rates which reduced the economic impact that each state would contribute.

  1. It failed to create a national judiciary system

Capital offense cases were handled by congressional committees. Each state had its own way of handling the cases and the kind of punishment that would be given to the offenders. That made it difficult to predict the kind of punishment that can be given to someone who has committed a crime.

  1. Civil wars as a result of land claims

Some states almost went to war as a result of land claims. States such as Virginia and Connecticut almost went to war. That led to people thinking of a different structure of government being formed.

  1. It prevented the United States from handling its debts

After the war, the US had a lot of international creditors. The loans from Spain, France, and Dutch that they used during the war. It made many soldiers not to receive their promised pay.


There was a great desire in the states to avoid the mistakes made by the British. The lessons learned helped the country to move forward. There are some drawbacks that need to be looked into for the article to serve the main purpose.

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