The Articles of Confederation


US History The U.S. Constitution The Articles of Confederation
Students learn about the Articles of Confederation. They discover when and why they were written, the structure and powers of the government it established, achievements and limitations of the government (including the Land Ordinance of 1787), and the significance of Shays' Rebellion on the Articles.

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Overview

In this experience, students learn about the Articles of Confederation. They discover when and why they were written, the structure and powers of the government it established, achievements and limitations of the government (including the Land Ordinance of 1787), and the significance of Shays Rebellion on the Articles.

Objectives:

  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the Article of Confederation.
  • Describe the process the Articles created for admitting new states.
  • Explain why many Americans called for changes to the Articles and how it influenced leaders to change them.
  • Explain the significance of Shays’ Rebellion.


Before and during the war, the Continental Congress—made up delegates from the thirteen colonies—discussed and decided issues that affected all of the colonies. In 1776, the Continental Congress declared America’s independence from Great Britain. Then in 1781, they ratified the Articles of Confederation, which is considered the nation’s first constitution because it sets up the first national government.

In this experience, you will learn about the Articles of Confederation. You’ll discover when and why they were written, the structure and powers of the government it established, achievements and limitations of the government (including the Land Ordinance of 1787), and the significance of Shays’ Rebellion on the Articles.

Objectives:

  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the Article of Confederation.
  • Describe the process the Articles created for admitting new states.
  • Explain why many Americans called for changes to the Articles and how it influenced leaders to change them.
  • Explain the significance of Shays’ Rebellion.




Articles of the Confederation


The official title of the document is Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union between the States of… and then a list of the original thirteen states.



The Continental Congress proposed the Articles of Confederation in 1777, but they would not be ratified until 1781. Why do you think some delegates supported a national constitution at this time? Why do you think some delegates objected to the constitution?






Delegates supported the constitution because they needed a national government to declare, organize, and support the war effort. But others objected to a national government because they did not want a powerful central government that would take away states’ rights. They were afraid that a central government could be as tyrannical as the British rule they were fighting.


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