George Washington felt the Articles of Confederation failed to support national interests.
George Washington felt the Articles of Confederation failed to support national interests.

The Articles of Confederation, the charter that established the first national government among the 13 American colonies, created an alliance of independent and sovereign states united under a central government with little real power. That fundamental flaw triggered several major problems for the emerging nation.

Military

Rather than creating a national military, the Articles left it to the individual militias in each state to provide a common defense for the nation. There was no consistent training or military conduct, and no national pool of funds to pay for soldiers and supplies.

Money

The Confederation had no power to tax citizens and raise money to support causes such as a national military. The states were supposed to collect taxes and contribute money when the national government requested it. However, the Confederation had no authority to enforce those requests for support, and they were frequently ignored.

Trade

Under the Articles, the states kept their rights to make their own trade laws and set their own tariffs. Competition among the states for international markets was fierce. The Confederation had no power to set international commerce laws that would promote economic growth and prosperity for the nation as a whole.