Uniting a Nation: The Model of Articles of Confederation and the American Experiment - Benjamin Church

American literature essay. Literary analysis of works and characters - Sykalo Evgen 2023

Uniting a Nation: The Model of Articles of Confederation and the American Experiment
Benjamin Church

Creating a political structure that could bring thirteen sovereign states under one federal government was a crucial task facing the newly established United States in the wake of the American Revolution. The United States' first national constitution, the Articles of Confederation, was drafted in response to this necessity. Through a literary lens, this article will study the Articles of Confederation, looking at their themes, structure, advantages and disadvantages, and influence on the American experience.


A feeble central government with little authority was established by the Articles of Confederation. Every state was still able to rule itself and impose taxes while maintaining its independence and sovereignty. In general, war, international relations, and interstate conflicts fell under the purview of the central authority. This structure represented the fear of centralized power and the desire to maintain the autonomy of the individual states. It was modeled after the Enlightenment concepts of individual liberty and limited government.


The Articles of Confederation are replete with several important themes:

Unity vs. Sovereignty: The goal of the agreement was to strike a compromise between the states' need for unity and their desire to maintain their respective forms of sovereignty. This conflict would eventually show to be one of the Articles' main weaknesses.
Limited Government: A feeble central government with limited authority was established as a result of the fear of tyranny and centralized power. Although the goal of this restricted government was to protect individual rights, it made it more difficult for the federal government to deal with shared issues.
Confederalism: The Articles of Confederation created a system of government in which the various states continued to be the principal political units. Managing a single country was made difficult by this system's inability to control interstate commerce or execute national laws.
Advantages and Drawbacks:

The confederation's articles of confederation had advantages and disadvantages.


Preserved state sovereignty: An essential component for the newly established country, the agreement guaranteed each state's independence and autonomy.
Limited federal power: Individual liberties were safeguarded and the central government's power was kept in check to avoid the rise of a despotic regime.
Flexibility: The document's ability to be modified and amended showed that it was flexible enough to change with the times.

Weak central government: It was challenging for the national government to handle matters like debt management, interstate commerce, and national security because of its limited authority.
Absence of an enforcement mechanism caused a lack of cohesion and collaboration because the Articles did not provide a way to enforce state laws or settle conflicts between states.
Incapacity to control commerce: The development of a national economy was hampered by the central government's incapacity to control interstate commerce, which led to economic problems.
Effect on the Experiment in America:

Early on in the American experiment, the Articles of Confederation were very important. They protected the rights of each separate state while offering a foundation for a united nation. But in the end, the document's flaws were exposed, which made a more powerful central authority necessary. The U.S. Constitution, which corrected the earlier document's flaws and established a stronger and more permanent foundation for the American republic, was drafted as a replacement for the Articles of Confederation.

In summary:

One important document in the early history of the United States was the Articles of Confederation. Even though it was poorly carried out, it was a crucial national-building experiment and cleared the path for a more reliable and efficient national administration. The document's advantages and disadvantages provide insightful information about the chances and difficulties the young country faced and continue to influence debates concerning the place of the federal government and individual liberties in American culture.