Ratified in 1781, the Articles of Confederation served as the first constitution of the 13 original states and officially created the United States of America. The Articles reflected the fear of the states that a central government would exercise too much power over their citizens. Indeed, the Articles specified that the states would retain their ‘sovereignty, freedom and independence.’ Most notably, the Articles of Confederation denied the US Congress the power to collect taxes, regulate interstate commerce and enforce laws. As a result, the Articles allowed the individual states to retain the greatest share of governmental power. Rebellions, pointed out the need for a stronger federal government eventually leading to the Constitutional Convention in 1787. The present United States Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation on March 4, 1789. At the time of the rebellion, the weaknesses of the federal government as constituted under the Articles of Confederation were apparent. A vigorous debate was going on throughout the states on the need for a stronger central government, with Federalists arguing for the idea, and Anti-Federalists opposing them. Temporarily drawing some anti-Federalists to the strong government side. By early 1785, many influential merchants and political leaders already agreed that a stronger central government was required. The Articles of Confederation gave Congress the power to govern foreign affairs, conduct war and regulate currency however, in reality these powers were sharply limited because Congress had no authority to enforce its requests to the states for money or troops.

“Under the Articles of Confederation, the national government had the power to issue commands to several sovereign states, but it had no authority to govern individuals directly.”

–David Souter – 1985