Problems With the Articles of Confederation

Contributor: Meghan Vestal. Lesson ID: 12253

Have you ever wondered why the US is called The United States of America? The states were brought together in a loose group with an agreement that didn't work very well. Find out why it was replaced!


United States, United States

learning style
personality style
Lion, Beaver
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Skill Sharpener

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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About 945,000 people call the state of Delaware home. California has a population of about 39,000,000 people.

  • Should these two states be given the same number of representatives in Congress?

In the previous lesson in our The Articles of Confederation series, found under Related Lessons in the right-hand sidebar, you learned about the Articles of Confederation.

To review what you have learned, take the following quiz. If you have a difficult time answering the questions, go back and review the information from the previous lesson before moving forward with this lesson:

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  • How did you do on the review quiz?

If you answered most of the questions correctly, proceed with this lesson by getting a piece of paper and a pencil. When you are ready, copy the following two-column chart on your paper, leaving enough space between each list item to write your reasons in the right-hand column:

Problems with the Articles of Confederation Reasons Why This Was a Problem
  1. Almost all power was given to the state government.
  1. Congress had no power to levy taxes or regulate trade between the colonies.
  1. There was no common currency throughout the colonies.
  1. Each state only had one vote in Congress despite its population size.
  1. There was only one branch of government (Legislative), and it consisted of a single house.


As you know, the Articles of Confederation have been replaced by the Constitution, and are no longer used in the United States today. This is because the Articles of Confederation provided a quick fix for the country in the midst of the Revolutionary War, but they were riddled with problems.

In the chart, you wrote the five major problems with the Articles of Confederation. Next to each of the problems, in the “Reasons Why This Was a Problem” column, write why and how each issue caused conflict or a sense of disconnect between the colonies. When you are finished, share your ideas with your teacher or parent. Flip through the cards below to learn more about the issues created by the Articles of Confederation:

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As you can see, the Articles of Confederation created a lot of tension throughout the colonies. Write the answers to the following questions on a separate piece of paper. Then, discuss your answers with your teacher or parent:

  • Which of the problems with the Articles of Confederation do you think caused the most problems?
  • How would each of these problems have bothered you, if you were alive during colonial times?

After you have finished discussing the questions, move onto the Got It? section to review some of the solutions to these problems.

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