The Achievements of the Confederation
IT IS commonly believed that during the Confederation the government of the United States was a weak and incompetent affair, devoid of power and ideas, without a record of achievement, and sinking fast into oblivion. Certain basic ideas are set forth about it: it was difficult to get a quorum of Congress to do business; it had no income; it had no power to handle the country's ills, and so on. The government was "weak," of that there is no question. It had been created that way deliberately because its founders had feared, and during the 1780's they continued to fear, a strong central government as they had feared and fought against the British government before 1776.
Yet one cannot understand the history of the Confederation government if one talks of it only in terms of efforts to remedy its obvious weaknesses. To do so is to miss much of the point of the political history of the American Revolution. One misses also the fact that the central government struggled mightily with problems left by the war and with still others arising from the birth of a new nation. Furthermore, one loses sight of the fact that the government of the Confederation achieved a measure of success, at least according to the lights of those who believed in the kind of central government provided by the Articles of Confederation.
The Congress of the Confederation laid foundations for the administration of a central government which were to be expanded