After a hard fought war of the American Revolution in 1781, thirteen states felt the need to unify their apparent energies into the first American government. The states came together under the establishment of the articles of confederation, which became effective for a short period. According to Jensen (1959), the confederation lasted March 1781 to March 1789. The demise of the articles saw the emergence of the American constitution. Several problems emerged in the articles of confederation.
Firstly, as Woods (1969) observes, each state was entitled to only one Congress vote (p. 355). This seems fair except that it did not take into account the various sizes of the states. In such cases, states with large land mass and population coverage felt sidelined, as their strength was not relevant. Secondly, the confederation did not enact an executive branch. The executive branch is a significant institution to enforce acts of the congress. Lack of such a body created a vacuum where no enforcement and actual implementation took place effectively. These problems became ominous when the article demanded that amendments required a holistic voting of the congress (Jensen, 1959). Ref remarks that such a prerequisite caused a major stalemate in congress amendment procedures.
The reasons for such problems can have various paradigms and explanations. The fresh stake at enacting a unified government was a major factor. As is common, the new states just had a vague idea of becoming unified, on a new system with no prior practice. In the process, many states wanted to form part of the federation while still having the state activities individually. This was so apparent when the congress lacked the ability to raise funds or control the commerce within the states. Furthermore, the unicameral nature of the government was another reason as well as a problem. In the absence of an executive and a court system for the government, it became vulnerable, weak, and meaningless in actions.
In conclusion, a good government body should have a clear difference between the various arms. Each arm should have a state of independence while working for the common good. These factors apparently lacked in the articles of confederation. As such, its conception and practice led to its premature death and replacement with the US Constitution.
Jensen, Merrill (1959). The Articles of Confederation: An Interpretation of the Social-Constitutional History of the American Revolution, 1774–1781. University of Wisconsin Press. pp. xi, 184. ISBN 978-0-299-00204-6
Wood, Gordon S. (1969). The Creation of the American Republic: 1776–1787. University of North Carolina Press. pp. 354–55.