The Articles of Confederation established the nation’s first form of government, creating a “confederation” of sovereign states in “a firm league of friendship with each other.” Adopted by the Second Continental Congress as the governing document for the fledgling nation, the Articles gave most governmental powers to the states, leaving the federal government little control. The Articles were eventually replaced by the Constitution.
The Second Continental Congress was the body of colonial delegates that first met in May 1775, by arrangement of the First Continental Congress. Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, who had not taken part in the First Continental Congress, were among its members. During the American Revolution, the Second Continental Congress served as the provisional government of the colonies, issued the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and adopted the Articles of Confederation in 1777.
Deficiencies of the Articles of Confederation
No separate executive branch to carry out the laws of Congress
No national judiciary to handle offenses against the central government’s laws or to settle disputes between states
Congress did not have the power to levy taxes
Congress could not regulate interstate and foreign commerce
The states as well as Congress had the power to coin money
Congress could not support an army or navy and was dependent on state militias