Articles of Confederation

Essential Question

How could our Founding Fathers best meet the governing needs of the various factions after the Revolutionary War?


Lesson Activities

  1. JIGSAW: Create 7 groups of 3 or 4 in each group and assign sections of the Articles of Confederation to read:
    • Group 1 – Articles I – IV
    • Group 2 – Articles V – VI
    • Group 3 – Articles VII – IX (end of Par.1)
    • Group 4 – Article IX (Par. 2 & 3)
    • Group 5 – Article IX (Par. 4 & 5)
    • Group 6 – Article IX (Par. 6 & 7)
    • Group 7 – Articles X – XIII
  2. Have each group read their assigned portion of the Articles of Confederation and write out on a large sheet of Post-It paper, in their own words, from their section:
    • What are the five most important facts about the creation of our first national government? You are looking for structure and function.
    • Place a title/category/classification at the top of the Post-It paper that summarizes the type of information you included from your section.
  3. Each group will select a reporter who will briefly explain the title and information provided on the Post-Its to the large group.
  4. CAROUSEL: Each group will walk around the room as the teacher allows two minutes to read/view each Post-It. As you are walking around the room, create a "T-Chart" of strengths and weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation.
  5. Lecture covering key points and passage of the Land Ordinance of 1785 and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787.
  6. Questions to consider as a large group:
    • Why did Congress have so much trouble passing laws under the terms of the Articles of Confederation?
    • Why was it difficult or impossible for the government of the United States, under the Articles, to raise money to pay its expenses?
    • Why was it difficult or impossible for the government of the United States, under the Articles, to settle disputes between the states or between citizens of different states?
    • Which of the weaknesses of the Articles proved most significant in causing the failure of government under the Articles?
    • What amendments might the states have added to the Articles to make this plan for government more effective?