What were other weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation?
*The lack of central authority made relations with foreign countries more difficult. For example, one British official said it would be better to negotiate with each state than to do business with Congress. When Congress tried to reach a trade agreement with Britain in 1785, Britain refused because it knew the states wouldn't agree to be bound by the accord.
*Many foreign countries also questioned the nation's financial stability. The United States had accumulated a huge war debt, mostly to foreign lenders. But Congress lacked funds to pay its debts. The Articles directed the state legislatures to pay taxes to the national treasury based on the value of each state's land. However, Congress could not force the states to pay.
*To make matters worse, overseas trade shrank under the confederation. Britain restricted American trade by closing some of its ports to American vessels. These actions hurt the American economy, which depended heavily on the British market. Meanwhile, the United States had little success boosting trade with other countries.
*Another problem was national defense. In the Treaty of Paris, Britain had agreed to withdraw troops from the Northwest Territory. Once it saw how weak Congress was, however, it refused to pull them out. Britain and Spain supplied arms to American Indians and urged them to attack settlers. Having disbanded the Continental Army after the war, Congress had no military force to counteract this threat.