- Congress consisted of only one house. Its delegates where chosen annually
by the state legislatures, or law-making branches of state governments. The
states paid the delegates and could recall them at any time. Each state had
one vote. As a result, the state legislatures controlled Congress.
- There was no independent executive branch, or president, to enforce acts
of Congress. When Congress was not in session, a Committee of the States made
up of one delegate from each state carried on the functions of the government.
- There was no judicial branch, or national court system. State courts interpreted
the laws passed by Congress.
- Congress had no power to levy, or collect taxes.
- Congress could not regulate trade between the states or with foreign nations.
- The approval of nine of the thirteen states was necessary for Congress to
carry out many of the functions that had been given to it. Congress could
not enter into treaties, borrow or coin money, or decide the size of the armed
forces without the consent of nine states.
- Congress had no way of enforcing obedience to its laws or to the Articles
of Confederation. States took over the powers specifically given to Congress.
For example, states negotiated with foreign governments and established their
own currency and post offices.
- Consent of all the states was needed to amend or change the Articles of