The Articles of Confederation provided a weak and ineffective government with respect to national economy. However, ordinances formed under the Confederation provided a successful method of western colonization, and these ordinances were the basis upon which the remainder of the United States was settled. Government under the Articles was detrimental to America's economy, thus ineffective in its short-term aspects. Nonetheless, ordinances created under this government ultimately led to the forging of a powerful new nation.
The United States economy suffered a harsh blow under the Articles of Confederation. America was in tremendous debt to countries like France whom had offered large, monetary advances to the United States to pay for the costs of the revolutionary war. Robert Morris, the national superintendent of finance, proposed a national import duty of 5% in order to raise revenue to repay these debts. To Morris" misfortune, however, the Articles of Confederation required the unanimous vote of all thirteen states in order to levy national taxes. Rhode Island, the smallest state in the Union, was the only state to reject the duty. This demonstrated the corruption of the Articles and the dire effect they had on the economy; the decision of one small state prevented the entire country from receiving a much-needed financial boost. In 1786, a farmer named Daniel Shays and a group of two thousand farmers attempted to shut down several areas of the Massachusetts government, particularly the areas that dealt with farm foreclosures. Shays and thousands of other farmers were unable to pay taxes and debts in specie, the only currency accepted, and as a result their farms were seized. Because the Articles of Confederation did not specify a national currency, Americans of different states and social classes were unable to participate in commerce relatively and fairly. Shays" rebellion was an example of both the weakness of the Articles and their detrimental effect on the country's economy.