Individual state legislatures independently laid embargoes, negotiated directly with foreign authorities, raised armies, and made war, all violating the letter and the spirit of the Articles.
Under the Articles of Confederation, the central government's power was quite limited.
The Confederation Congress could make decisions, but lacked enforcement powers.
Unlike earlier attempts, the convention was not meant for new laws or piecemeal alterations, but for the "sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation".
The convention was not limited to commerce; rather, it was intended to "render the federal constitution adequate to the exigencies of government and the preservation of the Union." The proposal might take effect when approved by Congress and the states.
In no formal sense was it a gathering representative of existing colonial governments; it represented the dissatisfied elements of the people, such persons as were sufficiently interested to act, despite the strenuous opposition of the loyalists and the obstruction or disfavor of colonial governors.