What Are the Articles of Confederation?

And Other Questions about the Birth of the United States

From the Series Six Questions of American History

  • Interest Level: Grade 4 - Grade 6
  • Reading Level: Grade 5

In June 1776, colonial delegates to the Continental Congress began writing a document to set up a new country—with a government independent from Britain. The Articles of Confederation created a limited centralized government, with states keeping most of the power. After sixteen months of debate, delegates finally passed the Articles on November 15, 1777. But afterward, many conflicts arose. It became clear that the country needed—but also feared—a stronger central government. The states sent delegates to another meeting called the Constitutional Convention, out of which came the U.S. Constitution.

So who attended the Continental Congress?
How did the Articles of Confederation hold the country together during the Revolutionary War?
What was Shay’s Rebellion?

Discover the facts about the Articles of Confederation and learn how this document influenced the formation of the U.S. government.

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Interest Level Grade 4 - Grade 6
Reading Level Grade 5
Genre Social Studies
Copyright 2012
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Lerner Publications ™
Language English
Number of Pages 48
Publication Date 2012-01-01
Reading Counts! Level 4.4
Text Type Informational/Explanatory
BISACS JNF025190, JNF043000
Dewey 342.7302'9
Graphics Full-color illustrations
Dimensions 7 x 9
Lexile 720
Guided Reading Level T
ATOS Reading Level 5.9
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 149016
Accelerated Reader® Points 1.0
Features Bibliography/further reading, Index, Reviewed, Sidebars, Source notes, Table of contents, Teaching Guides, Timeline, and eSource

Author: Laura Hamilton Waxman

Laura Hamilton Waxman lives in Minnesota and has written many nonfiction books for young readers.

Lerner eSource™ offers free digital teaching and learning resources, including Common Core State Standards (CCSS) teaching guides. These guides, created by classroom teachers, offer short lessons and writing exercises that give students specific instruction and practice using Common Core skills and strategies. Lerner eSource also provides additional resources including online activities, downloadable/printable graphic organizers, and additional educational materials that would also support Common Core instruction. Download, share, pin, print, and save as many of these free resources as you like!

Six Questions of American History

Explore pivotal moments in US history, from colonial times to the Civil War. Discover the who, what, where, when, why, and how of important events such as the Pilgrims settling at Plymouth, Massachusetts, and Abraham Lincoln issuing the Emancipation Proclamation. Writing exercises at the View available downloads →


The Horn Book Guide

“Informative sidebars and colorful graphics enhance these lively narratives. Salem and Oregon Trail especially stand out because they give young readers an understanding through the eyes of people who lived at the time. Articles is a more linear, factual account, clearly showing the development of the American federal system of government.” —The Horn Book Guide

School Library Journal

“The ‘six questions’ approach (who, what, where, when, why, how) provides a useful framework, taking readers through events in an easy-to-understand progression…. Period paintings, prints, and maps provide visual interest. Teachers will appreciate the list of additional resources at the end.” —School Library Journal


“The Six Questions of American History series investigates events in our nation’s past in the same way a journalist might—through the framework of who, what, when, where, why, and how. As a result, readers uncover the past rather than memorize it.” —Booklist