The Articles of Confederation left the young country ill-equipped to deal with a series of problems. The period from the adoption of the Articles to the adoption of the Federal Constitution (1781-89) has been labeled the “critical period” of American history. George Washington, describing those days, lamented that the states were held together by a “rope of sand.”
Foreign and domestic challenges existed:
The “critical period” was not a time of unmitigated disaster. Despite its shortcomings, the Articles did foster some sense of national unity by bringing together men from all parts of the country. Improvements were made to transportation and communication (improved mail delivery, for example), which also fostered the beginnings of a national identity.
Most importantly, Americans were buoyed by their victory in the war and felt a common pride in their emerging place in the world.