Following the Declaration of Independence, the newly independent colonies established a republic under the Articles of Confederation.
The Articles of Confederation established a loose confederation that protected state sovereignty. The Articles of Confederation had several major failings: the central government was powerless to tax or regulate interstate or foreign commerce; no executive directed the government; any new laws or amendments to the articles required unanimous consent of the state legislatures.
If a state legislature representative was unavailable, then no laws nor amendments could be voted upon. America's new government, society and economy floundered, leading to revolts such as Shays' Rebellion.