The Articles of confedration

Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union…

Williamsburg: Va.

Printed by Alexander Purdie [1777].

Rare Book and Special Collections Division.

The Continental Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation, the first constitution of the United States, on November 15, 1777. However, ratification of the Articles of Confederation by all thirteen states did not occur until March 1, 1781. The Articles created a loose confederation of sovereign states and a weak central government, leaving most of the power with the state governments. The need for a stronger Federal government soon became apparent and eventually led to the Constitutional Convention in 1787. The present United States Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation on March 4, 1789.

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Digital Collections

A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774-1875

Important milestones related to the Articles of Confederation include the following references in the Journals of the Continental Congress:

June 11, 1776 – The Continental Congress resolved “that a committee be appointed to prepare and digest the form of a confederation to be entered into between these colonies.”

June 12, 1776 – The committee members were appointed “to prepare and digest the form of a confederation to be entered into between these colonies.”

July 12, 1776 – The first draft of the Articles of Confederation was presented to the Continental Congress.

November 15, 1777 – The Continental Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation.

November 17, 1777 – The Articles of Confederation were submitted to the states with a request for immediate action.

June 25, 1778 – A committee of three was appointed to prepare the form of a ratification of the Articles of Confederation.

June 26, 1778 – The Articles of Confederation were ordered to be engrossed.

June 27, 1778 – The first engrossed copy was found to be incorrect, and a second engrossed copy was ordered.

July 9, 1778 – The second engrossed copy of the Articles of Confederation was signed and ratified by the delegates from eight states: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and South Carolina.

July 21, 1778 – North Carolina delegates signed the ratification of the Articles of Confederation.

July 24, 1778 – Georgia delegates signed the ratification of the Articles of Confederation.

November 26, 1778 – New Jersey delegates signed the ratification of the Articles of Confederation.

May 5, 1779 – Delaware delegates signed the ratification of the Articles of Confederation.

March 1, 1781 – Maryland delegates signed the ratification of the Articles of Confederation. The Articles were finally ratified by all thirteen states.

February 21, 1787 – Congress approved a plan to hold a convention in Philadelphia to revise the Articles of Confederation.

Search the Journals of the Continental Congress using the word “confederation” or the phrase “Articles of Confederation” to locate additional information on this topic.

The Letters of Delegates to Congress contains drafts of the Articles of Confederation by Josiah Bartlett and John Dickinson from late June 1776. Both Bartlett and Dickinson were members of the committee responsible for writing the draft of the Articles of Confederation. This publication also includes a few notes on the plan of Confederation written by Bartlett.

Elliot’s Debates provides a summary of the ratification process for the Articles of Confederation, a transcript of Thomas Jefferson’s notes of debate on confederation, and another copy of the Articles.

Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, 1774 to 1789

This collection contains 277 documents relating to the work of Congress and the drafting and ratification of the Constitution. It includes the essay To Form a More Perfect Union, which provides background in

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