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Articles of Confederation: About

Articles of Confederation

The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union was the first written constitution of the United States. Written in 1777 and stemming from wartime urgency, its progress was slowed by fears of central authority and extensive land claims by states. It was not ratified until March 1, 1781. Under these articles, the states remained sovereign and independent, with Congress serving as the last resort on appeal of disputes. Significantly, The Articles of Confederation named the new nation “The United States of America.” Congress was given the authority to make treaties and alliances, maintain armed forces and coin money. However, the central government lacked the ability to levy taxes and regulate commerce, issues that led to the Constitutional Convention in 1787 for the creation of new federal laws under The United States Constitution.  From the beginning of the American Revolution, Congress felt the need for a stronger union and a government powerful enough to defeat Great Britain.

During the early years of the war this desire became a belief that the new nation must have a constitutional order appropriate to its republican character. A fear of central authority inhibited the creation of such a government, and widely shared political theory held that a republic could not adequately serve a large nation such as the United States. The legislators of a large republic would be unable to remain in touch with the people they represented, and the republic would inevitably degenerate into a tyranny. Continue reading from History

Ten Reasons why America’s First Constitution Failed

in 1777 that the Articles of Confederation, the first American constitution, was sent to the 13 states for consideration. It didn’t last a decade, for some obvious reasons.

On November 17, 1777, Congress submitted the Articles to the states for immediate consideration. Two days earlier, the Second Continental Congress approved the document, after a year of debates. The British capture of Philadelphia also forced the issue.

The Articles formed a war-time confederation of states, with an extremely limited central government. The document made official some of the procedures used by the Congress to conduct business, but many of the delegates realized the Articles had limitations.

Here is a quick list of the problems that occurred, and how these issues led to our current Constitution. 

1. The states didn’t act immediately. It took until February 1779 for 12 states to approve the document. Maryland held out until March 1781, after it settled a land argument with Virginia.  Continue reading from Constitution Center

Link to the framers' coup by michel Klarman in the catalog
link to The quartet : orchestrating the second American Revolution by Joseph J. Ellis
link to The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay in the catalog
Link to the Founding Fathers' Guide to the Constitution by Brion McClanahan in the catalog
Link to Creating The Constitution by Christopher Collier in the catalog
link to The Everything U.S. Constitution Book An easy-to-understand explanation of the foundation of American government by  Ellen M.. Kozak in the catalog

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