The Articles of Confederation

Posted on March 20, 2012 by topshot

The Articles of Confederation served as a bridge between the British Crown Rule of the original 13 colonies and the adoption and ratification of the Constitution of the United States. It was drawn up after the Declaration of Independence by a committee made up of members of the Second Continental Congress representing the thirteen newly Independent States. The proposed articles were presented to the members of Congress 8 days after the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 12, 1776 by a committee of congressional members. This committee intentionally established 13 independent and sovereign states with the emphasis on a very limited amount of governmental control. After years of heavy handed control by the British, the Congress was united in its thinking that government should have very little power to tell the states what they could and could not do. Initially there was a lot of arguing between the states concerning borders and equal representation by the smaller states but eventually a consensus was reached and the Articles were signed and ratified on March 1, 1781.

The Articles stated that the Congress had the power to regulate foreign affairs, war, and the postal service and to appoint military officers, control Indian affairs, borrow money, determine the value of coin, and issue bills of credit. These Articles were in effect from March 1, 1781 thru March 4, 1789 when the Constitution of the United States went into effect. The Articles of Confederation are often forgotten, but they were a necessary and important first step forward towards what would ultimately be drafting of The Constitution of the United States of America. The Congress adopted many of the Articles but gave the government more power in the final draft of the Constitution. The Constitution also provided for the Executive and Judicial branches of government that were not part of the Articles.

The study of the Articles of Confederation will give the reader a good starting point when researching and studying the Constitution and the times and reasons leading up to its writing and ultimate ratification.


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