Articles of Confederation
The Articles of Confederation, formally the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, was an agreement among all thirteen original states in the United States of America that served as its first constitution. It was ratified by all thirteen states in early 1781. Government under the Articles was replaced by a new constitution and federal form of government in 1789.
Contents[change | change source]
Even though the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution were established by many of the same people, the two documents were very different. The original five-paged Articles contained thirteen articles, a conclusion, and a signatory section. The following list contains short summaries of each of the thirteen articles.
- Establishes the name of the confederation as "The United States of America."
- Asserts the precedence of the separate states over the confederation government, i.e. "Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated."
- Establishes the United States as a league of states united ". . . for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them . . . ."
- Establishes freedom of movement–anyone can pass freely between states, excluding "paupers, vagabonds, and fugitives from justice." All people are entitled to the rights established by the state into which he travels. If a crime is committed in one state and the perpetrator flees to another state, he will be extradited to and tried in the state in which the crime was committed.
- Allocates one vote in the Congress of the Confederation (United States in Congress Assembled) to each state, which was entitled to a delegation of between two and seven members. Members of Congress were appointed by state legislatures; individuals could not serve more than three out of any six years.
- Only the central government is allowed to conduct foreign relations and to declare war. No states have navies or standing armies, or engage in war, without permission of Congress (although the state militias are encouraged).
- When an army is raised for common defense, colonels and military ranks below colonel will be named by the state legislatures.
- Expenditures by the United States will be paid by funds raised by state legislatures, and apportioned to the states based on the real property values of each.
- Defines the powers of the central government: to declare war, to set weights and measures (including coins), and for Congress to serve as a final court for disputes between states.
- Defines a Committee of the States to be a government when Congress is not in session.
- Requires nine states to approve the admission of a new state into the confederacy; pre-approves Canada, if it applies for membership.
- Reaffirms that the Confederation accepts war debt incurred by Congress before the Articles.
- Declares that the Articles are perpetual, and can only be altered by approval of Congress with ratification by all the state legislatures.
Gallery[change | change source]
References[change | change source]
- R. B. Bernstein, "Parliamentary Principles, American Realities: The Continental and Confederation Congresses, 1774-1789," in Inventing Congress: Origins & Establishment Of First Federal Congress ed by Kenneth R. Bowling and Donald R. Kennon (1999) pp 76–108
- Burnett, Edmund Cody. The Continental Congress: A Definitive History of the Continental Congress From Its Inception in 1774 to March, 1789 (1941)
- Barbara Feinberg, The Articles Of Confederation (2002). [for middle school children.]
- Robert W. Hoffert, A Politics of Tensions: The Articles of Confederation and American Political Ideas (1992).
- Lucille E. Horgan. Forged in War: The Continental Congress and the Origin of Military Supply and Acquisition Policy (2002)
- Merrill Jensen, The Articles of Confederation: An Interpretation of the Social-Constitutional History of the American Revolution, 1774-1781 (1959).
- Merrill Jensen: "The Idea of a National Government During the American Revolution", Political Science Quarterly, 58 (1943), 356-79. online at JSTOR
- Calvin Jillson and Rick K. Wilson. Congressional Dynamics: Structure, Coordination, and Choice in the First American Congress, 1774-1789. (1994)
- Forest McDonald.Novus Ordo Seclorum: The Intellectual Origins of the Constitution. (1985)
- Andrew C. Mclaughlin, A Constitutional History of the United States (1935) online version
- Pauline Maier, American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence (1998).
- Jackson T. Main, Political Parties before the Constitution. University of North Carolina Press, 1974
- Jack N. Rakove, The Beginnings of National Politics: An Interpretive History of the Continental Congress (1982).
- Jack N. Rakove, “The Collapse of the Articles of Confederation,” in The American Founding: Essays on the Formation of the Constitution. Ed by J. Jackson Barlow, Leonard W. Levy and Ken Masugi. Greenwood Press. 1988. pp 225–45 ISBN 0-313-25610-1
Further reading[change | change source]
- Klos, Stanley L. (2004). President Who? Forgotten Founders. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Evisum, Inc.. pp. 261. ISBN 0-9752627-5-0.
Related pages[change | change source]
- History of the United States
- United States Declaration of Independence
- United States Constitution
- United States Bill of Rights
Other websites[change | change source]
|Wikisource has original writing related to this article:|
- Text Version of the Articles of Confederation
- Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union
- Articles of Confederation and related resources, Library of Congress
- Today in History: November 15, Library of Congress
- United States Constitution Online - The Articles of Confederation
- Free Download of Articles of Confederation Audio
- Audio narration (mp3) of the Articles of Confederation at Americana Phonic
- The Articles of Confederation, Chapter 45 (see page 253) of Volume 4 of Conceived in Liberty by Murray Rothbard, in PDF format.