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American Revolution

Articles of Confederation

History >> American Revolution

What were the Articles of Confederation?

The Articles of Confederation served as the first constitution of the United States. This document officially established the government of the union of the thirteen states.

Photo of the Articles

The Articles of Confederation
Source: U.S. Government
Why did the colonies write the Articles of Confederation?

The colonies knew they needed some form of official government that united the thirteen colonies. They wanted to have written down rules that all the states agreed to. The Articles allowed the Congress to do things like raise an army, be able to create laws, and print money.

Who wrote the document?

The Articles of Confederation was first prepared by a committee of thirteen men from the Second Continental Congress. The chairman of the committee and primary author of the first draft was John Dickinson.

When was the document ratified by the colonies?

In order for the Articles to be official, they had to be ratified (approved) by all thirteen states. The Congress sent the articles to the states to be ratified near the end of 1777. Virginia was the first state to ratify on December 16, 1777. The last state was Maryland on February 2, 1781.

The Thirteen Articles

There were thirteen articles within the document. Here is a short summary of each article: Results

The Articles of Confederation worked well for the newly formed country during the period of the American Revolution, but it had many flaws. Some of the flaws included:
As a result, in 1788, the Articles were replaced with the current United States Constitution.

Interesting Facts about the Articles of Confederation Activities Learn more about the Revolutionary War:

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