Articles of Confederation (1781-1789)
The New National Constitution-1st U. S. Constitution
In June 1776, when the delegates appointed a committee to draft the
, it also recognized that a committee would need to be formed to craft a
national constitution. The committee drafted the new constitution in one month and then
debated its merits for roughly a year and one half before it was approved by the Congress.
The new constitution known as the
Articles of Confederation
a league of friendship,
was submitted to the state legislatures in November 1777. It took four years for all the states to
approve this new national constitution. Maryland, the last state, approved the Articles in
March 1781, after Virginia promised to relinquish its claims in the
new national government.
The Articles of Confederation established a confederacy known as the
United States of
. The new seat of government would be in New York City, the center of trade and
commerce. The national government would consist of a Congress, a national legislature, with
limited power. There was no executive to implement and enforce national laws or a national
court system to resolve legal disputes and interpret the law.
The Confederation Congress was a
body, a one house legislature, where each
state would have
, equal voice. Each state legislature could send
between two to seven delegates to sit in NYC, but they would vote as a delegation, one vote
per state, no matter the size of the population of each state. Both small and large states would
hold equal power in this new national government.
The delegates chose a confederation type of government system in order to keep most of the
power in the hands of the states and less power in the national government. The country was
fighting the Revolutionary War against the perceived tyranny of King George and the British
Parliament and they did not want to grant the new Congress strong legislative and executive
unlike our federal system (federation) of today, the
approving the Articles, gave the new national government only
affairs and national security, Indian tribes, coining money, regulating weights and
measurements, and delivering the mail .