Articles of Confederation (Great Events from History: North American Series)
Article abstract: Creation of a cooperative central administration for the thirteen new American states paves the way for a new nation.
Summary of Event
The American experience with nationalism ran counter to developments that had led to nationhood throughout much of the modern world. A sense of American nationalism scarcely existed during the colonial period. Nor did nationalism produce a revolution aimed at the creation of a single, unified American government. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, Americans’ sense of oneness grew as the colonies stood together in opposition to Great Britain’s post-1763 imperial program. As Americans traveled the long road to 1776 and became more aware of their shared principles and interests, they began to think simultaneously about independence and union. Because the independent states realized they must work cooperatively or perish, American patriots turned to the task of creating a confederacy of states.
In June, 1776, while Thomas Jefferson and his committee worked at a statement that justified independence, a second committee was appointed by the Continental Congress. Including one representative from each colony, the committee was instructed to draft a series of articles that would form a cooperative union of states, thus linking the thirteen self-governing states into a “league of friendship.” With John Dickinson from Pennsylvania as chairman, the committee quickly...
(The entire section is 1397 words.)
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Articles of Confederation (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
The document that set forth the terms under which the original thirteen states agreed to participate in a centralized form of government, in addition to their self-rule, and that was in effect from March 1, 1781, to March 4, 1789, prior to the adoption of the Constitution.
The Articles of Confederation served as the first constitution of the newly formed United States. As it was originally drafted in 1776, the document provided for a strong central government. However, by the time it was ratified in 1781, advocates of STATES' RIGHTS had greatly weakened its provisions. Many of these advocates feared a centralization of power and wished to preserve a great degree of independence and sovereignty for each state. Accordingly, the Articles as they were ratified provided only for a "firm league of friendship," in which, according to article II of the document, "[e]ach State retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence."
The Articles included provisions for military cooperation between the states, freedom of travel, EXTRADITION of criminal suspects, and equal PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES for citizens. They also created a national legislature called the Congress. Each state had one vote in this body, that...
(The entire section is 596 words.)