What does Article 1 of the Articles of Confederation mean?

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The Articles of Confederation (1777) was written as the first charter or constitution of the United States.  The document outlines what shape the government of the United States will take and how the states and the federal government will interact.  It only survived for twelve years before a change was...

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The Articles of Confederation (1777) was written as the first charter or constitution of the United States.  The document outlines what shape the government of the United States will take and how the states and the federal government will interact.  It only survived for twelve years before a change was necessitated by its own ineffectiveness.  Article One of the document is fairly insignificant to the document as a whole.  It states: 

The Style of this Confederacy shall be "The United States of America".

The use of the word style may require further explanation.  According to the Dictionary of the English Language, by Samuel Johnson (which is a seminal document in its own right,) the word style is defined as a title.    Johnson attributes its usage to William Shakespeare.  So while an Early Modern English usage of the word style may be confusing to modern readers, it made perfect sense in 1777.   With a new understanding of the meaning of style, the modern reader gains better insight. 

The Title of this Confederacy shall be "The United States of America."

Another important detail of Article One is the use of the word confederacy rather than country or nation.  This indicates that the men that crafted this document did so with the intention of allowing the states more rights than the federal government.  

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