A More Perfect Union–Take 1


November 15, 1777
The Articles of Confederation Were Adopted

How does a country become a country? When the Colonies declared their independence from Britain, they had a flag and an army. What they lacked was a government.

If you were forming a new country, how would you run it? Would there be one leader, or representatives from each state? Would larger states have more representatives and more votes than smaller states? The second Continental Congress debated similar issues for one year. On November 15, 1777, the second Continental Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union. Then they needed approval from the states.

Still at war with Great Britain, the colonists were not eager to establish another powerful national government. Three-and-a-half years passed before the states ratified (approved of) the Articles.

As with anyone’s first try at something, the Articles of Confederation were not perfect. While they required Congress to regulate the military, for example, they did not ensure that the states would send people to serve.

Eventually replaced by the United States Constitution of 1789, the Articles of Confederation did provide some stability during the Revolutionary War years. Most important, they provided valuable lessons in self-governance and somewhat calmed fears about a powerful central government.

Are there changes in the government that you would like to make?