When reenacting or acting as a historical interpreter, its good to have a few historical dates and stories to share. This series will publish a few.
November 15, 1777 – Articles of Confederation, the first US Constitution, is passed on this date in 1777. Two days later, the Continental Congress sent the Articles to the states, which approved the new government in March 1781. By 1787, this new government will be formally dissolved and replaced by the US Constitution.
Created to unify the 13 colonies, the Articles of Confederation established a largely decentralized government that vested most power in the states. Concerned with the accumulation of power in too few hands, the Articles did not establish an executive branch and they greatly circumscribed the role of courts. Even Congress had only those powers “expressly delegated” to it by the states. Delegates gave the Continental Congress the power to request money from the states and make appropriations, regulating the armed forces, appoint civil servants, and declare war. The legislature was largely ineffectual because the Articles required more than a simple majority to pass legislation that related to such fundamental issues such as finance, taxation, treaty ratification, and war-making powers. Moreover, attempts to strengthen the Articles required unanimous support of the states. In 1787, the the U.S. Constitution superseded the Articles of Confederation.
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