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The Articles of Confederation (1781-1789)

The Founding Fathers

Summary

Timeline

Articles 1-2

The representatives of the thirteen states agree to create a confederacy called the United States of America, in which each state maintains its own sovereignty and all rights to govern, except those rights specifically granted to Congress.

As these thirteen states enter into a firm "league of friendship" for the purpose of defending each other, there are standards that the states should follow to help maintain good relationships. Each state must recognize the legal proceedings and official records of every other state, and that the citizens of one state have the rights of citizenship in any state. Additionally, a state must help return runaway criminals to the state in which the crime was committed.

States have the right to select and send two to seven delegates to Congress each year. Each state has one vote in congress, and delegates can only serve for a period of three years in any interval of six years. Delegates have certain privileges while serving in Congress. They are guaranteed the right to freedom of speech and are immune from arrest for most petty crimes.

States are not allowed to conduct relationships with foreign nations without the permission of congress. They cannot wage war, negotiate peace, raise an army or navy, conduct diplomacy, or make an alliance with another state. However, they can make imposts on goods, as long as they do not interfere with foreign treaties. States must keep a local militia, and they may wage war if they need to quickly defend themselves.

During war, states have the right to appoint officers of colonel rank and below. Congress pays for war from a treasury that states contribute to relative to the value of land in their state.

Congress has the sole power to deal with foreign nations, including making war and peace, and to deal with Indian (Native American) affairs. Congress must maintain uniform standards of coins and measures, make the rules for the army and navy, and run the post office. Congress will help resolve interstate disputes only as a last resort, and has the sole right to hold trials for crimes committed at sea.

Congress can appoint a provisional Committee of the States to serve when Congress is not in session. Congress can appoint other committees made up of civilians to help run the nation, and a president who can serve for one year every interval of three years.

Congress determines the budget and will publish it regularly, along with the proceedings of its meetings. When Congress must request troops, it will do so relative to the number of white inhabitants in each state, and the states must provide those troops on the date indicated.

On the most important issues of foreign affairs, nine of thirteen delegates must agree.

If Canada chooses to join the United States, it will be admitted as an equal state.

Congress takes full responsibility for all debts from the American Revolution.

All states agree to follow the rules of the Articles and the decisions of Congress and to never violate the union.

Any changes to the Articles of Confederation must be agreed to in congress and approved by every state.

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