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United States (U.S.) Articles of Confederation

America’s First Constitution

The first constitution in our nation's history was the U.S. Articles of Confederation. Under the U.S. Articles of Confederation we took "baby steps" as a nation. The government conducted the affairs of the country during the last two years of the Revolutionary War, helped to negotiate the Treaty of Paris in 1783, and produced two monumental pieces of legislation in the Land Ordinance of 1785 and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787.

While the U.S. Articles of Confederation was a plan of government based upon the principles fought for in the American Revolutionary War, it contained crucial flaws. It had no power of national taxation, no power to control trade, and it provided for a comparatively weak executive. Therefore, it could not enforce legislation. It was a "league of friendship" which was opposed to any type of national authority. The Articles of Confederation's greatest weakness, however, was that it had no direct origin in the people themselves–it knew only state sovereignty. Each state, therefore, had the power to collect its own taxes, issue currency, and provide for its own militia. The government could not govern efficiently because of a general lack of power to compel states to honor national obligations. The government's main activity was to control foreign policy and conclude treaties. Economic credibility was a major problem because the government owed $42 million (more than $69 billion today) after the Revolutionary War, and the debt was mainly owed to American patriots. This financial obligation was not paid off until the early part of the 1800's.

It would have been very difficult for our country to have created a stronger second constitution without learning from the mistakes of the first. The Articles of Confederation served as a "transition" between the Revolutionary War and the Constitution.

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United States Pocket Constitution
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Very adequate, pocket sized reference of history, government, and freedom

   "I bought this book just to have a pocket size constitutional reference, but decided on this one particularly because it also included the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights (and every amendment to the Constitution), and Articles of Confederation along with the Constitution. I didn't know when I bought it that is has several sections of facts about and quotes from the founding fathers. These served very useful in providing some insight as to what these individuals where all about, albeit a very, very brief insight. This is great for what it is, a handy reference, plus some. It is almost the exact same size as a man's wallet (not the tri-fold kind, the full size wallet), and has a sturdy paperback with the unmistakable Old Glory print. Although it has all of this information, it's only slightly thicker than a pamphlet, so it's not uncomfortable to carry around. "

Carl A. Dean (OKC, OK USA)

Small and Easy to Use

   "You can't really write a review about the Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Articles of Confederation! But I can tell you that this little book is not too difficult on the eyes, easy to use and simple for carrying to class. It doesn't weigh much in a pocket or a backpack, and this is the version I've used throughout my grad-school days. And after several years of thumbing through it, the book still hasn't fallen apart!"

Studious One


   “"How many people realize that the first president of the United States was not George Washington but a man named John Hanson under the Articles of Confederation?

How many know that the state of Pennsylvania was misspelled as "Pensylvania" on the U.S. Constitution? And who knew that in 1876 an amendment to the Constitution was introduced that would have abolished the U.S. Senate? Or that another amendment, proposed in 1893, would have renamed the country the United States of the Earth?

All of these fun and little-known facts are in this pocket size guide to the constitution.

The book is interesting and fast reading, and you learn a lot of fun and interesting facts along the way. I can't say enough good things about this pocket constitution book and the author!"

Roger Williams (San Diego, CA USA)