8C / The Articles of Confederation
Articles agreed to by Congress November 15, 1777; ratified and in force, March 1, 1781
The Articles of Confederation provided the framework for the first government of the United States. The guiding principle of this government was to spread power among the states. The powers of the national government were severely limited. Altogether there were thirteen articles. Here are excerpts from nine of them.
Art. I. The name of this confederacy shall be "The United States of America."
Art. II. Each state retains its sovereignty, free and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this confederation expressly delegated to the united states, in Congress assembled.
Art. III. The said states hereby enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, binding themselves to assist each other against all attacks made upon them.
Art. V. For the more convenient management of the general interests of the united states, delegates shall be annually appointed by their states to meet in Congress on the first Monday in November In every year.
In determining questions in the united states in Congress assembled, each state shall have one vote.
Art. VI. No state, without the consent of the united states in Congress assembled, shall enter into any agreement, alliance, or treaty with any king, prince, or state.
Every state shall always keep up a well regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed.
No state shall engage in any war without the consent of the united states in Congress assembled.
Art. VIII All expenses incurred for the common defense shall be paid for out of a common treasury, which shall be supplied by the states, in proportion to the value of all land within each state. The taxes for paying that proportion shall be laid and levied by the authority and direction of the legislatures of the states.
Art. IX The united states in Congress assembled shall have the sole and exclusive right and power of determining on peace and war, of sending and receiving ambassadors, and of entering Into treaties and alliances.
The united states in Congress assembled shall also be the last resort on appeal in all disputes and differences between two or more states.
The united states in Congress assembled shall also have the sole and exclusive right and power of regulating the value of coin struck by their own authority or by that of the states, fixing the standard of weights and measures, regulating the trade and managing all affairs with the Indians, establishing and regulating post offices, and appointing all officers of the land and naval forces.
The united states in Congress assembled shall have the authority to appoint a committee to manage the general affairs of the united states and to appoint one of their number to preside, provided that no person be allowed to serve in the office of president more than one year.
The united states in Congress assembled shall never engage in a war, nor enter into any treaties or alliances, nor coin money, nor regulate the value thereof, nor borrow money on the credit of the united states, nor appropriate money, nor appoint a commander in chief of the army or navy, unless nine states agree.
Art. XI. Canada agreeing to this confederation, and joining in the laws of the united states, shall be admitted into this union. No other colony shall be admitted unless nine states agree.
Art. XIII The Articles of this confederation shall not be altered unless such alteration be agreed to in a Congress of the united states, and be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every state.
Abridged and adapted from James D. Richardson, ed., A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 1789&SHY;1897(Washington, D.C.: 189618"), vol. 1. p. 9 ff.