A Confederation is defined as a pact of mutual alliance - a unification of several independent bodies. When the Second Continental Congress met in 1776 on the issue of writing a constitution for the recently born United States of America, it was an age in which tyranny was terrifying and a powerful central government was likewise intimidating. The constitution born from this mindset was called the Articles of Confederation, a document outlining a government that did little to unify a nation of independent states. It placed almost total power in the hands of the state governments.1 However, the Articles of Confederation had one vast, resounding success - it dealt well with the burning issue of how to apportion the trans-Appalachian western lands. But while the government under the Articles of Confederation succeeded with the frontier lands, they failed tremendously in the area of economic conditions.
Having just won the Revolutionary War, the new United States of America needed to establish some sort of government that would serve the country's hard-earned independence. John Dickinson submitted the first written version of America's first constitution, the Articles of Confederation, to the Congress on July 12, 1776.2 After more than a year of revisions and debate, Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation on November 15, 1777 at the York County Courthouse in New York.3 It was not until 1781 that the last of the thirteen states to accept the new government, Maryland, ratified the Articles and put the new government into effect.4 The Articles defined the American government until 1788, when Congress adopted the Constitution, a new outline for government.5.
The Articles of Confederation outlined a government without a national executive or court system, whose ruling body was the Congress. The Congress was composed of delegates from the thirteen states, each state having anywhere from two to seven delegates.