Check out these Articles of Confederation quotes to learn more about the history of the United States.
The Articles of Confederation was the original agreement between the first thirteen colonies that would become states and served as the first government between the states.
The Articles were in effect from 1781 until 1789, when the Constitution went into effect.
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Three committees were formed in 1776 after the American colonies’ proposed independence.
These committees had representatives from each colony, with John Dickinson, the representative from Delaware, acting as the principal writer.
Dickinson’s draft named the confederation “The United States of America,” and in November of 1777, the Articles of Confederation were adopted.
Take a look at these Articles of Confederation quotes to learn more about this important piece of American history.
Articles of Confederation Quotes from the Historical Document
Here is some of the original language from the document.
1. “The Stile of this Confederacy shall be “The United States of America.” — Continental Congress
2. “No person shall be capable of being delegate for more than three years, in any term of six years.” — Continental Congress
3. “No state shall engage in any war without the consent of the United States, in Congress assembled.” — Continental Congress
4. “Every state shall always keep up a well-regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutred.” — Continental Congress
5. “Nor shall any person, being a delegate, be capable of holding any office under the united states, for which he, or another for his benefit receives any salary, fees or emolument of any kind.” — Continental Congress
6. “Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.” — Continental Congress
7. “And the people of each State shall have free ingress and regress to and from any other State and shall enjoy therein all the privileges of trade and commerce…” — Continental Congress
8. “No state shall lay any imposts or duties, which may interfere with any stipulations in treaties, entered into by the United States in Congress assembled, with any king, prince or state, in pursuance of any treaties already proposed by Congress, to the courts of France and Spain.” — Continental Congress
9. “Canada, acceding to this Confederation, and adjoining in the measures of the United States, shall be admitted into, and entitled to all the advantages of this Union; but no other colony shall be admitted into the same, unless such admission be agreed to by nine States.” — Continental Congress
10. “The said United Colonies hereby severally enter into a firm League of Friendship with each other, binding on themselves and their Posterity, for their common Defence against their Enemies, the Security of their Liberties and Properties, the Safety of their Persons and Families, and their mutual and general welfare.” — Continental Congress
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Historical Figures and Articles of Confederation Quotes
Learn more about what historical leaders of the time thought of the Articles of Confederation.
The following quotes show the many emotions and thoughts of leaders on the formation of the Articles of Confederation and the eventual creation of the Constitution.
11. “We are one nation today and thirteen tomorrow. Who will treat with us on these terms?” — George Washington
12. “The Articles of Confederation were a rope of sand to bind the States together.” — Thomas Jefferson
13. “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival.” — John Adams
14. “The defects of the Articles of Confederation have been fully experienced. They have shown themselves insurmountable.” — George Washington
15. “Our new Constitution is now established. Everything seems to promise it will be durable; but, in this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes.” — Benjamin Franklin
16. “The Confederation itself is defective, and requires to be altered; the most important powers are lodged with Congress, but Congress are unauthorized to execute them.” — Alexander Hamilton
17. “The Articles of Confederation were no doubt defective; yet, as long as they were in force, they held the states together and accomplished for us much good.” — George Washington
18. “The Confederation was founded on principles of equality and unity, and yet we found ourselves paralyzed by discord and division. We could not defend ourselves against foreign aggression or regulate commerce among ourselves. We could not even pay our soldiers or our debts.” — Alexander Hamilton
19. “The Confederation was founded upon the principles of jealousy and weakness; and although it has lasted so long, it has been rather by a sort of miracle, than by any wisdom in its formation, or any good fortune in its administration.” — John Quincy Adams
20. “The Confederation was totally inadequate to the government of thirteen independent sovereignties.” — James Madison
More Articles of Confederation Quotes from Others
Here are more opinions and beliefs about the Articles of Confederation and the need for the updated Constitution.
21. “The present confederation is inadequate to the government & requires to be altered.” — James Madison
22. “On you depend the fortunes of America. You are to decide the important question, on which rest the happiness and liberty of millions yet unborn. Act worthy of yourselves.” — Joseph Warren
23. “Under the Articles of Confederation, the national government had the power to issue commands to the several sovereign states, but it had no authority to govern individuals directly.” — David Souter
24. “The Articles of Confederation were a weak instrument for governing the nation. They had no power to enforce their decisions on the states. They lacked a president or an executive branch. There was no national court system to interpret the law or settle disputes between states.” — Gordon Wood
25. “The Articles of Confederation were a weak instrument for governing the nation. They had no power to enforce their decisions on the states. They lacked a president or an executive branch. There was no national court system to interpret the law or settle disputes between states.” — Gordon Wood
If the Articles Were Adopted in 1777, Why Didn’t They Go Into Effect Until 1781?
Even though the Articles were adopted in 1777, they could not go into effect until all thirteen states had ratified them.
Due to disagreements over voting, representation, and the western lands, not all states ratified the Articles until March of 1781.
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