What Was the First Written Constitution in America?

The Articles of Confederation were the first written constitution in America. Unlike the current constitution, the Articles of Confederation favored a weak central government, giving the states the power to govern themselves. However, the federal government was still responsible for the matters of diplomacy and foreign policy.

Ratified on March 1, 1781, the Articles of Confederation proved to be an ineffective rule of law due to the limits they placed on the federal government. They failed for several reasons, mainly because the federal government was not allowed to tax, enforce acts of Congress or regulate interstate commerce.

The economically motivated Shay's Rebellion of 1786 proved to be a turning point for the country and its supreme law after the federal government was powerless to organize an army to stop the rebellion.