After adoption by the Continental Congress on Nov. 15, 1777, the Articles of Confederation were eventually approved by all 13 states by March 1, 1781. The Articles served as the written document that established the functions of the federal government.
The first state to ratify the Articles of Confederation was Virginia in 1777. An additional 10 states ratified it in 1778, Delaware ratified in 1779 and the final state, Maryland, ratified in 1781. The Articles of Confederation became the first constitution of the United States, but it was replaced by the present U.S. Constitution on March 4, 1789, following a Constitutional Convention that was held in June of 1787.