What Was the First Constitution of the United States?

The first constitution of the United States was the Articles of Confederation. It was a document signed among the 13 original colonies that established the United States of America as a confederation of sovereign states.

A committee appointed by the Second Continental Congress drafted the Articles of Confederation in 1776. All 13 states formally ratified The Articles of Confederation in early 1781, at the same time as the end of the Revolutionary War. While the Articles envisioned a permanent confederation, this proved ineffective, as it granted no power to Congress, which was the only federal institution. Congress had no power of taxation, and no ability to finance itself or to enforce its resolutions. The Articles did not provide for a president or a national court. Instead, the 13 former colonies had their own sovereignty and separate bodies of law.

Dissatisfaction with the Articles of Confederation led to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787. Although the representatives were only authorized to amend the Articles of Confederation, they held closed-door sessions and wrote a new constitution which gave much more power to the central government. After a period of national debate, representatives from all 13 states signed and ratified the current United States Constitution.