California Flag
Henry Nicolle
California state Citizen
US Flag Animation
Revised 05 October, 2010

Home Principles Problems Blog Volunteers Press

The Articles of Confederation
Comprise the
Initial Formal Founding Agreement
of Our Federal Union.


          To all whom these presents shall come, we the undersigned Delegates of the States affixed to our Names, send greeting.

 Whereas the Delegates of the United  States of America,  in Congress assembled, did, on the 15th day of November, in the Year of Our Lord One thousand and Seventy seven, and in the Second Year of the Independence of America, agree to certain Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union  between the States of  New Hampshire, Massachusetts-bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North- Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia in the words following, viz. "Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the States of  New Hampshire, Massachusetts-bay,  Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut,  New York, New  Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia,  North-Carolina, South-Carolina, and Georgia.

                                 ARTICLE  I.
          The stileof this confederacy shall be "The United  States of America."

                                 ARTICLE II.
          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.

                                 ARTICLE III.
          The said states hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other,  for their common defence,  the security of  their Liberties, and their  mutual and general welfare, binding  themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty,  trade, or any other pretence whatever.

                                 ARTICLE  IV.
          The better to secure and perpetuate mutual friendship and intercourse among the people of the different states in this union, the free  inhabitants of each of these states, paupers, vagabonds and  fugitives from justice excepted, shall be entitled to all  privileges and immunities of free citizens in the  several states:  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,  subject to the same  duties, impositions and restrictions as the inhabitants thereof respectively,  provided that such  restriction shall not extend so far as to prevent the removal of property imported into any state,  to any other state, of which  the owner is an inhabitant;  provided also that no imposition, duties or restriction shall be laid by any state, on the property of the United  States, or either of them.  If any Person guilty of, or charged with treason, felony,  or other high misdemeanor in any state, shall flee from Justice, and be found in any of  the united states, he shall, upon demand of the Governor or executive power, of the state from which he fled, be delivered up  and removed to the state  having jurisdiction of the offence. Full faith and credit shall be given in each of these states to the records, acts and judicial proceedings of the courts and magistrates of every other state.

                                 ARTICLE V.
          For the more convenient management of the general  interests of the united states, delegates shall be annually appointed in such manner as the legislature of each state shall direct, to meet in Congress on the first Monday in  November, in every year, with a power reserved to each state, to recal (recall) its delegates, or any  of them, at any time within the year, and to send others in their stead, for the remainder of the year.

          No state shall be represented in Congress by less than two, nor by more than seven Members; and no person shall be capable of being a delegate for more than three years in any term of six years; 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.

          Each state shall maintain its own delegates in a meeting of the states, and while they  act as members of the  committee of the states.

          In determining  questions in the united states in Congress assembled, each state shall have one vote.

          Freedom of speech and debate in  Congress shall not be impeached or questioned in  any Court,  or place out of Congress, and the Members of congress shall be protected in their  persons  from arrests and imprisonments, during the time of their going to and from, and attendance on congress, except for treason, felony, or breach of the peace.

                                 ARTICLE VI.
          No state, without the consent of the united states in congress assembled shall send any embassy  to, or receive any embassy  from,  or enter into any conference, agreement, alliance or treaty with any King prince or state; nor shall any person holding any office of profit or trust under  the united states, or any of them,  accept any present,  emolument, office or title of any kind whatever from any king, prince or foreign state;  nor shall the united states in congress assembled,  or any of  them,  grant any title of nobility.

          No two or more states shall enter into any treaty, confederation or alliance whatever between them, without the consent of the united states in congress assembled, specifying accurately the purposes for which the same is to be entered  into, and how long it shall continue.

          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 or Spain.

          No vessels of war shall be kept up in time of peace by any state, except such number only, as shall be deemed necessary by the united states in congress assembled, for the defence of such state or its trade; nor shall any body or forces be kept up by any state,  in time of peace, except such number only, as in the judgement of the united states, in congress assembled, shall be deemed requisite to garrison the forts necessary for the defence of such state; but  every state shall always keep up a well regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutred, and shall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores, a due number of  field pieces and tents,  and a  proper quantit  of arms, ammunition and camp equipage.

          No state shall engage in any war without the consent of the united states  in congress  assembled, unless such state be actually invaded by enemies, or shall have received certain advice of a  resolution being formed  by some nation of Indians to invade such state, and the danger is so imminent as not to admit of a delay till the united states in congress assembled can be consulted:  nor shall any state grant  commissions to any ships or vessels of war,  nor letters of marque or reprisal, except it be after a declaration of war by the united states in congress assembled, and then only against the kingdom or state and the subjects thereof, against which war has been so declared, and under such regulations as shall be established by the united states in congress assembled, unless such state be infested by  pirates, in which case vessels of war may be fitted out for that occasion, and kept so long as the danger shall  continue, or until the united states in congress assembled,  shall determine otherwise.

                                 ARTICLE  VII.
          When land  forces are raised by any state for the common defence, all officers of or under the rank of colonel, shall be appointed by the legislature of each state respectively, by whom such  forces shall be raised, or in such manner as such state shall direct,  and all vacancies shall be filled up by the State which first made the appointment.

                                 ARTICLE  VIII.
          All charges of war, and all other expenses that shall be incurred for the common defence  or general welfare, and allowed by the united states in congress assembled, shall be defrayed out of a  common treasury, which shall be supplied by the several states in proportion to the value of all land within each state, granted to or surveyed for any Person, as such land and the buildings and improvements thereon shall be estimated according to such mode as the united states in congress  assembled,  shal from time to time direct and appoint.

          The taxes for paying that proportion shall be laid and levied by the authority and direction  of the legislatures of the several states within the time agreed upon by the united states in congress assembled.

                                 ARTICLE IX.
          The united states in congress assembled, shall have the sole and exclusive right and power of  determining on peace and war, except in the cases mentioned in the sixth article - of sending and receiving ambassadors - entering into treaties and alliances, provided that no treaty of commerce shall be made whereby the legislative power of the respective states shall be restrained from imposing such imposts and duties on foreigners as their own people are  subjected to,  or from prohibiting the exportation or importation of any species of goods or commodities, whatsoever - of establishing rules for deciding in all cases, what captures on land or water shall be legal, and in what  manner prizes taken by land or naval forces in the service of the united states shall be divided or appropriated - of granting letters of marque and reprisal in times of peace - appointing courts for the trial of piracies and felonies  committed on the  high seas and  establishing courts for receiving and determining finally appeals in all cases of captures, provided that no member of congress shall be appointed a judge of any of the said courts.

          The united states  in congress assembled shall also be the last resort on appeal in all disputes and differences  now subsisting or that hereafter may arise between two or more states concerning  boundaries,  jurisdiction or any other cause whatever; which authority shall always be exercised in the manner following. Whenever the legislative or executive authority or lawful agent of any state in  controversy with another shall present a  petition to congress stating the matter in question and praying for a hearing, notice thereof shall be given by order of  congress to the legislativeor executive authority of the other state in controversy, and a day assigned for the appearance of the parties by their lawful  agents,  who shall then be directed to appoint by joint consent, commissioners or judges to constitute a court for hearing and determining the matter in question:  but if they cannot agree, congress shall name three persons out of each of the united states, and from the list of such persons each party shall alternately strike out one, the petitioners beginning, until the number shall be reduced to thirteen; and from that number not less than seven, nor more than nine names as congress shall  direct, shall in the presence of congress be drawn out by lot,  and the persons whose names shall be so drawn or any five of them, shall be commissioners or judges, to hear and finally determine the controversy, so always as a major  part of  the judges who shall hear the cause shall  agree in  the determination:  and if either party shall neglect to attend at the day appointed, without showing  reasons, which congress shall judge sufficient, or being present shall refuse to strike,  the congress shall proceed to nominate three persons out of each state, and the secretary of congress shall strike in  behalf of such party absent or refusing; and the judgement and the sentence of the court to be appointed, in the manner before prescribed, shall be final and conclusive; and if any of the parties  shall refuse to submit to the authority of such court, or to appear or defend their claim or cause,  the court shall nevertheless proceed to pronounce sentence, or judgement, which shall in like manner be final and decisive, the judgement or sentence and other proceedings being in either case  transmitted to congress, and  lodged among the acts of congress for the security of the parties  concerned: provided that every commissioner,  before he sits in judgement, shall take an oath to be administered by one of the judges of the supreme or superior court of the state,  where the cause shall be tried, "well and truly to hear and determine the matter in question, according to the best of his judgement, without  favour, affection or hope of reward:" provided also, that no state shall be deprived of territory for the benefit of the united states.

          All controversies concerning the private right of soil claimed underdifferent grants of two or more states,  whose jurisdictions as they may respect such lands, and the states which passed such  grants are adjusted,  the said grants or either of them being at the same time claimed to have originated antecedent to such settlement of jurisdiction,  shall on the petition of either party to the congress of the united states, be finally determined as near as may be in the same manner as is before prescribed for deciding disputes respecting territorial jurisdiction between different states.

          The united states in congress assembled shall also have the sole and exclusive right and power of regulating the alloy and value of coin struck by their own authority, or by that of the respective states - fixing  the standard of  weights and measures throughout the united states - regulating  the trade and managing all affairs with the Indians, not members of any of the states, provided that the legislative right of any state within its own limits be not infringed or violated - establishing or regulating post offices from one state to another, throughout all the united states, and exacting such postage on the papers passing thro' the same as may be  requisite to defray the expenses of the said office -  appointing all officers of the land forces, in the service of the united states, excepting regimental  officers - appointing all  officers of  the naval forces, and commissioning all officers whatever  in  the service of the united states - making rules for the government and regulation of  the said land and naval forces, and directing their operations.

          The united states in congress assembled shall have authority to appoint a committee, to sit in the recess of congress, to be denominated "A Committee of the States," and to consist of one delegate from each  state; and to appoint such other committees and civil officers as may be necessary for managing the general affairs of the united states under their direction - to appoint one of their number to preside, provided that no person be allowed to serve in the office of president more than one year in any term of three years; to ascertain the necessary sums of money to b  raised for the service of the united states, and to appropriate and apply the same for defraying the public expenses - to borrow money, or emit bills on the credit of the united states, transmitting every half year to the  respective states an account of the sums of money so borrowed or emitted, - to build and equip a  navy - to agree upon the number of land forces, and to make requisitions fro  each state for its quota, in proportion to the number of white inhabitants in such state; which requisition shall be binding, and thereupon the legislature of each state shall appoint the regimental officers, raise the men and cloath, arm and equip them in a soldier like manner, at the expense of the united states; and the officers and  men so cloathed, armed and equipped shall march to the place appointed, and within the time agreed on by the united states in  congress assembled: but if the united states in  congress assembled, shall, on consideration of circumstances judge proper that any state should not raise men, or should raise a smaller number than its quota, and that any other state should raise a  greater number of men than the quota thereof, such extra number shall be raised, officered, cloathed, armed and equipped in the same manner as the quota of such state, unless the legislature of  such state shall judge  that  such extra number cannot  be safely spared out of the  same, in which case they shall raise officer, cloath, arm and equip as many of such extra number  as they  judge can  be safely spared. And the officers and men s  cloathed, armed and equipped, shall march to the place appointed.

          The united states in congress assembled shall never  engage in a war, nor grant  letters or marque and reprisal in time of peace, nor enter into any treaties or alliances, nor coin money, nor  regulate the value thereof,  nor ascertain  the sums and expenses necessary for the defence and  welfare of the united states, or any of them, nor emit bills, nor borrow money on the credit of the united states, nor appropriate money, nor agree upon  the number of vessels of war, to be built or purchased, or the number of land or sea forces to be raised, nor appoint a commander in chief of  the army or navy, unless nine state assent to the same:  nor shall a question on any other point, except for adjourning from day to day be determined, unless  by the votes of a majority of the united states in congress assembled.

          The congress of  the united states shall have power to adjourn to any time within the year, and to any  place within the united states, so that no period of adjournment be for a longer duration than the space of six Months, and shall publish the Journal of  their proceedings monthly, except such parts thereof relating to treaties, alliances or military operations, as in their judgement require secrecy; and the yeas and nays of the delegates of each state on any question shall be entered on the  Journal, when it is desired  by any delegate; and the delegates of a state, or any of them, at his or their request shall be furnished with  a transcript of the said Journal, except such parts as are above  excepted, to lay before the legislatures of the several states.

                                 ARTICLE  X.
          The committee of the states, or any nine of them, shall be authorized to execute, in the recess  of congress, such of the powers of  congress as the united states in congress assembled, by the consent of nine states, shall from time to time think expedient to vest them with; provided that no power be delegated to the said committee, for the exercise of which, by the articles of confederation, the voice of nine states in the congress of the united states assembled is requisite.

                                 ARTICLE  XI.
          Canada acceding  to this confederation, and  joining 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.

                                 ARTICLE  XII.
          All bills of credit emitted, monies borrowed and debts contracted by, or under the authority of congress, before the assembling of the united states, in pursuance of the present confederation, shall  be deemed and considered  as a charge against the united states, for  payment and satisfaction whereof the said united states, and the publi  faith are hereby solemnly pledged.

                                    ARTICLE XIII.
          Every state shall abide by the determinations of the united states in congress assembled, on all questions which by this confederation are submitted  to them. And the Articles of this confederation  shall  be  inviolably observed by every state, and  the union shall  be perpetual; nor shall any alteration at  any time  hereafter be made in any of them; unless such alteration be agreed to in a congress of the united states, and be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every state.

          And Whereas it hath pleased the Great Governor of the  World to incline the hearts of the  legislatures we respectively represent in congress, to approve of, and to authorize us to ratify the said  articles of confederation and perpetual union. Know Ye that we the undersigned delegates, by virtue of the power and authority to us given for that purpose,  o by these presents, in the name and in behalf of our  respec- tive  constituents,  fully  and  entirely ratify and confirm each and  every of  the said  articles of  confederation and perpetual union, and all and singular the matters and things therein contained:  And we do  further solemnly plight  and engage the faith of  our respective constituents, that  they shall abide by  the determinations of  the united states  in congress  assembled, on all questions,  which by the said confederation are submitted to them. And that the  articles thereof shall be  inviolably observed by  the states we  re- spectively represent, and that the union shall be perpetual. In witness whereof  we have hereunto  set our hands  in Congress. Done at Philadelphia in  the state of  Pennsylvania the ninth day of July, in the Year of our Lord one  Thousand seven Hundred and  Seventy-eight, and in the third year of the independence of America.

John Bartlett, John Wentworth, junior August 8th, 1778 State of New Hampshire

John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Elbridge Gerry, Francis Dana, James Lovell, Samuel Holten, State of Massachusetts

William Ellery, Henry Marchant, John Collins, State of Rhode-Island

Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, Oliver Wolcott, Titus Hosmer, Andrew Adams, State of Connecticut

Ja Duane, Fra: Lewis, Wm. Duer, Gouv. Morris, State of New York

Jn. Witherspoon, Nath. Scudder, November 26th, 1778 State of New Jersey

Robert Morris, Daniel Roberdeau, Jon. Bayard Smith, William Clingar, Joseph Reed, 22d July, 1778 State of Pennsylvania

Tho. McKean, Feb 22d 1779, John Dickinson, May 5th, 1779, Nicholas Van Dyke, State of Delaware

John Hanson, March 1, 1781, Daniel Carroll, do State of Maryland

Richard Henry Lee, John Banister, Thomas Adams Jn. Harvie, Francis Lightfoot Lee, State of Virginia

John Penn, July 21st, 1778, Corn. Harnett, Jn. Williams, State of North Carolina

Henry Laurens, William Henry Drayton, Jn. Mathews, Rich. Hutson, Tho. Heyward, jun State of South Carolina

Jn. Walton, 24th July, 1778, Edw. Telfair, Edw. Langworthy, State of Georgia

The proceedings of this day  with respect to the signing  of the Articles of  Confederation, the Articles  themselves and the signers are  entered in the  "Papers of the  Continental Congress, No.  9 (History of the Confederation)", but not in the Journal itself.  The Articles are printed here from  the original roll in the bureau of Rolls and Library, Department of State.
Declaration of Independence
Articles of Confederation
Northwest Ordinance
Top of Page

Contact Henry Nicolle:
Mail: c/o POB 5633 Ventura, California (93005) - -  Tel: 805-758-4446 - - e-Mail: