On this day in 1781, the Articles of Confederation are finally ratified. The Articles were signed by Congress and sent to the individual states for ratification on November 15, 1777, after 16 months of debate. Bickering over land claims between Virginia and Maryland delayed final ratification for almost four more years. Maryland finally approved the Articles on March 1, 1781, affirming the Articles as the outline of the official government of the United States. The nation was guided by the Articles of Confederation until the implementation of the current . Constitution in 1789.
The Articles of Confederation was a written agreement, uniting the thirteen founding states, and serving as the states’ first constitution, or set of principles by which the states was governed. Formerly named the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, the set of fundamental principles provided the first step in creating a government for the states as a nation. It provided the Continental Congress domestic and international power to oversee the American Revolutionary War, and to execute diplomacy in dealing with Europe, Native American relations, and territorial issues.