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The Congress of the Confederation, or the Confederation Congress, formally referred to as the United States in Congress Assembled, was the governing body of the United States of America
United States of America
that existed from March 1, 1781, to March 4, 1789. A unicameral body with legislative and executive function, it comprised delegates appointed by the legislatures of the several states. Each state delegation had one vote. It was preceded by the Second Continental Congress
Second Continental Congress
(1775–1781) and governed under the newly adopted Articles of Confederation
Articles of Confederation
and Perpetual Union, which were proposed 1776–1777, adopted by the Continental Congress
Continental Congress
in July 1778 and finally agreed to by a unanimous vote of all thirteen states by 1781, held up by a long dispute over the cession of western territories beyond the Appalachian Mountains
Appalachian Mountains
to the central government led by Maryland
Maryland
and a coalition of smaller states without western claims, the plan introduced by Maryland politician John Hanson; the plan is referred to as 'The Hanson Plan'. The newly reorganized Congress at the time continued to refer itself as the Continental Congress
Continental Congress
throughout its eight-year history, although modern historians separate it from the earlier bodies, which operated under slightly different rules and procedures until the later part of American Revolutionary War.[1] The membership of the Second Continental Congress
Continental Congress
automatically carried over to the Congress of the Confederation when the latter was created by the ratification of the Articles of Confederation. It had the same secretary as the Second Continental Congress, namely Charles Thomson. The Congress of the Confederation was succeeded by the Congress of the United States as provided for in the new Constitution of the United States, proposed September 17, 1787, in Philadelphia
Philadelphia
and ratified by the states through 1787 to 1788 and even into 1789 and 1790.[2]

Contents

1 Events 2 Meeting sites 3 Sessions 4 Presidents 5 See also 6 References

6.1 Bibliography

7 External links

Events[edit]

December 23, 1783: General George Washington
George Washington
Resigning His Commission by John Trumbull

The Congress of the Confederation
Congress of the Confederation
opened in the last stages of the American Revolution. Combat ended in October 1781, with the surrender of the British after the Siege and Battle of Yorktown. The British, however, continued to occupy New York City, while the American delegates in Paris, named by the Congress, negotiated the terms of peace with Great Britain.[3] Based on preliminary articles with the British negotiators made on November 30, 1782, and approved by the "Congress of the Confederation" on April 15, 1783, the Treaty of Paris was further signed on September 3, 1783, and ratified by Confederation Congress then sitting at the Maryland State House
Maryland State House
in Annapolis on January 14, 1784. This formally ended the American Revolutionary War between Great Britain and the thirteen former colonies, which on July 4, 1776, had declared independence. In December 1783, General George Washington, commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, journeyed to Annapolis after saying farewell to his officers (at Fraunces Tavern) and men who had just reoccupied New York City
New York City
after the departing British Army. On December 23, at the Maryland
Maryland
State House, where the Congress met in the Old Senate Chamber, he addressed the civilian leaders and delegates of Congress and returned to them the signed commission they had voted him back in June 1775, at the beginning of the conflict. With that simple gesture of acknowledging the first civilian power over the military, he took his leave and returned by horseback the next day to his home and family at Mount Vernon
Mount Vernon
near the colonial river port city on the Potomac River
Potomac River
at Alexandria in Virginia. On March 1, 1781, the Articles of Confederation
Articles of Confederation
and Perpetual Union were signed by delegates of Maryland
Maryland
at a meeting of the Second Continental Congress, which then declared the Articles ratified. As historian Edmund Burnett wrote, "There was no new organization of any kind, not even the election of a new President." The Congress still called itself the Continental Congress. Nevertheless, despite its being generally the same exact governing body, with some changes in membership over the years as delegates came and went individually according to their own personal reasons and upon instructions of their state governments, some modern historians would later refer to the Continental Congress
Continental Congress
after the ratification of the Articles as the Congress of the Confederation
Congress of the Confederation
or the Confederation Congress. (The Congress itself continued to refer to itself at the time as the Continental Congress.) The Congress had little power and without the external threat of a war against the British, it became more difficult to get enough delegates to meet to form a quorum. Nonetheless the Congress still managed to pass important laws, most notably the Northwest Ordinance
Northwest Ordinance
of 1787. The War of Independence saddled the country with an enormous debt. In 1784, the total Confederation debt was nearly $40 million. Of that sum, $8 million was owed to the French and Dutch. Of the domestic debt, government bonds, known as loan-office certificates, composed $11.5 million, certificates on interest indebtedness $3.1 million, and continental certificates $16.7 million. The certificates were non-interest bearing notes issued for supplies purchased or impressed, and to pay soldiers and officers. To pay the interest and principal of the debt, Congress had twice proposed an amendment to the Articles granting them the power to lay a 5% duty on imports, but amendments to the Articles required the consent of all thirteen states: the 1781 impost plan had been rejected by Rhode Island and Virginia, while the revised plan, discussed in 1783, was rejected by New York. Without revenue, except for meager voluntary state requisitions, Congress could not even pay the interest on its outstanding debt. Meanwhile, the states regularly failed, or refused, to meet the requisitions requested of them by Congress.[4] To that end, in September 1786, after resolving a series of disputes regarding their common border along the Potomac River, delegates of Maryland
Maryland
and Virginia
Virginia
called for a larger assembly to discuss various situations and governing problems to meet at the Maryland
Maryland
state capital on the Chesapeake Bay. The later Annapolis Convention with some additional state representatives joining in the sessions first attempted to look into improving the earlier original Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union. There were enough problems to bear further discussion and deliberation that the Convention called for a wider meeting to recommend changes and meet the next year in the late Spring of 1787 in Philadelphia. The Confederation Congress itself endorsed the Call and issued one on its own further inviting the states to send delegates. After meeting in secret all summer in the Old Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
State House now having acquired the nickname and new title of Independence Hall, from the famous action here eleven years earlier. The Philadelphia
Philadelphia
Convention, under the presidency of former General George Washington
George Washington
instead of a series of amendments, or altering the old charter, issued a proposed new Constitution for the United States to replace the 1776–1778 Articles. The Confederation Congress received and submitted the new Constitution document to the states, and the Constitution was later ratified by enough states (nine were required) to become operative in June 1788. On September 12, 1788, the Confederation Congress set the date for choosing the new Electors in the Electoral College that was set up for choosing a President as January 7, 1789, the date for the Electors to vote for the President as on February 4, 1789, and the date for the Constitution to become operative as March 4, 1789, when the new Congress of the United States should convene, and that they at a later date set the time and place for the Inauguration
Inauguration
of the new first President of the United States. The Congress of the Confederation
Congress of the Confederation
continued to conduct business for another month after setting the various dates. On October 10, 1788, the Congress formed a quorum for the last time; afterwards, although delegates would occasionally appear, there were never enough to officially conduct business, and so the Congress of Confederation passed into history. The last meeting of the Continental Congress
Continental Congress
was held March 2, 1789, two days before the new Constitutional government took over; only one member was present at said meeting, Philip Pell, an ardent Anti-Federalist and opponent of the Constitution, who was accompanied by the Congressional secretary. Pell oversaw the meeting and adjourned the Congress sine die. Meeting sites[edit] Rather than having a fixed capital, the Congress of the Confederation met in numerous locations which may be considered United States capitals.[5] The Congress of the Confederation
Congress of the Confederation
initially met at the Old Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
State House (Independence Hall), in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
(March 1, 1781 to June 21, 1783). – It then met at Nassau Hall, in Princeton, New Jersey
Princeton, New Jersey
(June 30, 1783 to November 4, 1783), – at the Maryland
Maryland
State House, in Annapolis, Maryland (November 26, 1783 to August 19, 1784), – at the French Arms Tavern, in Trenton, New Jersey
Trenton, New Jersey
(November 1, 1784 to December 24, 1784), – and the City Hall of New York (later known as Federal Hall), and in New York City, New York (January 11, 1785 to Autumn 1788). Sessions[edit]

First Confederation Congress

March 1, 1781 – November 3, 1781, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Second Confederation Congress

November 5, 1781 – November 2, 1782, Philadelphia

Third Confederation Congress

See also: Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
Mutiny of 1783

November 4, 1782 – June 21, 1783, Philadelphia June 30, 1783 – November 1, 1783, Princeton, New Jersey

Fourth Confederation Congress

November 3, 1783 – November 4, 1783, Princeton

Fifth Confederation Congress

November 26, 1783 – June 3, 1784, Annapolis, Maryland

Sixth Confederation Congress

November 1, 1784 – December 24, 1784, Trenton, New Jersey January 11, 1785 – November 4, 1785, New York, New York

Seventh Confederation Congress

November 7, 1785 – November 3, 1786, New York

Eighth Confederation Congress

November 6, 1786 – October 30, 1787, New York

Ninth Confederation Congress

November 5, 1787 – October 21, 1788, New York

Tenth Confederation Congress

November 3, 1788 – March 2, 1789, New York

Presidents[edit] Further information: President of the Continental Congress Under the Articles of Confederation, the presiding officer of Congress—referred to in many official records as President of the United States in Congress Assembled—chaired the Committee of the States when Congress was in recess, and performed other administrative functions. He was not, however, an executive in the way the later President of the United States
President of the United States
is a chief executive, since all of the functions he executed were under the direct control of Congress.[6] There were 10 presidents of Congress under the Articles. The first, Samuel Huntington, had been serving as president of the Continental Congress since September 28, 1779.

President State Term

Samuel Huntington Connecticut 01 !March 1, 1781 – July 10, 1781

Thomas McKean Delaware 02 !July 10, 1781 – November 5, 1781

John Hanson Maryland 03 !November 5, 1781 – November 4, 1782

Elias Boudinot New Jersey 04 !November 4, 1782 – November 3, 1783

Thomas Mifflin Pennsylvania 05 !November 3, 1783 – June 3, 1784

Richard Henry Lee Virginia 06 !November 30, 1784 – November 4, 1785

John Hancock Massachusetts 07 !November 23, 1785 – June 5, 1786

Nathaniel Gorham Massachusetts 08 !June 6, 1786 – November 3, 1786

Arthur St. Clair Pennsylvania 09 !February 2, 1787 – November 4, 1787

Cyrus Griffin Virginia 10 !January 22, 1788 – November 15, 1788

See also[edit]

Confederation Period Committee of the States History of the United States (1776–1789) List of delegates to the Continental Congress

References[edit]

^ "Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789", Edited by Worthington C. Ford et al. 34 vols. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904–37. ^ "Confederation Congress". Ohio Historical Society. Retrieved October 23, 2010.  ^ See: Peace of Paris (1783)#Treaty with the United States of America. ^ Proposed Amendments to the Articles of Confederation
Articles of Confederation
Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789. Edited by Worthington C. Ford et al. 34 vols. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904–37. 31:494–98 ^ The Nine Capitals of the United States. United States Senate Historical Office. Accessed June 9, 2005. Based on Fortenbaugh, Robert, "The Nine Capitals of the United States", York, Pa.: Maple Press, 1948. See: List of capitals in the United States#Former national capitals. ^ Jensen, Merrill (1959). The Articles of Confederation: An Interpretation of the Social-Constitutional History of the American Revolution, 1774–1781. University of Wisconsin Press. pp. 178–179. ISBN 978-0-299-00204-6. 

Bibliography[edit]

Burnett, Edmund C. "The Continental Congress". Greenwood Publishing. ISBN 0-8371-8386-3.  Henderson, H. James. "Party Politics in the Continental Congress". Boston: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 0-8191-6525-5.  Jensen, Merrill (1950). "New Nation: A History of the United States During the Confederation, 1781–1789". New York: Knopf.  McLaughlin, Andrew C. (1935). "A Constitutional History of the United States". ISBN 978-1-931313-31-5.  Montross, Lynn. "The Reluctant Rebels; the Story of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789". New York: Barnes & Noble. ISBN 0-389-03973-X.  Morris, Richard B. (1987). "The Forging of the Union, 1781–1789". New York: Harper & Row. ISBN 0-06-091424-6.  Morris, Richard B. (1956). "The Confederation Period
Confederation Period
and the American Historian". William and Mary Quarterly. 13 (2): 139–156. doi:10.2307/1920529. JSTOR 1920529.  Rakove, Jack N. (1979). "The Beginnings of National Politics: An Interpretive History of the Continental Congress". New York: Knopf. ISBN 0-394-42370-4. 

External links[edit]

Major documents from the Congress, including journals, letters, debates, via Library of Congress

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Continental Congress.

Journals of the Continental Congress
Continental Congress
1774-1789

Preceded by Second Continental Congress Legislature of the United States March 1, 1781 – March 4, 1789 Succeeded by United States Congress

v t e

Government of the United States under the Articles of Confederation

Congresses

1st Continental Congress 2nd Continental Congress The US in Congress Assembled Delegates Committee of the States

Congressional Officers

President Secretary

Civil Offices/Officers

Postmaster General Superintendent of Finance/Agent of the Marine Secretary at War Secretary of Foreign Affairs Court of Appeals

Military

Board of War Continental Army Commander in Chief Continental Navy Continental Marines

v t e

Historical documents of the United States

Constitution

Preamble & Articles

Preamble I II III IV V VI VII

Amendments

Ratified

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27

Pending

Congressional Apportionment Titles of Nobility Corwin (State Domestic Institutions) Child Labor

Unsuccessful

Equal Rights District of Columbia Voting Rights

See also

List of Constitutional Amendments Bill of Rights (Amendments 1–10) Reconstruction Amendments
Reconstruction Amendments
(Amendments 13–15) Amendment proposals in Congress Conventions to propose amendments State ratifying conventions

Formation

History Articles of Confederation Mount Vernon
Mount Vernon
Conference Annapolis Convention Philadelphia
Philadelphia
Convention

Virginia
Virginia
Plan New Jersey
New Jersey
Plan Connecticut
Connecticut
Compromise Three-Fifths Compromise Committee of Detail Signing Independence Hall Syng inkstand

The Federalist Papers Anti-Federalist Papers Massachusetts
Massachusetts
Compromise Virginia
Virginia
Ratifying Convention Hillsborough Convention Drafting and ratification timeline

Clauses

Appointments Appropriations Assistance of Counsel Bill of credit Case or Controversy Citizenship Commerce Compact Compulsory Process Confrontation Contract Copyright and Patent Double Jeopardy Due Process Equal Protection Establishment Exceptions Excessive Bail Ex post facto Extradition Free Exercise Free Speech Fugitive Slave Full Faith and Credit General Welfare Guarantee Impeachment Import-Export Ineligibility (Emolument) Militia Natural-born citizen Necessary and Proper New States No Religious Test Oath or Affirmation Origination Petition Postal Presentment Privileges and Immunities Privileges or Immunities Recommendation Self-Incrimination Speech or Debate Speedy Trial State of the Union Supremacy Suspension Take Care Takings Taxing and Spending Territorial Title of Nobility Treaty Trial by Jury Vesting Vicinage War Powers List of clauses

Interpretation

Concurrent powers Congressional enforcement Constitutional law Criminal procedure Criminal sentencing Dormant Commerce Clause Enumerated powers Equal footing Executive privilege Incorporation of the Bill of Rights Judicial review Nondelegation doctrine Preemption Saxbe fix Separation of church and state Separation of powers Taxation power Unitary executive theory

Signatories

Convention President

George Washington

New Hampshire

John Langdon Nicholas Gilman

Massachusetts

Nathaniel Gorham Rufus King

Connecticut

William Samuel Johnson Roger Sherman

New York

Alexander Hamilton

New Jersey

William Livingston David Brearley William Paterson Jonathan Dayton

Pennsylvania

Benjamin Franklin Thomas Mifflin Robert Morris George Clymer Thomas Fitzsimons Jared Ingersoll James Wilson Gouverneur Morris

Delaware

George Read Gunning Bedford Jr. John Dickinson Richard Bassett Jacob Broom

Maryland

James McHenry Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer Daniel Carroll

Virginia

John Blair James Madison

North Carolina

William Blount Richard Dobbs Spaight Hugh Williamson

South Carolina

John Rutledge Charles Cotesworth Pinckney Charles Pinckney Pierce Butler

Georgia

William Few Abraham Baldwin

Convention Secretary

William Jackson

Display and legacy

National Archives

Charters of Freedom
Charters of Freedom
Rotunda

Independence Mall Constitution Day Constitution Gardens National Constitution Center Scene at the Signing of the Constitution (painting) A More Perfect Union (film) Worldwide influence

Declaration of Independence

Primary author

Thomas Jefferson

Signatories

President of Congress

John Hancock
John Hancock
(Massachusetts)

New Hampshire

Josiah Bartlett William Whipple Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts

Samuel Adams John Adams Robert Treat Paine Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island

Stephen Hopkins William Ellery

Connecticut

Roger Sherman Samuel Huntington William Williams Oliver Wolcott

New York

William Floyd Philip Livingston Francis Lewis Lewis Morris

New Jersey

Richard Stockton John Witherspoon Francis Hopkinson John Hart Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania

Robert Morris Benjamin Rush Benjamin Franklin John Morton George Clymer James Smith George Taylor James Wilson George Ross

Delaware

George Read Caesar Rodney Thomas McKean

Maryland

Samuel Chase William Paca Thomas Stone Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia

George Wythe Richard Henry Lee Thomas Jefferson Benjamin Harrison Thomas Nelson Jr. Francis Lightfoot Lee Carter Braxton

North Carolina

William Hooper Joseph Hewes John Penn

South Carolina

Edward Rutledge Thomas Heyward Jr. Thomas Lynch Jr. Arthur Middleton

Georgia

Button Gwinett Lyman Hall George Walton

See also

Virginia
Virginia
Declaration of Rights Lee Resolution Committee of Five Document's history

signing portrait

Second Continental Congress "All men are created equal" "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" "Consent of the governed" Independence Hall

Syng inkstand

American Revolution

Articles of Confederation

Signatories

Primary drafter

John Dickinson

New Hampshire

Josiah Bartlett John Wentworth Jr.

Massachusetts

John Hancock Samuel Adams Elbridge Gerry Francis Dana James Lovell Samuel Holten

Rhode Island

William Ellery Henry Marchant John Collins

Connecticut

Roger Sherman Samuel Huntington Oliver Wolcott Titus Hosmer Andrew Adams

New York

James Duane Francis Lewis William Duer Gouverneur Morris

New Jersey

John Witherspoon Nathaniel Scudder

Pennsylvania

Robert Morris Daniel Roberdeau Jonathan Bayard Smith William Clingan Joseph Reed

Delaware

Thomas McKean John Dickinson Nicholas Van Dyke

Maryland

John Hanson Daniel Carroll

Virginia

Richard Henry Lee John Banister Thomas Adams John Harvie Francis Lightfoot Lee

North Carolina

John Penn Cornelius Harnett John Williams

South Carolina

Henry Laurens William Henry Drayton John Mathews Richard Hutson Thomas Heyward Jr.

Georgia

John Walton Edward Telfair Edward Langworthy

See also

Continental Congress Congress of the Confederation American Revolution Perpetual Union

Continental Association

Signatories

President of Congress

Peyton Randolph

New Hampshire

John Sullivan Nathaniel Folsom

Massachusetts
Massachusetts
Bay

Thomas Cushing Samuel Adams John Adams Robert Treat Paine

Rhode Island

Stephen Hopkins Samuel Ward

Connecticut

Eliphalet Dyer Roger Sherman Silas Deane

New York

Isaac Low John Alsop John Jay James Duane Philip Livingston William Floyd Henry Wisner Simon Boerum

New Jersey

James Kinsey William Livingston Stephen Crane Richard Smith John De Hart

Pennsylvania

Joseph Galloway John Dickinson Charles Humphreys Thomas Mifflin Edward Biddle John Morton George Ross

The Lower Counties

Caesar Rodney Thomas McKean George Read

Maryland

Matthew Tilghman Thomas Johnson, Junr William Paca Samuel Chase

Virginia

Richard Henry Lee George Washington Patrick Henry, Junr Richard Bland Benjamin Harrison Edmund Pendleton

North Carolina

William Hooper Joseph Hewes Richard Caswell

South Carolina

Henry Middleton Thomas Lynch Christopher Gadsden John Rutledge Edward Rutledge

See also

Virginia
Virginia
Association First Continental Congress Carpenters' Hall Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress

v t e

Location of the capital of the United States and predecessors

1774   First Continental Congress

Philadelphia

1775–81   Second Continental Congress

Philadelphia → Baltimore → Lancaster → York → Philadelphia

1781–89   Congress of the Confederation

Philadelphia → Princeton → Annapolis → Trenton → New York City

1789–present   Federal government of the United States

New York City → Philadelphia → Washington, D.C.

v t e

Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
during the American Revolutionary War

1774

First Continental Congress Articles of Association

1775

Independence Hall Second Continental Congress

1776

United States Declaration of Independence Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
Constitution Washington Crosses the Delaware

1777

Articles of Confederation Philadelphia
Philadelphia
campaign Battle of Brandywine Battle of the Clouds Liberty Bell moved to Allentown Battle of Paoli Battle of Germantown Siege of Fort Mifflin Battle of White Marsh Battle of Matson's Ford Valley Forge

1778

Battle of Crooked Billet Battle of Barren Hill British occupation of Philadelphia
Philadelphia
ends Wyoming Valley battle and massacre

1781

Congress of the Confederation Mutiny of the Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
Line

1783

.