January 30, 1781 — While the Continental Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation on November 15, 1777, it took a little more than three years for it to be ratified.
Today marks the anniversary when government leaders in Maryland signed the Articles, which provided a loose confederation of sovereign states and a weak central government, leaving most of the governing power in the hands of state legislators.
Why was the 13th state the last holdout? Maryland’s state leaders had previously refused to participate until Virginia and New York agreed to cede their claims in the Ohio River Valley.
The present United States Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation on March 4, 1789.
Words of Wisdom
Permit us, then, earnestly to recommend these articles to the immediate and dispassionate attention of the legislatures of the respective states. Let them be candidly reviewed under a sense of the difficulty of combining in one system the various sentiments and interests of a continent divided into so many sovereign and independent communities, under a conviction of the absolute necessity of uniting all our councils and all our strength, to maintain and defend our common liberties...