Three Cheers for the Articles of Confederation ~ The Imaginative Conservative

Just as these three questions hung over Dickinson’s initial draft, three things must be noted about the final version. First, as to each question asked, state sovereignty won. The delegates from each state even went so far as to refer to the delegates from another state as an “embassy.” Second, while the states had individually argued over the power given to each state in each state’s own constitutional convention, almost no one argued for the federal government to have much power during the debates over the Articles. As historian Gordon Wood has explained: “Yet in marked contrast to the rich and exciting public explorations of political theory accompanying the formation of the state constitutions, there was little discussion of the plans for a central government. Whatever feelings of American nationalism existed in 1776, they paled before people’s loyalties to their separate states.”*  Third, the signers of the Articles represented an incredibly impressive array of revolutionary talent, including Sam Adams, Daniel Carroll, Elbridge Gerry, John Hancock, Henry Laurens, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas McKean, Gouverneur Morris, Robert Morris, Roger Sherman, and John Witherspoon.
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