Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union
TO ALL TO WHOM these Presents shall come, we theundersigned Delegates of the States affixed to our Names send greeting. Whereas theDelegates of the United States of America in Congress assembled, did, on the fifteenth dayof November in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy seven, and inthe Second Year of the Independence of America, agree to certain articles of Confederationand perpetual Union between the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts bay, Rhode Islandand 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, NewJersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina andGeorgia.
The Style of this confederacy shall be "The United States of America."
Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence,and every Power, jurisdiction and right, which is not by this Confederation expresslydelegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.
The said states hereby severally enter into a firm league offriendship with each other, for their common defence, the security of their Liberties, andtheir mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against allforce offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion,sovereignty, trade, or any other pretence whatever.
The better to secure and perpetuate mutual friendship andintercourse among the people of the different states in this union, the free inhabitantsof each of these states, paupers, vagabonds and fugitives from Justice excepted, shall beentitled to all privileges and immunities of free citizens in the several states; and thepeople of each state shall have free ingress and regress to and from any other state, andshall enjoy therein all the privileges of trade and commerce, subject to the same duties,impositions and restrictions as the inhabitants thereof respectively, provided that suchrestriction shall not extend so far as to prevent the removal of property imported intoany state, to any other state of which the Owner is an inhabitant; provided also that noimposition, duties or restriction shall be laid by any state, on the property of theunited states, or either of them.
If any Person guilty of, or charged with treason, felony, orother high misdemeanor in any state, shall flee from Justice, and be found in any of theunited states, he shall, upon demand of the Governor or executive power of the state fromwhich he fled, be delivered up and removed to the state having jurisdiction of hisoffence.
Full faith and credit shall be given in each of these statesto the records, acts and judicial proceedings of the courts and magistrates of every otherstate.
For the most convenient management of the general interests of the united states, delegates shall be annually appointed in such manner as thelegislatures of each state shall direct, to meet in Congress on the first Monday inNovember, in every year, with a power reserved to each state, to recall its delegates, orany of them, at any time within the year, and to send others in their stead, for theremainder of the Year.
No state shall be represented in Congress by less than two,nor more than seven Members; and no person shall be capable of being a delegate for morethan three years in any term of six years; nor shall any person, being a delegate, becapable of holding any office under the united states, for which he, or another for hisbenefit receives any salary, fees or emolument of any kind.
Each state shall maintain its own delegates in a meeting ofthe states, and while they act as members of the committee of the states.
In determining questions in the united states, in Congressassembled, each state shall have one vote.
Freedom of speech and debate in Congress shall not beimpeached or questioned in any Court, or place out of Congress, and the members ofcongress shall be protected in their persons from arrests and imprisonments, during thetime of their going to and from, and attendence on congress, except for treason, felony,or breach of the peace.
No state without the Consent of the united states in congressassembled, shall send any embassy to, or receive any embassy from, or enter into anyconference, agreement, or alliance or treaty with any King prince or state; nor shall anyperson 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, princeor foreign state; nor shall the united states in congress assembled, or any of them, grantany 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 statesin congress assembled, specifying accurately the purposes for which the same is to beentered into, and how long it shall continue.
No state shall lay any imposts or duties, which may interferewith any stipulations in treaties, entered into by the united states in congressassembled, with any king, prince or state, in pursuance of any treaties already proposedby congress, to the courts of France and Spain.
No vessels of war shall be kept up in time of peace by anystate, except such number only, as shall be deemed necessary by the united states incongress assembled, for the defence of such state, or its trade; nor shall any body offorces be kept up by any state, in time of peace, except such number only, as in thejudgment of the united states, in congress assembled, shall be deemed requisite togarrison the forts necessary for the defence of such state; but every state shall alwayskeep up a well regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutered, andshall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores, a due number of fieldpieces and tents, and a proper quantity of arms, ammunition and camp equipage.
No state shall engage in any war without the consent of theunited states in congress assembled, unless such state be actually invaded by enemies, orshall have received certain advice of a resolution being formed by some nation of Indiansto invade such state, and the danger is so imminent as not to admit of a delay till theunited states in congress assembled can be consulted; nor shall any state grantcommissions to any ships or vessels of war, nor letters of marque or reprisal, except itbe after a declaration of war by the united states in congress assembled, and then onlyagainst the kingdom or state and the subjects thereof, against which war has been sodeclared, and under such regulations as shall be established by the united states incongress assembled, unless such state be infested by pirates, in which case vessels of warmay be fitted out for that occasion, and kept so long as the danger shall continue, oruntil the united states in congress assembled shall determine otherwise.
When land forces are raised by any state for the commondefence, all officers of or under the rank of colonel, shall be appointed by thelegislature of each state respectively, by whom such forces shall be raised, or in suchmanner as such state shall direct, and all vacancies shall be filled up by the state whichfirst made the appointment.
All charges of war, and all other expenses that shall beincurred for the common defence or general welfare, and allowed by the united states incongress assembled, shall be defrayed out of a common treasury, which shall be supplied bythe several states, in proportion to the value of all land within each state, granted toor surveyed for any Person, as such land and the buildings and improvements thereon shallbe estimated according to such mode as the united states in congress assembled, shall fromtime to time direct and appoint. The taxes for paying that proportion shall be laid andlevied by the authority and direction of the legislatures of the several states within thetime agreed upon by the united states in congress assembled.
The united states in congress assembled, shall have the soleand exclusive right and power of determining on peace and war, except in the casesmentioned in the sixth article—of sending and receiving ambassadors—enteringinto treaties and alliances, provided that no treaty of commerce shall be made whereby thelegislative power of the respective states shall be restrained from imposing such impostsand duties on foreigners, as their own people are subjected to, or from prohibiting theexportation or importation of any species of goods or commodities whatsoever—ofestablishing rules for deciding in all cases, what captures on land or water shall belegal, and in what manner prizes taken by land or naval forces in the service of theunited states shall be divided or appropriated—of granting letters of marque andreprisal in times of peace—appointing courts for the trial of piracies and feloniescommited on the high seas and establishing courts for receiving and determining finallyappeals in all cases of captures, provided that no member of Congress shall be appointed ajudge of any of the said courts.
The united states in congress assembled shall also be thelast resort on appeal in all disputes and differences now subsisting or that hereafter mayarise between two or more states concerning boundary, jurisdiction or any other causewhatever; which authority shall always be exercised in the manner following. Whenever thelegislative or executive authority or lawful agent of any state in controversy withanother shall present a petition to congress stating the matter in question and prayingfor a hearing, notice thereof shall be given by order of congress to the legislative orexecutive authority of the other state in controversy, and a day assigned for theappearance of the parties by their lawful agents, who shall then be directed to appoint byjoint consent, commissioners or judges to constitute a court for hearing and determiningthe matter in question; but if they cannot agree, congress shall name three persons out ofeach of the united states, and from the list of such persons each party shall alternatelystrike 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 shalldirect, shall in the presence of congress be drawn out by lot, and the persons whose namesshall be so drawn or any five of them, shall be commissioners or judges, to hear andfinally determine the controversy, so always as a major part of the judges who shall hearthe cause shall agree in the determination; and if either party shall neglect to attend atthe day appointed, without showing reasons, which congress shall judge sufficient, orbeing present shall refuse to strike, the congress shall proceed to nominate three personsout of each state, and the secretary of congress shall strike in behalf of such partyabsent or refusing; and the judgment and sentence of the court to be appointed, in themanner before prescribed, shall be final and conclusive; and if any of the parties shallrefuse to submit to the authority of such court, or to appear or defend their claim orcause, the court shall nevertheless proceed to pronounce sentence, or judgment, whichshall in like manner be final and decisive, the judgment or sentence and other proceedingsbeing in either case transmitted to congress, and lodged among the acts of congress forthe security of the parties concerned; provided that every commissioner, before he sits injudgment, shall take an oath to be administered by one of the judges of the supreme orsuperior court of the state, where the cause shall be tried, "well and truly to hearand determine the matter in question, according to the best of his judgement, withoutfavor, affection or hope of reward;" provided also, that no state shall be deprivedof territory for the benefit of the united states.
All controversies concerning the private right of soilclaimed under different grants of two or more states, whose jurisdictions as they mayrespect such lands, and the states which passed such grants are adjusted, the said grantsor either of them being at the same time claimed to have originated antecedent to suchsettlement of jurisdiction, shall on the petition of either party to the congress of theunited states, be finally determined as near as may be in the same manner as is beforeprescribed for deciding disputes respecting territorial jurisdiction between differentstates.
The united states in congress assembled shall also have thesole and exclusive right and power of regulating the alloy and value of coin struck bytheir own authority, or by that of the respective states—fixing the standards ofweights and measures throughout the united states—regulating the trade and managingall affairs with the Indians, not members of any of the states, provided that thelegislative right of any state within its own limits be not infringed orviolated—establishing or regulating post offices from one state to another,throughout all the united states, and exacting such postage on the papers passing throughthe same as may be requisite to defray the expenses of the said office—appointing allofficers of the land forces, in the service of the united states, excepting regimentalofficers—appointing all the officers of the naval forces, and commissioning allofficers whatever in the service of the united states—making rules for the governmentand regulation of the said land and naval forces, and directing their operations.
The united states in congress assembled shall have authorityto appoint a committee, to sit in the recess of congress, to be denominated "ACommittee of the States," and to consist of one delegate from each state; and toappoint such other committees and civil officers as may be necessary for managing thegeneral affairs of the united states under their direction—to appoint one of theirmembers to preside, provided that no person be allowed to serve in the office of presidentmore than one year in any term of three years; to ascertain the necessary sums of Money tobe raised for the service of the united states, and to appropriate and apply the same fordefraying the public expenses—to borrow money, or emit bills on the credit of theunited states, transmitting every half year to the respective states an account of thesums of money so borrowed or emitted—to build and equip a navy—to agree upon thenumber of land forces, and to make requisitions from each state for its quota, inproportion to the number of white inhabitants in such state; which requisition shall bebinding, and thereupon the legislature of each state shall appoint the regimentalofficers, raise the men and clothe, arm and equip them in a soldier like manner, at theexpense of the united states; and the officers and men so clothed, armed and equippedshall march to the place appointed, and within the time agreed on by the united states incongress assembled. But if the united states in congress assembled shall, on considerationof circumstances judge proper that any state should not raise men, or should raise asmaller number than its quota, such extra number shall be raised, officered, clothed,armed and equipped in the same manner as the quota of such state, unless the legislatureof such state shall judge that such extra number cannot be safely spared out of the same,in which case they shall raise, officer, clothe, arm and equip as many of such extranumber as they judge can be safely spared. And the officers and men so cloathed, armed andequipped, shall march to the place appointed, and within the time agreed on by the unitedstates in congress assembled.
The united states in congress assembled shall never engage ina war, nor grant letters of marque or reprisal in time of peace, nor enter into anytreaties or alliances, nor coin money, nor regulate the value thereof, nor ascertain thesums and expenses necessary for the defence and welfare of the united states, or any ofthem, nor emit bills, nor borrow money on the credit of the united states, nor appropriatemoney, nor agree upon the number of vessels of war, to be built or purchased, or thenumber of land or sea forces to be raised, nor appoint a commander in chief of the army ornavy, unless nine states 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 the majorityof the united states in congress assembled.
The congress of the united states shall have power to adjournto any time within the year, and to any place within the united states, so that no periodof adjournment be for a longer duration than the space of six Months, and shall publishthe Journal of their proceedings monthly, except such parts thereof relating to treaties,alliances or military operations, as in their judgment require secrecy; and the yeas andnays of the delegates of each state on any question shall be entered on the Journal, whenit is desired by any delegate; and the delegates of a state, or any of them, at his ortheir request shall be furnished with a transcript of the said Journal, except such partsas are above excepted, to lay before the legislatures of the several states.
The committee of the states, or any nine of them, shall beauthorized to execute, in the recess of congress, such of the powers of congress as theunited states in congress assembled, by the consent of nine states, shall from time totime think expedient to vest them with; provided that no power be delegated to the saidcommittee, for the exercise of which, by the articles of confederation, the voice of ninestates in the congress of the united states assembled is requisite.
Canada acceding to this confederation, and joining in themeasures of the united states, shall be admitted into, and entitled to all the advantagesof this union; but no other colony shall be admitted into the same, unless such admissionbe agreed to by nine states.
All bills of credit emitted, monies borrowed and debtscontracted by, or under the authority of congress, before the assembling of the unitedstates, in pursuance of the present confederation, shall be deemed and considered as acharge against the united states, for payment and satisfaction whereof the said unitedstates, and the public faith are hereby solemnly pleged.
Every state shall abide by the determination of the unitedstates in congress assembled, on all questions which by this confederation are submittedto them. And the Articles of this confederation shall be inviolably observed by everystate, and the union shall be perpetual; nor shall any alteration at any time hereafter bemade in any of them; unless such alteration be agreed to in a congress of the unitedstates, and be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every state.
AND WHEREAS it hath pleased the Great Governor of the World to incline the heartsof the legislatures we respectively represent in congress, to approve of, and to authorizeus to ratify the said articles of confederation and perpetual union. KNOW YE that we theundersigned delegates, by virtue of the power and authority to us given for that purpose,do by these presents, in the name and in behalf of our respective constituents, fully andentirely ratify and confirm each and every of the said articles of confederation andperpetual union, and all and singular the matters and things therein contained: And we dofurther solemnly plight and engage the faith of our respective constituents, that theyshall abide by the determinations of the united states in congress assembled, on allquestions, which by the said confederation are submitted to them. And that the articlesthereof shall be inviolably observed by the states we respectively represent, and that theunion 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 ourLord one Thousand seven Hundred and Seventy-eight, and in the third year of theindependence of America.
On the part & behalf of the State of New Hampshire:
JOHN WENTWORTH JUNR.
August 8th 1778
On the part and behalf of The State of Massachusetts Bay
On the part and behalf of the State of Rhode Island and
On the part and behalf of the State of Connecticut
TITUS HOSMER ANDREW ADAMS
On the Part and Behalf of the State of New York
On the Part and in Behalf of the State of New Jersey, November
On the part and behalf of the State of Pennsylvania
JOHN BAYARD SMITH.
22nd July 1778
On the part & behalf of the State of Delaware
February 12, 1779
May 5th 1779
NICHOLAS VAN DYKE,
On the part and behalf of the State of Maryland
March 1 1781
DANIEL CARROLL do
On the Part and Behalf of the State of Virginia
RICHARD HENRY LEE
FRANCIS LIGHTFOOT LEE
On the part and Behalf of the State of No Carolina
July 21st 1778
On the part & behalf of the State of South Carolina
WILLIAM HENRY DRAYTON
THOs HEYWARD Junr
On the part & behalf of the State of Georgia
24th July 1778