March 1 - 1781 - The Articles of Confederation are Ratified
The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union were the first, actual governing document for the United States of America. Naturally, the process for drafting and ratifying the Articles of Confederation in July of 1776, just after the colonies declared their independence from Great Britain. By late 1777, the full document is ready to go, but the full ratification could not happen until early 1781 because Maryland wanted other states to give up on their land claims west of the Ohio River. It should have been an auspicious omen for everyone involved. The Articles of Confederation were framed to avoid any sense that the federal government would have any supremacy over the sovereignty of the states except in foreign policy and trade. Practically speaking, that meant the Congress of the United States Assembled, the only real governmental body established by the Articles of Confederation, could not raise taxes, control an army, or even enforce anything. Eventually, these problems would make the states call for a convention to amend the Articles of Confederation, which made everyone decide to just create a whole new Constitution of the United States.