Articles of Confederation And Perpetual Union

By: Douglas V. Gnazzo | Thu, Jan 5, 2006
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"We have it in our power to begin the world over again.
A situation, similar to the present, hath not happened since the days of Noah until now.
The birthday of a new world is at hand."


The Articles of Confederation was the first written document that set forth the structural form of the government of The United States of America. The document stated:

"To all to whom these Presents shall come, we the undersigned Delegates of the States affixed to our Names send greeting.

Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union between the states of New Hampshire, Massachusetts-bay Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey , Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia." [1]

Note the wording of the second paragraph: Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union. Those are powerful and meaningful words, as the word perpetual signifies for all time.

The writers of the document were clearly aware of the importance, as well as the ramifications, of the ideals contained within; and the life they were to have: specifically, until the end of time. The choice of words is fascinating and curious.

Representatives from the original thirteen States began writing the articles in 1776, shortly after The Declaration of Independence had been completed. The Second Continental Congress adopted the articles on November 15, 1777.

John Dickinson was the head of the committee that drafted the Articles. The first proposal contained the framework for a strong central government, including the power to levy taxes.

It must be remembered that at the time the States were declaring independence from Great Britain. One of the main reasons centered around the issue of no taxation without equal representation.

The colonists were very leary of any powerful central form of government similar to the Constitutional Monarchy of Great Britain, whose tyrannical rule they were presently revolting against.

Congress rejected Dickinson's first plan, and stressed that only a loose Confederation of States would be acceptable, with very limited and specific powers. It was imperative that the thirteen States retain their independence and sovereignty. The power to levy taxes was denied.

The development process took almost sixteen months from start to finish, and The Articles still had to be ratified by the States, which took another three years - finally being accepted on March 2, 1781.

Prior to the ratification of The Articles of Confederation there had been a great deal of earlier groundwork done by the First Continental Congress.

The First Continental Congress assembled in Philadelpia in 1744, with the goal in mind of putting down on paper a list of all their grievances against the King of England. This they did in what came to be known as The Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress.

The Treaty of Paris (1783) ended the Revolutionary War with Britian. It was not until 1787 that the Constitution was written and ratified.

A discussion of the thirteen Articles of Confederation will now be offered. Several goals are in mind. First, we intend to provide a glimpse of the political context, as well as the historical background of the formative years of our government.

By studying the roots that our government sprang forth from, as well as the gardeners that water and fed and tended it, we hope to gain a better understanding of the development and creation of The Constitution of The United States.

Our final goal is to see the metamorphosis from the early stages to the constitutional stage, and finally to today's modern form of government.

The First Article

The First Article simply states:

I. The Stile of this Confederacy shall be "The United States of America". [2]

This is generally accepted as the first "official" use of the words The United States of America, although they had been used before, but not in a document recognized by all thirteen of the States.

The word Confederacy denotes that the thirteen States were acknowledging a coming together to serve a specific purpose: to unite together in order to better protect themselves from the several abuses of Great Britain and King George.

We will simply note a point here, and will discuss it further along: there is a major difference between a Confederation and a Federation. The form of government of the original thirteen States was a Confederation.

The Second Article

II. Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled. [3]

The second article speaks to the difference between a confederation and a federation. Note

That each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence.

These are very specific distinctions concerning the most basic and important principles of a free people. The individual states were joining together for a specific purpose - to protect and secure their freedom and liberty from the tyranny of the Crown.

To better afford to stand against the Crown, they knew they must "circle the wagons" (states) into a Confederation. But they also knew they wanted to remain independent, free, and especially sovereign - from the circle or union of the States (wagons).

Members of a Federation are willing to acquiesce individual rights for the "greater good" of the Federation. The members of a Confederation do not hand over any of their individual rights - for or to, the Confederation.

The same holds true for an individual that agrees to live under the accepted rules of society: he does not by such acceptance hand over his individual liberties to society - he still retains his individual freedom and sovereignty - his unalienable rights.

Because of their recent experience with the tyranny of King George and Great Britain, the States were deathly opposed to any form of a powerful central government. This is why the States formed a loose Confederation of independent and sovereign States with limited powers, instead of a federal central government.

Article III

III. The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretense whatever. [4]

Article three is basically a statement of "the safety afforded by numbers" as compared to going it alone. The States were entering into a league of mutual accommodation to better defend themselves against all those who offered force against them. In founding a New World this is basic survival tactics.

Article Four

IV. The better to secure and perpetuate mutual friendship and intercourse among the people of the different States in this Union, the free inhabitants of each of these States, paupers, vagabonds, and fugitives from justice excepted, shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of free citizens in the several States; and the people of each State shall free ingress and regress to and from any other State, and shall enjoy therein all the privileges of trade and commerce, subject to the same duties, impositions, and restrictions as the inhabitants thereof respectively, provided that such restrictions shall not extend so far as to prevent the removal of property imported into any State, to any other State, of which the owner is an inhabitant; provided also that no imposition, duties or restriction shall be laid by any State, on the property of the United States, or either of them.

If any person guilty of, or charged with, treason, felony, or other high misdemeanor in any State, shall flee from justice, and be found in any of the United States, he shall, upon demand of the Governor or executive power of the State from which he fled, be delivered up and removed to the State having jurisdiction of his offense.

Full faith and credit shall be given in each of these States to the records, acts, and judicial proceedings of the courts and magistrates of every other State. [5]

Article four states the right of free passage from one State to another for all except fugitives; and that once in a State all persons have the rights, freedoms, and privileges - the same as do all other peoples in the State. It also explains the extradition of criminals from one State to another.

Article Five

V. For the most convenient management of the general interests of the United States, delegates shall be annually appointed in such manner as the legislatures of each State shall direct, to meet in Congress on the first Monday in November, in every year, with a power reserved to each State to recall its delegates, or any of them, at any time within the year, and to send others in their stead for the remainder 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 more than three years in any term of six years; nor shall any person, being a delegate, be capable of holding any office under the United States, for which he, or another for his benefit, receives any salary, fees or emolument of any kind.

Each State shall maintain its own delegates in a meeting of the States, and while they act as members of the committee of the States.

In determining questions in the United States in Congress assembled, each State shall have one vote.

Freedom of speech and debate in Congress shall not be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Congress, and the members of Congress shall be protected in their persons from arrests or imprisonments, during the time of their going to and from, and attendance on Congress, except for treason, felony, or breach of the peace. [6]

Article five defines the actual structure of the new government. For the management of the general interests of the United States, delegates from each State were to be appointed by the legislatures of each of the individual States.

No State could be represented in Congress by less than two, or by more than seven delegates. Freedom of speech and other rights were given to members of Congress during their attendance at Congress.

The most important and critical point of the article, however, and perhaps of the entire Articles of Confederation is the sentance:

"In determining questions in the United States in Congress assembled, each State shall have one vote." [7]

The impact and ramifications of this sentance cannot be overstated, as it contains the seeds of governmental and political controversy that still echo throughout the halls of Congress.

Each State had ONE vote in Congress assembled.

This a simple yet powerful provision, as it makes all States equal in their place, power, and authority, as a member of the United States in Congress assembled.

Just as all men are born free with unalienable rights, so too is each State a sovereign entity - equal with all other States, as each man is with one another. The power of freedom can be felt in the resonance of the words of liberty that still sound in the hallowed chambers of truth.

Article Six

VI. No State, without the consent of the United States in Congress assembled, shall send any embassy to, or receive any embassy from, or enter into any conference, agreement, alliance or treaty with any King, Prince or State; nor shall any person 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, Prince or foreign State; nor shall the United States in Congress assembled, or any of them, grant any 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 States in Congress assembled, specifying accurately the purposes for which the same is to be entered into, and how long it shall continue.

No State shall lay any imposts or duties, which may interfere with any stipulations in treaties, entered into by the United States in Congress assembled, with any King, Prince or State, in pursuance of any treaties already proposed by Congress, to the courts of France and Spain.

No vessel of war shall be kept up in time of peace by any State, except such number only, as shall be deemed necessary by the United States in Congress assembled, for the defense of such State, or its trade; nor shall any body of forces be kept up by any State in time of peace, except such number only, as in the judgment of the United States in Congress assembled, shall be deemed requisite to garrison the forts necessary for the defense of such State; but every State shall always keep up a well-regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutered, and shall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores, a due number of filed pieces and tents, and a proper quantity of arms, ammunition and camp equipage.

No State shall engage in any war without the consent of the United States in Congress assembled, unless such State be actually invaded by enemies, or shall have received certain advice of a resolution being formed by some nation of Indians to invade such State, and the danger is so imminent as not to admit of a delay till the United States in Congress assembled can be consulted; nor shall any State grant commissions to any ships or vessels of war, nor letters of marque or reprisal, except it be after a declaration of war by the United States in Congress assembled, and then only against the Kingdom or State and the subjects thereof, against which war has been so declared, and under such regulations as shall be established by the United States in Congress assembled, unless such State be infested by pirates, in which case vessels of war may be fitted out for that occasion, and kept so long as the danger shall continue, or until the United States in Congress assembled shall determine otherwise. [8]

There is a lot of verbiage in article six, but it all basically boils down to limiting States from declaring war, and entering into foreign affairs, without the consent of the United States assembled in Congress.

We will offer a few observations, but will not go into detail until a later date - in future papers that are more germain to the exact issues involved.

Note the wording:

"nor shall any person 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, Prince or foreign State; nor shall the United States in Congress assembled, or any of them, grant any title of nobility."

This will come into sharper focus when we view the original thirteenth amendment to the Constitution, and why it was replaced with a different version.

It will be interesting to see if different renditions get caught up in the reckoning. For whatever the reason, I don't think the planners have planned on it, but I've been wrong before. That's why I'm still here.

Article 7

VII. When land forces are raised by any State for the common defense, all officers of or under the rank of colonel, shall be appointed by the legislature of each State respectively, by whom such forces shall be raised, or in such manner as such State shall direct, and all vacancies shall be filled up by the State which first made the appointment. [9]

Article seven states that when an army is raised by any State (for the common defense) that all officers at or under the rank of colonel are to be chosen by the State legislature.

Article 8

VIII. All charges of war, and all other expenses that shall be incurred for the common defense or general welfare, and allowed by the United States in Congress assembled, shall be defrayed out of a common treasury, which shall be supplied by the several States in proportion to the value of all land within each State, granted or surveyed for any person, as such land and the buildings and improvements thereon shall be estimated according to such mode as the United States in Congress assembled, shall from time to time direct and appoint.

The taxes for paying that proportion shall be laid and levied by the authority and direction of the legislatures of the several States within the time agreed upon by the United States in Congress assembled. [10]

Article eight is very important, as it defines that the expenses of the United States are to be paid by the several states, in proportion to the value of the land and buildings therein. Each State legislature is responsible to levy and collect the taxes due to the United States assembled in Congress.

Notice that Article eight does not grant Congress the power to collect or demand taxes from the States. "Taxes for paying that proportion shall be laid and levied by the authority and direction of the legislature of the several States".

Nowhere in the Articles is Congress granted any power to lay or collect taxes. This will be discussed in more detail when examining State's rights versus Federal rights.

Article 9

We will not quote the entire ninth article, as it is quite long. The reader can avail themselves by using the link provided either above, or below in the footnotes. Article nine contains a lot of very important detail, as it defines many of the powers and rights delegated to Congress by the United States assembled.

The following is a fairly comprehensive synopsis of the powers and rights conferred.

The United States in Congress assembled, shall have the sole and exclusive right and power of:

The most telling statement is the last - that The United States in Congress assemble shall never (exercise any of the listed powers and or rights) unless nine States assent to the same.

There were thirteen original States, so this meant that a majority of nine out of thirteen States must agree on any and all acts that Congress had been granted the authority to exercise - before such delegated rights could be exercised.

This provision of Article nine clearly expresses the Continental Congress's reluctance to

Delegate Unconstrained Powers to a Central Government

as exemplified by the very restrictive necessity of a mandatory nine of thirteen majority vote. And recall that each state had one vote, and one vote only.

Article 10

Article 10 designates a Committee of the States to act in place of Congress, when Congress is not assembled. The provision of a 9 of 13 majority is once again stressed.

Article 11

The eleventh article allows for the pre-approval of Canada to join the United States, as well as setting rules for new states requiring a 9-vote majority. Once again we see the importance of a majority decision prior to any acts.

Article 12

XII. All bills of credit emitted, monies borrowed, and debts contracted by, or under the authority of Congress, before the assembling of the United States, in pursuance of the present confederation, shall be deemed and considered as a charge against the United States, for payment and satisfaction whereof the said United States, and the public faith are hereby solemnly pledged. [11]

This is a most fascinating, as well as an extremely far-reaching article. It states that all bills of credit, monies borrowed, and debts contracted by or under the authority of Congress, prior to the assembling of the United States - constitute a charge against the United States.

Furthermore, not only the United States, but also the public faith, is solemnly pledged to pay satisfaction of said debts.

This is one of the first times that the public debt is not only mentioned, but is also contractually accepted by Congress as an obligation of not only the United States, but the public as well.

The phrase public debt is going to recur and recur and recur - throughout the history of the United States, much as a recurring nightmare haunts its host.

Some say that the elite international financiers use the national debt as the ways and means to coerce the people into using the delusional system of wealth transference; comprised of central banking, paper fiat debt-money, legal tender laws, and fractional reserve lending.

As has been previously shown in Honest Money, Part V: History of American Money and Banking, and Whence & Pence, Part 1: The Founding the national debt and our present monetary system of paper fiat debt-money go hand in hand as does darkness and night.

Upon winning the Revolutionary War the United States signed a Treaty with England called The Paris Peace Treaty of 1783. Article Four of the Treaty states:

"It is agreed that creditors on either side shall meet with no lawful impediment to the recovery of the full value in sterling money of all bona fide debts heretofore contracted." [12]

Obviously, something is up with bona fide debts, national debts, and public debts. They suddenly appear, as if lurking in the shadows, whenever any important matters of State are discussed.

Since the first explorers set foot upon the shores, the national debt has been slowly consuming the rights our country was founded on - as if the ideals of liberty and justice are but scraps of meat to feed the raging beasts of greed and lust.

If one pays close attention to history, the national debt stands out as the most important issue that the elite powers are concerned with, as witnessed by our most celebrated documents:

The most infamous documents of our history are also steeped in the stench of the national debt:

And, if one sifts through the major international organizations, debt is found to be the preferred topic of choice:

There is only one plausible answer for all these coincedental documents, organizations, and events:

Follow the Money to the House of the Fallen Star

Article 13

XIII. Every State shall abide by the determination of the United States in Congress assembled, on all questions, which by this confederation are submitted to them. And the Articles of this Confederation shall be inviolably observed by every State, and the Union shall be perpetual; nor shall any alteration at any time hereafter be made in any of them; unless such alteration be agreed to in a Congress of the United States, and be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every State. [13]

Article thirteen states some serious and far-reaching determinations.

The articles are to be inviolably observed by every State. Inviolably denotes that the observations of the articles are not to be violated - not to be subject to irreverence - not to be demeaned in any way whatsoever. In other words they are sacrosanct and indestructible.

The Union of the thirteen States is to be perpetual. Perpetual refers to going on forever, never-ending, permanent. The use of this word clearly shows that the writers of the Articles of Confederation did not view the articles as a quick fix or short-term form of government.

The words inviolably and perpetual both interject a strong sense and tone of permanency into the Articles of Confederation. The writers chose their words carefully and would not have used such words if they did not mean to express what the words clearly express.

Lastly, no changes are to be made to the articles unless every State of Congress assembled agrees and confirms such change. Once again the tone and Spirit of the wording clearly indicates the importance of consensus of agreement in all matters of government.

It was imperative to the thirteen original States to make sure that no centralized form of Federal government could overpower any one of the individual Sovereign States. This is a theme and issue that permeates our political history, with questions of rights, powers, and authority still debated and unresolved to this very day.


The Articles of Confederation created the first working form of government of The United States of America. A single house of Congress was established, and each state had one vote. As stated in the beginning of this article, Congress was granted a number of limited powers and rights.

The Articles are frequently criticized for limiting the power and authority of the central government to such a degree as to render it almost powerless to effectively govern. The greatest weakness is said to have been the inability to levy taxes.

The government was unable to pay off its debts incurred not only for the functioning of the government, but especially for the cost of war. The finance of war has been the death-knell of many forms of government - both those with the power to tax, and the power to create money out of nothing. This is one of the most critical issues that any form of government must face: the financing of guns versus butter.

Congress could not pass certain legislation because they lacked the nine-state majority required to establish laws. Often times the states ignored Congress, which was powerless to enforce the states to obey its orders.

This is considered to be another of the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation - the lack of force. Yet, strangely enough there existed enough force to fight and win a revolutionary war against the most powerful nation on Earth.

The idea of the power of State to enforce is not the simple and clear-cut issue many would have it seem. There exist deep moral and philosophical issues just below the surface, such as:

Have these questions yet been answered, or do they still resonate within the halls of Congress - echoing throughout the foundation of our great nation - a haunting reminder of the great work that remains undone - destiny waiting to be fulfilled, by perpetual union.

"It is a sufficient excitement to human endeavor
that such a government would flourish for many ages; without
pretending to bestow, on any work of man, that immortality, which the
Almighty seems to have refused to his own productions." [14]

Coming In The Next Few Weeks - Open Letter To Congress
Seeking Redress For The Return To Honest Money

[1] The Articles of Confederation
[2] Same as above
[3] Same
[4] Same
[5] Same
[6] Same
[7] Same
[8] Same
[9] Same
[10] Same
[11] Same
[12] Paris Peace Treaty of 1783
[13] Articles of Confederation
[14] David Hume - Hume's Works (Essays Moral, Political, and Literary, vol. 1, part 11, essay XVI)


Douglas V. Gnazzo

Author: Douglas V. Gnazzo

Douglas V. Gnazzo
Honest Money Gold & Silver Report

Douglas V. Gnazzo is the retired CEO of New England Renovation LLC, a historical restoration contractor that specialized in the restoration of older buildings and vintage historic landmarks. Mr. Gnazzo writes for numerous websites, and his work appears both here and abroad. Just recently, he was honored by being chosen as a Foundation Scholar for the Foundation of Monetary Education (FAME).

Disclaimer: The contents of this article represent the opinions of Douglas V. Gnazzo. Nothing contained herein is intended as investment advice or recommendations for specific investment decisions, and you should not rely on it as such. Douglas V. Gnazzo is not a registered investment advisor. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and using methods believed to be reliable, but Douglas. V. Gnazzo cannot accept responsibility for any trading losses you may incur as a result of your reliance on this analysis and will not be held liable for the consequence of reliance upon any opinion or statement contained herein or any omission. Individuals should consult with their broker and personal financial advisors before engaging in any trading activities. Do your own due diligence regarding personal investment decisions. This article may contain information that is confidential and/or protected by law. The purpose of this article is intended to be used as an educational discussion of the issues involved. Douglas V. Gnazzo is not a lawyer or a legal scholar. Information and analysis derived from the quoted sources are believed to be reliable and are offered in good faith. Only a highly trained and certified and registered legal professional should be regarded as an authority on the issues involved; and all those seeking such an authoritative opinion should do their own due diligence and seek out the advice of a legal professional. Lastly, Douglas V. Gnazzo believes that The United States of America is the greatest country on Earth, but that it can yet become greater. This article is written to help facilitate that greater becoming. God Bless America.

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