Study Guide

Articles of Confederation Timeline

By The Second Continental Congress, John Dickinson

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October 14th, 1774

The First Continental Congress calls for boycott

In response to British tax policy, the colonies' representatives decide to take action and protest their mother country's Parliament. Congress agrees to reconvene later if things keep getting worse.

Which they do.

July 3rd, 1775

War starts

After a few battles (Bunker Hill, Concord) George "Wooden Chompers " Washington is appointed by Congress to lead the American forces, known as the Continental Army.

July 4th, 1776

Declaration of Independence signed

Game time. America formally breaks away from Britain.

The next task: come up with a new government to replace the old one.

July 12th, 1776

First draft of the Articles of Confederation presented to Second Continental Congress

The first draft is said to have used way too many "lols" and "btws."

November 15th, 1777

Second Continental Congress ratifies the Articles of Confederation

Just like travelling through hyperspace, creating a new government from scratch ain't like dusting crops.

The delegates debate the document for a year while the war goes on. Hey, no rush.

July 9th, 1778

First states to ratify the Articles

After a few months of delay due to printing errors (no, really), delegates from eight states sign and ratify the document.

The ball is officially rolling.

February 6th, 1778

France enters the War

The historically British-hating French ally with the new American nation, a major military turning point in the war. Wait, say American soldiers, we might win this thing…

March 1st, 1781

Final state ratifies the Articles of Confederation

Looking at you, Maryland.

September 3rd, 1783

Treaty of Paris ends Revolutionary War

The British acknowledge the new government and nation of the United States. King George III cries deeply while American ambassador Benjamin Franklin celebrates with the women of Paris. (Source)

September 14th, 1786

Annapolis Convention

Led by John Dickinson, author of the Articles of Confederation, delegates from the states acknowledge "defects in the system of the Federal Government." (Source)

1786 – 1787

Shays' Rebellion

Economic turmoil in the United States leads to a series of violent uprisings against the government in Massachusetts and other states, led by Revolutionary War veteran Daniel Shays. The Rebellion is viewed as evidence that the Articles of Confederation need to be changed.

February 21st, 1787

Congress plans revision

State delegates organize a convention to take place in Philadelphia later that year. The purpose: fix the shoddy government.

May 25th – September 17th, 1787

Constitutional Convention

Instead of revising the Articles of Confederation, the delegates, led by Federalists James Madison and Alexander Hamilton at the convention, come up with the Constitution.

1787 – 1788

The Federalist Papers published

Hamilton, Madison, John Jay, and friends, writing under the pseudonym "Publius," publish pamphlets arguing for the ratification of the new Constitution. (Say "Publius" three times fast. Try not to laugh.)

June 21st, 1788

Constitution becomes law of the land

New Hampshire is the ninth state to ratify the new Constitution, which officially replaces the Articles of Confederation. The final four states out of the thirteen eventually follow.

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