Artlicles of Confederation and U.S. Constitution

Primary sources provide a fascinating trip through time. This week we celebrate the adoption of the Articles of Confederation by the Second Continental Congress (November 15, 1777).  The conflicting views about how much power should reside in the central government as opposed to the states is a very old one:  Under the Articles, each state “retained 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”.  Article II, Articles of Confederation

Submitted to the states for ratification two days later, the Articles of Confederation were accompanied by a letter from Congress urging that the document:
…be candidly reviewed under a sense of the difficulty of combining in one general system the various sentiments and interests of a continent divided into so many sovereign and independent communities, under a conviction of the absolute necessity of uniting all our councils and all our strength, to maintain and defend our common liberties… Journals of the Continental Congress, Monday, November 17, 1777
See the entries for the Articles of Confederation and the U.S. Constitution in the Library's Primary Documents in American History Web guide to learn more about these documents.
You will find these resources and so much more at Today in History from the Library of Congress.