The Articles of Confederation

Contributor: Meghan Vestal. Lesson ID: 11001

Did you know the United States of America did not fight the Revolutionary War? What was the Perpetual Union? Watch an instructive video, read the old documents, play online games and create some laws!


United States

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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The year is 1776, and your fellow colonists have just declared independence from Britain. You are so close to freedom, yet the war still lingers. Your new home — this new nation of freedom — does need some rules to keep citizens across the colonies in check, and you have been assigned the task of creating a set of laws to do just that. Make a list of at least five laws your fellow colonists, along with those residing in the other 12 colonies, must follow, particularly during this time of war, so structure remains as freedom as won.

Review your list of laws with your parent or teacher.

Why do you think these laws are important? Are there certain laws that you purposely excluded because of the current situation? Explain your answer.

This lesson will focus on the Articles of Confederation, an agreement between the colonies establishing laws and their system of government.

Did you know that when the 13 colonies declared independence from Great Britain, they did not immediately become the United States?

Initially, they were more like 13 independent nations that agreed to work together to fight a common enemy. In fact, the colonies did not band together as the United States of America until the Constitution was ratified in 1788. Even though they mostly operated independently, the 13 colonies needed rules to dictate when they would work together and how they would operate when they did come together. In 1777, the colonies agreed to the Articles of Confederation, which created a weak federal government and gave almost all power to the individual states.

To learn more about the Articles of Confederation, watch this American Heroes Channel's What Were the Articles of Confederation – America Facts vs. Fiction video:

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When you finish watching the video, you can read more about the Articles of Confederation using Duckster's American Revolution Articles of Confederation.

As you watch the video and read the article, consider the differences between the Articles of Confederation and the U.S. Constitution that we live under today. Which system of government do you prefer? Discuss your responses with a friend or family member.

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