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The History of our Government 

By Lexi Pierce 

The United States just fought the Revolutionary War between the years 1775-1783. The U.S needed a new government, so they formed our very first government. The articles of Confederation served as the first document to establish a government in the United States after we declared freedom from Great Britain. This was established in 1777-1781. This document made the United States a confederation

A confederation is where the state government has more power than the national government.

All of these committees, created to determine the form of a confederation of the colonies, were composed of one representative from each colony. John Dickinson, the delegate from Delaware, was the principal writer

A Comittee is a group of people appointed for a specific function, typically consisting of members of a larger group.


A principal writer is first or highest in rank writer.  

Dickinson's draft of the Articles of Confederation named the new country "the United States of America." The Articles of Confederation created a government composed of a Congress, which had the power to declare war, appoint military officers, sign treaties, make alliances, appoint foreign ambassadors, and manage relations with Indians.

A congress is the national legislative body of a country.

Congress could raise money only by asking the states for funds, borrowing from foreign governments, or selling western lands. In addition, Congress could not draft soldiers or regulate trade. The Articles gave Congress the power to pass laws but no power to enforce those laws. The United States were in immense debt and inflation made it hard on the citizens. There was more weaknesses than strengths in the government.


Immense means great, vast, or huge. 

Inflation means a rise in prices because of the rise of money 

The strengths and weaknesses can be summarized like this:



The national government could not force the states to obey its laws.

It did not have the power to tax

Each state could put tariffs on trade between states. (A tariff is a tax on goods coming in from another state or country.

It did not have the power to enforce laws

Congress lacked strong and steady leadership

There was no national army or navy



To declare war and make peace.

To coin and borrow money

To detail with foreign countries and sign treaties

To operate post offices

Our govenment and the Articles of Confederation are similar in the way that they seperate the national government and state government. The Articles of Confederation and the Constitution both wanted to limit the government power. Yet, they were very different too. The Articles of Confederation failed due to it's flaws. The Consitution is more detailed and was made after the Articles of Confederation. 




Flaw means an imperfection

The U.S. Constitution established America's national government and fundamental laws, and guaranteed certain basic rights for its citizens. It was signed on September 17, 1787, by delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, presided over by George Washington.

Fundenmental means forming a necessary base or core.


Persided means be in the position of authority in a meeting or gathering. 

The Constitution was written during the Philadelphia Convention—now known as the Constitutional Convention—which convened from May 25 to September 17, 1787. The U.S. Constitution was prepared in secret, behind locked doors that were guarded by sentries

Of the 55 delegates attending the Constitutional Convention, 39 signed and 3 delegates didn't. Two of America’s “founding fathers” didn’t sign the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson was in France and John Adams was in Great Britain. At 81, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania was the oldest delegate at the Constitutional Convention and at 26, Jonathon Dayton of New Jersey was the youngest.

John Adams 


Thomas Jefferson

The Legislative part of our government is called Congress. Congress makes our laws. Congress is divided into 2 parts. One part is called the Senate. There are 100 Senators--2 from each of our states. Another part is called the House of Representatives. Representatives meet together to discuss ideas and decide if these ideas (bills) should become laws. There are 435 Representatives. The number of representatives each state gets is determined by its population.

Of the written national constitutions, the U.S. Constitution is the oldest and shortest. The Constitution created the 3 branches of government: The Legislative Branch to make the laws. The Executive Branch to enforce the laws. The Judicial branch to interpret laws.  

The President of the United States runs the Executive Branch of our government. He enforces the laws that the Legislative Branch (Congress) makes. The President is elected by United States citizens, 18 years of age and older, who vote in the presidential elections in their states. 

The Judicial part of our federal government includes the Supreme Court and 9 Justices. They are special judges who interpret laws according to the Constitution. These justices only hear cases that pertain to issues related to the Constitution. They are the highest court in our country. The federal judicial system also has lower courts located in each state to hear cases involving federal issues.