As was discovered once the War for Independence was over the first Law of the United States, the Articles of Confederation, lacked the teeth for a good central government. It was however the first Law of the Land for the United States and on November 15, 1777 the Second Continental Congress approved them.
The Articles couldn’t go into effect until all 13 of the colonies agreed. The last State to ratify the document was Maryland on March 1, 1781. This was more than three years after Congress had passed the Articles and six months before the Battle of Yorktown.
The Articles served as the “Law of Land” from March 1, 1781, until March 4, 1789 when a newly adopted Constitution went into effect. What is know known as the Constitutional Convention began it was with the thoughts to amend the Articles, although it was decided quickly that they would work to throw out the Articles of Confederation and start anew.
Only two men signed the three major documents of the United States, the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation and the US Constitution. These were Roger Sherman of Connecticut and Robert Morris of Pennsylvania. In addition to these John Dickinson of Delaware and Daniel Carroll of Maryland signed both the Articles of Confederation and the US Constitution.
The Articles called for a President of the United States in Congress Assembled. There were 16 Presidents of the United States in Congress Assembled with 8 of these after March 1, 1781. That’s why some consider John Hansen, the first President of the United States in Congress Assembled as the nations first President. But these Presidents were not a chief executive but the leader of Congress.
Copy of the Articles of Confederation can be read at www.usconstitution.net/articles.html