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A nation must think before it acts.
In this FPRI Primer, Ron Granieri explores the development of the US Constitution, and how it differs from the original governing document of the US – the Articles of Confederation.
As both a statement of philosophical purpose and a legal expression of the American desire to separate from the British Empire, the Declaration of Independence was a crucial milestone in the development of the United States of America.
Important as it was, however, the Declaration said nothing about the form of government the new nation would take, except to say: “these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States…”
Even as the colonies gathered in the Continental Congress, there was no formal legal arrangement between them. Each colony had its own origins and identity, ranging from Massachusetts, founded as a religious refuge for English Puritans, to Georgia, founded as a colony for debtors. Although they chose to cooperate to fight for independence, it was by no means automatic that they would accept limits on their own sovereignty for the common cause… Read More