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Kaminski, John P.; Saladino, Gaspare J.; Moore, Timothy D. (Historian); Lannér-Cusin, Johanna E.; Schoenleber, Charles H.; Reid, Jonathan M.; Flamingo, Margaret R.; Fields, David P. (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Maryland (1)
11 (2015)

Introduction,   pp. xxi-lvi


Page xl

INTRODUCTION
returned to office-and personal economic security surely factored into
their support.44
Maryland and the Articles of Confederation
Arriving at a lasting system of government for the newly independent
United States was not a process without difficulty. Americans' first at-
tempts to draft such a government began as soon as independence
seemed likely. In fact, Richard Henry Lee's motion of 7 June 1776,
which called for the colonies to declare themselves "free and indepen-
dent states," also included a proposal for "a plan of confederation" to
be "prepared and transmitted to the respective colonies for their con-
sideration and approbation." Lee's hopes would be realized when, on
12 June, the Continental Congress selected a grand committee (one
delegate from each state), chaired by John Dickinson of Pennsylvania,
to prepare that plan of government.45
On 12 July the committee returned a draft of the Articles of Confed-
eration to Congress, which ordered eighty copies to be printed. Be-
tween 22 July and 20 August, Congress debated the merits and defi-
ciencies of the plan and amended it accordingly. At the conclusion of
that period, Congress again ordered that eighty copies, this time of the
amended plan of government, be printed and distributed to the dele-
gates. Military hostilities kept Congress from devoting its complete at-
tention to the matter of a new plan of confederation. But on 8 April
1777 Congress voted to spend two days each week tailoring the text,
committing itself to advancing the necessary work. Seven additional
months passed before all the states' concerns had been addressed. On
10 November, three men-Richard Law of Connecticut, Richard Henry
Lee of Virginia, and James Duane of New York-were appointed to
report additional amendments to Congress, which they did the follow-
ing day, seven amendments in total. On 13 November, Lee and Duane,
in addition to James Lovell of Massachusetts, were appointed to revise
and arrange the new plan of government and to prepare a circular
letter to the states. Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation on
15 November and ordered that 300 copies be printed. The copies took
the form of a twenty-six page pamphlet signed by President of Congress
Henry Laurens. Along with Laurens' circular letter, which explained
the challenge of writing a constitution to accommodate each state's or
region's interests, the Articles were sent to the legislatures for their
deliberation. Maryland's legislature received copies of the Articles on
3 December. Congress asked that the state legislatures authorize their
delegates to approve the plan of government on 10 March 1778.46
Xl1


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