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4

Articles of Confederation | "The said states hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship"

Estimate:

30,000 - 50,000 USD

Articles of Confederation | "The said states hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship"

Articles of Confederation | "The said states hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship"

Estimate:

30,000 - 50,000 USD

Lot sold:

56,700

USD

Articles of Confederation

Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union between the States of New-Hampshire, Massachusetts-Bay, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina, South-Carolina, and Georgia. Lancaster, (Pennsylvania,) Printed: Boston, Re-printed by John Gill, Printer to the General Assembly, 1777


Folio (336 x 211 mm, uncut). Four bifolia, original stitching lost; small separation at central horizontal fold touching a few letters (and occasionally costing one) on every leaf, some marginal tears and chips, a little scattered browning and staining, some light offset to title-page where evidently folded when ink was still wet. Half maroon morocco folding-case, chemise.


An early and rare edition of the Articles of Confederation, one of the great documents of American history and the vital stepping-stone to the United States Constitution.


"In 1776, to defend themselves against one of the world's most fearsome military powers, the thirteen colonies entered into a solemn alliance with one another. It did not take long for some Americans to propose that this 'continental' polity needed a constitution of its own" (CCC, p. 55), and the Continental Congress began to draft the present "firm league of friendship," in which each state retained "its sovereignty, freedom, and independence."


After more than a year of debate, Congress approved the text of the Articles of Confederation on 15 November 1777. The Congress immediately adopted a circular letter urging quick action on the articles: "This business has, in its progress, been attended with uncommon embarrassments and delay, which the most anxious solicitude and persevering diligence could not prevent. To form a permanent union, accommodated to the opinion and wishes of the delegates of so many states, differing in habits, produce, commerce, and internal police, was found to be a work which nothing but time and reflection, conspiring with a disposition to conciliate, could mature and accomplish. Hardly is it to be expected that any plan, in the variety of provisions essential to our union, should exactly correspond with the maxims and political views of every particular State. Let it be remarked, that, after most careful inquiry and the fullest information, this is proposed as the best which could be adopted to the circumstances of all; and as that alone which affords any tolerable prospect of a general ratification." This congressional resolve—together with another asking the states to contribute cash (not bills of credit) for the prosecution of the war and by a resolution by the Massachusetts House submitting the Articles for consideration—is appended by Gill to the text of the Articles. 


The Articles, with their emphasis on individual states rights', proved a dismal failure, and final ratification was not achieved until March 1781. By the close of 1786, they were widely discredited, with many national leaders eager to refashion the charter into a stronger central government. The Convention called in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 to revise the Articles of Confederation ended by replacing it with the Constitution. First printed in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, while Congress met there during the British occupation of Philadelphia, this is the official Massachusetts printing and the fifth edition overall listed by Evans.


REFERENCE

Colonists, Citizens, Constitutions 10; ESTC W4587; Evans 15623; Church 1142; Sabin 2142; Streeter sale 1:787

Condition as described in catalogue entry.


In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

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