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Strengthening the Union

The Articles of Confederation united the thirteen original states but lacked centralized authority for foreign diplomacy, commerce, national defense, and arbitration. In 1787, at the Constitutional Convention called to address those weaknesses, James Madison of Virginia argued that a balance of centralized government and states’ rights was essential to a lasting republic. The Convention produced a new agreement of union embodying those principles––the United States Constitution which was ratified by the states.

1 Image Articles of Confederation with handwritten annotations, April-... View All Images
2 Images James Madison, “Ancient & Modern Confederacies” (Notes on... View All Images
1 Image The Federalist. Vol. 1, 1788. First edition View All Images