The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, commonly known as the Articles of Confederation, was the first governing document, or constitution, of the United States of America. The final draft was written in the summer of 1777 and adopted by the Second Continental Congress on November 15, 1777 in York, Pennsylvania after a year of debate. In practice it served as the de facto system of government used by the Congress ("the United States in Congress assembled") until it became de jure by final ratification on March 1, 1781. At that point Congress became the Congress of the Confederation. The Articles set the rules for operations of the "United States" confederation. The confederation was capable of making war, negotiating diplomatic agreements, and resolving issues regarding the western territories; it could print money and borrow inside and outside the US.
The Articles were created in 1777 by the chosen representatives of the states in the Continental Congress out of a perceived need to have "a plan of confederacy for securing the freedom, sovereignty, and independence of the United States." Although serving a crucial role in the attainment of nationhood for the thirteen states, it soon became clear the Articles lacked the necessary provisions for a sufficiently effective federal government and did not strike the right balance between large and small states in the legislative decision making process. One criticism by those who favored a more powerful central state was that it lacked taxing authority; the federal government had to request funds from the states. A second concern was its one-state, one-vote plank, as the larger states were expected to contribute more but had only one vote. The Articles were replaced by the United States Constitution on June 21, 1788.