Cornelius Harnett » Articles of Confederation

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Articles of Confederation

Members on this page signed the

Articles of Confederation

 

The Articles of Confederation, formally the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, was an agreement among all thirteen original states in the United States of America that served as its first constitution. Its drafting by a committee appointed by the Second Continental Congress began on July 12, 1776, and an approved version was sent to the states for ratification in late 1777. The formal ratification by all thirteen states was completed in early 1781.

Even when not yet ratified, the Articles provided a system for the Continental Congress to direct the American Revolutionary War, conduct diplomacy with Europe and deal with territorial issues and Native American relations. Nevertheless, the weakness of the government created by the Articles became a matter of concern for key nationalists. On March 4, 1789, the general government under the Articles was replaced with the federal government under the United States Constitution. The new Constitution provided for a much stronger federal government with a chief executive (the president), courts, and taxing powers.

Photo of Cornelius Harnett

Cornelius Harnett

Masonic Signers of The Articles of Confederation
Birthday: April 20, 1723 Deceased: April 28, 1781

Biography

American merchant, farmer, and statesman from Wilmington, North Carolina. He was a leading American Revolutionary in the Cape Fear region, and a delegate for North Carolina in the Continental Congress from 1777 to 1779.

Harnett was born to Cornelius and Elizabeth Harnett in Chowan County, North Carolina. Soon after he was born, his parents moved to Wilmington. He became a leading merchant there, and was interested in farming, milling, and mercantile ventures. Harnett was an Episcopalian, but has also been identified as a deist.

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