American Revoluntionary War Wiki
Congress of the Confederation
The Articles of Confederation
United States
Established1781 (or 1776)
Preceded bySecond Continental Congress
Succeeded byUnited States Congress
Leadership and Structure
MembersVariable; ~50
Meeting place
Though there were about 50 members of the Congress at a given time, it was the states that had votes, so there were effectively only 13 seats.

The Congress of the Confederation or the United States in Congress Assembled was the governing body of the United States of America from March 1, 1781, to March 4, 1789. It comprised delegates appointed by the legislatures of the states. It was the immediate successor to the Second Continental Congress. The membership of the Second Continental Congress automatically carried over to the Congress of the Confederation when the latter was created by the ratification of the Articles of Confederation. The Congress of the Confederation was succeeded by the United States Congress.


The Congress of the Confederation opened in the last stages of the American Revolution. Combat ended in October with the surrender of the British at the Battle of Yorktown. However, the British continued to occupy New York City as the American delegates in Paris, named by the Congress, negotiated a peace treaty. In 1783 the Treaty of Paris was signed, which ended the war. The Congress had little power and without the external threat of a war against the British, it became more difficult to get enough delegates to meet to form a quorum. Nonetheless the Congress still managed to pass important laws, most notably the Northwest Ordinance.

The Annapolis Convention was the first attempt to seriously look into improving the Articles of Confederation. There were enough problems that the Congress called a convention in 1787 to recommend changes. The Philadelphia Convention instead issued a Constitution to replace the Articles. The Congress submitted the Constitution to the states, and the Constitution was ratified by enough states to become operative in September 1788. On September 12, 1788, the Congress set the date for choosing the electors for President as January 7, 1789, the date for the electors to vote for President as February 4, 1789, and the date for the Constitution to become operative as March 4, 1789.

Congress voting independence.jpg
Continental Congress
First Continental Congress
 → Declaration and Resolves
 → Continental Association
 → First Petition to the King
Second Continental Congress
 → Olive Branch Petition
 → Declaration of the Causes...
 → Declaration of Independence
 → Articles of Confederation
Confederation Congress
 → Northwest Ordinance
 → List of delegates
 → Presidents

The Congress of the Confederation continued to conduct business for another month after setting the various dates. On October 10, 1788, the Congress formed a quorum for the last time; afterwards, although delegates would occasionally appear, there were never enough to conduct business, and so the Congress of Confederation passed into history.


First Confederation Congress
  • March 1, 1781 – November 3, 1781, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Second Confederation Congress
  • November 5, 1781 – November 2, 1782, Philadelphia
Third Confederation Congress


  • November 4, 1782 – June 21, 1783, Philadelphia
  • June 30, 1783 – November 1, 1783, Princeton, New Jersey
Fourth Confederation Congress
  • November 3, 1783 – November 4, 1783, Princeton
Fifth Confederation Congress
  • November 26, 1783 – June 3, 1784, Annapolis, Maryland
Sixth Confederation Congress
  • November 1, 1784 – December 24, 1784, Trenton, New Jersey
  • January 11, 1785 – November 4, 1785, New York, New York
Seventh Confederation Congress
  • November 7, 1785 – November 3, 1786, New York
Eighth Confederation Congress
  • November 6, 1786 – October 30, 1787, New York
Ninth Confederation Congress
  • November 5, 1787 – October 21, 1788, New York
Tenth Confederation Congress
  • November 3, 1788 – March 2, 1789, New York

See also[]

  • History of the United States (1776–1789)
  • List of Continental Congress Delegates
  • President of the Continental Congress


  • Burnett, Edmund C.. The Continental Congress. Greenwood Publishing. ISBN 0837183863. 
  • Henderson, H. James. Party Politics in the Continental Congress. Boston: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 0819165255. 
  • Jensen, Merrill (1950). New Nation: A History of the United States During the Confederation, 1781–1789. New York: Knopf. 
  • McLaughlin, Andrew C. (1935). A Constitutional History of the United States. 
  • Montross, Lynn. The Reluctant Rebels; the Story of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789. New York: Barnes & Noble. ISBN 038903973X. 
  • Morris, Richard B. (1987). The Forging of the Union, 1781–1789. New York: Harper & Row. ISBN 0060914246. 
  • Template:Cite journal
  • Rakove, Jack N. (1979). The Beginnings of National Politics: An Interpretive History of the Continental Congress. New York: Knopf. ISBN 0394423704. 

External links[]

Preceded by
Second Continental Congress
National Legislature of the United States
March 1, 1781 – March 4, 1789
Succeeded by
United States Congress

es:Congreso de la Confederación fr:Congrès de la Confédération ko:연합 회의 it:Congresso della confederazione nl:Congres van de Confederatie ja:連合会議 pt:Congresso da Confederação ro:Congresul Confederaţiei