On this day in 1781 (or perhaps February 2nd), Maryland becomes the 13th and final state to ratify the Articles of Confederation. However, Maryland’s delegates did not sign until March 1st.
The Articles were essentially the first constitution of the United States. What they created was a loose confederation of sovereign states and a weak central government.
Here is portion of the conclusion of the Articles:
“And Whereas it hath pleased the Great Governor of the World to incline the hearts of the legislatures we respectively represent in congress, to approve of, and to authorize us to ratify the said articles of confederation and perpetual union, Know Ye, that we, the undersigned delegates, by virtue of the power and authority to us given for that purpose, do, by these presents, in the name and in behalf of our respective constituents, fully and entirely ratify and confirm each and every of the said articles of confederation and perpetual union, and all and singular the matters and things therein contained… .”
Soon, the need for a stronger federal government became apparent which led to the Constitutional Convention in 1787. The eventual result was the ratification of the United States Constitution in 1789.
Lastly, a couple noteworthy “undersigned delegates” were John Hancock and Samuel Adams, both from Massachusetts Bay.