7THE POWER OF PROCESS

Negotiating the US Constitution

THE WAR FOR AMERICAN independence between the United States and Great Britain lasted eight years, formally ending in the Treaty of Paris, which was signed in 1783. By that time, the Articles of Confederation had served as the governing document of the United States for six years.1 By design, the Articles gave little power to the central government, and the sovereignty of the 13 states was paramount. The Articles went so far as to clarify that the relationship between the states was merely a “league of friendship with each other.” This was to be expected given the confederation was formed by people who had just freed themselves from the grip of power vested in a distant monarch. Soon enough, ...

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