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PREVIOUS to the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, steps for the formation of a confederated governwent, by and between the colonies, were taken. A common danger seems to have impressed them with the necessity of å union for the common defense. On the 11th of June, 1776, some three weeks prior to the adoption of the Declaration, a committee of one from each colony was raised for the purpose of preparing a plan of government. The committee soon after made a report, but it was not finally adopted by Congress till the 15th of November, 1777.
It was at the same time resolved by Congress that the Articles of Confederation, as they were called, should be presented to the legislature of each colony; and, if ratified, then their Delegates in Congress should, in that body, approve the same.
The colonies seem to have been singularly tardy in ratifying the articles. They were not ratified by Maryland till the 30th of January, 1781; New Jersey and Delaware also withheld their consent till some time during the year 1779; and it was not till after a circular-letter by Congress had been sent to the legislatures of the several colonies, appealing in the most patriotic terms to their love of country and to their sense of common danger, that the Articles of Confederation were adopted by the whole of the thirteen colonies. From that time they took the name of States, a name more sovereign and independent in signification. They were no longer colonies--dependencies of Great Britain.