- from Constitution
What if there was no such thing as the president of the United States? What if the government could not afford to pay soldiers? What if every state had a different kind of money and you had to change money whenever you crossed a state border?
All of these things were true during the country’s first years. The 13 states had loose ties under a document known as the Articles of Confederation but, in general, each state did whatever it wanted. The country did have a Congress, where each state had one vote. However, there was no president to enforce decisions made by Congress, and there were no national courts. Congress could ask the states for money to pay national debts, but it could not force the states to pay—and many states did not pay.
By 1787, many leaders feared that the new country would fall apart without a stronger central government. They called for a meeting of delegates from all of the states, with the goal of making changes to the Articles of Confederation. After the delegates got together, however, they realized they needed to make an even bigger change. They wrote a brand-new document called the Constitution. It’s the supreme law of the land.