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US History – The Articles of Confederation, 1777-87

  • About this Course

About this Course


In this course, Professor Woody Holton (University of South Carolina) examines the Articles of Confederation to explain how this precursor government developed and changed as a result of the Revolutionary Period. In the first module, we examine the “untidy” origins of the Articles of Confederation and why it took so long for the States to ratify them. After this, we turn to look at the biggest disagreement over the articles - the war for the West. In the third module, we look at the weaknesses in the Articles that made them unworkable by the late 1780s. In the penultimate module, we take a closer look at the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. In the final module, we see how the Articles of Confederation were removed in favour of the Constitution.


Woody Holton is Peter and Bonnie McCausland Professor of History at the University of South Carolina. He specialises in early American history, especially the American Revolution, with a focus on economic history, African Americans, Native Americans, and women. He is author of a number of books within these fields including Liberty is Sweet: The Hidden History of the American Revolution.