The Key 2 Liberty involves learning the principles of freedom for yourself and then sharing your knowledge with others.


Confederated Republic

A confederation is a union of independent states where the members agree to give up a small portion of their sovereign authority to a central government for the purpose of providing common needs such as national defense and a currency system.  The independent states retain the majority of their powers with respect to laws that govern the day to day lives of their own citizens.  Membership in a confederation is typically voluntary.

A confederated republic is a union of sovereign states where all of the members live under a republican form of government.  The first official government of the United States of America was a confederated republic that was defined by The Articles of Confederation which were adopted by the independent states a few years after declaring independence from England.

Tension between England and the original 13 colonies of America started after the English Parliament passed the Stamp Act of 1765 that took effect on November 1 of that year.  It required many printed documents such as newspapers and magazines to be printed on paper that was imported from England and stamped with an embossed seal that signified that the tax on the paper was paid.  The colonists highly resented this tax since they were not granted any representation in the English Parliament.  On March 17, 1766 after resistance from the colonists, primarily in the form of boycotts, the Stamp Act was repealed.  Although the Parliament repealed the Stamp Act they passed the Declaratory Act at the same time which stated that Parliament had the same authority to pass binding laws in the colonies as it did in England so the colonies continued to be subjected to oppressive taxes and laws.

On May 10, 1773 Parliament passed the Tea Act which created a trade monopoly in the colonies for the East India Company for the importation of tea and a placed a tax on the imported tea.  Once again the colonists argued that they were being taxed without fair representation and that taxation without representation was a violation of their rights.  On December 16, 1773 a group of colonists in Boston protested the tea tax by boarding ships and dumping large amounts of tea into Boston Harbor which later came to be known as The Boston Tea Party.

Shortly after The Boston Tea Party England retaliated against the colonies by blockading Boston Harbor and passing a series of oppressive laws that came to be known by the colonists as the Intolerable Acts.  The colonies responded by establishing the First Continental Congress which convened on September 5, 1774.  The only role of the First Continental Congress was to petition the King of England with a redress of grievances and it was decided that the Continental Congress would reconvene in May of 1775 if their petitions were not answered.  The First Continental Congress adjourned on October 26, 1774.

The King did not respond favorably to the requests of the First Continental Congress and fighting between British troops and colonists at Lexington and Concord had already begun in April of 1775 so the Second Continental Congress convened on May 10, 1775 to address the problems with England.  Shortly after the Second Continental Congress convened Benjamin Franklin finished drafting a proposal for a new constitution.  He submitted his proposal called The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union to the Second Continental Congress on July 21, 1775.  His plan called for a perpetual union and a firm league of friendship between the 13 colonies.  Although it proposed to continue the operation of the Congress it did not contain any provisions for an executive or judicial branch.  After some debate the proposed constitution submitted by Franklin failed to get approval so the idea was set aside for a little while.

On June 12, 1776, the day after forming the committee to draft the Declaration of Independence, the Second Continental Congress once again focused its attention on creating a new constitution for the states and formed a committee with John Dickenson presiding as the Chairman to draft a constitution for the 13 states.  The committee presented the final draft of The Articles of Confederation to the Second Continental Congress on Nov 15, 1777 and it was then approved to be sent to the states for ratification.  The Articles of Confederation contained many of the items in Franklin’s original draft.  Although the states had not officially ratified the Articles of Confederation on Nov 15, 1777, because they were in a state of war with England they all informally followed The Articles of Confederation until it could be officially ratified.

The Articles of Confederation were not ratified by all of the states until March 1, 1781 so from July 4, 1776 until March 1, 1781 there was no official government of the United States of America.  Each state operated independently of each other and free from England.  The Second Continental Congress was the only official body keeping the states together during this period.

Shortly after the Declaration of Independence it became obvious that the states would not be able to effectively defend itself from foreign invasions if they stood alone.  George Washington, the general of the Continental Army, was in desperate need of adequate provisions to carry out the Revolutionary War.  The primary purpose of the Articles of Confederation was to set up a limited central government to provide for the common defense of the states using the militias of each state.  The limited government was also assigned a few other responsibilities such as negotiating treaties, settling disputes between states over land boundaries, appropriating funds for the payment of debts, borrowing money, fixing the value of coins made by the confederacy or the states and insuring that the people retained the right to free travel and trade between the states.  The individual states retained all of the powers of government that pertained to the day to day lives of the people.

There were several key weaknesses to the Articles of Confederation that almost led to the loss of the Revolutionary War.  Although the Congress gave assignments to the states to provide troops and supplies for the war they most often did not fulfill their obligations and Congress had no power to enforce the assignments.  There was no executive to make quick decisions for the entire country in times of emergency or war.  There was also no common judiciary for the confederacy of states to handle cases involving issues between states or between people living in different states.  There was no power granted  to the government to enforce the regulation of commerce between the states and with foreign nations.

Soon after the adoption of The Articles of Confederation the founders discovered that the new government was operating to far to the right on the political power scale.  It was certainly better than a state of anarchy but there was not enough government to insure an adequate level of protection from foreign invasion for the nation.  The position of the government of the United States of America operating under The Articles of Confederation on the founder’s political power scale is placed at a point halfway between the ideal balanced center and the far right of the scale which is a state of anarchy.

The states, after 6 long years of war and with some assistance by the French navy, finally managed to defeat the British in the Revolutionary War when they surrendered at Yorktown in 1781, the same year the Articles of Confederation were ratified.  The Treaty of Paris was signed a few years later in 1783 which then officially recognized the sovereignty of the Unites States of America.  The United States operated under the Articles of Confederation until the present Constitution of the United States was adopted by Congress on September 17, 1787 and then took effect after being ratified by the 9th of 13 states in June of 1788.  The Articles of Confederation lasted for only 7 years, 1781-1788.


Anarchy is the absence of government.  A state of anarchy is placed at the far right most position on the founder’s political power scale.  In a state of anarchy every person must protect their own property and their very lives themselves.  It is basically a dog eat dog, survival of the fittest world.  Due to the lack of government the most logical result of a state of anarchy is violence with criminals attempting to seize the property of others by force and leaving people with no other option than to defend their property with force.  A state of anarchy typically does not last long as people will demand that some form of government be established in order to preserve the peace.  Unfortunately, the most common type of government that forms after a state of anarchy is a totalitarian style of government.  It is very difficult to assemble a republican form of government when the people are under the adverse conditions of a state of anarchy.