What was the government in the United States before the U.S. Constitution was written? It was the Articles of Confederation, ratified by the States MARCH 1, 1781. Signed by such statesmen as John Hancock and Samuel Adams, it was an attempt to loosely knit the thirteen States together. The Articles of Confederation declared: "Whereas the delegates of the United States of America in Congress assembled did on the fifteenth day of November in the Year of Our Lord 1777, and in the second year of the independence of America agree on certain Articles of Confederation and perpetual union between the States...The said states hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force...or attacks made upon them...on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretense." The Articles end with the line: "It has pleased the Great Governor of the World to incline the hearts of the Legislatures we respectively represent in Congress, to approve of and to authorize us to ratify the said Articles of Confederation."