chapter  III
28 Pages

III A More Perfect Union

The Declaration triggered a wave of political reorganization at the state level. Even before its adoption by the Continental Congress, several colonies had severed all political links with Britain. The rest now followed suit, adopting constitutions as sovereign and independent states. Connecticut and Rhode Island accomplished this simply by deleting references to British authority from their colonial charters. The others got new constitutions which, with only one exception, were promulgated by the provincial congresses and conventions that had assumed power at the outbreak of hostilities. Only Massachusetts held a constitutional convention and submitted the document to the voters for ratifi cation. The need for written charters of government was taken for granted by all Americans, their colonial experience having taught them to trust no other political arrangements.