The Articles of Confederation is the document that was the basis for the United States Government prior to that established in the Constitution. The phrase "a more perfect union" in the Preamble refers to the imperfections in the union under the Articles.

One of the dates burned into the minds of Americans is July 4, 1776. This is the date that the Declaration of Independence was signed by the members of the Second Continental Congress. Less well-known, but no less important, is the date of signing of the Constitution, on September 17, 1787. The Constitution established the government we are familiar with today. But surely there was a government in the intervening years.