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After the American colonists declared independence from Britain, they had to build a country while fighting a war. In 1777, the 13 states agreed to govern the country under the Articles of Confederation. It was the country’s first constitution. Since the states were fighting against the tyrannical control of the British Empire, the early American leaders designed their new government to be weak. They didn’t want a strong, central government. They put most of the power in the hands of the states, while the central government had little power. There was no executive branch, or president. The central government could not raise money, declare war, or keep an army. However, some leade