During the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), York served as the temporary capital of the Continental Congress. The Articles of Confederation were drafted and adopted in York, though they would not be ratified until March of 1781.
York is one of many cities that lay claim to the title of First Capital of the United States, although historians generally consider it to be the fourth capital, after Philadelphia, Baltimore and Lancaster. The claim arises from the assertion that the Articles of Confederation was the first legal document to refer to the colonies as "the United States of America".The argument depends on whether the Declaration of Independence, which also uses the term, would be considered a true legal document of the United States, being drafted under and in opposition to British rule.
Philadelphia was the first capital of the United States following the Declaration of Independence followed by Baltimore, MD; Lancaster, PA; and York, PA where the Articles of Confederation were drafted. York claims to be the first capital of the United States since the Articles of Confederation are the first time the phrase United States of America is used. Princeton, NJ; Annapolis, MD; and Trenton were also the capital. New York would not be the capital of the US until 1785. The last time the capital moved was to Washington, DC in 1800.
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