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a frame of government, among the principal of which may be enumerated the fixing the ratio of contributions from the states, and their relative representation in the general legislature. The value of lands was at last fixed upon as the ratio for contributions. That the states should be represented in proportion to their importance was contended for by those who had extensive territory, but those whose dimensions were small replied, that the states confederated as individuals in a state of nature, and should therefore have equal votes. From fear of weakening their exertions against the common enemy, the large states yielded the point, and consented that each should have an equal suffrage. The articles of confederation were not agreed upon by congress until the 9th of July, 1778, having been upwards of two years in discussion, nor were they fully ratified until the 1st of March, 1781.
By these articles the states were prohibited from forming any other confederation or alliance ; from laying any imposts or duties that might interfere with treaties made by congress ; from keeping up vessels of war, or regular land forces, in time of peace, without the consent of congress ; from engaging in war, unless in case of actual invasion, or the danger of invasion from Indians being so imminent as not to admit of a delay till congress could be consulted. The states were to have the appointment of all officers “ of or under the rank of colonel," in land forces raised by them for the common defence.
Delegates were to be annually appointed by congress, in such manner as the legislature of each state should direct ; no state to send less than two, nor more than seven ; each state to maintain its own; and, whatever might be its number of delegates, to have only one vote. · Congress was invested with the sole and exclusive right of determining on peace or war; of sending and receiving ambassadors; of entering into treaties and alliances; and of establishing courts of admiralty. It was likewise to be the last resort on appeal in all disputes between two or more states; to have the sole and exclusive right of regulating the alloy and value of coin, struck by their own authority, or by that of the respective states; of fixing the standard of weights and measures; of regulating the trade and managing all affairs with the Indians; of establishing and regulating post-offices; of appointing all the officers of the naval forces, and all officers in the land forces in the service of the United States, except regimental officers; and of establishing rules for the government, and directing the operations, both of the land and naval forces. Congress was invested with no powers over individuals, but only over states in their corporate capacity. Neither had it the power to regulate trade, or to derive a revenue from it. The land forces of the United States were to be raised by requisitions on the states for their quota of men, in proportion to the number of their white inhabitants.
A number of the most important of these powers, such as declaring war, forming treaties, coining or borrowing money, &c. could only be used by consent of the delegates of nine states; and no other question, except for adjourning from day to day, could be determined except by the yotes of a majority of the states.
A committee of congress, denominated A Committee of the States, consisting of one delegate from each state, sat during the recess, vested with certain powers by congress.
No alteration was to be made in the articles of confederation without the consent of congress, to be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every state.
$ 13. By this government, imbecile and inefficient as it proved to be, was the revolutionary war brought to a close, by a preliminary treaty agreed to on the 20th of January, 1783, which was followed by a definitive treaty on the 3d of September of the same year.
14. The glorious termination of the struggle for independence by an honourable peace, diffused throughout the United States the most heartfelt joy. But it was soon perceived that something was yet wanting to realize the public and private prosperity expected to follow from the blessings of self-government. The necessity of conferring on the general government more ample powers, powers which might be competent to its preservation, and which would enable it to comply with the engagements it had entered into, became every day more apparent.
Mạny causes concurred at this time to prepare the public mind for some great and radical change in the political system. The debts of the union amounted, on the 1st of January, 1783, to nearly forty millions of dollars, for the payment of the principal, or even the interest, of which, congress possessed no funds, and could acquire none, without the consent of thirteen independent sovereignties.
But the principal cause which brought about the establishment of a new system of goveệnment was the restrictions of foreign nations upon the trade of the United States. The necessity of opposing these restrictions by countervailing regulations was sufficiently ey¡dent; but to render success even probable, it was absolutely necessary that the power of regulating
commerce should reside in a single legislature. That thirteen independent sovereignties, jealous of each other, could be induced to concur for any length of time in measures capable of producing the desired effect, few were so sanguine as to hope.
Congress, mean while, was unremitting in its endeavours to form commercial treaties in Europe, and particularly with Great Britain, but all its efforts were unsuccessful. As the government of the United States was considered unable to secure the observance of any general, commercial regulations, foreign governments declined entering into stipulations which they averred could not be of reciprocal obligation.
The restrictions under which commerce laboured was productive of serious evils to the mercantile interest; the merchants found themselves incapable of contending even in their own ports with foreigners. A meeting being held of the merchants of Philadelphia, to consider the present state of affairs, a memorial was addressed by them to the legislature, praying that they would endeavour to procure from congress a recommendation to the several states to vest in that body the necessary powers over the commerce of the United States. Similar applications were made by the merchants of Boston and other commercial towns.
$ 15. Meanwhile an event took place, which, though originating in different views, terminated in a proposition for a general convention to revise the articles of confederation. The states of Virginia and Maryland appointed commissioners for the purpose of forming a compact relative to the navigation of the Potowmac and Pocomoke, and part of the Chesapeake bay, who met at Alexandria in March, 1785. In the course of their proceedings, they agreed to propose to their respective governments the appointment of other commissioners, with power to make arrangements, for which the assent of congress was to be solicited, for maintaining a naval force in the Chesapeake. The commissioners were also to be empowered to establish a tariff of duties on imports, to which the laws of both states should conform. These propositions received the assent of the legislature of Virginia, and an additional resolution was passed, directing the proposition which respected the duties on imports to be communicated to all the states in the union, who were invited to send deputies to the meeting.
On the 21st of January, 1786, a few days after the passage of these resolutions, another was adopted, appointing commissioners, “who were to meet such as might be appointed by the other states in the union, at a time and place to be agreed on, to take into consideration the trade of the United States ; to
examine the relative situation and trade of the said states ; to consider how far a uniform system in their commercial relations may be necessary to their common interest, and their permanent harmony; and to report to the several states such an act relative to this great object, as, when unanimously ratified by them, will enable the United States in congress assembled, effectually to provide for the same.”
In consequence of these resolutions, commissioners from the states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia met at Annapolis, in Maryland, in September, 1786. It was soon perceived that powers much more ample than had been confided to them would be requisite to enable them to effect the beneficial purposes they contemplated. For this reason, as well as in consideration of the small number of states which were represented, the convention rose without coming to any specific resolutions on the particular subject which had been referred to them, Previous to their adjournment, however, they agreed on a report to be made to their respective states, in which was represented the necessity of extending the revision of the federal system to all its defects, and in which they recommended that deputies for that purpose be appointed by the several legislatures, to meet in convention at Philadelphia, on the 2d of May ensuing. On the receipt of this report, the legislature of Virginia passed an act for the appointment of deputies on the part of that state.
916. The legislature of New York shortly after instructed its delegation in congress, to move a resolution recommending to the several states to appoint deputies to meet in convention for the purpose of revising and proposing amendments to the articles of confederation. On the 21st of February, 1787, the subject was acted upon in congress, and it was declared “to be expedient, that on the second Monday of May next, a convention of delegates, who shall have been appointed by the several states, be held at Philadelphia, for the sole and express purpose of revising the articles of confederation, and reporting to congress and the several legislatures such alterations and provisions' therein, as shall, when agreed to in congress and confirmed by the states, render the federal constitution adequate to the exigencies of government, and the preservation of the union.”
§ 17. Agreeably to this resolution, deputies from all the states except Rhode Island met at Philadelphịa at the time appointed. On the 17th of September following they closed their labours, by the completion of our present happy constitution. By a resolution of the convention, the new constitution was directed to be laid before congress, and it was recommended that it
should afterwards be submitted to a convention of delegates chosen in each state by the people, under the recommendation of their respective legislatures, for their assent and ratification. It was also recommended that as soon as the conventions of nine states should have ratified the constitution, it should be carried into operation. The institutions of the old government were to be continued till congress could complete the arrangements of the new.
The following year, 1788, the constitution was ratified by the conventions of all the states excepting Rhode Island and North Carolina, which, however, shortly after acceded to the union, and measures were taken for bringing it into operation on the 4th of March, 1789.
OF THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION.
$ 1. General view of the constitution. 52. Compared with the articles
of confederation. 53. Prohibitions on the state governments. 4. The president and vice-president. $5. Mode of their election. $6. Their qualifications. 57. Term of election. $ 8. Salary. $ 9. Powers and duties of the president. 10. Provision for vacancy. 11. Executive departments. $ 12. Department of state. 13. Salaries. $14. Duties,
15. Patent office. Si6. Treasury department. $ 17. Salary of the secretary, &c. 18. Duties. $19, Mitigating powers. 520. Salaries in the comptroller's office. 5 21. Duties. $ 22. Salaries in the auditor's office. $23. Duties. 524. Salaries in the treasurer's office.
25. Duties. $26. Salaries in the register's office. $ 27. Duties.
28. Salaries in the office of the commissioner of the general land office. Ø 29. Duties. $ 30. Salaries in the commissioner of the revenue's office. 531. Duties. $ 32. War department. $33. Salaries. S 34. Duties. $ 35. Navy department. S 36. Salaries. $37. Duties. $38. Vacancies in the departments.
V 1. The federal constitution may be regarded as articles of a perpetual convention between eighteen independent states, for the transaction, by one head, of all their concerns with foreign nations, and for the regulation of a few internal concerns, which it had been found by experience would be for their mutual advantage to have conducted in a uniform manner, such as the establishment of post-offices and post roads, the coining and regulating the value of money, and the granting to authors and inventors the exclusive right within all the states to their writings and discoveries. , To enable this head to execute those affairs, powers have been granted to raise a revenue on certain articles