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recommended by the legislatures, and which should be chosen by the people to decide thereon. The plan did not favor the submission of the proposed amendments of the Articles to the people directly for their approval or rejection, but to assemblies or conventions chosen by the people. It was debated in the Convention for a short time, when it was postponed for future consideration.

Mr. Ellsworth moved in the Convention that the Constitution be referred to the legislatures of the States for ratification. This provoked a lengthy debate.

Mr. Mason opposed the motion upon several grounds. The legislatures, he said, have no power to ratify the Constitution. They are the mere creatures of the State Constitutions, and cannot be greater than their creators. If the legislatures could ratify the Constitution, succeeding legislatures, having equal authority, could undo the acts of their predecessors; this would leave the National Government standing on the weak and tottering foundation of an act of assembly.

Mr. Gerry opposed the plan of referring the Constitution to the legislatures and assigned five distinct reasons for his opinion, but doubted the wisdom of waiting for the unanimous concurrence of the States.

Mr. Williamson preferred a reference to conventions as more likely to be composed of able men than the legislatures.

Mr. King preferred a reference to the authority of the people expressly delegated to conventions, as the most certain means of obviating all disputes and doubts concerning the legitimacy of the new Constitution, as well as the most likely means of drawing forth the best men in the States to decide on it. At the conclusion of the debate Mr. Ellsworth's motion to refer the Constitution to the legislatures of the States was defeated by a vote of three to seven.

Mr. Gouverneur Morris then moved that the reference be made to one general convention chosen and authorized by the people, to consider, amend and establish the same, but this motion did not meet with a second. It was again moved on June 12, to refer the Constitution for ratification to assemblies chosen by the people, and this was car

ried by a vote of nine to one, Delaware alone voting no.42 As it went to the Committee of Detail, the resolution read: "That the amendments which shall be offered to the Confederation by the Convention ought, at a proper time or times, after the approbation of Congress, to be submitted to an assembly, or assemblies of representatives recommended by the several legislatures, to be expressly chosen by the people to consider and decide thereon."

As it was reported by the committee back to the Convention, it read: "The ratification of the conventions of States shall be sufficient for organizing this Constitution." It is not known who suggested the resolution which the committee reported.

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Mr. King moved to add the words, "between the States," and this was carried. In the Convention various numbers were suggested for filling the blank, but finally, nine was inserted. In this amended form the resolution was sent to the Committee on Style, which changed it to its present form. The objections urged against this article when the ratification of the Constitution was being considered by the States were fully answered, and the merits of the article ably maintained by Mr. Madison in the Federalist, where he said:

"This article speaks for itself. The express authority of the people alone could give due validity to the Constitution. To have required the unanimous ratification of the thirteen States, would have subjected the essential interests of the whole, to the caprice or corruption of a single member. It would have marked a want of foresight in the Convention, which our own experience would have rendered inexcusable.

"Two questions of a very delicate nature present themselves on this occasion: 1. On what principle the Confederation, which stands in the solemn form of a compact among the States, can be superseded without the unanimous consent of the parties to it? 2. What relation is to subsist between the nine or more States ratifying the Constitution, and the remaining few who do not become. parties to it?

"The first question is answered at once, by recurring 42 Journal, 410-417.

43 Journal, 644.

to the absolute necessity of the case; to the great principle of self-preservation; to the transcendent law of nature, and of nature's God, which declares that the safety and happiness of society are the objects at which all political institutions aim, and to which all such institutions must be sacrificed. Perhaps, also, an answer may be found without searching beyond the principles of the compact itself. It has been heretofore noted among the defects of the Confederation, that in many of the States it had received no higher sanction than a mere legislative ratification. The principle of reciprocality seems to require that its obligation on the other States should be reduced to the same standard. A compact between independent sovereigns, founded on acts of legislative authority, can pretend to no higher validity than a league or treaty between the parties. It is an established doctrine on the subject of treaties, that all the articles are mutually conditions of each other; that a breach of any one article, is a breach of the whole treaty; and that a breach, committed by either of the parties, absolves the others; and authorizes them, if they please, to pronounce the compact violated and void. Should it unhappily be necessary to appeal to these delicate truths, for a justification for dispensing with the consent of particular States to a dissolution of the Federal pact, will not the complaining parties find it a difficult task to answer the multiplied and important infractions, with which they may be confronted? The time has been, when it was incumbent on us all to veil the ideas which this paragraph exhibits. The scene is now changed, and with it, the part which the same motives dictate.

"The second question is not less delicate; and the flattering prospect of its being merely hypothetical, forbids an over-curious discussion of it. It is one of those cases which must be left to provide for itself. In general, it may be observed, that although no political relation can subsist between the assenting and dissenting States, yet the moral relations will remain uncancelled. The claims of justice, both on one side and on the other, will be in force, and must be fulfilled; the rights of humanity must in all cases be duly and mutually respected; whilst considerations of a common interest, and, above all, the

remembrance of the endearing scenes which are past, and the anticipation of a speedy triumph over the obstacles to reunion, will, it is hoped, not urge in vain, moderation on one side, and prudence on the other. "44

The Convention transmitted the Constitution and a resolution relating to it, to Congress, which received them on September 20, 1787. On the 29th Congress passed the following resolution:

"Resolved, that the said report (namely, the Constitution) with the resolutions and the letter accompanying the same, be transmitted to the several legislatures, in order that it be submitted to a convention of delegates chosen in each State by the people thereof in conformity to the resolves of the Convention made and provided in that case."

Following the passage of this resolution Congress transmitted a copy of the Constitution to each State. Hitherto the public was not familiar with its provisions, the Convention having been held with closed doors, but now it was known to the public and the entire country became aroused over the question of its adoption or rejection. It is not the purpose of this work to follow in detail the history of the struggle to secure the ratification or the defeat, of the Constitution. It is sufficient to say that in those early days of our country's history there were men, as there are men in these days, who were content with the doctrine that "the end justifies the means," and that in some States the methods by which ratification was secured rivalled the tactics of the modern political magnate.45

The arguments which had been made in the Convention in opposition to the Constitution were repeated with great vehemence in the conventions of the States where the opposition was strongest or the prospects of ratification were

44 The Federalist, No. 43.

45 In Pennsylvania the friends of the Constitution, being unable to secure a quorum in the convention, captured two of its members who were opposed to the Constitution, and forcibly carried them to the convention hall and held them in their seats, thus constituting a quorum, until the motion to ratify the Constitution could be put and passed. Fiske's Critical Period of American History, 311. Bancroft's History of the Constitution, vol. 2, 240.

most doubtful. If any opponent of the Constitution thought of some new reason why it should be defeated he did not hesitate to urge it with all the ardor of his nature. In New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia, the three large States, the opposition was especially bitter and determined, but the powerful influence of Hamilton in New York, of Wilson in Pennsylvania, and of Madison and Marshall in Virginia, together with the great influence of Washington and Franklin throughout the country, turned the tide of public sentiment in favor of the new system of government. In due time the Constitution was ratified by the requisite number of States, and the new nation took its place among the nations of the earth, destined to become the most powerful factor in civil government in the world.

Delaware was the first State to ratify the Constitution, which it did, unanimously, on December 7, 1787. Pennsylvania did the same five days later by a vote of 46 to 23, just two to one. Six days after Pennsylvania, came New Jersey with a unanimous vote for ratification. On January 2, 1788, Georgia also ratified by unanimous vote. On the 9th of the same month Connecticut ratified by a vote of 128 to 40. Massachusetts, after a bitter contest, passed a resolution of ratification on February 6, 1788, by a vote of 187 to 168; but before a sufficient number of votes could be obtained in favor of ratification in that State it was agreed or understood that a convention for the consideration of amendments should be held. This plan was followed in other States by the friends of the Constitution in order to secure ratification. On April 28, 1788, Maryland ratified by a vote of 63 to 11, South Carolina on May 23 of the same year by a vote of 149 to 73. New Hampshire failed at its first convention to pass a resolution of ratification, but at its second convention ratified by a vote of 57 to 46 on June 21, 1788. This made the ninth State to ratify the Constitution, and the needed number had been secured.

Five days later, June 26, Virginia ratified by a vote of 89 to 79, after a long and bitter contest. New York did not ratify until the 26th of July, 1788, by a vote of 30 to 37, and then not until the friends of the Constitution had promised its opponents that a convention for the con

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