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for the exercise of which, by the Articles of Confederation, the voice of nine States in the Congress of the United States assembled is requisite.
ARTICLE 11. Canada, acceding to this confederation and joining in the measures of the United States, shall be admitted into, and entitled to all the advantages of this union ; but no other colony shall be admitted into the same, unless such admission be agreed to by nine States.
ARTICLE 12. All bills of credit emitted, moneys borrowed and debts contracted by, or under the authority of Congress, before the assembling of the United States, in pursuance of the present confederation, shall be deemed and considered as a charge against the United States, for payment and satisfaction whereof the said United States and the public faith are hereby solemnly pledged.
ARTICLE 13. Every State shall abide by the determinations of the United States in Congress assembled, on all questions which by this confederation is submitted to them. And the articles of this confederation shall be inviolably observed by every State, and the union shall be perpetual; nor shall any alteration at any time hereafter be made in any of them; unless such alteration be agreed to in & Congress of the United States, and be afterward confirmed by the legislatures of every State.
And Whereas it hath pleased the Great Governor of the World to incline the hearts of the legislatures we respectively represent in Congress, to approve of, and to authorize us to ratify the said Articles of Confederation and perpetual union. Know Ye that we, the undersigned delegates, by virtue of the power and authority to us given for that purpose, do by these presents, in the name and in behalf of our respective constituents, fully and entirely ratify and confirm each and every of the said Articles of Confederation and perpetual union, and all and singular the matters and things therein contained : And we do further solemnly
plight and engage the faith of onr respective constituents, that they shall abide by the determinations of the United States in Congress assembled, on all questions, which by the said confederation are submitted to them. And that the articles thereof shall be inviolably observed by the States we respectively represent, and that the union shall be perpetual. In witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands in Congress. Done at Philadelphia, in the State of Pennsylvania, the 9th day of July, in the Year of our Lord, 1778, and in the 3d year of the Independence of America.
THE FEDERAL CONVENTION.
The following, from the papers of Mr. Madison, is the concluding portion of an article by him, detailing the causes which led to the formation of the Constitution :
A resort to a general eonvention to re-model the confederacy, was not a new idea. It had entered at an early date into the conversations and speculations of the most reflecting and foreseeing observers of the inadequacy of the powers allowed to Congress. In a pamphlet published in May, 1781, at the seat of Congress, Peletiah Webster, an able though not conspicuous citizen, after discussing the fiscal system of the United States, and suggesting, among other remedial provisions, one including a national bank, remarks, that “the authority of Congress at present is very inadequate to the performance of their duties; and this indicates the necessity of their calling a Continental Convention for the express purpose of ascertaining, defining, enlarging, and limiting the duties and powers of their Constitution."
On the 1st of April, 1783, Col. Hamilton, in a debate in in Congress, observed, “That he wished, instead of them, (partial conventions), to see a general convention take
a place; and that he should soon, in pursuance of his instructions from his constituents, propose to Congress a plan for that purpose, the object of which would be to strengthen the Federal Constitution." He alluded, probably, to the
" resolutions introduced by General Schuyler, in the Senate, and passed unanimously by the Legislature of New York, in the summer of 1782, declaring "that the confederation was defective, in not giving Congress power to provide a revenue for itself, or in not investing them with funds from established and productive sources; and that it would be advisable for Congress to recommend to the States to call a general convention, to revise and amend the confederation.” It does not appear, however, that his expectation had been fulilled,
In a letter to James Madison from R. H. Lee, then president of Congress, dated the 26th of November, 1784, he says: “it is by many here suggested, as a very necessary step for Congress to take, the calling on the States to form a convention, for the sole purpose of revising the confederation, so far as to enable Congress to execute, with more energy, effect, and vigor, the powers assigned to it, than it appears by experience that they can do under the present state of things.” The answer of Mr. Madison remarks: “I hold it for a maxim, that the Union of the States is essential to their safety against foreign danger and internal contention ; and that the perpetuity and efficacy of the present system cannot be confided in. The question, therefore, is in what mode and at what moment, the experiment for supplying the defects ought to be made."
In the winter of 1784-5, Noah Webster, whose political and other valuable writings had made him known to the public, proposed, in one of his publications, "A new system of government, which should act, not on the States, but directly on individuals, and vest in Congress full power to carry its laws into effect.”
The proposed and expected Convention at Annapolis, the first of a general character that appears to have been realized, and the state of the public mind awakened by it, had attracted the particular attention of Congress, and favored the idea there of a Convention with fuller powers for amending the confederacy.
It does not appear that in any of these cases the reformed system was to be otherwise sanctioned than by the legislative authority of the States ; nor whether, nor how far, a change was to be made in the structure of the depository of federal powers.
The Act of Virginia, providing for the Convention at Philadelphia, was succeeded by appointments from the other States, as their legislatures were assembled, the appointments being selections from the most experienced and bigh-standing citizens. Rhode Island was the only exception to a compliance with the recommendation from Annapolis, well known to have been swayed by an obdurate adherence to an advantage, which her position gave her, of taxing her neighbors through their consumption of imported supplies—an advantage which it was foreseen would be taken from her by a revisal of the Articles of Confederation.
As the public mind had been ripened for a salutary reform of the political system, in the interval between the proposal and the meeting of the Commissioners at Annapolis, the interval between this last event and the meeting of Deputies at Philadelphia, had continued to develop more and more the necessity and the extent of a systematic provision for the preservation and government of the Union. Among the ripening incidents, was the insurrection of Shays, in Massachusetts, against her government, which was with difficulty suppressed, notwithstanding the influence on the insurgents of an apprehended interposition of · the federal troops.
At the date of the Convention, the aspect and retrospect of the political condition of the United States could not but fill the public mind with a gloom, which was relieved only by a hope that so select a body would devise an adequate remedy for the existing and prospective evils so impressively demanding it.