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3. The great deficiency was, that the articles of confederation did not act upon individuals, but upon the states; and that to raise men and money, it was necessary to act through the medium of many distinct governments.

These inherent defects forced the states to the adoption of the present system. During the Revolution, the pressure of an instant and common danger kept the states in a close union, and incited them to make all possible efforts in the common defence. When that was over, however, mutual jealousies and separate interests, weakening the common bonds, soon proved the utter insufficiency of a mere confederacy for the purposes of national government. Then it was that the ablest heads and the purest hearts in the nation exercised their faculties in devising a new and better form of government. General Washington, in June, 1783, addressed a letter to the governors of the several states, in which he says, “There are four things which I humbly conceive are essential to the well being, I may even venture to say, to the existence of the United States as an independent power. 1. An indissoluble union of the states under one federal head. 2. A sacred regard to public justice. 3. The adoption of a proper peace establishment. 4. The prevalence of that pacific and friendly disposition among the people of the United States which will induce them to forget their local politics and prejudices."*

Under the first head he remarked that, “ It is only in our united character that we are known as an empire, that our independence is acknowledged, that our power can be regarded or our credit supported among foreign nations. The treaties of European powers with the United States of America will have no validity on a dissolution of the Union. We may find by our own unhappy experience, that there is a natural and necessary progression from the extreme of anarchy to the extreme of tyranny; and that arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness.” Such were the sentiments of Washington, and such then were those of the nation.

* Marshall's Life of Washington, vol. 6, c. 1, p. 46.

In 1787, the convention of delegates from twelve states was convened, and after much deliberation formed the present Constitution of the United States.

By resolution of the convention, it was directed to be carried into effect when ratified by the conventions of nine states chosen by “the people thereof."* That ratification, after much opposition, scrutinizing discussion, and the adoption of several amendments, it finally received, and all the states, eventually assenting to its provisions, became members of the Union; and on the 4th of March, 1789, it went into practical operation, and on the 30th of April following, George Washington having been unanimously elected, was inaugurated the first President.

By a comparison of the original association of 1643, the plan of 1754, and the articles of confederation, we find that the minds of the colonists had gradually tended from the notion of separate sovereignties to that of a general and united government. Each change, founded on experience had given additional strength to the confederacy. Thus the association of 1643 was a simple league, existing by means of treaties, and exercised through commissioners; and though possessing many of the attributes of sovereignty, holding them only through an alliance. The plan of 1754, though not adopted, was that of a general government, with a strong executive. The articles of confederation of 1777, though reverting back to the form of a confederacy, greatly increased, in theory, the powers of government: For example, it superadded to the powers of former Congresses, those of emitting bills of credit, establishing Marine Courts, and judging between the states. Under this confederation, the United States, by the peace of 1783, achieved their

Marshall's Wash. vol. 6, p. 129.

separate and independent existence as a nation. Yet we have already seen, it was found insufficient for the purposes of a stable government, and how, in 1787, the present Constitution was formed and adopted; and from that period up to 1860, more than seventy years, withstood unharmed the various violent influences of local feuds, opposing interests, domestic insurrection, and foreign violence.

Constitution of the United States.

PREAMBLE. WE, the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this CONSTITUTION for the United States of America.

The Constitution contains seven articles, to which have been added several miscellaneous amendments.

Article 1st. Relates to the Legislative Power.
Article 2nd. To the Executive Power.
Article 3rd. To the Judicial Power.

Article 4th. To the validity of Public Acts and Records—the rights of Citizenship—the admission of new States—and the forms of State Governments.

Article 5th. Relates to the mode of amending the Constitution.

Article 6th. To the national faith and the binding force of the Constitution.

Article 7th. To the mode of its ratification.

Of the Legislative Power.

SECTION I. All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

SECTION II. 1. The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several States, and the electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State Legislature.

2. No person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the age of twenty-five years, and been seven years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

3. Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons—including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed three-fifths of all other persons.

The actual enumeràtion shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of ten years, in such manner as they shall by law direct. The number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand, but each State shall have at least one representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to choose three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.

4. When vacancies happen in the representation from


* The other persons referred to are slaves, and consequently the slave holding states have a representation in the House of Representatives, for three-tifths of the number of slaves. This provision was the result of a compromise, without which it is probable the Union would never have been formed.

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