The Government Class Book eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 386 pages of information about The Government Class Book.

Sec.10.  A meeting was accordingly held at Annapolis, in September, 1786; but as commissioners from only five states attended, viz., New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Virginia, the commissioners deemed it unadvisable to proceed to business relating to an object in which all the states were concerned; but they united in a report to the several states and to congress, in which they recommended the calling of a general convention of delegates from all the states, to meet in Philadelphia on the 2d Monday of May, 1787, with a view not only to the regulation of commerce, but to such other amendments of the articles of confederation as were necessary to render them “adequate to the exigencies of the union.”

Sec.11.  In pursuance of this recommendation, congress, in February, 1787, passed a resolution for assembling a convention.  All the states, except Rhode Island, appointed delegates, who met pursuant to appointment; and framed the present constitution of the United States.  They also recommended it to be laid by congress before the several states, to be by them considered and ratified in conventions of representatives of the people.  Conventions were accordingly called for this purpose in all the states, except Rhode Island, and the constitution was ratified by all of them in which conventions had been called, except North Carolina.

Sec.12.  The constitution was to go into effect if ratified by nine states.  The ninth state, New Hampshire, sent its ratification to congress in July, 1788; and measures were taken by congress to put the new constitution into operation.  Ratifications were received from North Carolina and Rhode Island the year after the organization of the new government.

Chapter XXVIII.

Nature of the Union under the Constitution.

Sec.1.  Having given, in the preceding chapter, a sketch of the union under the confederation, we shall next show the nature of the union under the present constitution, commencing with a brief comparison of the leading features of the two systems of government.

Sec.2.  The former union was a mere confederacy.  A confederacy is a league, a federal compact.  The word federal is from the Latin fadus, a league, or alliance.  Hence a confederacy is a combination or union of two or more parties, whether persons or states, for their mutual benefit and assistance.  And let it be here particularly noted, that this union was a union of states, as states.  The articles of confederation were framed by congress, whose members were appointed by the state legislatures, and, when framed, were submitted to the state legislatures for ratification.

Sec.3.  On the other hand, the union under the constitution is a union, not of the states, as such, but of the people of the states.  Thus it is expressed in the preamble to the constitution:  “We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, ... do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America.”  And the constitution was submitted for ratification, not to the state legislatures, but to conventions whose members were elected by the people for that purpose.

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