« PreviousContinue »
suggested to congress the expediency of a general convention of delegates for the pur-pose of altering the Articles of Confederation. Congress recommended such a convention to the states.
All the states except Rhode Island acceded to the proposal. They appointed delegates to a convention which met at Philadelphia, May 25th, 1787. It remained in session until September 17th, 1787, almost four months. Instead of amending the Articles of Confederation, they framed a plan of government for the United States, almost entirely new. After much discussion, and much concession on the part of the members of different states with a view to the general good, the convention approved the plan with great unanimity. The convention comprised among its members wise and patriotic men. They were men who looked at the interest of the whole country. They loved not their own state merely, but the United States of America. They were willing to sacrifice local interests for the sake of the union. They saw that by promoting the interests of the
union, the interest of each of the states would in the end be promoted. They felt themselves to be citizens, not of New York, or Massachusetts, or Rhode Island, or Carolina merely, but of the United States of America. May their spirit ever reign in the hearts of the legislators of this union.
The plan which they approved was submitted to conventions of delegates, chosen by the people at large, in each of the states. It underwent much discussion in these conventions, in private conversation, and in the public prints. Many persons regarded it with alarm. They feared it would eventually destroy the liberties and the Republican institutions of America. In their view, it proposed to give the general government too much power. In about a year, however, nine states ratified the plan. It was, according to its terms, when ratified by nine states, to become the constitution of the states so ratifying it. New Hampshire was the ninth state which ratified it. Virginia and New York followed. In April, 1789, about forty-six years ago, the government of the United States was organized and went in
to operation under this constitution. North Carolina and Rhode Island withheld their approval for a time. In June, 1790, however, both these states had ratified it, and it became the constitution of general government for the thirteen states. This constitution is contained in the next chapter.
Questions on Chapter III with Explanations.
Between whom were the Articles of Confederation an agreement? To whom did the state governments confide some of their pow ers? Whom did the delegates in congress represent? In what manner were the votes in congress taken? What number of delegates were the states allowed to have? How many votes had each state? On what principle was it that the smaller states had as many votes as the larger? To what did the powers confided to congress relate? How many houses did the members of congress constitute? Who presided over the deliberations of congress? What was he styled? How many votes were requisite for the decision of the more important questions? How many for the decision of the less important? In what
manner were disputes between the states settled on appeal to congress? How was the money necessary for the expenses of the government to be raised? What force had the determinations of congress? Ans. The states agreed to abide by them on all questions which by the Articles of Confederation were submitted to congress. What evidence is there that the congress which framed the Articles of Confederation considered them as forming a union far from perfect? Mention some instances of Confederacies which congress had for examples. What was the great defect of these Confederacies? Was there any provision for executing the decrees of congress in case the states should not obey them? How did the Articles of Confederation prove, as a system of government, in their operation? Ans. The states began to disregard them almost as soon as ratified. What had the effect of giving them a kind of efficiency for a time? Ans. The danger apprehended from the hand of a common enemy. Relate some of the evils which afflicted the country while the government was administered under these Articles.
Where was the first attempt towards relieving the country from these evils, made? In what year? What proposition was made by
the legislature of Virginia? At whose suggestion? When and where did this convention meet? What did this convention do? How did congress treat their suggestion? What states acceded to the proposal of Congress? When and where did the convention of delegates appointed by the states meet? How long did the convention remain in session? When did it rise? What was done by this convention? What induced the members of this convention to make concessions of local interests and to agree upon a new plan of gov ernment with great unanimity? To whom was the plan submitted for ratification or rejection? Why was it regarded by many persons with alarm? What number of states was it necessary should ratify it before it should have any effect? On what states was it then to be binding? How long time was it before it was ratified by nine states? Which was the ninth state which ratified it? What states followed New Hampshire? When did the United States government go into operation under the Constitution? How many years since, was this? What states withheld their approval for some time longer? When did it become the constitution of general government for the thirteen states?