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It required all the wisdom, the patriotism, and be cherished among those of the noblest benethe genius of our best statesmen, to overcome the factors of mankind." objections, which, from various causes, were ar

Meanwhile the ratification of New rayed against it. The history of those times is full of melancholy instruction, at once to admon. Hampshire being the ninth in order ish us of the dangers, through which we have the Constitution became the law of passed, and of the necessity of incessant vigilance, to guard and preserve, what has been thus hardly

the land. The New Hampshire ratiearned. The Constitution was adopted unani- fication was laid before Congress mously in New Jersey, Delaware, and Georgia. It

July 2, 1788, whereupon it was was supported by large majorities in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and South Carolina. ordered “ that the ratifications of In the remaining states, it was carried by small the Constitution of the United States, majorities; and especially in Massachusetts, New York, and Virginia, by little more' than a mere

transmitted to Congress, be referred preponderating vote. What a humiliating lesson

to a committee, to examine the same, is this, after all our sufferings and sacrifices, and

and report an act to Congress, for after our long and sad experience of the evils of disunited councils, and of the pernicious influence putting the said Constitution into of state jealousies, and local interests! It teaches

operation, in pursuance of the resous, how slowly even adversity brings the mind

lutions of the late Federal Convento a due sense of what political wisdom requires. It teaches us, how liberty itself may be lost, when tion.” On July 14 this committee men are found ready to hazard its permanent

reported such an act, but because of blessings, rather than submit to the wholesome restraints, which its permanent security demands. a division of opinion as to the place " To those great men, who thus framed the Con

where Congress would meet, it did stitution, and secured the adoption of it, we owe a debt of gratitude, which can scarcely be repaid.

not pass without dispute. Finally,

, It was not then, as it is now, looked upon, from however, on September 13, it was the blessings, which, under the guidance of Divine

Resolved, That the first Wednesday Providence, it has bestowed, with general favor and affection. On the contrary, many of those

in January next be the day for appure and disinterested patriots, who stood forth, pointing electors in

in the several the firm advocates of its principles, did so at the expense of their existing popularity. They felt,

states, which, before the said day, that they had a higher duty to perform, than to shall have ratified the said Constituflatter the prejudices of the people, or to subserve

tion; that the first Wednesday in Febselfish, or sectional, or local interests. Many of them went to their graves, without the soothing ruary next be the day for the electors consolation, that their services and their sacri.

to assemble in their respective states, fices were duly appreciated. They scorned every attempt to rise to power and influence by the

and vote for a president; and that the common arts of demagogues; and they were con- first Wednesday in March next be the tent to trust their characters, and their conduct,

time, and the present seat of Conto the deliberate judgment of posterity.

“If, upon a close survey of their labors, as de. gress [New York] the place, for comveloped in the actual structure of the Constitu

mencing proceedings under the said tion, we shall have reason to admire their wisdom

Constitution.”+ and forecast, to observe their profound love of liberty, and to trace their deep sense of the Story, Exposition of the Constitution, pp. 35– value of political responsibility, and their anxiety 36. See also Story, Commentaries on the Constiabove all things, to give perpetuity, as well as tution, vol. i., p. 199. energy to the republican institutions of their † See Madison's letter of September 14, 1788, country; then, indeed, will our gratitude kindle to Washington, in Madison's Works (Congress into a holier reverence, and their memories will ed.), vol. i., p. 416.

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Social and Economic Conditions During the Revolutionary Era,


22. Land Systems, Wealth, Real and Personal Property Values
23. Industries, Agriculture, Labor
24. Commerce, Transportation, Banking and Currency
25. Education, Religion, Literature, Art





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Systems of land ownerships in various colonies — Grants in the West - Importance of the public domain

The crown lands — The question of the disposition of western lands — Territory embraced in cessions by States — The ordinance of 1784 — The ordinance of 1787 – Public lands a source of revenue - Pecuniary condition of emigrants — Sources of wealth — Wealth in the various colonies — Total value of real and personal property in 1770 — Material development slow during war — Confiscation of Loyalist estates Estates of the rich — Amounts of specie in colonies — Value and distribution of real estate after Revolution Assessed value of property by States in 1788. Land Systems.

tined, in the next century, to be the S fixed in the several colonies cause of grave disturbance in the

in the first years of the colonial commonwealth. In the South the col

period, so the principles of land onists held to their big plantations tenure remained practically

un- and their successes in the cultivation changed until after the Revolution. of tobacco, rice and indigo had operNew England developed more and ated to convince them more than ever more strongly along the line of town- of the economic value of that system ship divisions, village communities in their section of the country. Maryand individual ownership in fee land held to the manor system and to simple. In New York the manorial grants under quit-rent until the Revosystem still prevailed, although it had lution. In 1767 there was a record in been gradually shorn of some of its that colony of the sale of 227 manors, pronounced feudal characteristics, embracing 100,000 acres. the lord proprietors having become In Pennsylvania a mixed system of little more than the owners of large land ownership prevailed throughout estates divided into lease-hold farms. the colonial period. Those who purThe granting of extensive tracts chased land held it immediately of the of wilderness in the western part proprietor and not from the king. of the State to royal favorites or in Land was divided into commonage, recognition of military service had proprietory manors and private esattained to considerable proportions tates. Various conditions and conand was developing a condition des- cessions attached to the sale and




bound the purcuasers or grantees. States began in 1763, although there Quit-rents were annually collected were perhaps few if any. who then from the common and manorial lands recognized that fact or realized the and from lots in the city of Phila- infinite results of big and strong delphia, which ranged in value from nationality that were inherent in it. a peppercorn, a red rose or an In- By the treaty of Paris in 1763 Great dian arrow to several shillings per

Britain secured undisputed posseshundred acres. From the beginning, sion of a great territory on the Amerhowever, the payment of these quit- ican continent west and north of its rents was often refused and the colonies, which up to that time had agents of the proprietor were power- been claimed and to some extent ocless to enforce collections. By the cupied by the French. This territory middle of the Eighteenth century the was divided into four provinces, tide of emigration had pushed the Quebec, East Florida, West Florida frontier far to the westward, thou- and Granada (the latter comprising sands of acres being taken up by islands of the West Indies). By royal squatters whom it was impossible to proclamation of 1763 all the western dislodge. To encourage frontier set- lands not included in these provinces tlement, many free grants of land were set apart from the colonial terriand some fraudulent entries were tories and designated as crown lands. made by officials and speculators. From time to time settlers invaded In 1765, in order to overcome these these lands, attracted by reports of evils, the proprietors made new reg

their fertility and natural resources, ulations governing their land office, and royal grants were made to combut land speculation continued de- panies who wished to exploit the terspite all their efforts. In No- ritory, before as well as after the vember, 1779, the estates of the French had been dislodged, in 1748, proprietors were confiscated by the 1749, 1757, 1766, 1769 and 1775. In commonwealth.*

all these transactions the companies But while all these matters of land petitioned directly to the British tenure in the individual colonies were crown and not to any colonial governgradually working to satisfactory ment. The ownership of these lands, solutions, the seed was planted, in

whether crown or colonial, was one of this generation, of another land ques

the most serious questions which detion more momentous than any that

manded solution from the republic in had preceded it. The history of the

its earliest years. public domain of the future United When the independence of the col

onies was recognized by the treaty of William R. Shepherd, Land System of Pro

1783, the territory of the new nation vincial Pennsylvania, in Annual Report of the American Historical Association for 1895, p. 117.

extended from the Atlantic to the Mis

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