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ston for the immensity of his results compared with the paucity of his means. Other treaties of immense consequence have been signed by American representatives, the treaty of alliance with France; the treaty of peace with England, which recognized independence; the treaty of Ghent; the treaty which ceded Florida; the Ashburton treaty; the treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo,- but in none of these did the United States government get so much for so little. The annexation of Louisiana was an event so portentous as to defy measurement. It gave a new face to politics, and ranked in historical importance next to the Declaration of Independence and the adoption of the Constitution,- events of which it was the logical outcome; but as a matter of diplomacy it was unparalleled, because it cost almost nothing.

The purchase of the Louisiana territory in 1803 constituted the first great chapter in the history of our national expansion. This purchase doubled the area of the United States, adding over 900,000 square miles. It comprised almost the entire region between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains, north of Texas, the territory out of which have since been formed the States of Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, North and South Dakota, with a great part of the States of Minnesota and Colorado, and also the Indian Territory, including Oklahoma. By a secret convention in 1762, confirmed by the Treaty of Paris in 1763, France had given this vast territory to Spain; and the control which Spain thus had of the mouth of the Mississippi became, as years went on, a matter of more and more serious concern to our Western people, for whom the Mississippi and its tributaries were the great avenues of travel and of trade. Our sagacious statesmen saw early what serious consequences might be involved in the situation. Franklin said to Jay in 1784: "I would rather agree with the Spaniards to buy at a great price the whole of their right on the Mississippi than sell a drop of its waters. A neighbor might as well ask me to sell my street-door. Jefferson devoted his earnest thought to the subject years before 1803. As Secretary of State in 1790, when there seemed to be some danger of Great Britain seizing New Orleans, he expressed to Washington his opinion that, rather than see Louisiana and Florida added to the British Empire, we should take part in the general war which then seemed impending; and at the same time he warned the French to let the territory alone. In 1801 Spain, by a secret treaty, ceded the territory back to France. Napoleon planned a great expedition and colony for Louisiana, and had ambitious thoughts of the restoration in America of the French power which fell before England at Quebec. The intimations of the cession from Spain to France created much disturbance and alarm in America. "Kentucky was in a flame. The President was deeply stirred. The Spaniards had retained Louisiana on sufferance: the United States could have it at any time from them. But the French would be likely to hold their ancient possessions with a tighter clutch, and not content themselves with two or three trading-posts in a fertile territory large enough for an empire. Jefferson, from the hour when the intelligence reached him, had only this thought: The French must not have New Orleans. No one but ourselves must own our own street-door." He addressed urgent instructions and suggestions to Mr. Livingston, our minister at Paris, embodying considerations which he knew would find their way to Napoleon. The United States could not let the French control the mouth of the Mississippi, and a conflict about it might finally necessitate an alliance of some sort between ourselves and Great Britain.

Early in 1803 Jefferson sent Mr. Monroe, as a special ambassador, to join Mr. Livingstone in Paris, charged with the fullest instructions, and authorized to give two million dollars, if he could do no better, for the island of New Orleans alone. Monroe arrived to find France on the eve of war with England, and Napoleon in active negotiations with Livingston for the transfer to the United States of the whole of Louisiana. Napoleon knew that the British fleet could easily keep French forces away from the Mississippi; and, rather than have Great Britain seize Louisiana, he would sell it to the United States, getting what money he could out of it for use in the impending war. "I know the full value of Lou

isiana," he said, "and I have been desirous of repairing the fault of the French negotiators who abandoned it in 1763. But, if it escapes from me, it shall one day cost dearer to those who oblige me to strip myself of it than to those to whom I wish to deliver it. The English have successively taken from France Canada, Cape Breton, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and the richest portions of Asia. They shall not have the Mississippi, which they covet. I already consider the colony as entirely lost; and it appears to me that, in the hands of this growing power, it will be more useful to the policy and even to the commerce of France than if I should attempt to keep it." "I have given to England," he said afterward, “a maritime rival that will, sooner or later, humble her pride. The terms of the sale'probably the largest transaction in real estate which the world has ever known "- were agreed upon after considerable bickering, the sum paid by the United States being fifteen million dollars. The treaty contained a positive provision that "the inhabitants of the ceded territory shall be incorporated in the Union of the United States, and admitted as soon as possible, according to the principles of the Federal Constitution, to the enjoyment of all the rights, advantages, and immunities of citizens of the United States." M. Marbois, the French minister, relates that, as soon as the three negotiators had signed the treaties, they all rose, and shook hands; and Mr. Livingston gave utterance to the joy and satisfaction of them all, saying:


"We have lived long, but this is the noblest work of our whole lives. The treaty which we have just signed has not been obtained by art nor dictated by force, and is equally advantageous to the two contracting parties. It will change vast solitudes into flourishing districts. From this day the United States take their place among the powers of the first rank. The United States will re-establish the maritime rights of all the world, which are now usurped by a single nation. The instruments which we have just signed will cause no tears to be shed: they prepare ages of happiness for innumerable generations of human creatures. The Mississippi and the Missouri will see them succeed one another and multiply, truly worthy of the regard and care of Providence, in the bosom of equality, under just laws, freed from the errors of superstition and bad government.'

The general ignorance concerning the Louisiana territory, on the part of the American people at the time of the purchase, was very great: even the boundaries were far from being clearly defined. For the sake of furnishing the best information available, Jefferson had prepared and submitted to Congress the document whose more important portions are reprinted in the present leaflet. Besides what is here given, the document contained accounts of the existing political organization, of the exports, imports, and navigation, and, in an appendix, census details and other matter. The document, which performed for that time a function similar to that of the report of the Philippine Commission in our time, was printed in pamphlet form by various publishers for general circulation. The edition used for the present reprint was published by John Conrad and Company of Philadelphia, 1803.

The best general account of the purchase of Louisiana and of the debates and legislation incident to it is that by Henry Adams in his History of the United States during the Administration of Thomas Jefferson, vol. ii. See also Cooley's "Acquisition of Louisiana." The subject has prominent place in all the biographies of Jefferson. There is an excellent brief account in Gilman's Life of Monroe, in the American Statesmen Series; and the bibliography of the subject, by Professor J. F. Jameson, in the appendix to that volume, is the best to which the student can be referred. See also the references in the valuable chapter "Territorial Acquisitions and Divisions," by Justin Winsor and Professor Edward Channing, in the Narrative and Critical History of America, vol. vii. The original letters of Livingston and Monroe, giving accounts of the negotiations in Paris, appear in the American State Papers, Foreign Relations, ii. ; and there is a history of the cession by BarbéMarbois, one of the French negotiators.



THE DIRECTORS OF THE OLD SOUTH WORK, Old South Meeting-house, Boston, Mass.

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Old South Leaflets.


No. 106.

The Govern

ment of the United States.



Ours is a system of government, compounded of the separate governments of the several States composing the Union, and of one common government of all its members, called the Government of the United States. The former preceded the latter, which was created by their agency. Each was framed by written constitutions; those of the several States by the people of each, acting separately, and in their sovereign character; and that of the United States, by the same, acting in the same character,- but jointly instead of separately. All were formed on the same model. They all divide the powers of government into legislative, executive, and judicial; and are founded on the great principle of the responsibility of the rulers to the ruled. The entire powers of government are divided between the two; those of a more general character being specifically delegated to the United States; and all others not delegated, being reserved to the several States in their separate character. Each, within its appropriate sphere, possesses all the attributes, and performs all the functions of government. Neither is perfect without the other. The two combined, form one entire and perfect government. With these preliminary remarks, I shall proceed to the consideration of the immediate subject of this discourse.

The Government of the United States was formed by the Constitution of the United States; and ours is a democratic, federal republic.

It is democratic, in contradistinction to aristocracy and monarchy. It excludes classes, orders, and all artificial distinctions. To guard against their introduction, the constitution prohibits the granting of any title of nobility by the United States, or by any State. The whole system is, indeed, democratic throughout. It has for its fundamental principle, the great cardinal maxim, that the people are the source of all power; that the governments of the several States and of the United States were created by them, and for them; that the powers conferred on them are not surrendered, but delegated ; and, as such, are held in trust, and not absolutely; and can be rightfully exercised only in furtherance of the objects for which they were delegated.

It is federal as well as democratic. Federal, on the one hand, in contradistinction to national, and, on the other, to a confederacy. In showing this, I shall begin with the foer.

It is federal, because it is the government of States united in a political union, in contradistinction to a government of individuals socially united; that is, by what is usually called, a social compact. To express it more concisely, it is federal and not national, because it is the government of a community of States, and not the government of a single State or nation.


That it is federal and not national, we have the high authority of the convention which framed it. General Washington, as its organ, in his letter submitting the plan to the consideration of the Congress of the then confederacy, calls it, in one place," the general government of the Union; ". Union;"—and in another,- "the federal government of these States." together, the plain meaning is, that the government proposed would be, if adopted, the government of the States adopting it, in their united character as members of a common Union; and, as such, would be a federal government. These expressions were not used without due consideration, and an accurate and full knowledge of their true import. The subject was not a novel one. The convention was familiar with it. It was much agitated in their deliberations. They divided, in reference to it, in the early stages of their proceedings. At first, one party was in favor of a national and the other of a federal government. The former, in the beginning, prevailed; and in the plans which they proposed, the constitution and government

* 1st Art., 9 and 10 Sec.

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are styled "National." But, finally, the latter gained the ascendency, when the term "National" was superseded, and "United States" substituted in its place. The constitution was accordingly styled,-" The constitution of the United States of America; "- and the government,-" The government of the United States; leaving out "America," for the sake of brevity. It cannot admit of a doubt, that the Convention, by the expression "United States," meant the States united in a federal Union; for in no other sense could they, with propriety, call the government, "the federal government of these States," and "the general government of the Union," as they did in the letter referred to. It is thus clear, that the Convention regarded the different expressions," the federal government of the United States; -"the general government of the Union" and, " government of the United States,"- as mean the same thing,—a federal, in contradistinction to a national government.

Assuming it then, as established, that they are the same, it is only necessary, in order to ascertain with precision, what they meant by "federal government," to ascertain what they meant by "the government of the United States." For this purpose it will be necessary to trace the expression to its origin.

It was, at that time, as our history shows, an old and familiar phrase,― having a known and well-defined meaning. Its use commenced with the political birth of these States; and it has been applied to them, in all the forms of government through which they have passed, without alteration. The style of the present constitution and government is precisely the style by which the confederacy that existed when it was adopted, and which it superseded, was designated. The instrument that formed the latter was called,- "Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union." Its first article declares that the style of this confederacy shall be, "The United States of America; and the second, in order to leave no doubt as to the relation in which the States should stand to each other in the confederacy about to be formed, declared,-"Each State retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence; and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not, by this confederation, expressly delegated to the United States in Congress assembled." If we go one step further back, the style of the confederacy will be found to be the same with that of the revolutionary government, which existed when it was adopted, and which it

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