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5. Learn this quotation from the Ordinance:
“Knowledge, religion, and morality being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of educa
tion shall forever be encouraged." 6. What is the meaning of “Confederation"? "Ordinance"? "Critical
Period”? What historical fact or period does each bring to mind? 7. Make an outline of the chapter.
COMPOSITION SUBJECTS 1. The Revolutionary soldiers have received land grants in the North
west Territory. One has decided to settle in the Western Reserve, one near Detroit, one on the banks of the Ohio, and one near Vincennes. Let four members of the class impersonate these soldiers, and each state what he believes to be the advantages of the locality he has
chosen. 2. Imagine that you are the fourteen-year-old son of a soldier killed in
the Revolution. Tell of the uselessness of the fortune in paper money as left to the family by your father. Tell of your joy at finding one
hundred silver dollars he had hidden away. 3. Write a letter to your cousin in England in which you set forth the
troubles and difficulties because of a lack of union among the States.
THE ADOPTION OF THE CONSTITUTION
200. The Constitutional Convention. The commercial war between the States was so disastrous for the business interests of the country that statesmen and leading merchants and shipowners soon began strongly to demand that this warfare cease. A convention was called to meet in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1786, to see what could be done for the better regulation of trade between the States and with foreign countries. But only five of the thirteen States sent delegates. Nothing, therefore, was actually decided by the members, further than to ask Congress itself to call a national convention for the adoption of a constitution. It was now seen by many wise men that the only way out of the difficulty was to have a much stronger central government than the Articles of Confederation provided for, and to abolish all barriers to trade between the States.
The great Constitutional Convention, which opened at Philadelphia on May 25, 1787, had for its purpose the providing of a “more perfect Union" between the States. Its president was General Washington, who was the foremost citizen of the Republic; and among the fifty-five members were other leading men from every colony except Rhode Island, which was not represented. Benjamin Franklin was the oldest delegate, also one of the wisest, and had great influence; James Madison took so prominent a part in drafting the new instrument that he has been called the “Father of the Constitution"; and Alexander Hamilton, the youngest member, won lasting fame
1 Hamilton was born in the West Indies, in 1757; but he was sent to school in New York, where he arrived in 1772, when fifteen years old. Two years later he attended a great open-air meeting in that city, and made an eloquent speech in favor of the Revolution; this, and two pamphlets that he wrote at the time,
for his sound judgment in all matters relating to Federal finances.
Almost every delegate had strong opinions of his own, and sometimes it seemed as though it would be impossible to get all of them to agree on any one thing. Finally, various compromises were arranged on the matters chiefly in dispute. The Constitution under which we now live was signed on September 17, and Congress at once sent it to the States for their approval or disapproval.2
201. Changes wrought by the Constitution.3 The Constitution made many changes in the manner of governing made him at once a political leader, and after that he was in the front rank of the “rebels." Through the war he was on the staff of Washington, who found young Hamilton's pen and voice of great service to the cause; to him is due a very large share of credit for securing the adoption of the Constitution. He became the leader of the Federalists, and until 1795 served with great distinction as Secretary of the Treasury. After this he was the most prominent lawyer in New York City. But in 1804, following a political quarrel with Aaron Burr, he was killed by the latter in a duel. This event awakened widespread sorrow, for Hamilton was greatly beloved and honored as one of the most brilliant men of his day.
1 The two most important compromises were the following:
(a) Should the number of votes in Congress allowed the States be proportioned to the number of their inhabitants? The large States said “Yes," for otherwise the small ones would have as much power in the Government as themselves, and to them this seemed unfair. The small States said "No," because they feared that the large States would lord it over them. A compromise was arranged by which Congress was divided into two houses — the Senate, in which each State, large or small, was to be represented by two members; and the House of Representatives, whose members were to be in proportion to the population,
(6) Should slaves be counted as population? If so, then the South, which said “Yes," would have a larger power than would seem to be just, considering the small number of its white population. The North wanted only freemen to be counted as population. The convention finally compromised, by agreeing that when Representatives in Congress were being chosen, only three-fifths of the slaves should be counted as population; in other words, five slaves would be counted as three persons. This method was also to be followed whenever direct taxes were apportioned “according to population' - but taxes of this kind have been assessed only a few times in the nation's history.
2 The great English statesman, Gladstone, once said of our Constitution that it was “the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of men.
.” But although the written instrument was made in only four months, the Constitution had in reality been of slow growth; for it was the direct product of the experience of the colonists in self-government, and that experience reached far back to the training of their liberty-loving forefathers in the motherland.
3 The complete text of the Constitution will be found in the Appendix, commencing at page 000.
the United States. Four of these were of the greatest importance:
(a) The Nation was now to have a President, to execute the Federal laws. The only real executives under the Articles of Confederation were the governors of the thirteen States.
(6) Congress was given authority to raise taxes to meet the cost of carrying on the Federal Government. No national government can have any real strength unless it has money to pay its army and navy, its judges, and other officers and employees.
(c) There was now to be freedom of trade between the States; that is, any citizen of the United States might buy or sell anywhere in the country, without paying export or import duties to any State. To Congress alone was given the power of saying how trade between citizens of different States should be conducted.
(d) A Federal Supreme Court was established to decide all questions as to how much authority the Federal Government should have under the Constitution. It was also to settle disputes between citizens of different States and in later years it began to decide whether or not the laws passed by Congress agreed with the Constitution. Whenever a law is found by this court to be" unconstitutional," it ceases any longer to be a law.
202. Ratification. Long and exciting debates arose in the several States, over the ratification of the Constitution, which had to be voted on by the people. On this question citizens were divided into two great political parties:
(a) The Federalists. These were the men who favored the Constitution, and wanted to have it adopted just as it came from the Convention. They believed that the Union needed the strong central Government which the Constitution provided for. Among those of this way of thinking were Washington, Franklin, Hamilton, and Madison. Washington wrote to Patrick Henry: “I wish the Constitution
1 This name is derived from a Latin word meaning union or league.
which is offered had been more perfect; but I sincerely believe it is the best which could be obtained at this time. And as a constitutional door is open for amendments hereafter, the adoption of it, under the present circumstances of the Union, is in my opinion desirable.” He pointed out that
“the political concerns of this country are in a manner suspended by a thread," anarchy might result if the instrument were rejected.
From an old engraving PARADE IN NEW YORK IN HONOR OF THE ADOPTION OF THE
(6) The Anti-Federalists. This was the name given to those who feared that the proposed new Federal Government might in time become so strong as to destroy the people's liberties, and that the President might become a despot. They also complained that the Constitution contained no “ bill of rights," or promise that the lives, liberty, and property of the people should be protected by the Government. The makers of the Constitution had not thought it necessary to insert such a promise in that document, which gave only definite powers to the National Government; but to satisfy this objection, a “ bill of rights” was later