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ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION-1977 * a
To all to whom these Presents shall come, we the undersigned Dele
gates of the States affixed to our Names send greeting.
Whereas the Delegates of the United States of America in Congress assembled did on the fifteenth day of November in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventyseven, and in the Second Year of the Independence of America agree to certain articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the States of Newhampshire, Massachusetts-bay, Rhodeisland and Providence Planta
# Text in Revised Statutes (ed. 1878).
& Congress Rexolled, on the 11th of June, 1776, that a committee should be appointed to prepare and digest the form of a confederation to be entered into between the Colonies ; and on the day following, after it had been determined that the committee should consist of a member from each Colony, the following persons were appointed to perform that duty, to wit: Mr. Bartlett, Jr. S. Adams, Mr. IIopkins, Mr. Sherman, Mr. R. R. Livingston, Mr. Dickinson, Mr. N'Kean, Mr. Stone, Mr. Nelson, Mr. Hewes, Mr. E. Rutledge, and Mr. Gwinnett. ['pon the report of this committee, the subject was, from time to time, debated, until the 15th of November, 1777, when a copy of the confederation being made out, and sundry amendments made in the diction, without altering the sense, the same was finally agreed to. Congress, at the same time, directed that the articles should be proposed to the legislatures of all the l'nited States, to be considered, and if approved of by them, they were advised to authorize their delegates to ratify the same in the Congress of the United States; which being done, the same should become conclusive. Three hundred copies of the Articles of Confederation were ordered to be printed for the use of Congress; and on the 17th of November, the form of a circular letter to accompany them was brought in by a committee appointed to prepare it, and being agreed to, thirteen copies of it were ordered to be made out, to be signed by the president and forwarded to the sereral States, with copies of the confederation. On the 29th of November ensuing, a committee of three was appointed, to procure a translation of the articles to be made into the French language, and to report an address to the inhabitants of Canada, &c. On the 26th of June, 1778, the form of a ratification of the Articles of Confederation was adopted, and, it having been engrossed on parchment, it was signed on the 9th of July on the part and in behalf of their respective States, by the delegates of New Hampshire, Massilchusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and South ('arolina, agreeably to the powers vested in them. The delegates of North Carolina signed on the 21st of July, those of Georgia on the 24th of July, and those of New Jersey on the 26th of November following. On the 5th of May, 1770, Mr. Dickinson and Mr. Van Dyke signed in behalf of the State of Delaware, Mr. V'Kean having previously signed in February, at which time he produced a power to that effect. Maryland did not ratify until the year 1781. She had instructed her delegates, on the 15th of December, 1778, not to agree to the confederation until matters respecting the western lands should be settled on principles of equity and sound policy; but, on the 30th of January, 1781, finding that the enemies of the country took advantage of the circumstances to disseminate opinions of an ultimate dissolution of the Union, the legislature of the State passed an act to empower their delegates to subscribe and ratify the articles, which was accordingly done by
tions, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina, South-Carolina and Georgia in the Words following, viz.
“Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the States
of Newhampshire, Massachusetts-bay, Rhodeisland and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina, South-Carolina and Georgia.
ARTICLE I. The stile of this confederacy shall be “ The United States of America."
ARTICLE II. 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.
ARTICLE III. The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defence, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretence whatever.
ARTICLE IV. The better to secure and perpetuate mutual friendship and intercourse among the people of the different States in this Union, the free inhabitants of each of these States, paupers, vaga bonds and fugitives from justice excepted, shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of free citizens in the several States; and the people of each State shall have free ingress and regress to and from any other State, and shall enjoy therein all the privileges of trade and commerce, subject to the same duties, impositions and restrictions as the inhabitants thereof respectively, provided that such restrictions shall not extend so far as to prevent the removal of property imported into any State, to any other State of which the owner is an inhabitant; provided also that no imposition, duties or restriction shall be laid by any State, on the property of the United States, or either of them.
If any person guilty of, or charged with treason, felony, or other high misdemeanor in any State, shall flee from justice, and be found in any of the United States, he shall upon demand of the Governor or Executive power, of the State from which he fled, be delivered up and removed to the State having jurisdiction of his offence.
Mr. Hanson and Mr. Carroll, on the 1st of March of that year, which completed the ratifications of the act; and Congress assembled on the 2d of March under the new powers.
NOTE.-The proof of this document, as published above, was read by Mr. Ferdinand Jefferson, the Keeper of the Rolls of the Department of State, at Washington, who compared it with the original in his custody. He says: The initial letters of many of the words in the original of this instrument are captals, but as no system appears to have been observed, the same word sometimes beginning with a capital and sometimes with a small letter, I have thought it best not to undertake to follow the original in this particular. Moreover, there are three forms of the letter s: the capital s, the small s, and the long 1, the last being used indiscriminately to words that should begin with a capital and those that should begin with a small s."
Full faith and credit shall be given in each of these States to the records, acts and judicial proceedings of the courts and magistrates of every other State.
ARTICLE V. For the more convenient management of the general interests of the United States, delegates shall be annually appointed in such manner as the legislature of each State shall direct, to meet in Congress on the first Monday in November, in every year, with a power reserved to each State, to recall its delegates, or any of them, at any time within the year, and to send others in their stead, for the remainder of the year.
No State shall be represented in Congress by less than two, nor by more than seven members; and no person shall be capable of being a delegate for more than three years in any term of six years; nor shall any person, being a delegate, be capable of holding any office under the United States, for which he, or another for his benefit receives any salary, fees or emolument of
kind. Each State shall maintain its own delegates in a meeting of the States, and while they act as members of the committee of the States.
In determining questions in the United States, in Congress assembled, each State shall have one vote.
Freedom of speech and debate in Congress shall not be impeached or questioned in any court, or place out of Congress, and the members of Congress shall be protected in their persons from arrests and imprisonments, during the time of their going to and from, and attendance on Congress, except for treason, felony, or breach of the peace.
ARTICLE VI. No State without the consent of the United States in Congress assembled, shall send any embassy to, or receive any embassy from, or enter into any conferrence, agreement, alliance or treaty with any king prince or state; nor shall any person holding any office of profit or trust under the United States, or any of them, accept of any present, emolument, office or title of any kind whatever from any king, prince or foreign state; nor shall the United States in Congress assembled, or any of them, grant any title of nobility.
No two or more States shall enter into any treaty, confederation or alliance whatever between them, without the consent of the United States in Congress assembled, specifying accurately the purposes for which the same is to be entered into, and how long it shall continue.
No State shall lay any imposts or duties, which may interfere with any stipulations in treaties, entered into by the United States in Congress assembled, with any king, prince or state, in pursuance of any treaties already proposed by Congress, to the courts of France and Spain.
No vessels of war shall be kept up in time of peace by any State, except such number only, as shall be deemed necessary by the United States in Congress assembled, for the defence of such State, or its trade; nor shall any body of forces be kept up by any State, in time of peace, except such number only, as in the judgment of the United States, in Congress assembled, shall be deemed requisite to garrison the forts necessary for the defence of such State; but every State shall always keep up å well regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutred, and shall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores, a due number of field pieces and tents, and a proper quantity of arms, ammunition and camp equipage.
No State shall engage in any war without the consent of the United States in Congress assembled, unless such State be actually invaded by enemies, or shall have received certain advice of a resolution being formed by some nation of Indians to invade such State, and the danger is so imminent as not to admit of a delay, till the United States in Congress assembled can be consulted: nor shall any State grant commissions to any ships or vessels of war, nor letters of marque or reprisal, except it be after a declaration of war by the United States in Congress assembled, and then only against the kingdom or state and the subjects thereof, against which war has been so declared, and under such regulations as shall be established by the United States in Congress assembled, unless such State be infested by pirates, in which case vessels of war may be fitted out for that occasion, and kept so long as the danger shall continue, or until the United States in Congress assembled shall determine otherwise.
ARTICLE VII. When land-forces are raised by any State for the common defence, all officers of or under the rank of colonel, shall be appointed by the Legislature of each State respectively by whom such forces shall be raised, or in such manner as such 'State shall direct, and all vacancies shall be filled up by the State which first made the appointment.
ARTICLE VIII. All charges of war, and all other expenses that shall be incurred for the common defence or general welfare, and allowed by the United States in Congress assembled, shall be defrayed out a common treasury, which shall be supplied by the several States, in proportion to the value of all land within each State, granted to or surveyed for any person, as such land and the buildings and improvements thereon shall be estimated according to such mode as the United States in Congress assembled, shall from time to time direct and appoint.
The taxes for paying that proportion shall be laid and levied by the authority and direction of the Legislatures of the several States within the time agreed upon by the United States in Congress assembled.
ARTICLE IX. The United States in Congress assembled, shall have the sole and exclusive right and power of determining on peace and war, except in the cases mentioned in the sixth article-of sending and receiving ambassadors-entering into treaties and alliances, provided that no treaty of commerce shall be made whereby the legislative power of the respective States shall be restrained from imposing such imposts and duties on foreigners, as their own people are subjected to, or from prohibiting the exportation or importation of any species of goods or commodities whatsoever—of establishing rules for deciding in all cases, what captures on land or water shall be legal, and in what manner prizes taken by land or naval forces in the service of the United States shall be divided or appropriated-of granting letters of marque and reprisal in times of peace—appointing courts for the trial of piracies and felonies committed on the high seas and establishing courts for receiving and determining finally appeals in all cases of captures, provided that no member of Congress shall be appointed a judge of any of the said courts.
The United States in Congress assembled shall also be the last resort on appeal in all disputes and differences now subsisting or that