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commander-in-chief the homage of a grateful nation, and invoking on his head the blessing of the Almighty. It was a spectacle seldom witnessed-an adored chief, with royalty within his reach, voluntarily resigning his power and returning to private life.
FORMATION OF A FEDERAL CONSTITUTION.
414. The independence of the United States was now acknowledged by Great Britain, France, Russia, Sweden, Spain, and Denmark; but it was still questionable whether it could be maintained, amid the formidable difficulties with which Congress was beset. The war had cost $135,000,000, and debts were still outstanding, to foreign governments and unpaid soldiers and officers, to the amount of $40,000,000, on which Congress was not even able to meet the interest. The states refused to act in concert, and no revenue could be collected without their cooperation. Unsupported, baffled, and even censured, Mr. Morris resigned the office of superintendent of finance, but was induced to continue in the discharge of its duties till November 1st, 1784, when a board of three commissioners was appointed to succeed him. Seldom has an abler financier appeared for the relief of a distressed country. Under his management, the expenses of the war were reduced from eighteen to four millions of
dollars a year.
415. During the war, most of the states had remodelled their constitutions. Their forms of government were now strictly republican, and bore a general resemblance to each other. The privilege of voting was extended to every citizen, except, in several states, such as were not possessed of a
414. What countries had now acknowledged the independence of the United States ? What difficulties environed Congress? What was done by Robert Morris? By whom was he succeeded ? What is, said of Mr. Morris? 415. During the war, what bad been done by most of the states? What is said of their forms of government? Mention some of their provisions. What feelings began to
DIFFICULTY WITH ENGLAND,
certain amount of property. The common law of England prevailed, except when modified by special enactments. As a general thing, religious liberty was allowed. The affairs of each state were regulated by a governor and two houses of delegates, chosen by the people. The different members of the confederacy were thus entirely independent of each other, and, now that the war was over, jealousies began unfortunately to arise between them. A want of union at home prevented the nation from being respected abroad. It was obvious that the power of Congress was but nominal.
416. Hardly had the war terminated when complaints were made in England that debts due from American citizens could not be collected. Congress, having no power to enforce their payment, could only refer the claimants to the individual states. The latter alleged that the British armies had carried off many slaves from the American people, and that not until these were restored could the debts in question be justly claimed. There were also other causes of difficulty, which threatened to lead to a renewal of the war. The whole western frontier suffered much from the incursions of Indians, instigated, it was believed, by the British, and furnished with arms and ammunition at the posts still remaining in their hands in the west.
In 1785, John Adams was appointed minister plenipotentiary to the court of Great Britain (or St. James, as it is called), and was there introduced to the king whom he had so long and successfully opposed. George III, received him kindly, and assured bim that though he had been the last to agree to the separation of the United States, he would be among the first to meet their friendship as an independent power.
Mr. Adams labored hard at London to obtain a fair commercial treaty for his country, but without success. The heavy duty laid by Great Britain on the productions of
arise between the several states? What was the effect abroad of this want of union? 416. Soon after the conclusion of peace, what complaints were made by England ? How were these claims met by Congress? How, by the individual states? What other cause of difficulty was there? Who was appointed minister to the court of St. James? How was Adams received by the king? What did he try to obtain ? With what success ? What kept the productions of America out
America kept them comparatively out of market, to the great injury of its merchants and farmers.
417. Various causes combined to render the condition of the Americans distressing in the extreme. They had hoped for an immediate immigration from Europe, and a proportionate increase in the value of their lands; but in this they were disappointed. All kinds of business were in a state of depression, and the energies as well as the resources of the country seemed exhausted. In the midst of these embarrassments, the people were loaded with heavy taxes for the support of government. Open threats of rebellion were the consequence; and in Massachusetts, 1,500 men took
up arms. In December, 1786, while the Supreme Court was in session at Springfield, Daniel Shays, who had been a captain in the Revolution, took command of the insurgents, seized on the court-house, and compelled the judges to retire. Gov. Bowdoin [bo'-dn] called out the militia, and intrusted their command to Gen. Lincoln. By a vigorous course the rebellion was suppressed. Fourteen of the ringleaders were taken and condemned to death, but afterwards pardoned. Quiet was thus restored, but all true friends of their country were filled with gloomy apprehensions. The need of a stronger government was now more than ever apparent.
418. Even before these dangerous movements, the defects of the “articles of confederation” had been generally felt. In January, 1786, the legislature of Virginia had proposed a convention of delegates from the several states, to regulate the commercial relations of the country. In the following September, delegates from five states met at Annapolis; but, feeling that in so important a work every state should be represented, they adjourned after recommending Congress to call a general convention. Their suggestion was acted on, and representatives from every state except Rhode Island assembled at the state-house in Philadelphia, in May,
of the English market? 417. Describe the state of affairs in America. What provɔked serious discontent in the people? How was this feeling manifested in Massachusetts ? Give an account of Shays's rebellion. 418. What had been felt with respect to the articles of confederation ? What recommendation was made by the legislature of Virginia ? Give an account of the convention held in Sep
THE OLD STATE-HOUSE (INDEPENDENCE HALL) AT PHILADELPHIA.
1787. George Washington was elected president, and the members generally were men of distinguished ability and patriotism. This body remained in session with closed doors over three months, and produced that glorious Constitution, which was the origin of our prosperity, and is still our pride as a nation.
419. No sooner was the constitution presented to the people than it was severely criticised, and in some quarters opposed. It was impossible to suit all: here one point was denounced, and there another. Every objection, however, was ably answered by Madison, Jay, and Hamilton, who maintained that local interests should give way to the greatest good of the greatest number. Their arguments prevailed. Within a year, the instrument was ratified by a majority of the states. In New York it met with little favor, Alexander Hamilton being almost its only advocate in the convention with which its adoption or rejection rested. But Hamilton was a host, and he threw himself into the cause with all his powers. Just before the vote was to be taken, he rose, and in a speech of three hours pleaded most forcibly
tember, 1786. What took place in May, 1787? Who was chosen president of the convention? What was the character of its members? How long did it remain in session ? What was the result of its labors ? 419. How was the constitution received ? By whom were the objections brought against it answered ? How wag it received by a majority of the states? How, in New York? Give an account
for its adoption. His opponents objected to the question's being put immediately after such a speech. The House adjourned till the following day; but that burning eloquence was not forgotten, and New York pronounced in favor of the constitution, July 26th, 1788. North Carolina and Rhode Island remained for a time undecided, but they also finally accepted it.
420. The constitution thus originally adopted has received some few additions and amendments. Its chief points should be familiar to every student of his country's history. They are as follows:
THE LEGISLATÍVE POWER of the government is vested in a Congress consisting of two houses, known as the Senate and the House of Representatives. The senate is composed of two members from each state, elected by the respective legislatures for a term of six years. Vacancies occasioned by death or resignation during the recess of the legislature of any state, are temporarily filled by the governor till the legislature reässembles. The terms are so arranged that but one-third of them expire at the same time, so that twothirds of the body are always experienced members. No person can be a senator that has not attained the age of thirty, and been nine years a citizen of the United States. The vice-president of the United States is president of the senate, but has only a casting vote. All impeachments are tried before this body.
The house of representatives is composed of members chosen by the people every second year. Each state has a certain number proportioned to its population; the territories have one delegate each. A representative must have attained the age of twenty-five, and been seven years a citizen of the United States. When a vacancy occurs, a new election by the people takes place on the governor's call. The house chooses its own Speaker, and has the sole power of finding
of Hamilton's efforts in its behalf. 420. In whom is the legislative power vested by the constitution ? Of whom is the senate composed ? How are vacancies in the senate filled ? How are the terms arranged ? What is the requisite age for a senator? Who is president of the senatè ? In what case has he a vote ? What are tried before the senate? Of whom does the house of representatives consist ?