Слике страница
PDF
ePub
[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][merged small][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors]

THE UNITED STATES IN 1783-STATE CLAIMS AND CESSIONS

At first the States concerned refused to meet the demands of Maryland, but in 1780 New York, whose claims were vague and shadowy, led the way in offering to surrender her claims. Connecticut followed the same year, and the following year Virginia agreed to cede all her lands north of the Ohio on condition that she should remain in undisputed possession of Kentucky. Maryland then ratified the Articles March 1, 1781, and they went into effect. Massachusetts did not cede her claims until 1785, and when Connecticut made the formal act of cession she retained 3,250,000 acres along the southern shore of Lake Erie, which became known as the Western Reserve. Prior to these cessions the United States consisted of thirteen separate States; now it was composed of thirteen States and a national domain. The existence of a national domain was to be a potent factor in the development of American nationality.

In 1784 an ordinance drafted by Thomas Jefferson was introduced in Congress, providing for a division of the western lands into prospective States. His plan included the lands south of the Ohio as well as the Northwest Territory, and provided that after the year 1800 there should be “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude otherwise than in punishment of crimes, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” This ordinance was passed with the elimination of the slavery clause, but it never went into effect.

In 1787 a new ordinance, introduced by Nathan Dane of Massachusetts, and limited to the lands which had been ceded north of the Ohio, was adopted by Con- The Ordic gress. Many of its features were borrowed from nance of Jefferson's ordinance. The Northwest Territory 1787 was to be organized immediately by the appointment of a governor, a secretary, and a court of three judges, and as soon as there should be in the district five thousand free male inhabitants of full age they were to be granted a legislative assembly. The territory was eventually to be divided

into not less than three nor more than five States, and whenever any one of these States should have sixty thousand free inhabitants it was to be admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original States. Freedom of worship, trial by jury, and other guarantees of personal liberty were perpetually established, education was to be encouraged, and slavery was excluded. This ordinance was a great state paper and it laid broad and deep the foundations of the territorial system by means of which the United States was enabled to prepare for statehood the vast territories that were later annexed.

North Carolina ceded her western lands to Congress in 1784. The settlers of eastern Tennessee, the region which

had earlier been embraced within the Watauga The “ State of Frank Association, promptly took steps to form a State lin,” 1785- government in order to be prepared to protect 1787

themselves against the Indians. They drew up a constitution, took the name of the “State of Franklin," elected John Sevier governor, and applied to Congress for admission into the Union.

Meanwhile North Carolina had withdrawn her act of cession and undertook to assert her authority over the region again. This almost led to civil war. Congress refused to intervene and when Sevier's term as governor expired, the inhabitants gave up all pretense of independence and recognized the authority of North Carolina once more. Sevier was arrested for treason and taken across the mountains for trial, but he was not prosecuted.

The defects in the Articles of Confederation were being more fully realized each year. Congress had no control The need of over commerce and was unable to raise enough a stronger money to pay the interest on the Revoluunion

tionary debt. Furthermore, disputes in regard to interstate commerce and the navigation of interstate waterways were continually arising and causing bad feeling.

[ocr errors]

The government was falling into disrepute both at home and abroad and the country appeared to be drifting toward anarchy. Massachusetts was in the throes of open rebellion on the part of the debtor class led by Daniel Shays, a former captain in the Revolution.

In the spring of 1785 commissioners from Maryland and Virginia met at Mount Vernon, at the invitation of Washington, for the purpose of adjusting differences that had arisen over the navigation of the Potomac River. Out of this conference grew the idea of a general convention of the States to take into consideration the trade of the Union. At the suggestion of James Madison the Virginia legislature appointed commissioners for this purpose in January, 1786, and the other States were invited to send delegates to meet them at Annapolis on the first Monday in September. . As only five States responded to this invitation the Annapolis Convention was unable to accomplish anything along the line suggested, but Alexander Hamilton submitted a report, which was unanimously adopted, posal to proposing a convention of delegates from all the amend the

7

The pro

Articles of States to meet at Philadelphia the second Monday Confederain May, 1787, to take into consideration the state of the Union. A copy of this report was transmitted to Congress, which hesitated to act, but finally on February 21, 1787, issued a call for a convention to meet at the time and place proposed “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation," and to report such alterations as should "render the federal constitution adequate to the exigencies of government, and the preservation of the Union."

It was a remarkable group of men that assembled in Philadelphia as delegates to the convention. The Federal Washington, Franklin, Madison, Hamilton, Mason, Convention, Robert Morris, and Gouverneur Morris would

May 25

September have rendered any assembly illustrious. Others 17, 1787

tion

1

« ПретходнаНастави »