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must go back to the time when the colonies were subject to Great Britain. Though they were all subject to that country, they had no political connection with each other. They were, in this respect, as independent of each other as so many different nations. Hence there was no such thing as being a citizen of the United States. Every person was only a citizen of the state in which he lived.
4. During the controversy with Great Britain, it became necessary for the colonies to agree upon some general measures of defence. For this purpose, the first great continental congress, composed of delegates from the several colonies, met at Philadelphia on the 4th of September, 1774. The next year, in May, another congress met to propose and to adopt such farther measures as the state of the country niight require ; and the same congress, on the 4th of July, 1776, declared the colonies to be free and independent siates.
5. This declaration was called “the unanimous declara. tion of the United States of America :" but the states were united only in certain measures of safety. There was no government which exercised authority over the states. The people were subject to their respective state governments only. They were not yet incorporated into one nation for the purpose of government, as now, under a constitution. Flence, they were not properly citizens of the United States.
6. To provide effectually for the future security, as well as the immediate safety of the American people, congress deemed it necessary that there should be a union of the states under some general government; and in November, 1777, that body agreed upon a plan of union. The articles were called “ articles of confederation and perpetual union between the states ;” and were to go into effect when adopted by the legislatures of all the states. Some of the states were slow to agree to the articles; but they were finally adopted, March 1, 1781.
Britain? Of what were the people then citizens? 4. For what purpose did the first great congress assemble? When and where ? What was done by the next congress ? 5. What was the declaration called ? For what purpose were the states united ? Was there a national government at that time? 6. What kind of unioa was agreed upon by con
7. The states were now united in a kind of national gov. ernment, but it was not such a one as the present; as will appear by noticing a few points of difference between them. In the first place they were different in form. The confederation was a union of states ; it was scarcely entitled to be called a government. It had not, as the national government now has, the three departments of power, legislative, executive, and judicial. It had only a legislature, and that consisted of only one body; and to that congress the several states, large and small, were entitled to send each an equal number of delegates.
8. That government differed from the present also in re. gard to its powers. The confederation was a very weak government. Its powers were vested in congress. The congress was to manage the common affairs of the nation, and to enact such laws (if laws they might be called) as might seem necessary; but it had not the power to enforce them.
9. For example, it belonged to congress to ascertain the number of men and the sums of money to be raised to carry on the war, and to call on each state to raise its due share; but congress could not compel a state to do so. ernment had no power to lay and collect taxes; it was dependent upon the states for raising the money to defray the public expenses. It could, and did, to some extent, borrow money in its own name, on the credit of the union; but it had not the means of repaying the money so borrowed. But more of its defects will hereafter appear.
10. It may be asked, how so weak a government could keep the states together. The plan was devised in a time of war, and had respect to the operations of war, rather than to a state of peace : and a regard to their own safety induced the states, in most cases, to obey the orders of congress; just as individuals will readily unite when exposed to a common danger, or when pursuing a common interest. But
gress in 1777? When did these articles go into effect ? 7. Was that a government like the present? In what general respects was it different in form? 8. How did the confederation differ in regard to its powers ? 9. By way of example, what could congress do, and what could it not do? 10. How were the states kept united under so weak a gov.'
when the danger is past, and the desired object attained their union and friendship are easily broken.
11. So it was with the states. The war being over, they did not continue to act in harmony. Laws were enacted in some states, giving their own citizens undue advantages over the citizens of other states ; and soon the good feeling which had existed was interrupted : and in a few years the jealousies and disputes between the states became such as threatened to break up the union.
12. It was now evident that to keep the states united in time of peace with foreign nations, there must be a different government; a government possessing more extensive pow. ers, which could control, in all needful cases, the action of the state governments.
13. Having been thereto requested, congress called a convention, to revise and amend the articles of confedera. tion. All the states, Rhode Island excepted, chose delegates, who met at Philadelphia in May, 1787. Although it seems to have been generally intended only to alter the
articles of confederation, it was proposed to the convention to form a new government, different both in its form, and in respect to its powers. This proposition was agreed to by a majority of the convention ; and after a long and arduous session, which closed in September, the present constitution was adopted by the convention.
14. In examining the constitution, we see that it differs also in its nature from the former government. pears from the manner in which it was formed and adopted. The articles of confederation were framed by congress, the members of which were appointed by the state legislatures; and when so framed they were sent to the state legislatures, to be approved by them, before they could go into effect
. The adoption of these articles was therefore the act of the legislatures of the states, and not the act of the people of the
ernment? 11. What caused disputes and ill feeling between the states ? 12. What kind of a government now appeared necessary? 13. When did the convention meet that framed the constitution ? When did the session close ? When was the constitution adopted? (Seo chap. 50, 9,13.) 14. By whom were the articles of confederation framed? By
states ; and the confederation was a union of states, rather thau a union of the people of the states.
15. The constitution, on the other hand, was framed by men appointed expressly for that purpose, and submitted for approval, not to the state legislatures, bụ, to the people of the states, and adopted by state conventions, whose members were chosen for that purpose by the people. Hence, the constitution is virtually the act of the people, and the union is not a mere confederation of states, but, as the preamble declares, a more perfect union,” formed by." the PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES."
Of the Legislative Department.
1. The legislature, called congress, is composed of two branches, a senate and a house of representatives. The senate consists of two members froin each state, chosen by the legislature, for six years. This body is constituted upon the same principles, nearly, as the old congress, the members of which were also chosen by the state legislatures; and the several states were entitled to an equal number, which number was not to be less than two nor more than seven; and they were chosen for one year only.
2. A senator must be thirty years of age; and he must have been nine years a citizen of the United States, and must be an inhabitant of the state for which he is chosen.
3. The house of representatives is constituted upon the same principles as a legislative body of a state. As the representatives of a state legislature are apportioned among the counties, in proportion to the number of inhabitants in each, so each state sends to the lower house of congress, a
whom approved and adopted? 15. By whom was the constitution framed, approved, and adopted ?
1. How is congress composed ? How is the senate constituted? For what term are senators chosen? 2. What are the qualifications of a senator? 3. Upon what principle is the house of representativo consti
number of members proportioned to the number of its inbạbitants. Representatives are elected for two years.
4. The constitution does not limit either house to any definite number of members. Whenever a new state is added to the Union, two members are added to the senate, and one or more to the house of representatives.
5. The number of representatives may change, also, while the number of states remains the same. After the taking of a new census, which is done every ten years, congress determines what number of inhabitants shall be entitled to a representative for the next ten years; which number, the constitution declares, shall not be less than 30,000.
6. But a representative for every 30,000 inhabitants, as the population increases, would make the house too large. | At this rate there would be, at present, more than 500 rep
resentatives. This number would be too great. It would be a needless expense to pay so many men to make laws, when a smaller number can do the business as well, and much more promptly. Hence congress, after the census of 1840, fixed the number of inhabitants as the ratio of representation from each state, at 70,680. This gives to Ohio twenty-one representatives.
7. Representatives are thus chosen : The state is divi. ded by the legislature into districts, called congressional districts, in each of which one member of congress is cho
Several counties constitute a district. Representa'tives to congress are chosen in this state, at the annual election, every two years.
8. In the southern states, a large portion of the people are slaves. In ascertaining the number of representatives 'for the slave-holding states, only three fifths of the slaves are counted. It was contended by some of the delegates in the convention that framed the constitution, that the people
tuted? What is the term of office of a representative ? 4. What adds to the number of members of each house? 5. What is the least number of inhabitants that can be entitled to a representative ? 6. What is the present number? Why is the number so large? How many representatives has Ohio? 7. How are representatives chosen? 8. By what rule are representatives appointed, to tho slave-holding states !