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Accordingly, the first article declares that "the style of this Confederacy shall be the United States of America."

But it was no part of their intention to create a central government for the internal regulation of each State; hence the second article asserts "that 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."

No two or more States could enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation whatever, between themselves, make war, or send or receive embassies. All powers granted to the General Congress were limited and checked in various ways. Thus, the assent of nine States was essential to the exercise of most of them, although every State was bound by the decision of Congress; the "Articles" were to be inviolably observed; no alteration was to be made therein but by unanimous consent, and the Union was to be perpetual. These Articles, in 1781, had been ratified by the delegates from all the States, upon the in

structions of the separate Legislatures. Looking at them as a Constitution intended to bind together communities for general welfare, each of them claiming to be sovereign and independent, we are at no loss to perceive why they should have failed in their object of perpetuity. The powers they conferred were neutralized by the restrictions they imposed. Congress, organized for national objects, was thus made a subordinate body -subordinate, not to any individual State, but to the united approval of at least nine States; and when such approval was given, the means of carrying out the object were left to the States themselves. In case of war (then the immediate duty of the Congress), each separate Legislature was to raise, officer, clothe, and equip its own quota towards the general army. Its quota was fixed by Congress, but the taxes for paying that proportion were to be levied by the sole authority and direction of the State; nor did there exist any national Court where obedience, if refused, could be exacted. Looking back over the history of the struggle for independence,

we only wonder how, under such arrangements, it was ever crowned with success.

The Confederation had, in fact, but "a deluIts main defect was that it had never obtained the consent of the people. In the language of one of the papers in the Federalist attributed to Mr. Hamilton, "It has not a little contributed to the infirmities of the existing Federal system, that it never had a ratification by THE PEOPLE. Resting on no better foundation than the consent of the several legislatures, it has been exposed to frequent and intricate questions concerning the validity of its powers; and has in some instances given birth to the enormous doctrine of the right of legislative repeal. Owing its ratification to the law of a State, it has been contended that the same authority might repeal the law by which it was ratified. However gross a heresy it may be to maintain that a party to a compact has a right to revoke that compact, the doctrine itself has had respectable advocates. The possibility of a question of this nature proves the necessity of laying the foundations of our national Go

sive and empty sovereignty."

vernment deeper than in the mere sanction of delegated authority. The fabric of American empire ought to rest on the solid basis of THE

CONSENT OF THE PEOPLE.

"1

It is but fair to add that the Committee of Congress, which had drawn up the Articles of Confederation, were not blind to the difficulties of their task. “To form a permanent Union," says their report, "accommodated to the opinions and wishes of the delegates of so many States, differing in habits, produce, commerce, and internal police, was found to be a work which nothing but time and reflection, conspiring with a disposition to conciliate, could mature and accomplish.'

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The revolutionary war being closed in 1783, by the acknowledgment of the independence of the colonies by the Crown of England, the revolutionary Government began visibly to decline. The Confederation became a "shadow without a substance." The sense of a common danger had in some degree suppressed the

1 Federalist, 22. M'Lean, New York, 1778. Capitals and italics sic.

2 CURTIS'S Constitution of the

United States, vol. iii., 491,
Appendix. Sampson Low & Co.,
London, 1854.

antagonisms of the States; but, that passed away, they revived in all their force; and then it was found that a union of thirteen sovereignties was an impossibility. There existed, however, then as now, two great political parties the one clung with tenacious fondness to their State independence, and watched with the keenest jealousy any contraction of its sovereignty; the other, without disregarding the claims of the State to its internal government, desired the establishment of a powerful and a National republic.

Between these two parties the Confederation rapidly fell into anarchy and confusion.

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