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man and man. Remedies for the recovery of debts were suspended. Debtors were authorized to tender any sort of property, even though nearly worthless, in payment of debts that had been contracted to be paid in money.
5th. Insolvent laws were enacted by some of the States, the effect of which, when applied to the relations of debtor and creditor, practically amounted to a complete discharge of indebtedness without consideration.
6th. Laws were also passed making the most unjust and invidious distinctions in favor of the citizens of the States enacting them, and against foreigners and citizens of neighboring States. In fact, the American judiciary became a matter of contempt at home, and of burlesque abroad.
7th. There were other evils that called loudly for remedy. Some related to the welfare of our foreign commerce ; Some to the conflict of interests between citizens of different
Some to the relief of foreigners who had given credit to our citiLens ;
Others related to territorial disputes between different States; and still others,
To titles of lands under grants from different States.
So loose and reckless bad the legislative and judicial administration of affairs become, that it was conceded by all parties, that, unless some effectual remedy were applied, our political institutions must crumble into ruins. To establish justice, therefore, was a leading purpose of the authors of the Constitution.
$ 3. 1st. To insure domestic tranquillity was another of the expressed objects of the new Constitution. Domestic contentions, as may be inferred from what has already been said, were not unfrequent.
2d. Whatever foreign influence, State jealousies, commercial rivalries, legislative retaliations, disputes about boundaries and State jurisdictions, and perpetual failure to administer justice through the
State Courts, could accomplish to foster domestic discord, had been done from the close of the Revolution to the adoption of the Constitution. Hence the whole country was anxious for domestic tranquillity.
$ 4. 1st. The common defense was not properly provided for under the Confederation.
A people not prepared for war, and known not to be, will constantly be liable to aggressions from neighboring nations. On the contrary, a nation known to be prepared will be quite unlikely to be attacked. A weak nation is never formidable, and will never command the respect of its neighbors.
2d. Congress, under the Confederation, as we have seen, could recommend, but could not enforce, measures for the common defense. They could not even declare war, nor exercise any of the war-powers, without the concurrence of nine of the thirteen States; nor, even when they had declared war under these restrictions, should they do so, could they force into service a single soldier. Sound statesmanship demanded, therefore, that something should be done to provide more effectually for the common defense. By reference to the warpower in the Constitution, it will be seen that this provision has been made.
$ 5. 1st. The duty to promote the general welfare of its citizens properly devolves on every national sovereignty. It is indeed, or should be, the primary purpose of every government. The individual States of America had not the means, nor have they now, to secure this desirable object. It requires larger resources than belong to a single State.
2d. Stretching over such a vast extent of territory as the States of this Union occupied during the last century, and more especially as they are sure to occupy before the close of the present, isolation of State interests is out of the question. What concerns one State, in a greater or less degree, must concern all. There is not a State in this Union, for instance, which has not an interest in the harbors of New York and New Orleans.
From our geographical peculiarities and relations, it would be impossible to guard the interests of commerce, agriculture, and manufactures, without the agency of a more plenary power than belongs to a single State.
3d. This clause, “the general welfare,' doubtless refers more especially to the affairs of commerce; and this is an interest that pervades all other interests of a great, growing, free, and industrious people. The clause means more than this, howev It is general in its character, inserted not only in the preamble, but in the Constitution itself, in the enumeration of the powers of Congress. In fact, the whole Constitution is directed to this end.
4th. From the poverty of language, it would be impossible to specify, within any convenient limits, all the powers which a government like that of the United States might at some time find it necessary to exercise, and under some possible emergencies.
And although fears may be indulged in some quarters, that, under a clause of such broad signification, some of the departments, especially the legislative, and perhaps the executive, may overreach and go beyond their prerogatives, yet the ballot is the remedy in the one case, and impeachment in the other.
§ 6. 1st. To secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity” is the closing language of the preamble. It is an appropriate climax. It briefly expresses the whole purpose of human government.
“Give me liberty, or give me death !” exclaimed the immortal orator of the Revolution. Without political and religious liberty, life itself would become valueless, and existence a burden; with it, we may have all that is valuable in earthly institutions. For, if a nation enjoys liberty, its citizens have the means of enjoying every other earthly blessing.
2d. But the patriotic authors of the Constitution were not content with this sacred boon for themselves merely: they were earnest to perpetuate this inestimable blessing to the remotest posterity.
There was a sublime disinterestedness in the arduous and hazard.
ous labors of our fathers, which ought to inspire the profoundest gratitude of their descendants to the latest ages. May the fabric of constitutional liberty, reared by their wisdom, never be demolished until the last sun shall set on the last eve of time!
Civil government in the United States is administered through three several departments ; viz. :
LEGISLATIVE; Civil Government. II. EXECUTIVE;
1.- LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT. du legislative power granted by the Constitution is vested in a Congress of the United States, consisting of a Senate and House of Representatives. 2.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
ARTICLE 1.- PROPORTION. 1. The number of representatives shall not exceed one for
every thirty thousand. 5. 2. Until the first enumeration was made, the States were
allowed to choose as follows:
North Carolina, 5.
South Carolina, 5.
$ 1. At the time of the formation of the Constitution, no census having been taken, there was no accurate information in possession of the members of the Convention in regard to the population of the several States respectively. There was considerable variety of opinion on the subject; and, in fixing the proportion of representation in the House of Representatives, entire satisfaction was not secured.
§ 2. It was settled, however, without much difficulty, that, when ever the population should be accurately ascertained, the number of representatives should not exceed one for every thirty thousand inhabitants. It was believed that this proportion would give about sixty-five members in all, — the number of which the House was to be constituted until the census could be taken.
§ 3. Fifty-six was proposed at first as the most convenient number; but, in undertaking to assign to each State its equitable proportion of this number, the members of the Convention could not agree. Then it was proposed that the number be extended to sixtyfive; when Mr. Madison proposed that this number should be doubled. But finally the Convention adopted sixty-five, believing that this would give one member for about thirty thousand.
§ 4. The following table shows the ratio of representation in the House of Representatives through the several decades, from 1790 to 1890 inclusive :
1790–1800, ratio 33,000, number of members 106.
240. 1840-1850, 70,680,
233. 1850-1860, 93,420,
234. 1860–1870, “127,316,
242. 1870-1880, “130,533,
292. 1880-1890, “ 151,911,
325. § 5. The number of members in each case is fixed by law of Con
But gress, to take effect at the beginning of the following decade. the law refers only to the aggregate number allowed to the States