« 이전계속 »
tors at Mount Vernon seconded his written admonitions. Above all, he disapproved of the idea of a second convention, which was one of the favorite proposals of the Antifederalists. He had too much knowledge of the difficulties met in the first gathering to believe that a second one could do any better, especially as there was no agreement among those opposed as to the proper remedy. There was nothing, in his opinion, constructive in the arguments against the Constitution; they were all "addressed to the passions of the people and obviously calculated to alarm their fears.''
The most influential publication of the contest was the series of newsletters written by Hamilton, Madison, and Jay under the signature of "Publius" and later called "The Federalist.” So fair and so
” cogent was this work that it continues to this day as a great exposition of the Constitution, a survival which Washington prophesied.
It was in the Massachusetts contest that the proponents, facing a crisis, devised a remedy that made ratification possible. This was the proposal of amendments by the state conventions, not as a condition of ratification, though this was generally demanded by the opposing leaders, but as a recommendation, of the proper consideration of which they were “convinced.” A chief feature of all these amendments was a bill of rights, that the new central government might not become an instrument of tyranny, which the newly emancipated colonists considered the British government to have been.
Ratification in Massachusetts, the second large state, was thus secured on February 6, 1788, by the close vote of 187 to 168. All the states but one of those that followed Massachusetts in 1788 suggested amendments. In New Hampshire the convention met and adjourned, which alarmed Washington and other Federalists; but this was really a wise act, because a majority of the delegates of this rural state had been instructed to oppose adherence. Maryland, in spite of Luther Martin and Samuel Chase, who later were to become strong Federalists, ratified on April 28, 1788, by a vote of 63 to 11, and South Carolina on May 23 by a vote of 149 to 73.
The reassembled New Hampshire convention on June 21, 1788, by a vote of 57 to 47, gave the ninth ratification necessary for putting the Constitution into effect.
Practically, however, the approval of Virginia and New York was necessary; the former because of its importance and the latter
; because of its geographical position. In the conventions of both these states the struggle was desperate. Finally, ratification was obtained in Virginia on June 26, 1788, by a vote of 89 to 79. New York a large majority of the delegates were hostile, but the
efforts of Hamilton, Jay, R. R. Livingston, and Duane converted a sufficient number, in spite of Lansing, who had been a member of the Convention of 1787, Governor Clinton, and Melancton Smith. Ratification won by a vote of 30 to 27 on July 26, 1788.
North Carolina and Rhode Island remained outside. In the former state a convention adjourned on August 4, 1788, after resolving by a vote of 184 to 83 or 84 that a long list of submitted amendments should be laid before Congress, or a second convention called, previous to ratification. Rhode Island did not even call a convention. When, however, the new government was in operation without these states and they were in danger of being treated as foreign countries, they changed their mind. North Carolina ratified on November 21, 1789, and Rhode Island on May 29, 1790, but even then by the narrow vote of 34 to 32.
On September 13, 1788, the Continental Congress prepared for its own demise by directing that the electors of the President should be chosen on the first Wednesday in January 1789; that the electors should vote on the first Wednesday in February; and that the new government should begin operations at New York on the first Wednesday in March. Electors were accordingly chosen in ten states; the New York legislature failing to pass the necessary measure on method of appointment, that state lost its vote. A month later the electors chose George Washington President and John Adams Vice President. But the newly elected Congress failed to have a quorum on the first Wednesday in March, which was the 4th; and it was not until April 6, 1789, that enough members were assembled legally to organize and declare the electoral vote. Washington, duly notified, arrived at New York on April 23 and was inaugurated President April 30, 1789. Thus the government of the United States of America began actual operations under the Constitution, except that the Supreme Court did not organize until February 2, 1790.
THE LEAGUE embodied in the Articles of Confederation was made by the states. The Constitution was made by the people.
The first three words of the Constitution—“We the People”. declare by what authority the United States of America is ruled.
Having won their liberty and independence by force of arms, and having experienced distress and danger because of an imperfect union, the people finally succeeded in forming the “more perfect Union” which is ordained and established by the Constitution.
The Constitution is a direct emanation from the people. It not only prescribes the kind of government which shall hold the states and the people together, but it limits and defines the powers of the government itself. Neither the United States government nor the states can modify, enlarge, or restrict their own powers. They depend for their existence upon the people, who reserve the right, as set forth in the Declaration of Independence, to alter or abolish their government.
Until the people decide otherwise, the United States is, in the noble phrase of Chief Justice Chase, "an indestructible Union, composed of indestructible States.” It is made indissoluble by the Constitution, which also provides for the indestructibility of the states by guaranteeing to each state a republican form of government and equal suffrage in the Senate.
The people have ordained in the Constitution that the national government shall depend for its existence upon the perpetuity of the states. There is, however, no guaranty of unchangeable state area, though there is a constitutional restriction of changes; but all elections are by states, including election of senators and representatives in Congress and presidential electors. When the House of Representatives is called upon to elect a President of the United States each state has one vote. Failure of the states to perform
their functions would annihilate the national government.
The people who ordained the Constitution were passionately attached to their state and local governments. They knew that they were masters of their states, but they feared that a national government would become a tyranny like the British tyranny they had just thrown off. The states and the people enjoy immense powers that are denied to the United States. It is this dual system of government that distinguishes the United States from other countries.
England has no written constitution. Its constitution or fundamental law is whatever Parliament says it is. Therefore the judges of England enforce the laws of Parliament without any question as to their constitutionality. But under a written constitution creating a government with limited powers a nation must have some means of determining if laws are in accord with the basic principles set forth by the constitution.
The liberties enjoyed by Englishmen were wrested from the Crown. The American colonists claimed these liberties as their inheritance, and won, by force of arms, the final right to them and to further ones which had been fostered by the conditions of the colonial governments. The government of the United States is not a concession to the people from some one higher up. It is the creation and the creature of the people themselves, as absolute sovereigns.
A LIMITED GOVERNMENT
THE OBJECTS sought by the American people in their aspirations for the preservation of their liberties are well stated in the preamble to the Constitution, though no power to enact any statute is derived from the preamble. But while the scope of these objectives recognizes the unlimited power of the people, the Constitution itself imposes severe limitations upon the government. In general, the national government is granted only such powers as are necessary for the proper discharge of purely national functions, such as could not be discharged by the states, acting either separately or through interstate compacts.
New conditions and an uncertain future faced the people when they ratified the Constitution, and it was framed to meet the situation that confronted them. This was well set forth by Justice Story in Martin v. Hunter, 1 Wheat. 326:
“The constitution unavoidably deals in general language. It did not suit the purposes of the people, in framing this great charter
of our liberties, to provide for minute specifications of its powers or to declare the means by which those powers should be carried into execution. It was foreseen that this would be a perilous and difficult, if not an impracticable, task. The instrument was not intended to provide merely for the exigencies of a few years, but was to endure through a long lapse of ages, the events of which were locked up in the inscrutable purposes of Providence.”
The determination of the people to hold a check-rein upon the government they were creating is shown in the many prohibitions contained in the Constitution. Great reserve powers, many of them unexplored, are retained to the states and to the people. This is well stated by the court in Livingston v. Van Ingen, 9 Johns. (N. Y.) 574:
“When the people create a single, entire government, they grant at once all the rights of sovereignty. The powers granted are indefinite and incapable of enumeration. Every thing is granted that is not expressly reserved in the constitutional charter, or necessarily retained as inherent in the people. But when a federal government is erected with only a portion of the sovereign power, the rule of construction is directly the reverse, and every power is reserved to the members that is not, either in express terms or by necessary implication, taken away from them, and vested exclusively in the federal head. This rule has not only been acknowledged by the most intelligent friends of the constitution, but is plainly declared by the instrument itself.”
Although the powers of the national government are limited in number, they are not limited in degree. Wherever the people have granted a power to the government it is a complete power, and that which is implied is as much a part of the Constitution as that which is expressed.
Experience in colonial governments and under the Confederation had taught the people that safety lay in preventing concentration of powers in any one authority. By separating the legislative, executive, and judicial powers, and making each of them a check upon the others, it was felt that all powers necessary could be entrusted to the government without danger of tyranny. But as a further precaution the people reserved to the states and to themselves all powers that were not entrusted to the national government; and in other clauses of the Bill of Rights they set barriers against encroachment upon individual liberty by any branch of this government.
By retaining large powers in the states the people erected a