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as to the distribution of power and the principles of government. There is no doubt that when the Constitution was adopted its framers considered it an experiment; but they hoped that it would last; they planned for the far future. There is absolutely no evidence to support the notion that they believed they were simply entering into a new order of things in which the states would have the right, as before, to refuse obedience and to disregard obligations, or from which they could at any time quietly retire when they believed the Union did not suit their purposes. Everything points to the fact that they intended to form a real government and a permanent union; all the solemn debates in the state conventions, all the heated arguments of the Anti-Federalists, all the outcry against the establishment of a consolidated government, are absurd, meaningless, if the people felt that they had the legal right to go on just as before and leave the Union when they saw fit. At times the Constitution was spoken of as a compact, but this never meant mere agreement equivalent to a treaty between sovereign states. Compact was the most solemn and serious word in the political vocabulary of the men of that generation; society itself was founded on compact, and government rested on the same foundation. The words with which Massachusetts established her own constitution were almost exactly

1 See for the whole subject, McLaughlin, “Social Compact and Constitutional Construction," in Amer. Hist. Review, V., 467–490.

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the same as those with which she established the Constitution of the United States—which, in truth, was also her own: “Acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the goodness of the Supreme Ruler of the universe in affording the people of the United States, in the course of his providence, an opportunity, deliberately and peaceably, without fraud or surprise, of entering into an explicit and solemn compact with each other, by assenting to and ratifying a new Constitution.

If one really wishes to know the sentiments of the time, let him read the words of Ellsworth in the Connecticut convention, for no one better than he knew what was done and what the work of the moment meant. “How contrary, then, to republican principles, how humiliating, is our present situation! A single state can rise up, and put a veto upon the most important public measures. We have seen this actually take place. A single state has controlled the general voice of the Union; a minority, a very small minority, has governed us. So far is this from being consistent with republican principles, that it is, in effect, the worst species of monarchy. Hence we see how necessary for the Union is a coercive principle. No man pretends the contrary; we all see and feel this necessity. The only question is, Shall it be a coercion of law, or a coercion of arms? . . . I am for coercion by law—that coercion which acts only upon delinquent individuals." 3

1 Elliot, Debates, II., 176.

; Ibid., 197

In the twelve years that followed the Declaration of Independence the American people had accomplished much. The war was carried to a successful conclusion; the settlements stretching along the Atlantic coast came into the possession of a wide territory extending over the mountains to the Mississippi; state constitutions, laying down broad principles of liberty and justice, were formed on lines of permanence; a new colonial system for the organization and government of the great west was formulated, a system that was to be of incalculable value in the process of occupying the continent and building up a mighty republic; new settlements that showed capacity for self-government and growth were made in the wilderness beyond the Alleghenies. And, finally, a federal Constitution was formed, having for its purpose the preservation of local rights, the establishment of national authority, the reconciliation of the particular interests and the general welfare. In solving the problem of imperial organization, America made a momentous contribution to the political knowledge of mankind.

With the adoption of the national Constitution the first period of the Constitutional history of the United States was closed. A suitable and appropriate national organization was now established. There remained questions to be answered by the coming decades: Was the system suited to the needs of an expanding people? Was the distribution of

authority between the national government and the states so nicely adjusted that the complicated political mechanism would stand the strain of local interest and national growth? Would the people who had founded a national government grow so strongly in national spirit and patriotism that there would be a real bond of affection and of mutual good - will, supplementing and strengthening the formal ties of the law ?

VOL. X.-20

CHAPTER XIX

CRITICAL ESSAY ON AUTHORITIES

TH

HERE is no general bibliography covering the whole of the period treated in this volume; and it is quite impos

sible to mention here all the materials which the author has used in writing the foregoing pages. There are, however, several lists that will prove helpful to the student and investigator. Edward Channing and Albert Bushnell Hart, Guide to the Study of American History (1896), SS 149-156, contains titles and references on the most significant features of the time. The more important books are critically annotated in J. N. Larned, Literature of American History (1902), 152–181. Justin Winsor, Narrative and Critical History of America (8 vols., 1889), VII., 233-236, 255-266, has a mass of detail, not brought down to the present time. A useful list of sources is in Paul L. Ford, Bibliography and Reference List of the History and Literature relating to the Adoption of the Constitution of the United States (1888). Some of the volumes treating of different phases of this period contain good bibliographical lists and will be mentioned in their appropriate places below; the foot-notes to Bancroft, Curtis, McMaster, and other general works will be found serviceable. A good list of helpful references is to be found in William E. Foster, References to the Constitution of the United States (1890). On the period of the Confederation many of the authorities are identical with those enumerated in C. H. Van Tyne, The American Revolution, chap. xviii.

GENERAL SECONDARY WORKS

The most important treatise on this period is George Bancroft, History of the Formation of the Constitution of the

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