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DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.
(9) The Treasury Dep't was organized.
"The powers exercised by the congress before the Declaration of Independence, show, therefore, (says Curtis, I. 40) that its functions were those of a revolutionary gov't.. ... When the acts of such a gov't are acquiesced in by the people, they are presumed to have been ratified by the people." This, he maintains, was the case with the acts of this congress. "Thus was organized (says Story, I. § 201) under the auspices and with the consent of the people, acting directly in their sovereign capacity . . . the first general or national gov't, which... thus assembled, exercised de facto and de jure a sovereign authority." "But he forgets (says V. H., criticising this view, I. 4, n. 3) that the view that the people alone are sovereign and the only source of legitimate power, was not at that time a recognized principle of law in America." Cooley (Principles of Const. Law, II) seems to agree with V. H. and Curtis that it was not a gov't both de jure and de facto, because, even if de jure, it was not de facto; for it could not enforce its recommendations, and, after the ardor of the Americans had cooled, many of these recommendations were not carried out.
The course of the war and the rejection by England of all measures of conciliation brought about the Declaration of Independence. For the most part closely resembling the declaration of rights and grievances of 1765 and 1774, the document closes as follows: "We, therefore, the representatives of the United States (— a term here employed for the first time), do, in the name of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish . . . that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states."
Besides, and after this, nearly all the colonies passed separate acts declaring their independence, and Va. passed such an act even before the act of congress.
Did this declaration create one or thirteen independent states? Von H. (I. 7) answers that "the representatives of the people declared that the former English colonies, under the name which they had assumed of the United States of America, became from the fourth day of July, 1776, · a sovereign state, a member of the family of nations, recognized by the law of nations."
EFFECT OF THE DECLARATION.
"In Chisholm's Executors vs. the State of Ga. (Dallas' Reports, III. 419, 470), Mr. Chief Justice Jay . . . . expressed himself to the following effect: . . . . From the crown of Great Britain the sovereignty of their country passed to the people of it. . . . (still) the thirteen sovereignties were considered as emerging from the principles of the revolution, combined by local convenience and considerations. The people, nevertheless, continued to consider themselves, in a national point of view, as one people." (Story, I. § 216.) The case of Ware vs. Hylton (Dallas' Rep., III. 199) involved this point. [In 1777 the legislature of Va. by law confiscated debts owed by citizens of Va. to British subjects an act of sovereignty. But Art. IV. of Treaty of Peace, 1783, provided that "creditors on either side shall meet with no lawful impediment in the recovery of the full value . . . of all bona fide debts heretofore contracted." (Treaties, 316.) The creditors, therefore, brought the above suit to recover before the Va. courts. Defeated here, they carried it finally before a full bench of the Sup. Court. The case was held to turn upon the questionWas Va., in 1777, a sovereign state?] Justice Chase ruled that all laws of the legislatures of the several states after
the Declaration of Independence were laws of sovereign and independent gov'ts.
ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION.
Senator Edmunds (North Am. Rev., Oct. 1881) says: "The Declaration of Independence, when effectual, made each colony a state perfectly independent of all others. There was no obligation to any kind of union. Sixteen months later these states, as such, formed a confederation, which was neither legally nor philosophically a gov't."
The colonies did certainly act as one against English aggression; and the Continental Congress did assume the powers of a sovereign state: but Congress, in fact, could merely recommend measures which were subject to the adoption or rejection of the several colonies. It is still a debated question, therefore, whether the Declation of Independence created one or thirteen independent states.
Parallel Curtis, I. 114-349; Secret Journals of Congress, I. 283464, II. III. IV: Von Holst, I. 19-49; Story, I. § 218-71; Life of Hamilton, II. 230-7; De Tocqueville, Democracy in America, I. 107-22; Tucker, Life of Jefferson, I. 160-226; Frothingham, Rise of Rep. of U. S., 561-610; Rive, Life of Madison. I. 120-539; Hildreth, Hist. U. S. III. 374-480.
Feeling the need of a more permanent bond of union, the same day that a committee on the declaration 1776 of independence was appointed, Congress apJune 11 pointed a second committee to draft articles of confederation. The latter committee reported
July 11, 76, but their report was not accepted until Nov. 15, 1777. A committee, then appointed, drafted a
circular letter, "requesting the states respectively to authorize their delegates in Congress to subscribe to the same in behalf of the state." (Story, I. § 224.) The smaller states-Md., N. J., Del., and R. I.— fearing that they would be absorbed or overruled by the larger, insisted that the latter should cede to the Union their claims upon the vast western territories within their boundaries. This was finally done, and 1781 thereupon the articles were ratified by Md., last Mar. 1 of all the states.
THE KIND OF UNION.
The gov't of the confederation-the first formal attempt to form a consolidated gov't- differed in its powers from that of the Continental Congress:
The powers of the former were granted; those of the latter assumed.
2. The powers of the former were limited expressly; those of the latter, only by the necessities of the time.
The idea of a strong central gov't was new to the colonists, and met with that distrust of political power peculiar to the Anglo-Saxon. All loyalty was centered upon the colonial gov'ts, and, as in the state the first thought with the colonists was the liberty of the individual, so in the Confederation it was the power of the
To understand the nature of the gov't established by the Articles of Confederation it will be well to consider it from THREE POINTS OF VIEW:
1. The kind of union established. "The parties. . were free, sovereign, and independent political communities. .. but by this instrument . . . . united together for certain purposes. The instrument was styled Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union between the States,' and the political body thus formed was entitled The United States of America.' The
Articles declared. . . . that each state retained its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, not expressly delegated by the instrument itself to the United States in Congress assembled. The nature and objects of this union were described as a firm league of friendship between the states, for their common defence, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare. . . . the free inhabitants of each state should be entitled to all the privileges of free citizens in the several states. . . . there should be open intercourse and commerce between the different states. . . . fugitives from justice from one state to another should be delivered up; and . . . . full faith and credit should be given in each state to the records, acts, and judicial proceedings of every other state." (Curtis, I. 143.)
ITS FORM AND POWERS.
2. The form of gov't established. It "consisted of a single representative body, called a General Congress. . . (having) all the powers, executive, legislative, and judicial, granted to the United States. The members (no more than seven, nor less than two, from each state) of it were to be chosen . . as the legislature of each state might determine. . . . No delegate was eligible for more than three years in a period of six, and no delegate could hold any office of emolument under the United States. Each state was to maintain its own delegates, and . . . . voting was to be by states, each state having one vote." (Ibid, 144.)
3. The powers conferred. These powers related to external and to internal affairs.
(a) EXTERNAL AFFAIRS.
"Congress was invested with the sole and exclusive right of determining on peace and war, unless in case of invasion of a state by enemies, or an imminent danger