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THE NORTHWEST TERRITORY.
thrown into prison, multitudes became desperate. In the western part of the state Daniel Shays raised an army of nearly two thousand excited farmers. They surrounded the court-houses at Worcester and Springfield, and put a stop to all lawsuits for debt. It was not until a strong military force was sent out against them that the “rebellion" was finally quelled, and Shays compelled to fly to New Hampshire.
195. The Northwest Territory. — The most powerful influence which kept the nation from dropping to pieces was the fact that the states had an interest in the Northwest Territory. Up to the middle of the Revolution, seven of the thirteen states claimed the country west of them as far as the Mississippi River.'
Four of these states, - New York, Virginia, * Massachusetts, and Connecticut,-claiming land northwest of the Ohio River to the Mississippi, agreed (1780–1786) to give it to the United States to be disposed of for the common good. In 1787 Congress made an ordinance or body of laws for the government of this Northwest Territory. That ordinance forbade the holding of slaves in the territory (though it made provision for returning fugitive slaves who should escape to that region), and granted entire religious freedom to every settler. The states believed that Congress would be able to sell lands in this vast region, — at present forming the five states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin, and thus get money to pay off the war debt of the Revolution. That belief helped to hold the country together.
1 The seven states were Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia (but the claim of New York to a part of this territory rested on alleged treaties with the Iroquois Indians, and the other states did not regard it as well established). The remaining six states, of the thirteen, had western boundaries that were practically fixed, and hence they could not directly claim any part of the territory, but they, of course, would have an interest in it — that is, in the result of the land sales — if the nation held together as one whole. For the Northwest Territory, see Map, page 187.
2 It was provided that new states, of equal standing with the original thirteen, should be formed in this northwestern territory as soon as there was sufficient population in that region,
* Virginia giving by far the greatest part.
196. The New Constitution. —Still, even with this hope to brighten the sky, the outlook was dark enough. Washington, Franklin, Madison, Hamilton — in a word, the ablest men of that day — thought the prospect anything but encouraging. It seemed to them that unless something was done promptly the new-born republic was likely to die in its cradle.
At last (1787), a convention of fifty-five members was held in Philadelphia to make a new Constitution?. one that should “form a more perfect union.”? Washington.presided at this convention, and a majority of the state legislatures sent their chief men to take part in it. The convention held a secret session of nearly four months, and had many stormy debates before the articles of the new Constitution could be agreed upon. At one time Franklin and other eminent men nearly despaired of any successful result. At last the great work was accomplished, and the
i That is, a new set of laws for the government of the whole nation. See note 2, page 97.
2 See the opening words of the Constitution, page (following this history).
3 The first important question of debate was between the delegates from the small states and those from the large ones in regard to representation in Congress. If the representation rested wholly on population then the large states would, of course, have entire control.
It was finally agreed that Congress should consist of two houses: 1 The House of Representatives chosen by the people of the different states and representing them, 2. The Senate, or Upper House, consisting of two members from each state. (See the Constitution, page vii, Section 3, Paragraph 1.). In the Senate, therefore, the small states stand equal to the large ones. This arrangement satisfied all.
The second great question was whether slaves should be counted in reckoning the number of the population with reference to representation in Congress. The North insisted that they should not; the South (where slaves were very numerous) that they should. The contest on this point was long and bitter. Finally it was agreed that three-fifths of the slaves should be counted with reference to both representation and taxation (though the slaves themselves were of course neither represented nor taxed). (See the Constitution, page vii, Section 2, Paragraph 3.) "Three-fifths of all other persons." These “other persons were slaves.
The last question was in regard to commerce and to protection of slaveholders. It was agreed that Congress should have the entire control of commerce (the states had had it before). (See the Constitution, page ix, Section 8, Paragraph 3.) In regard to slaves none were to be imported into the United States after 1808.
Constitution was adopted. After the convention had accepted the new Constitution, it was sent to the different states to be voted upon by the people. Many of the people were strongly opposed to it. They thought it gave the national government too much power. But in time all of the states decided to adopt it. The man who did the most to convince them of the wisdom of such a course was Alexander Hamilton of New York. When the city of New York celebrated the adoption of the Constitution (1788) a ship on wheels representing the “Ship of State," or the Union,’ was
HAMILTON ĐẬM drawn through the streets by ten milk-white horses. Hamilton's. name was painted in large letters on the platform upholding the vessel.
The " Ship of State."
(See the Constitution, page x, Section 9, Paragraph 1; these slaves are called “such persons." The word slave does not occur in the Constitution.) It was also agreed that runaway slaves should be returned to their owners. (See the Constitution, page xiv, Article IV., Section 2, Paragraph 3, "No person [i.e. slave] held to service," etc.)
If the compromise between the small states and the large, and the North and South, had not been made, the Constitution would have been rejected, and we should in all probability have split up into two or three hostile republics.
1 Delegates voted in state conventions called by the legislatures.
“ Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State!
197. What the Constitution did for the Country. - The Constitution accomplished these four chief objects : 1. It gave the nation a head - the President of the United States — whose duty it is to see that the laws are executed.? 2. It gave Congress power to raise money by taxation to carry on and defend the government.
3. It gave every citizen of the United States equal rights in all the states, with liberty to buy and sell in all parts of the country. Thus entire freedom of trade was secured throughout the Union. 4. It established the Supreme Court of the United States, to decide all questions and disputes about the powers of the national government."
198. Summary. - The Revolution made us an independent people; the Constitution completed the work by making us a united people — a true American nation. Now, to use the words of John Adams, “the thirteen clocks all struck together.'
1 See the Constitution, page xi (Article II., Section 1).
1820 181044800 Seymout) Portsmouth
Map showing the Westward Movement of Population in the United States from 1790 to
1890, inclusive. (See Note 2 on page 194.)
“This government, the offspring of your own choice, ... adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, ... and containing, within itself, a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and respect.” — PRESIDENT WASHINGTON'S Farewell Address to the People of the United States, September 17, 1796.
THE UNION. — NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT.—1789-1860.
199. Political Parties; Washington elected President (Two Terms, 1789-1797); his Inauguration; and Administration.' — There were now two political parties in the United States : the Federalists 2 who had voted for the adoption of the Constitution; and the Anti-Federalists who had voted against it. The first party believed that the country needed a strong government, one able to make its power respected both at home and abroad ; the second party thought such a strong government dangerous to the liberties of the people, and wished the chief power to be exercised by the different states. In the course of time this last class came to be known as the Democratic party ; 4 while the Federalists were succeeded by the Whigs, and later by the Republicans.
1 Administration: presidency.
2 Federalists (from fædus, a Latin word, meaning a league or union), those who supported the union of states formed by the Constitution.
8 Anti-Federalists (from the Latin words anti, against, and fædus, league or union), those opposed to the union formed by the Constitution.
4 The Democratic party was at first called Republican, or Democratic-Republican. Eventually the name got shortened to its present form. Care should be taken not to confound the early Republican (or Democratic) party with the modern Republican party which did not come into existence until 1856.
5 After the Federal party expired (between 1815 and 1825), it was succeeded by one called the National Republican; this was followed in 1835 by the Whig party, and this in 1856 by the present Republican party.