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made provision for the establishment of new States in the territory, and declared that, when any of them should have sixty thousand free inhabitants, it should
mission of a new State into the Union could have been regarded as an alteration of the Articles of Confederation, within the meaning and intention of the thirteenth Article, seems scarcely probable. Such an admission would only have increased the number of the parties to the Union, but it would of itself have made no change in the Articles; and it was against alterations in the Articles that the provision of the thirteenth was directed. The objections which Mr. Jefferson informs us were raised in Congress to a deduction of the power from the eleventh Article, appear to be decisive. In truth, when the Articles of Confederation were framed, the subject of the admission of new States, so far as it had been considered at all, was connected with the difficult and delicate controversy respecting the western boundaries of some of the old States, and the equitable claim of the Union to become the proprietor of the unoccupied lands beyond those boundaries. An attempt was made to obtain for Congress, in the Articles of Confederation, power to ascertain and fix the western boundaries of those States, and to lay out the lands beyond them into new States. But it failed (ante, Vol. I. 291), and Congress could thereafter be said to possess no power to admit new
States, except what depended on a doubtful construction of the Articles of Confederation.
Still, both when they invited the cessions of their territorial claims by the States of Virginia, New York, &c., and after those cessions had been made, Congress acted as if they had constitutional authority to form new States, and to admit them into the Union. (Ante, Vol. I. 292-308.) When the Ordinance of 1787, for the regulation and government of the Northwestern Territory, was adopted, the power to admit new States was again assumed. The Convention for forming the Constitution was, however, then sitting, and it may be that the framers of the Ordinance introduced into that instrument the stipulation that the new States should be admitted on an equal footing with the old ones, in the confidence that the constitutional power would be supplied by the Convention. At any rate, the provisions of the Ordinance, as well as those of the previous resolves of Congress on the same subject of the Northwestern Territory, and the position of Kentucky, Vermont, Maine, and Tennessee (then called Franklin), imposed upon the Convention an imperative necessity for some action that would open the door of the Union to new members.
be admitted into Congress on an equal footing with the original States. But the mode of admission was not prescribed. The power to admit was assumed, and no rule of voting on the question of admission was referred to. The probability is, that Congress anticipated at this time that a definite constitutional power would be provided by the Convention that had been summoned to revise the federal system. This power was embraced in the plan adopted in the committee of the whole of that body, by a resolve which declared "that provision ought to be made for the admission of States lawfully arising within the limits of the United States, whether from a voluntary junction of government and territory, or otherwise, with the consent of a number of voices in the national legislature less than the whole." In what mode this provision was made will be seen hereafter, when we come to examine the framework of the Constitution.
Another of the new powers now proposed to be given to the Union was that of protecting and upholding the governments of the States. I have already had occasion to explain the relations of the Confederation to its members in a time of internal disturbance and peril; and have given to the incapacity of that government to afford any aid in such emergencies great prominence among the causes which led to the revision of the federal system.' Under that system the States had been so complete
1 Ante, Vol. I. Book III. Chap. III. pp. 260 – 275.
ly sovereign, and so independent of each other in all that related to their internal concerns, that the government of any one of them might have been subverted without the possibility of an authorized and regulated interference by the rest. The constitutional and republican liberty that had been established in these States after the Revolution had freed them from the dominion of England, was at that period a new and untried experiment; and in order that we of this generation may be able to appre ciate the importance of the guaranty proposed to be introduced into the Constitution of the United States, it is necessary for us to look somewhat farther than the particular circumstances of the commotions in New England that marked the year 1787 as an era of especial danger to these republican governments. It is, in fact, necessary for us to remember the contemporaneous history of Europe, and to observe how the events that were taking place in the Old World necessarily acted upon our condition, prospects, and welfare.
The French Revolution, consummated in 1791 by the execution of the King, was already begun when the Constitution of the United States went into operation. No one who has examined the history of the first years of our present national government, can fail to have been impressed with the dangers which the administration of our domestic affairs incurred of becoming complicated with the politics of Europe. As in all other countries, so in America, the events and progress of the Revolution in France
found sympathy or reprobation, according to the natural tendencies, the previous associations, and the political sentiments of individuals. But in the United States there was a peculiar and predisposing cause for the liveliest interest in the success of the principles that were believed, by large masses of the people, to be involved in the French Revolution. Our own struggles for liberty, our bold and successful assertion of the rights of man, and our achievement of the means and opportunity of self-government, had evidently and strikingly acted upon France. The people of the United States were fully sensible of this; and transferring to the French nation the debt of gratitude for the aid which had flowed to us in the first instance from their government without any special influence of their own, large numbers of our people became warmly enlisted in the cause of that Revolution, of which the early promise seemed so encouraging to the best hopes of mankind, and the full development of which first ruined the interests of liberty, in the wanton excesses of anarchy and national ambition, and finally crushed them beneath the usurpations and necessities of military despotism. On the other hand, the more cautious - who, if they had not from the first looked with distrust upon the whole movement of the Revolutionary party in France, very soon believed that it could result in no real benefit to France or to the world -tended strongly and naturally to the side of those governments with which the leaders of the Revolution had to contend. In consequence of this
state of feeling among different portions of the people of the United States, with reference to French affairs, and of the conduct of France and England towards ourselves, the administration of Washington had great difficulty both in preserving the neutrality of the country, and in excluding foreign influence and interference in our domestic affairs.
Had this state of things, which followed immediately after the inauguration of our new government, found us still under the Confederation, there can be no doubt that our condition would have afforded to the Revolutionary party in France the means not only of disseminating their principles among us, but also of overturning any of the institutions of the weaker States which might have stood in the way of their acquiring an influence in America. Yet what form or principle of government is there in the world, that more imperatively requires all foreign or external influence to be repelled, than our own republican system, of which it is a cardinal doctrine that every institution and every law must express the uncontrolled and spontaneous will of a majority of the people who constitute the political society? Other governments may be upheld by the interference of their neighbors; other systems may require, and perhaps rightfully admit, foreign influence. Ours demand an absolute immunity from foreign control, and can exist only when the authority of the people is made absolutely free. That their authority should be made and kept free to act upon the principles that enable it to operate with certainty and safety, it re