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quires the guaranty of a system that rests upon the same principles, is committed to the same destiny, is itself constituted by American power, and is created for the express purpose of preserving the republican form, the theory and the right of self-government.
Such was the purpose of the framers of the Constitution, when, in this early stage of their deliberations, they determined that a republican constitution should be guaranteed by the United States to each of the States.1 The object of this provision was, to secure to the people of each State the power of governing their own community, through the action of a majority, according to the fundamental rules which they might prescribe for ascertaining the public will. The insurrection in Massachusetts, then just suppressed, had made the dangers that surround this theory of government painfully apparent. It had demonstrated the possibility that a minority might become in reality the ruling power. Fortunately, no foreign interference had then intervened; but a very few years only elapsed, before a crisis occurred, in which the institutions of the States would have been quite unable to withstand the shocks proceeding from the French Revolution, if the government of the Union had not been
1 As the resolution was originally passed, it declared that " republican constitution, and its existing laws, ought to be guaranteed to each State by the United States." On account of the ambiguity of the expression "existing laws," and the controversies to which it might give
rise, the provision was subsequently changed to a guaranty of “ a republican form of government," and of protection against "invasion" and "domestic violence," as it now stands in Art. IV. Sect. 4 of the Constitution.
armed with the power of protecting and upholding them.
The committee also added another new feature to their plan of government, which was a capacity of being amended. The Articles of Confederation admitted of changes only when they had been agreed upon in Congress, and had afterwards been confirmed by the legislatures of all the States. Indeed, it resulted necessarily from the nature of that government, that it could only be altered by the consent of all the parties to it. It was now proposed and declared, that provision ought to be made for the amendment of the Articles of Union, whenever it should seem necessary. This declaration looked to the establishment of some new method of originating improvements in the system of government, and · a new rule for their adoption.
It was also determined that the members of the State governments should be bound by oath to support the Articles of Union. The purpose of this provision was to secure the supremacy of the national government, in cases of collision between its authority and the authority of the States. It was a new feature in the national system, and received at first the support of only a bare majority of the States.1
Finally, it was provided that the new system, after its approbation by Congress, should be submitted to
1 Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia voted for
it (6); Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, and Maryland voted against it (5).
representative assemblies recommended by the State legislatures, to be expressly chosen by the people to consider and decide thereon. The question has often been discussed, whether this mode of ratification marks in any way the character of the government established by the Constitution. At present it is only necessary to observe, that the design of the committee was to substitute the authority of the people of the States in the place of that of the State legislatures, for a threefold purpose. First, it was deemed desirable to resort to the supreme authority of the people, in order to give the new system a higher sanction than could be given to it by the State governments. Secondly, it was thought expedient to get rid of the doctrine often asserted under the Confederation, that the Union was a mere compact or treaty between independent States, and that therefore a breach of its articles by any one State absolved the rest from its obligations. In the third place, it was intended, by this mode of ratification, to enable the people of a less number of the States than the whole to form a new Union, if all should not be willing to adopt the new system.1 The votes of the States in committee, upon this new mode of ratification, show that on one side were ranged the States that were aiming to change the principle of the government, and on the other the States that sought to preserve the principle of the Confederation.2
1 See Madison, Elliot, V. 157, 158, 183.
2 Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South
These, together with a provision that the authority of the old Congress should be continued to a given day after the changes should have been adopted, and that their engagements should be completed by the new government, were the great features of the system prepared by the committee of the whole, and reported to the Convention, on the thirteenth of June.1
government, for the space of one year after its expiration.
“4. Resolved, That the members of the second branch of the national
legislature ought to be chosen by
"5. Resolved, That each branch ought to possess the right of originating acts.
"6. Resolved, That the national legislature ought to be empowered to enjoy the legislative rights vested in Congress by the Confederation; and, moreover, to legislate in all cases to which the separate States
are incompetent, or in which the harmony of the United States may be interrupted by the exercise of individual legislation; to negative all laws passed by the several States contravening, in the opinion of the national legislature, the Articles of Union, or any treaties subsisting under the authority of the Union.
“7. Resolved, That the right of suffrage in the first branch of the national legislature ought not to be according to the rule established in the Articles of Confederation, but according to some equitable ratio of representation; namely, in proportion to the whole number of white and other free citizens and inhabitants, of every age, sex, and condition, including those bound to servitude for a term of years, and three fifths of all other persons not comprehended in the foregoing description, except Indians not paying taxes in each State.
"8. Resolved, That the right of suffrage in the second branch of the national legislature ought to be according to the rule established for the first.
"9. Resolved, That a national executive be instituted, to consist of a single person, to be chosen by the national legislature, for the term of seven years, with power to carry into execution the national laws, to appoint to offices in cases not otherwise provided for, to be ineligible a second time, and to be removable on impeachment and conviction of malpractice or neglect of duty; to receive a fixed stipend, by which he may be compensated for the devotion of his time to the