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of the adoption of the federal Constitution African servitude existed in all the states that were parties to that compact, unless with the single exception of Massachusetts, in which it had, perhaps, very recently ceased to exist. The slaves, however, were numerous in the Southern, and very few in the Northern, states. This dived in Louisiana, no pretext was made of that as an objection to the acquisition. The ground of opposition is frankly stated in a letter of that period from one Massachusetts statesman to another—that the influence of our part of the Union must be diminished by the acquisition of more weight at the other extremity. Cabot to Pickering, who was then Senator from Massachusetts. (See Life and Letters of George Cabot, by H. C. Lodge, p. 334.) Some years afterward (in 1819-20) occurred the memorable contest with regard to the admission into the Union of Missouri, the second state carved out of the Louisiana Territory. The controversy arose out of a proposi
is place was filled with the name of Herschel V. Johnson, a distinguished citizen of Georgia. The convention representing the conservative, or state-rights, wing of the Democratic party (the president of which was the Hon. Caleb Cushing of Massachusetts) on the first ballot unanimously made choice of John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky, then Vice-President of the United States, for the first office, and with like unanimity selected General Joseph Lane, then a Senator from Oregon, for the secondand its supporters to maintain, protect, and defend, separately and unitedly, those great principles of public liberty and national safety against all enemies at home and abroad. Its nominees were John Bell of Tennessee and Edward Everett of Massachusetts, both of whom had long been distinguished members of the Whig party. The people of the United States now had four rival tickets presented to them by as many contending parties, whose respective position and principles on the great and abso
of the States, and arming the Federal Government with adequate physical power to enforce constitutional rights (I suppose he meant obligations), he meant to confer upon this Federal Government a power which it does not now possess to coerce a State. If he did, then, in the language of Mr. Madison, he is providing, not for a union of States, but for the destruction of States; he is providing, under the name of Union, to carry on a war against States; and I care not whether it be against Massachusetts or Missouri, it is equally objectionable to me; and I will resist it alike in the one case and in the other, as subversive of the great principle on which our Government rests; as a heresy to be confronted at its first presentation, and put down there, lest it grow into proportions which will render us powerless before it. The theory of our Constitution, Mr. President, is one of peace, of equality of sovereign States. It was made by States and made for States; and for greater assuran
it in execution. Notably is this true of Massachusetts and other New England states. The acquisireason, expressed by an eminent citizen of Massachusetts, George Cabot, who had been United Stall later, long a representative of the state of Massachusetts in the Senate of the United States, wa. . . It [the separation] must begin in Massachusetts. The proposition would be welcomed in Con8-340. Substituting South Carolina for Massachusetts; Virginia for New York; Georgia, Mississip. Josiah Quincy, a member of Congress from Massachusetts, said: If this bill passes, it is my dlled him to order. The Speaker (Varnum of Massachusetts) sustained Poindexter, and decided that thof delegates chosen by the legislatures of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, with an ir in behalf of that state, that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, faithful to the compact between tno binding force whatever on the people of Massachusetts— language which must have meant that the a[1 more...]
ion on the Missouri question, when the subject first took a sectional shape, the abolition of slavery was proposed and earnestly debated in the Virginia legislature, and its advocates were so near the accomplishment of their purpose, that a declaration in its favor was defeated by only a small majority, and that on the ground of expediency. At a still later period, abolitionist lecturers and teachers were mobbed, assaulted, and threatened with tar and feathers in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and other states. One of them (Lovejoy) was actually killed by a mob in Illinois as late as 1837. These facts prove incontestably that the sectional hostility which exhibited itself in 1820, on the application of Missouri for admission into the Union, which again broke out on the proposition for the annexation of Texas in 1844, and which reappeared after the Mexican war, never again to be suppressed until its fell results had been fully accomplished, was
ne the powers, and prescribe the functions of government, etc. The words in italics would make the definition more complete. Thus we speak of the British Constitution, which is an unwritten system of prescriptive usage; of the constitution of Massachusetts or of Mississippi, which is the fundamental or organic law of a particular state embodied in a written instrument; and of the federal Constitution of the United States, which is the fundamental law of an association of states, at first as emed States in Congress assembled, as, when agreed to by them, and duly confirmed by the several States, will effectually provide for the same. The authority conferred upon their delegates by the Assembly of New York and the General Court of Massachusetts was in each case expressed in the exact words of the advisory resolution of Congress: they were instructed to meet the delegates of the other States for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation, and reporting to
tead of the equal representation of the states (whether large or small) which existed under the Articles of Confederation. There was naturally much dissatisfaction on the part of the greater states—Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Massachusetts—whose population at that period exceeded that of all the others combined, but which, in the Congress, constituted less than one third of the voting strength. On the other hand, the smaller states were tenacious of their equality in the Unioninviolably observed by every State. Opposition was made to the provision on this very ground—that it was virtually a dissolution of the Union, and that it would furnish a precedent for future secessions. Gerry, a distinguished member from Massachusetts—afterward Vice-President of the United States—said, If nine out of thirteen (States) can dissolve the compact, six out of nine will be just as able to dissolve the future one hereafter. Madison, who was one of the leading members of the
Constitution reported by the Convention of delegates in Philadelphia. In Massachusetts there was a sharp contest. The people of that state were then—as for a lon In terms substantially identical with those employed by the other states, Massachusetts thus announced her ratification: In convention of the delegates of the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1788. The Convention having impartially discussed and fully considered the Constitution for the United States of Americed [etc.], . . . do, in the name and in behalf of the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, assent to and ratify the said Constitution for the United States o the name and behalf of the people of this State. But South Carolina, like Massachusetts, demanded certain amendments, and for greater assurance accompanied her orde name and in behalf of the people of Virginia. In so doing, however, like Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, Virginia demanded certain amendments as
to provide money for the purpose. There were, however, local and partial confederacies among the New England colonies, long before the Declaration of Independence. As early as the year 1643 a Congress had been organized of delegates from Massachusetts, Plymouth, New Haven, and Connecticut, under the style of The United colonies of New England. The objects of this confederacy, according to Bancroft, were protection against the encroachments of the Dutch and French, security against the tris was even then in existence. Thus remarkable for unmixed simplicity (he proceeds) was the form of the first confederated government in America. . . . There was no president, except as a moderator of its meetings, and the larger state [sic], Massachusetts, superior to all the rest in territory, wealth, and population, had no greater number of votes than New Haven. But the commissioners were in reality little more than a deliberative body; they possessed no executive power, and, while they cou
the beginning, the most serious difficulty in the way of ratification of the Constitution. It was probably this to which that sturdy patriot, Samuel Adams of Massachusetts, alluded, when he wrote to Richard Henry Lee, I stumble at the threshold. Patrick Henry, in the Virginia convention, on the third day of the session, and in te appointed to prepare the Constitution, as we find it in the proceedings of August 6, 1787, was as follows: We, the people of the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Geeople of the United States in the preamble to the Constitution, and has exactly the same force and effect. If in the latter case it implies that the people of Massachusetts and those of Virginia were mere fractional parts of one political community, it must in the former imply a like unity among the Philistines, the Egyptians, th
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