Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 27.djvu/70
62 Southern Historical Society Papers.
BILL OF RIGHTS.
On the 1 2th of June, 1776, she adopted and proclaimed her bill of rights; and on the 2Qth of June adopted her Constitution. She declared all power of government vested in her own people, who alone succeeded to the rights and territories of the crown. Her governor and State officers were elected, taking an oath of fealty to the Commonwealth of Virginia. All this was accomplished before the 4th of July, 1776 before the Declaration of Independence, which declared the colonies free and independent States, had been proposed at her instigation and prepared by her great son.
Thus, the people of Virginia became citizens of the State, and she their sovereign. The Declaration of Independence, so far from changing the allegiance of her citizens or proclaiming the indepen- dence of the country as a whole, by its very terms declares that the several colonies are "free and independent States."
The Articles of Confederation were formulated by the Continental Congress in November, 1777, and submitted to the legislatures of the respective States as such, and not to the people, for ratification.
These articles constituted by their very terms a compact between States, naming them, and not the people of the whole country; and declare that each State retains its sovereignty and every power which is not expressly delegated to the United States in Congress assembled. While numerous powers were vested in the Federal Congress, yet it had no power, except acting on and through the States as such, even to collect taxes or to enlist troops for the prosecution of the war of the Revolution.
NOT AS A WHOLE.
When, by the treaty of peace with Great Britain, our indepen- dence was acknowledged, the independence of the people of the United States as a whole was not recognized, but each of the sepa- rate Commonwealths, naming them, was declared a free, sovereign and independent State.
Thus stood the government Federal and State and the allegi- ance of the citizen, after the treaty of peace with Great Britain acknowledging our independence.
In 1787 the Constitutional Convention, as it was called a body authorized by no Federal enactment assembled at Philadelphia, prepared and proposed to the several States for adoption a new con- stitution. The old Confederacy was abandoned, and by the express