Page:Doctrine of State Rights.djvu/2

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can has raised his voice against the conclusion deduced? The permeating principle was that every people had the right to alter or abolish their government when it ceased to answer the ends for which it was instituted. Each State decided to exercise that right, and all of the thirteen united to sustain it. Great Britain denied the existence of the asserted right and a long war ensued. After a heavy sacrifice of life and treasure, the Treaty of Paris was negotiated in 1783, by which Great Britain recognized the independence of the States separately, not as one body politic, but severally, each one being named in the act of recognition.

In the year succeeding the Declaration of Independence—i. e., 1777—the thirteen States by which it had been made sent delegates to a general congress, and they agreed to "certain articles of confederation and perpetual union between the States" they represented, and that "the style of the confederacy shall be the United States of America." That no purpose existed to consolidate the States into one body politic is manifest from the terms of the second article, which was: "Each State retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right which is not by this confederation expressly delegated to the United States in congress assembled." The meaning of this article is quite plain, if it be borne in mind that under the confederation the congress was of States, each having one vote only, irrespective of population or the number of delegates in attendance, and the expressly-delegated powers were such as it was agreed that the congress of the States might use, all else being reserved to the States separately. Under these Articles of Confederation the war of the Revolution was conducted.

In the face of the Declaration of Independence, and of the Articles of Confederation, and of the Treaty of Paris, he who denies that in 1783 each State was a sovereign, free, and independent community must have much hardihood or little historical knowledge.

After the independence had been gained for which so much was risked and no little lost, when the condensing pressure of war was removed, the fact became apparent that it was impracticable to administer the general affairs of the Union without the possession of additional powers. In 1787 a convention met to amend the Articles of Confederation, and ended by proposing a new form of government which was to be submitted to the States,