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ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION-1777.
The necessity of some provision for a general government was early felt.
A committee, appointed by Congress June 11, 1776, “to prepare and digest the form of a confederation to be entered into between these colonies," reported July 12, articles drawn up by John Dickinson. These were not approved, and the matter dropped for the time. At length, Nov. 15, 1777, Congress agreed upon the Articles of Confederation, and ordered them forwarded to the several states that they might instruct their delegates to ratify them in congress.
The dates of ratification wereMassachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and South Carolina, July 9, 1778—North Carolina, July 21, 1778— Georgia, July 24, 1778—New Jersey, Nov. 26, 1778 -Delaware, Feb. 22, 1779—Maryland, March 1, 1781. “Until the adoption of the articles of confederation by all the states, congress continued a revolutionary body, which was recognized by all the colonies as de jure and de facto the national government and which, as such, came in contact with foreign powers and entered into engagements, the binding force of which on the whole people has never been called in question.” (Von Holst.) The principal defects are well summarized by Schouler. 1. Want of power to enforce obe
dience. II. Operation of the fundamental law not upon individuals but upon states. . III. Large vote requisite in congress for passage of important measures. IV. Want of right to regulate foreign Commerce. V. Virtual omission of power to alter the existing articles.
Consult Bancroft's U. S., ist ed., IX., 436; cen. ed., VI., 25; last ed., V., 200; Hildreth's U. S., III. 266; Frothingham's Rise, etc., 569; Story's Cons. U. S, I., 209–251; Curtis' Constitution, I., 114; Prince's The Articles of Confederation vs. the Constitution.
ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION-1777.
To all to whom these Presents shall come, we the under
signed Delegates of the States affixed to our Names, send greeting.
WHEREAS the Delegates of the United States of America in Congress assembled did on the fifteenth day of November in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventyseven, and in the Second Year of the Independence of America agree to certain articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the States of Newhampshire, Massachusetts-bay, Rhodeisland and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina, South-Carolina and Georgia in the Words following, viz.
“Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between
the States of Newhampshire, Massachusetts-bay, Rhodeisland and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, NewYork, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina, South-Carolina and Georgia.
ARTICLE I. The stile of this confederacy shall be “The United States of America."
ARTICLE II. 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.
ARTICLE III. The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defence, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretence whatever.
ARTICLE IV. The better to secure and perpetuate mutual friendship and intercourse among the people of the different States in this Union, the free inhabitants of each of these States, paupers, vagabonds and fugitives from justice excepted, shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of free citizens in the several States; and the people of each State shall have free ingress and regress to and from any other State, and shall enjoy therein all the privileges of trade and commerce, subject to the same duties, impositions and restrictions as the inhabitants thereof respectively, provided that such restrictions shall not extend so far as to prevent the removal of property imported into any State, to any other State of which the owner is an inhabitant; provided also that no imposition, duties or restriction shall be laid by any State, on the property of the United States, or either of them.
If any person guilty of, or charged with treason, felony, or other high misdemeanor in any State, shall flee from justice, and be found in any of the United States, he shall upon demand of the Governor or Executive power, of the State from which he fled, be delivered up and removed to the State having jurisdiction of his offence.
Full faith and credit shall be given in each of these
States to the records, acts and judicial proceedings of the courts and magistrates of every other State.
ARTICLE V. For the more convenient management of the general interests of the United States, delegates shall be annually appointed in such manner as the legislature of each State shall direct, to meet in Congress on the first Monday in November, in every year, with a power reserved to each State, to recall its delegates, or any of them, at any time within the year, and to send others in their stead, for the remainder of the year.
No State shall be represented in Congress by less than two, nor by more than seven members; and no person shall be capable of being a delegate for more than three years in any term of six years; nor shall any person, being a delegate, be capable of holding any office under the United States, for which he, or another for his benefit receives any salary, fees or emolument of any kind.
Each State shall maintain its own delegates in a meet. ing of the States, and while they act as members of the committee of the States.
In determining questions in the United States, in Congress assembled, each State shall have one vote.
Freedom of speech and debate in Congress shall not be impeached or questioned in any court, or place out of Congress, and the members of Congress shall be protected in their persons from arrests and imprisonments, during the time of their going to and from, and attendance on Congress, except for treason, felony, or breach
of the peace.
ARTICLE VI. No State without the consent of the United States in Congress assembled, shall send any embassy to, or receive any embassy from, or enter into any conferrence, agreement, alliance or treaty with any king prince or state; nor shall any person holding any office of profit or trust under the United States, or any of them, accept of any present, emolument, office or title of any kind whatever from any king, prince or foreign
state; nor shall the United States in Congress assembled, or any of them, grant any title of nobility.
No two or more States shall enter into any treaty, confederation or alliance whatever between them, without the consent of the United States in Congress assembled, specifying accurately the purposes for which the same is to be entered into, and how long it shall continue.
No State shall lay any imposts or duties, which may interfere with any stipulations in treaties, entered into by the United States in Congress assembled, with any king, prince or state, in pursuance of any treaties already proposed by Congress, to the courts of France and Spain.
No vessels of war shall be kept up in time of peace by any State, except such number only, as shall be deemed necessary by the United States in Congress assembled, for the defence of such State, or its trade; nor shall any body of forces be kept up by any State, in time of peace, except such number only, as in the judgment of the United States, in Congress assembled, shall be deemed requisite to garrison the forts necessary for the defence of such State ; but every State shall always keep up a well regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutred, and shall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores, a due number of field pieces and tents, and a proper quantity of arms, ammunition and camp equipage.
No State shall engage in any war without the consent of the United States in Congress assembled, unless such State be actually invaded by enemies, or shall have received certain advice of a resolution being formed by some nation of Indians to invade such State, and the danger is so imminent as not to admit of a delay, till the United States in Congress assembled can be consulted : nor shall any State grant commissions to any ships or vessels of war, nor letters of marque or reprisal, except it be after a declaration of war by the United States in