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these things—the common property of the Anglican race." The States, so far from being merged into one consolidated government, became more vigorous than ever. They retained their old powers, and acquired still others that had been exercised or claimed by the Home government. They had exclusive control of taxation, commerce, and navigation. Save the important powers delegated to the Union, all governmental powers belonged to them. Moreover, these reorganized governments were constituted, and more or less fully described, in written constitutions that rested directly upon the popular authority. Thus, the Colonial governments were not only continued but strengthened.
Many of the new constitutions referred to the recommendation of the National Congress; some of them distinctly recognized that body. Massachusetts, for example, in the oaths prescribed to be taken by officers under the State, excepted “the authority and power which is or may be vested by their constituents in the Congress of the United States” from the authorities and powers that such officers were required to forswear. 129
The Union. The new strength and dignity that were given to the States were far from being the most prominent result of independence. This result was rather the Union, or the American State, which now took its separate place among the powers of the earth. An intelligent foreigner, visiting the country both before and after the war began, and noting the changes that took place, would have remarked the Continental Congress above all other things. But, notwithstanding its prominence, the Union was less fully organized than the States. A written constitution was not for some time adopted; and the unwritten one that was tacitly agreed to, and that soon become customary, left the General Government weak and inefficient. Both results were perfectly natural. In the case of the States, all that was necessary was formal reorganization ; while in the case of the Union, a new government had to be created. What the ultimate nature of the Union would be, had been by no means decided ; but a Union had been effected, a General Government had been established, and a provisional distribution of powers between this Government and the States had been made. There were still two loyalties and two patriotisms as before, and both were American. 130.
The American State.-Before its birth the largest features of the American State were determined. These features were now partly formulated in written State constitutions, and partly based on common consent or an unwritten National Constitution. The State side of the system was much better developed than the National side. Since that day many important changes have been made in the Constitution of the American State; and yet the States comprising the Union have never changed their essential nature; they have never possessed national sovereignty, and have never been States in the sense that England and France are States, or that the Union is a State.
The steps leading to the formation of the American Union must now be traced out more ca
carefully. 131. The Consolidation of Colonies.—The original Connecticut was formed by the union, in 1639, of the towns of Hartford, Weathersfield, and Windsor. The Colony of New Haven originated about the same time in the union of the towns on the Sound, the principal of which was New Haven. Furthermore, in 1662 the two colonies were merged in the one Colony of Connecticut, Rhode Island had its origin in the union of the various plantations on Narragansett Bay. Plymouth was merged in Massachusetts Bay in 1691. Thus, the Colonists had frequent examples of partial unions in their own history. Nor were examples of general unions of a certain sort lacking.
132. The United Colonies of New England.-In 1643 the three principal New England Colonies entered into a league that is sometimes known by the above name, and sometimes by the name of the New England Confederation. This league was called into being by common dangers to which the three Colonies were exposed from the Indians and the Dutch ; it dealt with such subjects as war, peace, Indian affairs, and inter-Colonial roads. For a time it played an important part in New England history; then became weak, and in 1684 ceased to exist.
133. Penn's Plan of Union. In 1697 William Penn presented to the English Board of Trade a scheme for rendering the Colonies more
useful to the Crown and to one another. It provided for a congress to be composed of two deputies from each colony, and to be presided over by a royal commissioner, who should also command the troops enrolled to meet a common enemy. Nothing came of this plan of union, but it was the first one proposed for all the colonies, and the first document relating to American affairs containing the word congress. It also contained the doctrine of taxation for which the Colonies contended in the next century.
134. Wars with the French and Indians.—The common dangers arising from these wars greatly stimulated union sentiment. The conferences of commissioners and governors, the concurrent action of legislatures, and the various joint military expeditions made necessary by the neighborhood of common foes, were the most practical of lessons in the value of union. The first of these conferences, held in New York in 1690 by commissioners appointed by the New England Colonies and New York, amounted to but little; still it prepared the way for others more formidable and significant. The French and Indian War, 1755-1763, materially weakened the sense of dependence upon England, and developed the sentiment of common interest and power.
135. The Albany Congress of 1754.- In 1754, when England was on the verge of war with France, the Board of Trade recommended the Colonies to hold a congress to treat with the Six Nations, and form a league for their common protection. In conformity with this recommendation, commissioners from seven Colonies met at Albany, June 19, 1754, forming the first of the American Congresses. After negotiating the desired treaty with the Indians, this body recommended to the Colonies and to the Home government a Plan of Union that had been drawn up by Dr. Franklin. This Plan contemplated a common government administered by a President-General appointed by the Crown, and a Grand Council chosen by the Colonial Assemblies. It failed to receive the necessary ratification both in America and in England, but for very different reasons. The Colonists thought it contained too much of the royal prerogative, while the Board of Trade thought it too democratic.
136. The Stamp-Act Congress.- The Colonial policy that the Home government pursued, and particularly the enactment of the Stamp Act, brought together in New York, October 7, 1765, the Congress that bears this name, consisting of twenty-eight members from nine different Colonies. Its object was to consider the state of Colonial affairs. It adopted an address to the King, a petition to the House of Commons, and a declaration of rights—the whole forming a vigorous statement of American claims, and a strong protest against the course of the Home government. No immediate impression was
produced, but soon after the Stamp Act was repealed. While this Congress failed to shake the Crown and Parliament in their determination to tax the Colonies, it still tended strongly to unite the Colonies and to prepare the way for future co-operation. It has been called the day-star of the American Union.
137. The Congress of 1774. — The persistence of the British Government in its chosen policy led to this Congress. It sat in Philadelphia from September 5 to October 26, 1774, and contained representatives from all the Colonies but Georgia. Its object was to advise, consult, and adopt such measures as would tend to extricate the Colonies from their difficulties and restore harmony with the Mother Country. It adopted a declaration of rights, and addresses to the King, to the British people, to the people of the Colonies, and to the people of Canada; and also recommended the Colonies to sunder commercial relations with England and her dependencies, unless their grievances should be redressed. It commended Massachusetts for her resistance to the objectionable acts of Parliament, and declared that, in case the Home government persisted in carrying these acts into effect, all America ought to support Massachusetts in her opposition. It also recommended the holding of another Congress the next year. The recommendations of this Congress were of far-reaching effect. John Adams called the Non-Importation Agreement that it drew up, which was duly ratified," The memorable League of the Continent in 1774, which first expressed the sovereign will of a free nation in America."
138. The Congress of 1775.-All the Colonies were represented in this Congress. When it met at Philadelphia, May 10, it found the state of affairs greatly changed from the preceding year. The battle of Lexington had been fought, and Boston was beleaguered by a patriot array. The Congress at once assumed the direction of the armed resistance to British power. On June 15, it chose Washington General of all the Continental forces raised or to be raised for the defense of American liberty, and on the 17th it gave him a commission in which it called these forces “The Army of the United States." On June 22 it resolved to emit bills of credit for the defense of America, and pledged the Confederated Colonies to their redemption. In a word, Congress assumed all the powers of sovereignty deemed essential to the maintenance of the National cause. It continued in session until August 1, when it adjourned until September 5.
139. The Continental Congress. The Congress of 1774 was first called the General Congress and the Congress at Philadelphia. In December of that year the Massachusetts Legislature called it the Continental Congress, and the country at once adopted that name. For a time men recognized different Continental Congresses, as the first and second, but this practice ceased as soon as Congress became a permanent body. And it was this Congress, recognized as the grand council of the new Nation, that cut the tie which bound America to England.
140. The Union Established. This review shows that an American Union had occupied increasing attention on both sides of the Atlantic for many years. It shows, also, the presence of powerful forces steadily working in that direction. “The whole coast, from Nova Scotia to the Spanish possessions in Florida, was one in all essential circumstances; and there was only the need of some sudden shock to crystallize it into a real political unity.
This shock came in 1775, and the elements crystallized, although in quite a different way from
any that had been contemplated. In fact, this union dates from the time when Congress adopted the army that was besieging Boston, June 15, 1775, but for formal purposes it is better to date from the Declaration of Independence.
141. The New Political Vocabulary.—The progress of politicai events, and especially toward the last, was marked by the gradual introduction of a new political vocabulary. At first the terms in current use expressed only Colonial conditions and relations. But by the time that we reach the Revolution, we find a large family of terms expressing quite another order of ideas, the terms, viz., nation, national, union, confederation, general government, country, countryman, America, American, the United States, continent, continental, and United America. This became the current speech of the times, and no student of political history can mistake its signifi