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The year 1782 was mostly spent in negotiations. The dif culties of arranging the terms were great; and the boundaries of the new Government were a subject of much dispute. Mar. 4-Resolutions were passed in the English Parliament, in favor of peace.

Apr. 19—Holland acknowledges American independence. July 11-Savannah, Georgia, evacuated by the British, and occupied by General Wayne. The British carried off 5,000 negroes. Great discontent arose in the army in regard to pay, and only the great influence of Washington, and the wise moderation of American statesmen in Congress, prevented serious outbreaks. Franklin, Adams, Jay, and Laurens, were the American Commissioners who arranged terms of peace. Various Indian wars raged on the frontiers during this year.


Jan. 20―The preliminary treaty, providing for the cessation of hostilities between England and the United States was signed.

Feb. 5-The Independence of the United States acknowledged by Sweden.

Mar. 24-The Independence of the United States acknowledged by Denmark.

The Independence of the United States acknowledged by Spain.

Apr. 19—Cessation of hostilities officially proclaimed in the United States-just eight years from the beginning of the war. Estimated loss of men during the war, seventy thousand.



THE successful termination of the Revolutionary War of seven years made the United Colonies which had commenced it, in fact, as well as in their Declaration, Free and Independent States. Toward the close of the war they had adopted Articles of Confederation. These were soon found to be inadequate to secure the general welfare, and without sufficient authority to carry their measures into effect. No sufficient means were supplied by them to maintain the public credit, and all the interests of the country languished.

They formed the Bond of Union for six years or more, and served an excellent purpose in calling the attention of statesmen and the people to the points most important in the constitution of a vigorous government. It was the trial essay, and the intelligence of the leading men of that period turned it to great profit.

In 1786 the legislature of Virginia proposed a convention of commissioners to improve the condition of trade and commerce. These commissioners met and recommended Congress to call a General Convention to revise the Articles of Confederation. This convention assembled in May, 1787, in Philadelphia; all the States except Rhode Island being represented. George Washington was chosen president. The members of this convention were the representatives of a people who had proved their firmness and attachment to liberty during a long war and against great difficulties. The delegates were men of tried patriotism, and the event has proved their wise and discrimi

nating foresight. The system of government they planned is their most eloquent eulogy. The severe tests to which the expansion of the nation and the conflicts of sections and interests have subjected it, have served only the more fully to revea! how perfectly they comprehended the principles of a republican government, and their singular skill in arrangement. They combined the utmost vigor with the greatest security of rights. It is a glorious monument to their political insight. They, themselves, were not aware how profound was the wisdom, how complete the adaptation of its provisions. They signed it with many misgivings, on the 17th of September, 1787, after four months of diligent labor. It was then presented to the people for their ratification. They were cautious and prudent in those times, and could not appreciate as we do now, the extreme value of the work that had been accomplished. Time was required to bring out its excellences, and show how few and comparatively unimportant were its defects. It was examined with careful attention, and finally adopted as follows:

By Convention of Delaware....

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.7th December, 1787 12th December, 1787

18th December, 1787

..2d January, 1788 ..9th January, 1788 ...6th February, 1788

.28th April, 1788

3rd May, 1788

.21st June, 1788

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...26th June, 1788

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..29th May, 1790

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New York....

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North Carolina......21st November, 1789

As shown above, two years passed before it was finally ratified by all the States. Both the delay and the final unanimity in its acceptance, giving testimony to the prudence and thoughtfulness of the people.

Electors of President and Vice-President were chosen in the winter of 1788-1789. March 4th had been appointed as the time for the government to go into operation, but a delay in assembling the members of Congress deferred the inauguration of Washington, as first President, until April 30th. Congress immediately organized the new government, and, in conjunction with the President, appointed the necessary officers. Some minor provisions were added or changed by the first Congress in the manner provided by the Constitution itself, that is, by a two-thirds vote in both Houses, and ratification by three-fourths of the States.

Ten amendments were made at this time. The eleventh amendment was added in 1794. The twelfth in 1803. The thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth amendments have been added since 1863.

A resolution to amend is passed by the requisite majorities in both Houses, sent to the legislatures of the States, and, when three-fourths of them have approved it, the Secretary of State causes the resolution and amendment to be published in all the States and Territories, and it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.

Containing the wisest provisions of English law, it rejects all that is not in harmony with our circumstances, and our fun damental doctrine that all men have equal rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This it keeps continually in view, and, by the sense of dignity and worth which it tends to promote in the humblest man, gradually educates him up to the standard necessary for a free citizen, and, by its respect for the rights of all, tends to induce in each the same disposition.

The wisest men of the Republic, by infusing into this document their own self-respect, and respect for others, gave tone and direction to all the future. Their own characters were so far imparted to their work as to exert a salutary influence on the destiny of the people whose fundamental law they compiled.

This document is the law of the land, obliging the highest

to obedience, to justice, and right, and raising the lowest to an equal share in its political privileges, and to its vigorous protection. Consequently a steady improvement in these respects has marked the growth of the country, and the benign influence of this respect for man and his rights has gone forth from the American Republic as a Regenerator among the nations of the earth.



WE, the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this CONSTITUTION for the United States of America.


SECTION 1. All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

SEC. 2. The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several States, and the electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State Legislature.

No person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the age of twenty-five years, and been seven years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all other persons. The actual

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