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vite each state to send delegates to a meeting for a mere informal discussion of the questions agitating the United States at that time. Upon the receipt of this communication from Maryland, Virginia issued a general invitation to the other states to send commissioners to a meeting to be held at Annapolis, on the first Monday of September, 1786.
The Annapolis gathering proved to be a failure; only five states were represented—Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. The states represented were too few to take any action on the question of governmental reform. Rather than adjourn, however, without doing anything, they adopted an address prepared by Alexander Hamilton, which they sent to the several states. In this address the states were urged to assemble at Philadelphia on the second Monday of the following May, 1787, “to devise such further provisions as shall appear to them to be necessary to render the Constitution of the Federal Government adequate to the exigencies of the Union, and to report to Congress such an act as when agreed to by them, and confirmed by the legislatures of every state, would effectually provide for the same.' An effort was made in October to secure the endorsement of Congress for this convention, but without avail. The evils of the Articles of Confederation, however, were manifested during the winter of 1786-87, as never before, and early in 1787 Congress receded from its position and issued a call for a convention, identical as to the time and place of its assembling with the one called by the Annapolis convention.
New Hampsbire, Rhode Island and North Carolina had each appointed commissioners who did not attend.
None had been appointed by Connecticut, Maryland, South Carolina or Georgia.
THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION.
$ 64. Revolutionary Character of the Federal Convention. The Federal Constitutional Convention of 1787 was, in the strict sense of the word, a revolutionary body, and this, in spite of the fact that the call under which it met was ratified by the Congress of the United States. No such body as this Constitutional Convention was authorized or even permissible under the Articles of Confederation, whether meeting under the call of Congress or not. By the express terms of the Articles of Confederation the Union of the states, thereunder, was to be perpetual, and no change was to be made in the terms of the agreement between them except by the unanimous consent of the thir· teen states. The history of the four years succeeding the treaty of peace with England, however, had shown to the United States, and to the American people, that it was neither possible for the United States to exist under the Articles of Confederation, nor to amend these articles according to the law prescribed therein for adopting amendments. If the pioneer American Republic was not to go down in failure it was necessary to disregard the provisions of the discredited Articles of Confederation and to substitute a new and more perfect form of government by the authority of the direct will of the people themselves, in whom the ultimate sovereignty must reside in every free country. The stamp of approval placed by Congress upon the Constitutional Convention strengthened the influence of the body, but could not free it from its revolutionary character. The convention stood, therefore, in the position of being without authority of law, but resting for justification upon the practical necessities of the situation, and the support and approval of the great mass of American citizens.
$ 65. Character of the Works of the Convention.--The Constitutional Convention prepared a new system and framework of government. The constitution which it drew up was a radical departure from the Articles of Confederation; it re-created the entire government and substituted for the loose "league of friendship" a united nation; and yet, in spite of the important epoch which the Constitution marked, and the radical change which it effected, the Constitution of the United States contains very little that was original with its creators; it was constructed in the main by the adoption of such tried political principles as seemed best adapted to the conditions existing at that time in the United States.
The framers of our Constitution seemed to have learned the great historical lesson that no framework of government which is to be either successful or enduring can be created by any convention by a priore reasoning, without regard to past or existing conditions. The Fundamental Constitution for the Carolinas, or the ephemeral constitutions of France, like Pallas, may spring full grown from the head of their creator. Not so with the enduring constitutions of the Anglo-Saxon. Such constitutions are the cumulations of evolutionary growth; the products of the ages which have gone before. The lessons and experiences of four continents and thirty centuries lent their aid toward the formation of our Federal Constitution. The necessity of the hour brought about its formulation and adoption.
What then were the sources from which the framers of the Federal Constitution drew their material? First and foremost stand the Constitutions of the different states. It has been said that every provision of the Constitution of the United States, which has worked well, was suggested by some provision in the Constitution of some state, and that every provision which was not so suggested has worked poorly. Such a statement is too broad to be wholly true, but it serves to illustrate the importance of this source. For example, the compromise which saved the Constitution when the convention was about to break up on the question of representation in Congress, was suggested by a provision of Connecticut's Constitution. The Constitution of Maryland furnished the suggestion which settled the method for the election of the President.2
'A plan of government modeled linas by John Locke and Sir Ashon Feudal principles drawn up ley Cooper. for the government of the Caro
Next in importance among the sources from which the United States Constitution was drawn was the English system of government. It was the English system of government, however, as laid down by Blackstone, and as understood by Americans generally at that time, which served as a guide to the Constitution makers rather than the English government as it really existed. Like Blackstone, the members of the Constitutional Convention were looking solely at the letter of the law, and not its spirit. They were acquainted with the laws of the Constitution, but not with its conventions. They saw the three branches of the legislative power without appreciating the supremacy of Parliament, and more especially of the House of Commons. To them the executive power appeared vested in the king rather than in the ministry. The closest copying from English law appears in the American Bill of Rights, in which various provisions of the Magna Charta, or English Bill of Rights, are embodied in the Constitution or first ten amendments almost verbatim. It should be added that the State Constitutions were largely based on English law, and thus much that was copied from them came indirectly from England. Some, however, of the most valuable provisions suggested by the State Constitutions have nothing resembling them in the English law or constitution.
A recent writer has made an efforts to make out a Dutch origin for American institutions. The free school, the written ballot and some features of the township system may be traced largely to Dutch sources, but we find little trace of Dutch influence in the Constitution itself. The Dutch Republic was, however, of service to the framers of our Constitution, as furnishing a forcible example of the evils attending an undue exal
? The members of the Maryland Senate were in early times chosen indirectly by electors who were themselves chosen by the general
body of voters.
Douglas Campbell, in “Puritan in Holland, England, and America,”
tation of the power of local government. The Articles of Confederation were also of benefit as showing what to avoid, rather than as presenting many features worthy of retention. Certain provisions of these articles, however, in a slightly modified form, appear in the Constitution, noticeable among these being the clause relative to the reciprocal rights of the citizens of the several states.
The period during which the Convention met was one of a great revival of classical study. The minds of the people were filled with admiration of the character and institutions of the ancient Romans. Much of this sentiment is to be found in the speeches in the Constitutional Convention, but little evidence of Roman influence is to be found in the text of the Constitution, except in the name of the upper branch of the legislative body, and this was a name already in use in eleven of the states.
$ 66. The Members of the Constitutional Convention. Fifty-five delegates sat in the Federal Convention. With few, if any, exceptions, these delegates were men of integrity, ability and standing in the community. It can probably be said that in these respects this convention averaged better than any other representative body which has ever met in America. The most famous of the delegates were George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. The work of the two former in the framing of the Constitution was slight. Washington's position as presiding officer taking him out of the turmoil of the convention's work, while Franklin's advanced age prevented him from playing the important role which he would naturally have taken at an earlier date. Perhaps the most valuable work done by them in the convention was the influence which they exerted towards harmonizing the conflicting interests of the convention, and in keeping the convention together, when time after time it seemed about to break up on some one of the many difficult problems which confronted it. Alexander Hamilton was handicapped in his work in the convention by being opposed in all respects by a majority of the delegation from his own state and by holding far more conservative views on the proper form of government to be created than any other delegate in the convention. His work in the framing of the Con