« ZurückWeiter »
riod of six years. These articles are inserted in the next chapter, that the reader and the student may perceive by what progressive steps, wisdom and experience have brought us to our present inestimable constitution.
Every American who loves his country, and every youth who is growing up to succeed to the precious inheritance of his fathers, will learn to love that country more, and better to prize that inheritance by tracing the rugged way which has been passed over in arriving at a free and united and at the same time efficient government.
Questions on Chapter II. with Explanations.
What is stated in the Declaration of Inde. pendence as the reason for declaring the causes of our separation from Great Britain ? Re. late the truths which this declaration affirms to be self-evident. What is meant by all men being created equal ? Ans. Not that they are created equal in mental or personal endowments, but that they are politically equal, that is, the mere circumstance of birth makes no difference in their rights. Birth confers no
rights on one which are not possessed by all. The sons of the rich and of the poor, of the high and the low are all equally capable of aspiring to the highest offices of the government and all have an equal right to protection. This declaration seems to have been intended as a blow at the notion of men being born rulers and with hereditary privileges. What are unalienable rights ? Ans.
Rights of which the possessor can by no means be di. vested; he can neither strip himself of them, nor be stripped by others. This declaration is, however, to be understood with some limitation. It does not intend that a man may not by crime forfeit these rights. He may by crime, render it necessary to the well-being of society, that he should by law be deprived of them. What is said to be the object for which human governments are instituted ? Whence, is it said, human governments derive their just
This declaration too, seems to be directed against the notion of forms of government, and rulers imposed upon the people by a few against the will of the many. It is a de. claration that the people have a right to form or to alter their governments, and to choose their rulers ; indeed, this is expressly declared
in the remaining part of the period. Why should not governments long established, be changed for light and transient causes ? Ans. Because of the evils which are always incident to change, and of the danger of making matters worse instead of better. What has been the general practice of mankind on this subject as shown by experience? In what cases is it affirmed to be the right and the duty of mankind to throw off their government and establish others ? The truths, affirmed in this declaration to be so plain as to require no proof, or self-evident, strike at the very foundation of the systems of government in almost all countries of the earth except America. Their express purport is that governments are made for the people, and not the people for the governments, a truth which tyranny and igno. rance have been most lamentably successful in smothering and keeping from the light of the world. Relate some of the facts submitted to the world by the colonies, as reasons for changing their government. Was there any regularly formed union between the Colonies at the time of the Declaration of Independence? When and by whom were articles of union begun to be prepared ? When was the instrument completed and approved by Congress ? To whom
was it then sent for ratification ? When was it finally ratified by all the thirteen States ? What State was the last to give her assent ? How long was Congress in agreeing upon the articles of union? How long were they in receiving the sanction of the State legislatures? Why was so much time required ? What was the cause which induced the States to agree to a union ? Would any other cause have been sufficient? What lesson should the citizens of the different States learn from observ. ing the difficulties attending the formation of our union ? What was the instrument containing the articles of union termed? How long did these articles remain in force ?
ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION.
TO ALL TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS SHALL COME,
We, the undersigned 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 seventy-seven, and in the second year of the independence of America, agree to certain articles of confederation and perpetual union between the states of New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island 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 New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Isl