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assembled which formed the existing Constitution of the United States. The main object of this Convention was to make the Government of the United States not so much a union of States as a Government over individuals; or, in other words, to make a consolidation, not a federation, of the States-to establish the United States as a single nation, not as a united assembly of political societies.

The difference between national and federal provisions, between a nation and a federation, cannot be too strongly insisted on, as in that difference resides the distinction between a stable and unstable form of government; between the American Constitution, which has already lasted nearly one hundred years, and the American Confederacy, which managed to keep up a frail and feverish being' for a term of somewhat less than ten years.

This distinction between Federalism and Nationalism is best illustrated by taking an example of taxation. Suppose the Central Government in America, some ninety-six years ago, to have required a sum of thirteen millions for its war budget. As a Confederacy, it would have made a requisition of a million on each State (assuming the States to be liable in equal sums). As a Congress under the existing Constitution, it would have imposed a tax on all its subjects in the thirteen States to an amount capable of producing thirteen millions. In the former case, if a State refused to pay its quota, war was the only remedy; in the latter case, if any individual declined to pay his taxes, the United States tax-gatherer distrained on his goods to an amount sufficient to defray the debt. Default in the one case created a civil debt, enforced by the usual civil remedies; in the other case it involved a disruption of the States and civil war. This organisation of a State in which certain powers are exercised by the central Government, and certain other powers by a subordinate government, is in principle as familiar to an Englishman as to an American.

A citizen of London has a twofold citizenship. He He is a citizen of a particular town-he is also an Englishman or citizen of England; in precisely the same manner as a citizen of New York is a citizen of the State of New York and also of the United States. The one obeys the laws of the State of New York as well as the laws of the United States; the other obeys the laws (or by-laws as they are called) of the City of London as well as the laws of England. Suppose for a moment London to be clothed with full powers of local government as a State or a Colony is clothed, and the resemblance would be complete. A Londoner and a citizen of New York would stand in the same position in relation to the central Government and to the government of their own district.


If the above distinction between federal' and national,' a confederacy, and a nation, is clearly grasped, and if at the same time it is borne in mind that each State had full powers of local

government, the American Constitution will be readily understood. The scheme was shortly as follows:-

The central powers of government were divided into three classes: (1) The legislative; (2) the executive; (3) the judicial. The legislative powers were vested in Congress; the executive in the President; the judicial in the Supreme Court of the United States, with subordinate district United States' Courts.

Congress consists of two Houses-the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House of Representatives is elected every two years. The electors are in each State the same persons who elect the more numerous branch of the Legislature in that State. The number of representatives sent by each State is determined by the population of the State as ascertained by a decennial census, with the restriction that each State must have at least one representative, and that the number of representatives is not to exceed one for every 30,000 inhabitants. The Senate is composed of two senators from each State, chosen for six years by the Legislature of the State. The senators go out of office by a triennial rotation.

The President holds his office for four years, and is chosen in a somewhat complex manner. The inhabitants of each State select an electoral body equal in number to that of the representatives which the State returns to both Houses of Congress. The sole function of this body is to elect the President. They meet at some place in the State and ballot for the President. They return to the Senate the name of the person on whom the choice falls and the President of the Senate declares the person in favour of whom a majority vote to be the President of the Republic.

The Judges of the Supreme Court of the United States are appointed by the President with the consent of the Senate; and, subject to any alterations which may be made by Congress, the Judges of the Inferior Courts of the United States are appointed in the same manner. The Judges both of the Supreme and Inferior Courts of the United States hold their offices during good behaviour. Such is the constitution of the governing bodies of the United States. The powers are distributed as follows:

The Congress has power

1. To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts, and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.

2. To borrow money on the credit of the United States.

3. To regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes.

4. To establish a uniform rule of naturalisation and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcy throughout the United States.

5. To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures.

6. To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States.

7. To establish post-offices and post-roads.

8. To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited terms to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.

9. To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court.

10. To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas and offences against the law of nations.

11. To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water.

12. To raise and support armies; but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years.

13. To provide and maintain a navy.

14. To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces.

15. To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions.

16. To provide for organising, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively the appointment of officers and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.

17. To exercise exclusive jurisdiction in all cases whatsoever over such district (not exceeding ten miles square) as may by cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the State in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings; and

18. To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into effect the foregoing powers and all other powers vested by the Constitution in the Government of the United States or in any department or officer thereof.

The powers vested in Congress are supplemented by corresponding restrictions on the States :

1. No State shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation, grant letters of marque and reprisal, coin money, emit bills of credit, make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts, pass any bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts, or grant any title of nobility.

2. No State shall without the consent of the Congress lay any imposts or duties on imports or exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing its respective laws; and the net produce of all duties and imposts laid by any State on imports or exports shall be for the Treasury of the United States, and all such laws shall be subject to the revision and control of the Congress. No State shall without the consent of Congress lay any duty of tonnage, keep troops, or ships of war in time of peace, enter into any agreement or compact with another State or with a foreign power, or engage in war unless actually invaded or in such imminent danger as not to admit of delay.*

By the constitution of the United States, all powers not reserved to the United States Government are left to the constituent States. On the other hand, by the British North America Act, 1867, establishing the Dominion of Canada, all powers not vested in the Dominion Government or the Provincial Legislatures are reserved to the Imperial Government. The difference is instructive. In the first case, independent States were called upon to resign a portion of their powers to a Central Government for the sake of securing the common safety. In the latter case, the Imperial Government volunteered to surrender a portion of its powers for the purpose of gratifying the natural desire of the North American colonies for

So much for the legislative powers. The President is commanderin-chief of the army and navy of the United States, and of the militia of the States when called into the actual service of the United States. He has power by and with the advice and consent of the Senate to make treaties (provided two-thirds of the Senate present concur), and he nominates, and, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoints ambassadors and other public ministers and consuls.

The judicial power is vested in one Supreme Court and in such Inferior Courts as Congress may from time to time establish. The judicial power extends to all cases in law and equity arising under the Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties, to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, to controversies to which the United States are a party, to controversies between two or more States, between a State and citizens of another State, between citizens of different States, between citizens of the same State claiming land under grants of different States, and between a State or the citizens thereof and foreign States, citizens, or subjects.

At first sight the Constitution of the United States has somewhat of a foreign appearance. There is a strangeness to an Englishman in finding that the powers of Congress are fixed and immovable, and that no alteration can take place in the relations between Congress and the constituent States, however great may be the majority in Congress in favour of such an alteration. He cannot readily

such a measure of freedom as was consistent with the integrity of the empire. The local powers exercised by the States are so numerous that it is impossible to enumerate them. The principal are public works, police, levying taxes other than Imperial taxes, education, the land laws, subject to the obligation as to contracts-indeed, every other power which is not an Imperial power as explained above.

5 The Constitution of the United States is not absolutely unchangeable. The fifth article provides that the Congress, whenever two-thirds of both Houses deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to the Constitution, and that such amendments shall be valid when ratified by the Legislatures of three-fourths of the several States. In pursuance of these provisions, fifteen articles have been added. Of these, twelve were passed in or before 1804, when the number of States was comparatively small. The Constitution then had rest for sixty-five years, when on the conclusion of the War of Secession, three fresh articles were passed relating to slavery and consequential on its abolition. The difficulty of making an amendment may be judged of by the fact that there are at present thirty-eight States in the Union. The concurrence, therefore, of 29 Legislatures-that is to say, as each Legislature consists of two houses, of 58 representative bodies-must be obtained to any change. It is true that the fifth article above referred to proposes an alternative, by means of special conventions of the United States and of the constituent States, but this power has never been exercised, and is never likely to be, as its operation would be more tedious and difficult than the course before mentioned (see Maine on Popular Government, pp. 242-3).

It is material also to observe that the framers of the American Constitution, while conceding full powers in local matters to the State Legislatures, did not forget to protect individual interests. The above cited restrictions on the States contain a very Magna Charta of vested interests, by providing that no State shall pass a law 'impairing the obligation of contracts.' The effect of this clause is to prevent the

banish from his thoughts the maxim ingrained in the Constitution of England of the supremacy of Parliament and the impossibility of Parliament pledging itself not to alter the relations between the Mother-country and her Colonies. Apart, however, from this fundamental distinction, there is a family likeness between the American and English Constitutions. The framers of the American document went to Blackstone for the powers vested in Congress and the President. They took Blackstone's enumeration of the prerogatives of the Crown and made them into a statute. Having done this, they substituted a President and Congress for the Queen and the two Houses of Parliament, and conferred on them the above-mentioned prerogatives, securing the liberties of the States by providing that the powers of the central Government should be limited, and that all matters the control over which was not vested by the Constitution in the central Government should be within the exclusive jurisdiction of the States.

We will now proceed to notice the most material points in which the Constitution of the United States differed from the previous Articles of Confederation.

1. The Constitution was not, as was the Confederacy, a mere compact between independent States from which any one State might withdraw at pleasure, but was declared to be the supreme law of the land. In other words, the laws were national not federal, binding on individuals and not on communities, and, as a necessary consequence, the nation of the United States was provided with a complete machinery of courts and officials for the purpose of enforcing its laws against individuals without requiring any aid, or indeed admitting of any interference, on the part of the States to which the individuals belonged, or of the State Courts.

2. The nation of the United States, unlike the Confederacy, had complete power of raising money for its national wants, not by making requisitions on the separate States, but by imposing taxes on individuals and levying them by its own officers.

State Legislature from in any way interfering with the rights of private property, or even with the property of private corporations. For example, it was held by the Supreme Court in the case of Dartmouth College that the Legislature of New Hampshire could not, without the consent of the corporation, pass an Act transferring the franchises of the College from the old charter trustees to new trustees, and the Act attempting to make that transfer was held to be utterly void, as impairing the obligation of the charters.

A like regard for securing the necessary confidence between man and man is to be noticed in the provision that no State shall emit bills of credit, or make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts; while the prohibition of bills of attainder and ex post facto Acts protects individual liberty from legislative despotism, and individual property from legislative confiscation.

• By amendments made to the Constitution, further and ample provision was made for the protection of the lives and property of citizens of the States from any infringement by State legislation. The amendments have not been set out in the text, as they are not material to the argument.

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