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On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire ratified it,
and, being the ninth State, its provisions became operative throughout
the Union. North Carolina and Rhode Island did not assent, and the
Constitution went into effect without their vote. These two States had
issued a good deal of paper money, and disliked the Constitution because
it forbade such action. The opposition of the other States was caused by
the fear that too much power was conferred upon the central government.
To remove this not wholly unreasonable objection, the first ten
amendments were adopted and ratified in 1791.


FEATURES OF THE CONSTITUTION.

The Constitution supplied the great requirement without which the
government itself would have been a nullity: the power to act supplanted
the power simply to advise. The government consists of three
departments: a legislative or Congress, which makes the laws; an
executive department, consisting of the President and his officers, to
execute the laws made by Congress; and a judiciary department (the
Federal courts), which decides disputed questions under the laws. The
Constitution is our supreme law and must be obeyed by the general
government, the State governments, and the people; if not, the general
government punishes the offender.

Congress, or the legislative department, consists of two branches, the
Senate and House of Representatives. Each State, no matter what its
population, is entitled to two Senators, who serve for six years and are
elected by the respective State Legislatures; the Representatives are
apportioned according to the population, are voted for directly by the
people, and serve for two years. In this admirable manner, each State is
protected by its Senators against any encroachment upon its rights,
while the populous States receive the recognition to which they are
entitled through the House of Representatives.

Congress, the two branches acting together, lay taxes, borrow money,
regulate commerce, coin money, establish post offices, declare war,
raise and support armies and navies, and employ militia to suppress
insurrections. All States are forbidden to do any of these things,
except to impose their own taxes, borrow for themselves, and employ
their own militia. A majority of each house is enough to pass any bill,
unless the President within ten days thereafter vetoes the act (that is,
objects to it), when a two-thirds vote of each branch is necessary to
make it a law. Treaties made by the President do not go into effect
until approved by a two-thirds vote of the Senate.

[Illustration: HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.]

The executive department is vested in the President, chosen every four
years by electors, who are voted for by the people. The President is
commander-in-chief of the army and navy and appoints the majority of
officers, it being necessary that most of the appointments shall be
confirmed by the Senate. In case of misconduct, the President is to be
impeached (charged with misconduct) by the House of Representatives and
tried by the Senate. If convicted and removed, or if he should die or
resign or be unable to perform the duties of his office, the
Vice-President takes his place and becomes President. With this
exception, the Vice-President presides over the Senate, with no power to
vote except in case of a tie. No provision was made for a successor in
the event of the death of the Vice-President, but in 1886 the
Presidential Succession Law was passed, which provides that, in case of
the death or disability of the President and Vice-President, the order
of succession shall be the secretaries of State, of the treasury, of
war, the attorney-general, the postmaster-general, and the secretaries
of the navy and of the interior.

The judiciary department, or power to decide upon the constitutionality
of laws, was given to one supreme court and such inferior courts as
Congress should establish. The judges are appointed by the President and
Senate and hold office during life or good behavior. The State courts
have the power of appeal to the supreme court of the United States,
whose decision is final, the questions being necessarily based upon
offenses against any law of Congress, or upon the doubtful meaning of a
law, or the doubt of the constitutional power of Congress to pass a law.

At the time of the adoption of the Constitution, three-fifths of the
slaves were to be counted in calculating the population for the
Representatives. Fugitive slaves were to be arrested in the States to
which they had fled. New Territories were to be governed by Congress,
which body admits the new States as they are formed. Each State is
guaranteed a republican form of government, and the vote of
three-fourths of the States can change the Constitution through the
means of amendments. The provisions regarding slavery, as a matter of
course, lost their effect upon the abolishment of the institution at the
close of the Civil War.


THE ORDINANCE OF 1787.

Congress remained in session in New York, while the Philadelphia
convention was at work upon the Constitution, and during that period
organized a territorial government for the immense region northwest of
the Ohio, which belonged to the United States. The enterprising nature
of the American people asserted itself, and hundreds of emigrants began
making their way into that fertile section, where the best of land could
be had for the asking. But the Indians were fierce and warred
continually against the settlers. Most of these had been soldiers in the
Revolution, and they generally united for mutual protection. The Ohio
Company was formed in 1787, and, in order to assist it, Congress passed
the Ordinance of 1787, of which mention has been made.

Slavery was forever forbidden in the Territory northwest of the Ohio,
and the inhabitants were guaranteed full religious freedom, trial by
jury, and equal political and civil privileges. The governors of the
Territory were to be appointed by Congress until the population was
sufficient to permit the organization of five separate States, which
States should be the equal in every respect of the original thirteen.
From the Territory named the powerful and prosperous States of Ohio,
Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin were afterward formed.


SETTLEMENT OF THE WEST.

The Indian titles to 17,000,000 acres of land in the Territory had been
extinguished by treaties with the leading tribes, despite which the red
men contested the advancing settlers with untiring ferocity. Flatboats
were attacked on their way down the Ohio, and the families massacred;
blockhouses were assailed, and the smoke of the settlers' burning cabins
lit the skies at night. The pioneer path to the fertile region was
crimsoned by the blood of those who hewed their way through the western
wilderness.

Until formed into States, the region was known as _The Northwestern
Territory_. In 1788, Rufus Putnam, of Massachusetts, at the head of
forty pioneers, founded the settlement of Marietta, and within the same
year 20,000 people erected their homes in the region that had been
visited by Daniel Boone and others nearly twenty years before.

No sooner had the ninth State ratified the Constitution than the
Congress of the Confederation named March 4, 1789, as the day on which,
in the city of New York, the new government should go into effect.

The time had come for the selection of the first President of the United
States, and it need not be said that the name of only one
man--WASHINGTON--was in people's thoughts. So overmastering was the
personality of that great man that he was the only one mentioned, and
what is most significant of all, not a politician or leader in the
country had the effrontery to hint that he had placed himself "in the
hands of his friends" in the race for the presidency. Had he done so, he
would have been buffeted into eternal obscurity.

Whatever may be said of the ingratitude of republics, it can never be
charged that the United States was ungrateful to Washington. The people
appreciated his worth from the first, and there was no honor they would
not have gladly paid him.


THE FIRST PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.

The date of the 4th of March was fixed without special reason for
launching the new government, and it has been the rule ever since,
though it often falls upon the most stormy and unpleasant day of the
whole year. Some of the States were so slow in sending their
representatives to New York, that more than a month passed before a
quorum of both houses appeared. When the electoral vote for the
President was counted, it was found that every one of the sixty-nine had
been cast for Washington. The law was that the person receiving the next
highest number became Vice-President. This vote was: John Adams, of
Massachusetts, 34; John Jay, of New York, 9; R.H. Harrison, of Maryland,
6; John Rutledge, of South Carolina, 6; John Hancock, of Massachusetts,
4; George Clinton, of New York, 3; Samuel Huntington, of Connecticut, 2;
John Milton, of Georgia, 2; James Armstrong, of Georgia, Benjamin
Lincoln, of Massachusetts, and Edward Telfair, of Georgia, 1 vote each.
Vacancies (votes not cast).

John Adams, of Massachusetts, therefore, became the first
Vice-President.

[Illustration: AN OLD INDIAN FARM-HOUSE.]




CHAPTER VIII.

ADMINISTRATIONS OF WASHINGTON, JOHN ADAMS, AND JEFFERSON--1789-1809.

Washington--His Inauguration as First President of the United
States--Alexander Hamilton--His Success at the Head of the Treasury
Department--The Obduracy of Rhode Island--Establishment of the United
States Bank--Passage of a Tariff Bill--Establishment of a Mint--The Plan
of a Federal Judiciary--Admission of Vermont, Kentucky, and
Tennessee--Benjamin Franklin--Troubles with the Western Indians--Their
Defeat by General Wayne--Removal of the National Capital Provided
for--The Whiskey Insurrection--The Course of "Citizen Genet"--Jay's
Treaty--Re-election of Washington--Resignation of Jefferson and
Hamilton--Washington's Farewell Address--Establishment of the United
States Military Academy at West Point--The Presidential Election of
1796--John Adams--Prosperity of the Country--Population of the Country
in 1790--Invention of the Cotton Gin--Troubles with France--War on the
Ocean--Washington Appointed Commander-in-Chief--Peace Secured--The Alien
and Sedition Laws--The Census of 1800--The Presidential Election of
1800--The Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution--Thomas
Jefferson--Admission of Ohio--The Indiana Territory--The Purchase of
Louisiana--Its Immense Area--Abolishment of the Slave Trade--War with
Tripoli--The Lewis and Clark Expedition--Alexander Hamilton Killed in a
Duel by Aaron Burr--The First Steamboat on the Hudson--The First Steamer
to Cross the Atlantic--England's Oppressive Course Toward the United
States--Outrage by the British Ship _Leander_--The Affair of the
_Leopard_ and _Chesapeake_--Passage of the Embargo Act--The Presidential
Election of 1808.

[Illustration: MARY BALL, AFTERWARD THE MOTHER OF GEORGE WASHINGTON.]


WASHINGTON.

The name of Washington will always stand peerless and unapproachable on
the pages of human history.



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