stitution of a Nation and not a league of States. In 1861 the people of a portion of the States claimed the right of peaceable secession, because, as they affirmed, the government was a league. Had it been so understood when the adoption of the Constitution was under discussion in the State convenons in 1788, those who were the most strongly opposed to it would have been the most eager to adopt it.




T the birth of the Nation, July 4th, 1776, there were thirteen States; there are now, 1890, forty-two. The Constitution went into operation when only eleven had ratified it; but the other two gave their ratifications shortly after— North Carolina, November 21st of the same year; and Rhode Island on the 29th of May, 1790. The relation of these two to the others, if they had refused to ratify, has been discussed in a former chapter (page 243).

Congress has admitted twenty-nine new States into the Union. Of these twelve were formed from territory belonging to the United States or to individual States when the Constitution was adopted, and nine of the others came from the Louisiana purchase.

Vermont, March 4, 1791.

The first State admitted into the Union after the adoption of the Constitution was VERMONT. The people of Vermont, in January, 1777, proclaimed themselves a free and independent State. In December of that year the same convention which had proclaimed the independence of the State, adopted and put into operation a constitution. But as the territory was claimed by New York opposition was made by that State to her admission into the Union. It was not till the year after the Constitution of the United States went into operation that New York, by her commissioner, consented to relinquish her claim to soil with Consent and jurisdiction, Vermont paying the sum of thirty thousand dollars. The formal consent of New York was given March 6th, 1790, by her legislature. Appli


New York.

cation was made by Vermont for admission February 9th, 1791, and an act, to take effect on the 4th of March, was approved February 18th. Vermont, the first of the new States, thus became an integral part of the Union March 4th, 1791. She came in with the constitution which her convention had adopted fourteen years before, and which has remained substantially the same to the present time.

Kentucky, June 1, 1792, from Virginia.

KENTUCKY was the next new State; it was admitted June 1st, 1792. As Vermont was formed from a part of New York, so Kentucky was formed from a part of Virginia. The question of forming a new State from that portion of Virginia known as the District of Kentucky, began to be agitated as early as 1784. A number of conventions were held, but no results followed till December 18th, 1789, when Virginia passed an act giving her consent to a separation, to take place June 1st, 1792. On the 4th of February, 1791, Congress, in answer to a petition from a convention in Kentucky, consented to her admission, which was to take place June 1st, 1792, according to the agreement with Virginia.

Tennessee, June 1, 1796.

The third State admitted into the Union was TENNESSEE, June 1st, 1796. This was originally a part of North Carolina. Like Vermont, Tennessee had early in the war with Great Britain proclaimed herself independent, and she had set up a government separate from North Carolina. She called herself the State of Frankland (or Franklin), elected officers, and attempted to defend herself by force of arms. The attempt was, however, unsuccessful.

Cession by

On the 25th of February, 1790, North Carolina made a cession to the United States of her claim to the territory lying between the mountains and the Mississippi, with this among other conditions: "That the territory so ceded shall be laid out and formed into a State or States, containing a suitable extent of territory, the inhabitants of which shall enjoy all the privileges, benefits, and

advantages set forth in the ordinance of the late Congress for the government of the western territory of the United States."


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On the 2d of April of the same year, Congress accepted the cession, and on the 26th of May passed an act organizing the "Territory of the United States south of the river Ohio." In July, 1795, the territorial legislature ordered a census to be taken to ascertain whether the population amounted to 60,000, this number entitling the Territory to admission into the Union as a State by the terms of the ordinance of 1787 and the deed of cession. The census showing a sufficient population, a convention was called to form a State constitution. This body met in January, 1796, and on the 6th of February adopted a constitution. A copy was forwarded to the President of the United States in the same month, with a notification that on the 28th of March the territorial government would cease. The peculiar action of Tennessee in demanding rather than asking admission into the Union is to be explained by her understanding of the ordinance of 1787. A very earnest debate followed, but finally an act for admission was passed; it was approved June 1st. Tennessee was the first State admitted which had been previously governed as a Territory.1


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Ohio Admitted, Feb. 19, 1803.

There had been thus three new States admitted into the Union before the close of the century: Vermont, Kentucky, and Tennessee. The first in this century was ОнIO, admitted February 19th, 1803; which, though the seventeenth at the time of her admission, has long held the third rank in population. The old States had ceded to the United States all their claims of jurisdiction, and, with a few

1 The Census returns and some other official publications make Kentucky a part of the "Territory of the U. S. south of the river Ohio," and the same error is found in various other works. This Territory, organized May 26th, 1790, was limited to that ceded by North Carolina and a strip by South Carolina. Kentucky was regarded as a part of Virginia, and as such was admitted into the Union. Virginia had given her consent to the admission of Kentucky before North Carolina had made her cession, and before the Territory south of the Ohio had been organized.


exceptions, of soil, to territory lying north-west of the Ohio On the 13th of July, 1787, while the Convention was framing the Constitution at Philadelphia, Congress The Ordinance at New York passed an "Ordinance for the govof 1787. ernment of the territory of the United States north-west of the River Ohio" This was the most important act performed by Congress under the Articles of Confederation. "Never, probably, in the history of the world, did a measure of legislation so accurately fulfill, and yet so mightily exceed, the anticipations of the legislators." 1

Its object was declared to be to "extend the fundamental principles of civil and religious liberty which form the basis whereon these republics, their laws and constitutions are erected; to fix and establish those principles as the basis of all laws, constitutions, and governments which forever hereafter shall be formed in the said Territory." (The ordinance in full may be found in the Appendix.) 2

The North-west Territory.

The Territory embraced all the land which belonged to the United States north-west of the Ohio River, and all to which Great Britain had any claim at the time of the treaty of 1783. It extended from Pennsylvania to the Mississippi, and from the Ohio to the great lakes. The ordinance provided for its division into three States, or five if the people should prefer. Five States have been organized: Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The territorial government was organized soon after the passage of the ordinance. The government was vested in a Governor and Judges; but when there should be 5,000 free

1 Chase's Statutes of Ohio.

This ordinance was enacted immediately after an association of Revolutionary officers had proposed to Congress to buy a large tract of land on the Ohio for the purpose of settlement. These men wanted the protection of a good government, and this ordinance was framed in accordance with their wishes. Some of its best provisions are known to have been incorporated at the suggestion of the agent of the association, Rev. Manasseh Cutler, of Massachusetts. The settlement was made at Marietta, April 7th, 1788, under the leadership of General Rufus Putnam.

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