September 17th, 1787
|Dr.Naomi Yavneh Klos at the Constitution of 1787 Case|
Since there was no Supreme Court, the USCA was the final authority on the new constitution judicially as well as legislatively. Virginia Delegate Richard Henry Lee would lead the “9-13 opposition” that insisted on unanimous 13 State convention ratification rather than 9. Lee also sought to amend the new constitution. Melancton Smith writes of Lee:
RH LEE -- The convention had not proceeded as this house were bound; it is to be agreed to by the States & means the 13; but this recommends a new Confederation of nine; the Convention has no more powers than Congress, yet if nine States agree becomes supreme Law. Knows no instance on the Journals as he remembers, opposing the Confederation the impost was to be adopted by 13. This is to be adopted & no other with alteration Why so? good things in it; but many bad; so much so that he says here as he will say everywhere that if adopted civil Liberty will be in eminent danger.
Strangest doctrine he ever heard, that referring a matter of report, that no alterations should be made. The Idea the common sense of Man. The States & Congress he thinks had the Idea that congress was to amend if they thought proper. He wishes to give it a candid enquiry, and proposes such alterations as are necessary; if the General wishes it should go forth with the amendment.; let it go with all its imperfections on its head & the amendments by themselves; to insist that it should go as it is without amendments, is like presenting a hungry man 50 dishes and insisting he should eat all or none.
By the convening of the 1788 USCA session, the delegates were already aware that five states (Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, and Connecticut) had approved the Constitution of 1787. The “Federalist Papers,” authored by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay, made a most persuasive case for ratification. Massachusetts would ratify the constitution on February 6th, 1788, but Rhode Island, a month later, rejected ratification by popular referendum. Maryland and South Carolina stayed the federalist course and voted for ratification.
Federalist Letter III, IV, and V are essays by John Jay, published on November 3rd, 7th, and 10th 1787 under the pseudonym Publius, the name under which all the Federalist Papers were published. These Jay essays are all on the utility of the Union in protecting Americans against foreign aggression and meddling. It is titled "The Same Subject Continued: Concerning Dangers from Foreign Force and Influence." Jay argues that a strong national government could better preserve peace. He states that a "united America" would be less likely to provoke other nations to attack. For instance, it would be better able to uphold the terms of an international treaty. Additionally, the United States would be less likely to engage in "direct and unlawful violence": whereas states immediately bordering foreign territories may act "under the impulse of sudden irritation," the national government will be safer, since its "wisdom and prudence will not be diminished by the passions which actuate the parties immediately interested." Jay also argues that, in the event of an international conflict, a foreign power would be more likely to come to terms with a united America. He observes that, in 1685, Genoa was forced to send its national leadership to France to ask pardon from Louis XIV; Jay questions whether France would have demanded such tribute from any "powerful nation." Thus a "strong united nation" could better preserve the peace, since it would find it easier to settle causes of war.
Federalist Letter IV, Concerning Dangers from Dissensions Between the States, was penned by Alexander Hamilton on November 14th, 1787, arguing for the importance of the Union to the well-being of Americans. Hamilton enumerates different instances of hostility among nations, and suggests that should the States remain separate, such hostilities will befall them as well. However, mutual commercial interest will bring the States together and keep them in a peaceful accord. He concludes that nations that exist as neighbors will be natural enemies of one another, unless brought together in a confederate republic with a constitution which will promote harmony through commercial interests rather than competition.
|[US CONSTITUTION NEW HAMPSHIRE RATIFICATION] – USCA Massachusetts Delegate George Thatcher’s newspaper records New Hampshire's amendments to the Constitution of 1787 that were passed at its ratifying convention.|
“That there be a Declaration or Bill of Rights asserting and securing from encroachment the essential and unalienable Rights of the People in some such manner as the following…”.  These recommended Virginia amendments to the second U.S. Constitution would eventually become the framework for what we now call the “Bill of Rights,”  the first ten amendments to the Constitution.
The State of New Hampshire having ratified the constitution transmitted to them by the Act of the 28 of Sept. last and transmitted to Congress their ratification and the same being read, the president reminded Congress that this was the ninth ratification transmitted and laid before them, whereupon, on Motion of Mr. Clarke seconded by Mr. Edwards - Ordered That the ratifications of the constitution of the United States transmitted to Congress be referred to a committee to examine the same and report an Act to Congress for putting the said constitution into operation in pursuance of the resolutions of the late federal Convention.
the direction of general and national affairs is submitted to a single body of men, viz. the congress. They may make war; but are not empowered to raise men or money to carry it on. They may make peace; but without power to see the terms of it observed. They may form alliances, but without ability to comply with the stipulations on their part. They may enter into treaties of commerce; but without power to enforce them at home or abroad. They may borrow money; but without having the means of re-payment. They may partly regulate commerce; but without authority to execute their ordinances. They may appoint ministers and other officers of trust; but without power to try or punish them for misdemeanors. They may resolve; but cannot execute either with dispatch or with secrecy. In short, they may consul & deliberate and recommend and make requisitions; and they who please, may read them. From this new and wonderful system of government, it has come to pass, that almost every national object of every kind is, at this day, unprovided for; & other nations, taking the advantage of its imbecility, are daily multiplying commercial restraints upon us. 
That the People have an equal, natural and unalienable right, freely and peaceably to Exercise their Religion according to the dictates of Conscience, and that no Religious Sect or Society ought to be favored or established by Law in preference of others. That the People have a right to keep and bear Arms; that a well-regulated Militia, including the body of the People capable of bearing Arms, is the proper, natural and safe defense of a free State; … That the People have a right peaceably to assemble together to consult for their common good, or to instruct their Representatives; and that every person has a right to Petition or apply to the Legislature for redress of Grievances.-That the Freedom of the Press ought not to be violated or restrained.
Its intent is a concession of power, on the part of the people, to their rulers. We know that private interest governs mankind generally. Power belongs originally to the people; but if rulers be not well guarded, that power may be usurped from them. People ought to be cautious in giving away power.
We just learn the fate of the Constitution in N. Carolina. Rho. Island is however her only associate in the opposition and it will be hard indeed if those two States should endanger a system which has been ratified by the eleven others. Congress has not yet finally settled the arrangements for putting the new Government in operation. The place for its first meeting creates the difficulty. The Eastern States with N. York contend for this City. Most of the other States insist on a more central position.
Congress have not yet decided on the arrangements for inaugurating the new Government. The place of its first meeting continues to divide the Northern & Southern members, though with a few exceptions to this general description of the parties. The departure of Rhode Island, and the refusal of North Carolina in consequence of the late event there to vote in the question, threatens a disagreeable issue to the business, there being now an apparent impossibility of obtaining seven States for any one place. The three Eastern States & New York, reinforced by South Carolina, and as yet by New Jersey, give a plurality of votes in favor of this City [New York]. The advocates for a more central position however though less numerous, seemed very determined not to yield to what they call a shameful partiality to one extremity of the Continent.
Whereas the Convention assembled in Philadelphia pursuant to the resolution of Congress of the 21st of Feb., 1787 did on the 17th. of Sept of the same year report to the United States in Congress assembled a constitution for the people of the United States, whereupon Congress on the 28 of the same Sept did resolve unanimously "That the said report with the resolutions and letter accompanying the same be transmitted to the several legislatures in order to be submitted to a convention of Delegates chosen in each state by the people thereof in conformity to the resolves of the convention made and provided in that case" And whereas the constitution so reported by the Convention and by Congress transmitted to the several legislatures has been ratified in the manner therein declared to be sufficient for the establishment of the same and such ratifications duly authenticated have been received by Congress and are filed in the Office of the Secretary therefore Resolved That the first Wednesday in January next be the day for appointing Electors in the several states, which before the said day shall have ratified the said constitution; that the first Wednesday in February next be the day for the electors to assemble in their respective states and vote for a president; and that the first Wednesday in March next be the time and the present seat of Congress the place for commencing proceedings under the said constitution.
… came richly laden with historical associations, having hosted John Peter Zenger’s trial in 1735, the Stamp Act Congress of 1765 and the Confederation Congress from 1785 to 1788. Starting in September 1788, the French engineer Pierre-Charles L’Enfant had remodeled it into Federal Hall, a suitable home for Congress. L’Enfant introduced a covered arcade at street level and a balcony surmounted by a triangular pediment on the second story. As the people’s chamber, the House of Representatives was accessible to the public, situated in a high-ceilinged octagonal room on the ground floor, while the Senate met in a second-floor room on the Wall Street side, buffering it from popular pressure. From this room Washington would emerge onto the balcony to take the oath of office. In many ways, the first inauguration was a hasty, slapdash affair. As with all theatrical spectacles, rushed preparations and frantic work on the new building continued until a few days before the event. Nervous anticipation spread through the city as to whether the 200 workmen would complete the project on time. Only a few days before the inauguration, an eagle was hoisted onto the pediment, completing the building. The final effect was stately: a white building with a blue and white cupola topped by a weather vane.
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