Letters to the inhabitants of Canada
The Letters to the inhabitants of Canada were three letters written by the First and Second Continental Congresses in 1774, 1775, 1776 to communicate directly with the population of the Province of Quebec the French province of Canada, which had no representative system at the time. Their purpose was to draw the large French-speaking population to the American revolutionary cause; this goal failed, Quebec, along with the other northern provinces of British America, remained in British hands. The only significant assistance, gained was the recruitment of two regiments totalling not more than 1,000 men; the acquisition of the Province of Quebec as a result of the French and Indian War gave Great Britain control over the entire eastern seaboard of North America, brought the former French colony of Canada into a closer relationship with the American colonies. The new province was different than the other provinces of British America, as the vast majority of people in Quebec spoke only French and were Roman Catholic.
There were differences in civic and legal affairs, as the law had, prior to the British conquest, been based on French law. In 1774, the British Parliament enacted the Quebec Act, along with other legislation, labeled by American colonists as the Intolerable Acts; this measure, which replaced the Royal Proclamation of 1763 as the governing document of Quebec, was used to fortify the position of the British in Quebec by guaranteeing the rights of French Canadians to practice Roman Catholicism. It is perceived by historians to be damage control in the province of Quebec, in order to prevent the French Canadians from joining the independence movement in the American colonies; the American colonists interpreted the religious provisions concerning Catholicism as a wedge by which Catholicism might be introduced into all of the colonies, other provisions concerning the structure of the Quebec government to be an attempt by the British Parliament to assert more control over the province, deny its people what many considered to be basic rights.
On October 21, 1774, the First Continental Congress, meeting to craft a united response to the Intolerable Acts, resolved to address letters to the populations of Quebec, St. John's Island, Nova Scotia, East Florida and West Florida, all being colonies that were not represented by delegates in the Congress. A committee composed of Thomas Cushing, Richard Henry Lee and John Dickinson was set up to draft those letters. A first draft was debated and returned to the committee. On October 26, a new draft was presented, debated and adopted. A resolution was passed for the president to sign the letter and ordering the translation and printing of a Letter to the Inhabitants of the Province of Quebec to be done under the supervision of the delegates of Pennsylvania; the letter was translated to French and printed as an 18-page brochure entitled Lettre adressée aux habitans de la Province de Québec, ci-devant le Canada, de la part du Congrès général de l'Amérique Septentrionale, tenu à Philadelphie. The translation is attributed to Pierre Eugene du Simitiere.
The final content of the letter is attributed to John Dickinson, as a draft in his own hand closely resembles the final letter. The letter informed the people of Quebec of five important rights of British constitutional law which were not in force in their colony over a decade after the peace treaty of 1763, which ended the French and Indian War, resulted in every French subject in Canada becoming a new British subject, theoretically equal in rights to all other British subjects; these five rights were representative government, trial by jury, Habeas Corpus, land ownership, freedom of the press. The text quotes a passage of Beccaria's On Crimes and Punishment and multiple excerpts of Montesquieu's The Spirit of Laws. Quebec historian Marcel Trudel believes this first letter to have been "a crash course on democratic government", while Gustave Lanctôt claims that the Congress' letter "introduced the notion of personal liberty and political equality.", calling it their first "political alphabet" and "first lesson in constitutional law".
The people of Quebec were invited to give themselves the provincial representation the Quebec Act did not provide for, have this representative body send delegates to the upcoming continental Congress, to be held in Philadelphia on May 10, 1775. The French-born Philadelphia printer Fleury Mesplet printed 2,000 copies of the French translation. Other manuscript French translations of the original English letter were in circulation as well even arriving in Canada before the "official" translation paid by the Congress. Wide circulation of the letter was prevented by General Guy Carleton Governor of the province. However, he reported to his superiors in England that, "a report was spread that at Montreal that letters of importance had been received from the General Congress," and that town meetings were being held, "breathing that same spirit, so plentifully gone forth through the neighbouring Provinces." These town meetings dominated by English-speakers, ended without the election of delegates to the Continental Congress.
In early 1775, Boston's Committee of Correspondence sent John Brown into Quebec to gather intelligence, gauge sentiment, agitate for rebellion in that province. He found mixed sentiment among English-speaking inhabitants, some of whom were concerned that the Congress' adoption of an export boycott would give the lucrative fur trade to French-speakers; the bulk of the French-speaking population was at best neutral with respect to British rule.
Second Continental Congress
The Second Continental Congress was a convention of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies that started meeting in the spring of 1775 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It succeeded the First Continental Congress, which met in Philadelphia between September 5, 1774, October 26, 1774; the Second Congress moved incrementally towards independence. It adopted the Lee Resolution which established the new country on July 2, 1776, it agreed to the United States Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776; the Congress acted as the de facto national government of the United States by raising armies, directing strategy, appointing diplomats, making formal treaties such as the Olive Branch Petition. The Second Continental Congress came together on May 11, 1775 reconvening the First Continental Congress. Many of the 56 delegates who attended the first meeting were in attendance at the second, the delegates appointed the same president and secretary. Notable new arrivals included John Hancock of Massachusetts.
Within two weeks, Randolph was summoned back to Virginia to preside over the House of Burgesses. Henry Middleton was elected as president to replace Randolph. Hancock was elected president on May 24. Delegates from twelve of the Thirteen Colonies were present when the Second Continental Congress convened. Georgia had not participated in the First Continental Congress and did not send delegates to the Second. On May 13, 1775, Lyman Hall was admitted as a delegate from the Parish of St. John's in the Colony of Georgia, not as a delegate from the colony itself. On July 4, 1775, revolutionary Georgians held a Provincial Congress to decide how to respond to the American Revolution, that congress decided on July 8 to send delegates to the Continental Congress, they arrived on September 13. The First Continental Congress had sent entreaties to King George III to stop the Coercive Acts; the Second Continental Congress met on May 10, 1775 to plan further responses if the British government had not repealed or modified the acts.
For the first few months of the war, the Patriots carried on their struggle in an ad-hoc and uncoordinated manner. They had seized arsenals, driven out royal officials, besieged the British army in the city of Boston. On June 14, 1775, the Congress voted to create the Continental Army out of the militia units around Boston and appointed George Washington of Virginia as commanding general. On July 6, 1775, Congress approved a Declaration of Causes outlining the rationale and necessity for taking up arms in the Thirteen Colonies. On July 8, they extended the Olive Branch Petition to the British Crown as a final attempt at reconciliation. Silas Deane was sent to France as a minister of the Congress, American ports were reopened in defiance of the British Navigation Acts; the Continental Congress had no explicit legal authority to govern, but it assumed all the functions of a national government, such as appointing ambassadors, signing treaties, raising armies, appointing generals, obtaining loans from Europe, issuing paper money, disbursing funds.
The Congress had no authority to levy taxes and was required to request money and troops from the states to support the war effort. Individual states ignored these requests. Congress was moving towards declaring independence from the British Empire in 1776, but many delegates lacked the authority from their home governments to take such a drastic action. Advocates of independence moved to have reluctant colonial governments revise instructions to their delegations, or replace those governments which would not authorize independence. On May 10, 1776, Congress passed a resolution recommending that any colony with a government, not inclined toward independence should form one that was. On May 15, they adopted a more radical preamble to this resolution, drafted by John Adams, which advised throwing off oaths of allegiance and suppressing the authority of the Crown in any colonial government that still derived its authority from the Crown; that same day, the Virginia Convention instructed its delegation in Philadelphia to propose a resolution that called for a declaration of independence, the formation of foreign alliances, a confederation of the states.
The resolution of independence was delayed for several weeks, as advocates of independence consolidated support in their home governments. On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee offered a resolution before the Congress declaring the colonies independent, he urged Congress to resolve "to take the most effectual measures for forming foreign Alliances" and to prepare a plan of confederation for the newly independent states. Lee argued that independence was the only way to ensure a foreign alliance, since no European monarchs would deal with America if they remained Britain's colonies. American leaders had rejected the divine right of kings in the New World, but recognized the necessity of proving their credibility in the Old World. Congress formally adopted the resolution of independence, but only after creating three overlapping committees to draft the Declaration, a Model Treaty, the Articles of Confederation; the Declaration announced the states' entry into the international
Constitution of the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom does not have a codified constitution such as other countries tend to have. Instead of such a constitution, certain documents stand to serve as replacements in lieu of one; these texts and their provisions therein are considered to be constitutional, such that the "constitution of the United Kingdom" or "British constitution" may refer to a number of historical and momentous laws and principles like the Acts of Union 1707 and the Acts of Union 1800 which formulate the country's body politic. Thus the term "UK constitution" is sometimes said to refer to an "unwritten" or uncodified constitution; the British constitution draws from four sources: statute law, common law, parliamentary conventions, works of authority. Similar to a constitutional document, it concerns both the relationship between the individual and the state and the functioning of the legislature, the executive, the judiciary. Since the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the concept of parliamentary sovereignty has been the bedrock of the British legislative constitution.
The statutes passed by Parliament are the supreme and final source of law in the UK. It follows that Parliament can change the constitution by passing new statutes through Acts of Parliament. There has been some debate about whether parliamentary sovereignty remained intact in the light of the UK's membership in the European Union, an argument, used by proponents of leaving the EU in the 2016 referendum. Another core constitutional principle, the rule of law, is a phrase, popularized by legal scholar Albert Dicey in his 1885 work Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution, recognized by the British Parliament as a work of authority on the constitution. Acts of Parliament are bills which have received the approval of Parliament – that is, the Monarch, the House of Lords and the House of Commons. On rare occasions, the House of Commons uses the "Parliament Acts" to pass legislation without needing the approval of the House of Lords, it is unheard of in modern times for the Monarch to refuse to assent to a bill, though the possibility was contemplated by George V in relation to the fiercely controversial Government of Ireland Act 1914.
Acts of Parliament are among the most important sources of the constitution. According to the traditional view, Parliament has the power to legislate however it wishes on any subject it wishes. For example, most of the iconic medieval statute known as Magna Carta has been repealed since 1828, despite being regarded as sacrosanct, it has traditionally been the case that the courts are barred from questioning any Act of Parliament, a principle that can be traced back to the medieval period. On the other hand, this principle has not been without its dissidents and critics over the centuries, attitudes among the judiciary in this area may be changing. One consequence of the principle of parliamentary sovereignty is that there is no hierarchy among Acts of Parliament: all parliamentary legislation is, in principle, of equal validity and effectiveness. However, the judgment of Lord Justice Laws in the Thoburn case in 2002 indicated that there may be a special class of "constitutional statutes" such as Magna Carta, the Human Rights Act 1998, the European Communities Act 1972, the Acts of Union and Bill of Rights which have a higher status than other legislation.
This part of his judgment was "obiter" – and, was controversial. It remains to be seen. Treaties do not, on ratification, automatically become incorporated into UK law. Important treaties have been incorporated into domestic law by means of Acts of Parliament; the European Convention on Human Rights, for example, was given "further effect" into domestic law through the preamble of the Human Rights Act 1998. The Treaty of Union of 1707 was important in creating the unitary state which exists today; the treaty was between the governments of England and Scotland and was put into effect by two Acts of Union which were passed by the Parliaments of both nations. The Treaty, along with the subsequent Acts, brought into existence the Kingdom of Great Britain, uniting the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland. Common law legal systems exist in Northern Ireland and in England and Wales, but not in Scotland which has a hybrid system which includes a great deal of Common Law. Court judgments commonly form a source of the constitution: speaking in English Law, judgments of the higher courts form precedents or case law that binds lower courts and judges.
However Scots Law does not accord the same status to precedent, judgments in one legal system do not have a direct effect in the other legal systems. Important court judgments include those in the Case of Proclamations, the Ship money case and Entick v Carrington, all of which imposed limits on the power of the executive. A constitutional precedent applicable to British colonies is Campbell v Hall, which extended those same constitutional limitations to any territory, granted a representative assembly. Many British constitutional conventions are ancient in origin, though others date from within living memory; such conventions, which include the duty of the Monarch to act on the advice of his or her ministers, are not formally enforceable in a court of law. Most are works written b
Founding Fathers of the United States
The Founding Fathers of the United States, or the Founding Fathers, were a group of philosophers and writers who led the American Revolution against the Kingdom of Great Britain. Most were descendants of colonists settled in the Thirteen Colonies in North America. Historian Richard B. Morris in 1973 identified the following seven figures as the key Founding Fathers: Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison. Adams and Franklin were members of the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration of Independence. Hamilton and Jay were authors of The Federalist Papers, advocating ratification of the Constitution; the constitutions drafted by Jay and Adams for their respective states of New York and Massachusetts were relied upon when creating language for the U. S. Constitution. Jay and Franklin negotiated the Treaty of Paris that would end the American Revolutionary War. Washington was Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army and was President of the Constitutional Convention.
All held additional important roles in the early government of the United States, with Washington, Adams and Madison serving as President. Jay was the nation's first Chief Justice, Hamilton was the first Secretary of the Treasury, Franklin was America's most senior diplomat, the governmental leader of Pennsylvania; the term Founding Fathers is sometimes used to refer to the Signers of the embossed version of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Signers should not be confused with the term Framers. Of the 55 Framers, only 39 were signers of the Constitution. Two further groupings of Founding Fathers include: 1) those who signed the Continental Association, a trade ban and one of the colonists' first collective volleys protesting British control and the Intolerable Acts in 1774, or 2) those who signed the Articles of Confederation, the first U. S. constitutional document. The phrase "Founding Fathers" is a 20th-century appellation, coined by Warren G. Harding in 1916. Prior to, during the 19th century, they were referred to as the "Fathers".
The term has been used to describe first settlers of the original royal colonies. The First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1774, consisting of 56 delegates from all thirteen American colonies except Georgia. Among them was George Washington, who would soon be drawn out of military retirement to command the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. In attendance was Patrick Henry, John Adams, who like all delegates were elected by their respective colonial assemblies. Other delegates included Samuel Adams from Massachusetts, John Dickinson from Pennsylvania and New York's John Jay; this congress in addition to formulating appeals to the British crown, established the Continental Association to administer boycott actions against Britain. When the Second Continental Congress convened on May 10, 1775, it reconstituted the First Congress. Many of the same 56 delegates who attended the first meeting participated in the second. New arrivals included Benjamin Franklin and Robert Morris of Pennsylvania, John Hancock of Massachusetts, John Witherspoon of New Jersey.
Hancock was elected Congress President two weeks into the session when Peyton Randolph was recalled to Virginia to preside over the House of Burgesses. Thomas Jefferson replaced Randolph in the Virginia congressional delegation; the second Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. Witherspoon was the only active clergyman to sign the Declaration, he signed the Articles of Confederation and attended the New Jersey convention that ratified the Federal Constitution. The newly founded country of the United States had to create a new government to replace the British Parliament; the U. S. adopted the Articles of Confederation, a declaration that established a national government with a one-house legislature. Its ratification by all thirteen colonies gave the second Congress a new name: the Congress of the Confederation, which met from 1781 to 1789; the Constitutional Convention took place in Philadelphia. Although the Convention was called to revise the Articles of Confederation, the intention from the outset for some including James Madison and Alexander Hamilton was to create a new frame of government rather than amending the existing one.
The delegates elected George Washington to preside over the Convention. The result of the Convention was the United States Constitution and the replacement of the Continental Congress with the United States Congress; the Founding Fathers represented a cross-section of 18th-century U. S. leadership. According to a study of the biographies by Caroline Robbins: The Signers came for the most part from an educated elite, were residents of older settlements, belonged with a few exceptions to a moderately well-to-do class representing only a fraction of the population. Native or born overseas, they were of the Protestant faith. All of them were leaders in their communities. Many were prominent in national affairs; every one had taken part in the American Revolution. Scholars have examined the collective biography of them as well as the signers of the Declaration and the Constitution. Many of the Founding Fathers attended or held degrees from the colonial colleges, most notably Columbia known at the time as "King's College", Princeton or
Jonathan Swift was an Anglo-Irish satirist, political pamphleteer and cleric who became Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin. Swift is remembered for works such as A Tale of a Tub, An Argument Against Abolishing Christianity, Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal, he is regarded by the Encyclopædia Britannica as the foremost prose satirist in the English language, is less well known for his poetry. He published all of his works under pseudonyms – such as Lemuel Gulliver, Isaac Bickerstaff, M. B. Drapier – or anonymously, he was a master of two styles of the Horatian and Juvenalian styles. His deadpan, ironic writing style in A Modest Proposal, has led to such satire being subsequently termed "Swiftian". Jonathan Swift was born on 30 November 1667 in Ireland, he was the second child and only son of Jonathan Swift and his wife Abigail Erick of Frisby on the Wreake. His father was a native of Goodrich, but he accompanied his brothers to Ireland to seek their fortunes in law after their Royalist father's estate was brought to ruin during the English Civil War.
His maternal grandfather, James Ericke, was the vicar of England. In 1634 the vicar was convicted of Puritan practices; some time thereafter and his family, including his young daughter Abilgail, fled to Ireland. Swift's father joined Godwin, in the practice of law in Ireland, he died in Dublin. He died of syphilis. At the age of one, child Jonathan was taken by his wet nurse to her hometown of Whitehaven, England, he said. His nurse returned him still in Ireland, when he was three, his mother returned to England after his birth, leaving him in the care of his Uncle Godwin, a close friend and confidant of Sir John Temple whose son employed Swift as his secretary. Swift's family had several interesting literary connections, his grandmother Elizabeth Swift was the niece of Sir Erasmus Dryden, grandfather of poet John Dryden. The same grandmother's aunt Katherine Dryden was a first cousin of Elizabeth, wife of Sir Walter Raleigh, his great-great grandmother Margaret Swift was the sister of Francis Godwin, author of The Man in the Moone which influenced parts of Swift's Gulliver's Travels.
His uncle Thomas Swift married a daughter of poet and playwright Sir William Davenant, a godson of William Shakespeare. Swift's benefactor and uncle Godwin Swift took primary responsibility for the young man, sending him with one of his cousins to Kilkenny College, he arrived there at the age of six, where he was expected to have learned the basic declensions in Latin. He had so started at a lower form. Swift graduated in 1682, when he was 15, he attended Dublin University in 1682, financed by Godwin's son Willoughby. The four-year course followed a curriculum set in the Middle Ages for the priesthood; the lectures were dominated by Aristotelian philosophy. The basic skill taught the students was debate and they were expected to be able to argue both sides of any argument or topic. Swift was an above-average student but not exceptional, received his B. A. in 1686 "by special grace."Swift was studying for his master's degree when political troubles in Ireland surrounding the Glorious Revolution forced him to leave for England in 1688, where his mother helped him get a position as secretary and personal assistant of Sir William Temple at Moor Park, Farnham.
Temple was an English diplomat who arranged the Triple Alliance of 1668. He had retired from public service to his country estate to write his memoirs. Gaining his employer's confidence, Swift "was trusted with matters of great importance". Within three years of their acquaintance, Temple had introduced his secretary to William III and sent him to London to urge the King to consent to a bill for triennial Parliaments. Swift took up his residence at Moor Park where he met Esther Johnson eight years old, the daughter of an impoverished widow who acted as companion to Temple's sister Lady Giffard. Swift was her tutor and mentor, giving her the nickname "Stella", the two maintained a close but ambiguous relationship for the rest of Esther's life. In 1690, Swift left Temple for Ireland because of his health but returned to Moor Park the following year; the illness consisted of fits of vertigo or giddiness, now known to be Ménière's disease, it continued to plague him throughout his life. During this second stay with Temple, Swift received his M.
A. from Hart Hall, Oxford, in 1692. He left Moor Park despairing of gaining a better position through Temple's patronage, to become an ordained priest in the Established Church of Ireland, he was appointed to the prebend of Kilroot in the Diocese of Connor in 1694, with his parish located at Kilroot, near Carrickfergus in County Antrim. Swift appears to have been miserable in his new position, being isolated in a small, remote community far from the centres of power and influence. While at Kilroot, however, he may well have become romantically involved with Jane Waring, whom he called "Varina", the sister of an old college friend. A letter from him survives, offering to remain if she would marry him and promising to leave and never return to Ireland if she refused, she refused, because Swift left his post and returned to England and Temple's service at Moor Park in 1696, he remained there until Temple's death. There he was employ
Common Sense (pamphlet)
Common Sense was a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine in 1775–76 advocating independence from Great Britain to people in the Thirteen Colonies. Writing in clear and persuasive prose, Paine marshaled moral and political arguments to encourage common people in the Colonies to fight for egalitarian government, it was published anonymously on January 10, 1776, at the beginning of the American Revolution, became an immediate sensation. It was sold and distributed and read aloud at taverns and meeting places. In proportion to the population of the colonies at that time, it had the largest sale and circulation of any book published in American history; as of 2006, it remains the all-time best selling American title, is still in print today. Common Sense made public a persuasive and impassioned case for independence, which before the pamphlet had not yet been given serious intellectual consideration. Paine connected independence with common dissenting Protestant beliefs as a means to present a distinctly American political identity, structuring Common Sense as if it were a sermon.
Historian Gordon S. Wood described Common Sense as "the most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire revolutionary era"; the text was translated into French by Antoine Gilbert Griffet de Labaume in 1790. Thomas Paine arrived in the American colonies in November 1774, shortly before the Battles of Lexington and Concord. Though the colonies and Great Britain had commenced hostilities against one another, the thought of independence was not entertained. Writing of his early experiences in the colonies in 1778, Paine "found the disposition of the people such, that they might have been led by a thread and governed by a reed, their attachment to Britain was obstinate, it was, at that time, a kind of treason to speak against it. Their ideas of grievance operated without resentment, their single object was reconciliation." Paine engrained himself in the Philadelphia newspaper business, began writing Common Sense in late 1775 under the working title of Plain Truth. Though it began as a series of letters to be published in various Philadelphia papers, it grew too long and unwieldy to publish as letters, leading Paine to select the pamphlet form.
Benjamin Rush recommended the publisher Robert Bell, promising Paine that, where other printers might balk at the content of the pamphlet, Bell would not hesitate nor delay its printing. Bell zealously promoted the pamphlet in Philadelphia's papers, demand grew so high as to require a second printing. Paine, overjoyed with its success, endeavored to collect his share of the profits and donate them to purchase mittens for General Montgomery's troops encamped in frigid Quebec. However, when Paine's chosen intermediaries audited Bell's accounts, they found that the pamphlet had made zero profits. Incensed, Paine ordered Bell not to proceed on a second edition, as he had planned several appendices to add to Common Sense. Bell ignored this and began advertising a "new edition". While Bell believed this advertisement would convince Paine to retain his services, it had the opposite effect. Paine secured the assistance of the Bradford brothers, publishers of the Pennsylvania Evening Post, released his new edition, featuring several appendices and additional writings.
Bell began working on a second edition. This set off a month-long public debate between Bell and the still-anonymous Paine, conducted within the pages and advertisements of the Pennsylvania Evening Post, with each party charging the other with duplicity and fraud. Paine and Bell published several more editions through the end of their public squabble; the publicity generated by the initial success and compounded by the publishing disagreements no doubt propelled the pamphlet to incredible sales and circulation. Common Sense sold 100,000 copies in 1776, according to Paine, 120,000 copies were sold in the first three months. One biographer estimates that 500,000 copies sold in the first year, another writes that Paine's pamphlet went through twenty-five published editions in the first year alone. However, Trish Loughran disputes these figures as implausible, given the literate population at the time, estimating the far upper limit as 75,000 copies. Aside from the printed pamphlet itself, there were many handwritten summaries and whole copies circulated.
Paine granted publishing rights to nearly every imprint which requested them, including several international editions. It was immensely popular in France. At least one newspaper printed the entire pamphlet. Writing in 1956, Richard Gimbel estimated, in terms of circulation and impact, that an "equivalent sale today, based on the present population of the United States, would be more than six-and-one-half million copies within the short space of three months". For nearly three months, Paine managed to maintain his anonymity during Bell's potent newspaper polemics, his name did not become connected with the independence controversy until March 30, 1776. Paine never did recoup the profits, he lost money on the Bradford printing as well, because he decided to repudiate his copyright, never did profit from Common Sense. The first and subsequent editions divided the pamphlet into four sections. In his first section, Paine related common Enlightenment theories of the state of nature, in order to establish a foundation for republican government.
Paine began this section by making a distinction between society and government, arguing that government is a "necessary evil." He illustrated the power of society to create and mainta
Articles of Confederation
The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union was an agreement among the 13 original states of the United States of America that served as its first constitution. It was approved, after much debate, by the Second Continental Congress on November 15, 1777, sent to the states for ratification; the Articles of Confederation came into force on March 1, 1781, after being ratified by all 13 states. A guiding principle of the Articles was to preserve the sovereignty of the states; the weak central government established by the Articles received only those powers which the former colonies had recognized as belonging to king and parliament. The Articles formed a war-time confederation of states, with an limited central government. While unratified, the document was used by the Congress to conduct business, direct the American Revolutionary War, conduct diplomacy with foreign nations, deal with territorial issues and Native American relations; the adoption of the Articles made few perceptible changes in the federal government, because it did little more than legalize what the Continental Congress had been doing.
That body was renamed the Congress of the Confederation. As the Confederation Congress attempted to govern the continually growing American states, delegates discovered that the limitations placed upon the central government rendered it ineffective at doing so; as the government's weaknesses became apparent after Shays' Rebellion, some prominent political thinkers in the fledgling US began asking for changes to the Articles. Their hope was to create a stronger national government; some states met to deal with their trade and economic problems. However, as more states became interested in meeting to change the Articles, a meeting was set in Philadelphia on May 25, 1787; this became the Constitutional Convention. It was agreed that changes would not work, instead the entire Articles needed to be replaced. On March 4, 1789, the government under the Articles was replaced with the federal government under the Constitution; the new Constitution provided for a much stronger federal government by establishing a chief executive and taxing powers.
The political push to increase cooperation among the then-loyal colonies began with the Albany Congress in 1754 and Benjamin Franklin's proposed Albany Plan, an inter-colonial collaboration to help solve mutual local problems. Over the next two decades, some of the basic concepts it addressed would strengthen. With civil disobedience resulting in coercive and quelling measures, the passage of what the colonials referred to as the intolerable acts in the English Parliament, armed skirmishes which resulted in dissidents being proclaimed rebels; these actions eroded the number of Crown Loyalists (aka Tories amongst the colonials and together with the effective propaganda campaign of the Patriot leaders, they caused an increasing number of colonists to begin agitating for independence from the mother country. In 1775, with events outpacing communications, the Second Continental Congress began acting as the provisional government that would run the American Revolutionary War and gain the colonies their collective independence.
It was an era of constitution writing—most states were busy at the task—and leaders felt the new nation must have a written constitution. During the war, Congress exercised an unprecedented level of political, diplomatic and economic authority, it adopted trade restrictions and maintained an army, issued fiat money, created a military code and negotiated with foreign governments. To transform themselves from outlaws into a legitimate nation, the colonists needed international recognition for their cause and foreign allies to support it. In early 1776, Thomas Paine argued in the closing pages of the first edition of Common Sense that the "custom of nations" demanded a formal declaration of American independence if any European power were to mediate a peace between the Americans and Great Britain; the monarchies of France and Spain in particular could not be expected to aid those they considered rebels against another legitimate monarch. Foreign courts needed to have American grievances laid before them persuasively in a "manifesto" which could reassure them that the Americans would be reliable trading partners.
Without such a declaration, Paine concluded, "he custom of all courts is against us, will be so, until, by an independence, we take rank with other nations."Beyond improving their existing association, the records of the Second Continental Congress show that the need for a declaration of independence was intimately linked with the demands of international relations. On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee introduced a resolution before the Continental Congress declaring the colonies independent. Congress created three overlapping committees to draft the Declaration, a Model Treaty, the Articles of Confederation; the Declaration announced the states' entry into the international system. On June 12, 1776