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FORMATION OF THE ORIGINAL UNION.
On Monday, the 5th of September, 1774, there were agsembled at Carpenter's Hall, in the city of Philadelphia, a number of men who had been chosen and appointed by the several colonies in North America to hold a Congress for the purpose of discussing certain grievances imputed against the mother country. This Congress resolved, on the next day, that each colony should have one vote only. On Tuesday, the 20 July, 1776, the Congress resolved, “That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, Free and Independent States," etc., etc.; and on Thursday, the 4th July, the whole Declaration of Independence having been agreed upon, it was publicly read to the people. Shortly after, on the 9th September, it was resolved that the words - United Colonies' should be no longer used, and that the “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” should thenceforward be the style and title of the Union. On Saturday, the 15th November, 1777, "Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union of the United States of America” were agreed to by the State delegates, subject to the ratification of the State legislatures severally. Eight of the States ratified these articles on the 9th July, 1778; one on the 21st July; one on the 24th July; one on the 26th November of the same year; one on the 22d February, 1779; and the last one on the 1st March, 1781. Here was a bond of union between thirteen independent States, whose delegates in Congress legislated for the general welfare, and executed certain powers so far as they were permitted by the articles aforesaid. The following are the names of the Presidents of the Continental Congress from 1774 to 1788: Peyton Randolph, Virginia......
...5th Sept., 1774 Henry Middleton, South Carolina..
1774. Peyton Randolph, Virginia...
.10th May, 1775. John Hancock, Massachusetts...
.24th May, 1776.
Henry Laurens, South Carolina.......
.1st Nov., 1777. .. 10th Dec., 1778. ..28th Sept.
, 1779. .. 10th July, 1781. ..5th Nov., 1781. .4th 1782.
1783. .30th 1784. ...6th Jan., 1786. .2d Feb., 1787. .22d Jan., 1788.
The seat of government was established as follows: At Philadelphia, Pa., commencing September 5, 1774, and May 10, 1775; at Baltimore, Md., December 20, 1776 ; at Philadelphia, Pa., March 4, 1777; at Lancaster, Pa., September 27, 1777; at York, Pa., September 30, 1777; at Philadelphia, Pa., July 2, 1778: at Princeton, N. J., June 30, 1783; at Annapolis, Md., November 26, 1783; at Trenton, N. J., November 1, 1784; and at New York City, N. Y., Jan. 11, 1785.
On the 4th March, 1789, the present Constitution, which had been adopted by a convention and ratified by the requisite number of States, went into operation.
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.
IN CONGRESS, TUESDAY, JULY 4, 1776.
Agreeably to the order of the day, the Congress resolved itself into a committee of the whole, to take into their further consideration the Declaration; and, after some time, the President resumed the chair, and Mr. Harrison reported that the committee had agreed to a declaration, which they desired him to report. (The committee consisted of Jefferson, Franklin, John Adams, Sherman, and R. R. Livingston.)
The Declaration being read, was agreed to, as follows:
AMERICA, IN CONGRESS ASSEMBLED.
We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such
form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and, accordingly, all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies, and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having, in direct object, the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these States.
To prove this, let facts be submitted . to a candid world:
He has refused his assent to laws the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and, when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislaturea right inestimable to them, and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly for opposing, with manly firmness, his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused, for a long time after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people