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The Annotated Code of the Public General Laws of Maryland, 1939
Volume 379, Page 1   View pdf image (33K)
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WE THE PEOPLE of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect
Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the
common Defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings
of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this
CONSTITUTION for the United States of America.

1 In May, 1785, a committee of Congress made a report recommending an alteration
in the Articles of Confederation, but no action was taken on it, and it was left to the
State Legislatures to proceed in the matter. In January, 1786, the Legislature of Vir-
ginia passed a resolution providing for the appointment of five commissioners, who, or
any three of them, should meet such commissioners as might be appointed in the other
States of the Union, at a time and place to be agreed upon, to take into consideration
the trade of the United States; to consider how far a uniform system in their com-
mercial regulations may be necessary to their common interest and their permanent
harmony; and to report to the several States such an act, relative to this great object,
as, when ratified by them, will enable the United States in Congress effectually to pro-
vide for the same. The Virginia commissioners, after some correspondence, fixed the
first Monday in September as the time, and the city of Annapolis as the place for the
meeting, but only four other States were represented, viz: Delaware, New York, New
Jersey, and Pennsylvania; the commissioners appointed by Massachusetts, New Hamp-
shire, North Carolina, and Rhode Island failed to attend. Under the circumstances of
so partial a representation, the commissioners present agreed upon a report, (drawn
by Mr. Hamilton, of New York, ) expressing their unanimous conviction that it might
essentially tend to advance the interests of the Union if the States by which they were
respectively delegated would concur, and use their endeavors to procure the concur-
rence of the other States, in the appointment of commissioners to meet at Philadelphia
on the second Monday of May following, to take into consideration the situation of
the United States; to devise such further provisions as should appear to them necessary
to render the Constitution of the Federal Government adequate to the exigencies of the
Union; and to report such an act for that purpose to the United States in Congress
assembled as, when agreed to by them and afterwards confirmed by the Legislatures of
every State, would effectually provide for the same.

Congress, on the 21st of February, 1787, adopted a resolution in favor of a convention,
and the Legislatures of those States which had not already done so (with the exception
of Rhode Island) promptly appointed delegates. On the 25th of May, seven States hav-
ing convened, George Washington, of Virginia, was unanimously elected President, and
the consideration of the proposed constitution was commenced. On the 17th of
September, 1787, the Constitution as engrossed and agreed upon was signed by all the
members present, except Mr. Gerry, of Massachusetts, and Messrs. Mason and Ran-
dolph, of Virginia. The president of the convention transmitted it to Congress, with
a resolution stating how the proposed Federal Government should be put in operation,
and an explanatory letter. Congress, on the 28th of September, 1787, directed the Con-
stitution so framed, with the resolutions and letter concerning the same, to "be trans-
mitted 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. "

On the 4th of March, 1789, the day which had been fixed for commencing the opera-
tions of Government under the new Constitution, it had been ratified by the conven-
tions chosen in each State to consider it, as follows: Delaware, December 7, 1787;
Pennsylvania, December 12, 1787; New Jersey, December 18, 1787; Georgia, January
2, 1788; Connecticut, January 9, 1788; Massachusetts, February 6, 1788; Maryland,
April 28, 1788; South Carolina, May 23, 1788; New Hampshire, June 21, 1788; Virginia,
June 26, 1788; and New York, July 26, 1788.

The President informed Congress, on the 28th of January, 1790, that North Carolina
had ratified the Constitution November 21, 1789; and he informed Congress on the 1st
of June, 1790, that Rhode Island had ratified the Constitution May 29, 1789. Vermont,
in convention, ratified the Constitution January 10, 1791, and was, by an act of Congress
approved February 18, 1791, "received and admitted into this Union as a new and
entire member of the United States. "


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The Annotated Code of the Public General Laws of Maryland, 1939
Volume 379, Page 1   View pdf image (33K)
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