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CONFEDERATIONS.                                 243
navy, and established a system of posts and a hospital. The
next year it was voted almost unanimously that the united
colonies are and of right ought to be free and independent
states (voted in June and to be proclaimed July 4), and the
states which had as yet no governments adequate to their
present exigencies, were advised to establish them. Not long
after the capture of Burgoyne's army in 1777, articles of con-
federation and perpetual union wefe agreed to in congress
(Nov. 15), which, when approved by the several states in their
legislatures, were to be ratified by the deputies in congress.
Such ratifications were made by eight states on the 9th of
July, 1778 ; three more followed within the same year, that
from Delaware came in 1779, and that from Maryland not
until March, 1781. The reasons for the delay of nearly eight
months before the first ratifications, and the much longer de-
lay of two states, lay in the claims of a number of states under
their charters to jurisdiction over territory reaching to the
South Sea (or Western Ocean); it was maintained that con-
gress ought to fix the western boundaries of the states pos-
sessed of these vast domains, and that unoccupied lands ought
to be the property of the whole union, which had, by its com-
mon exertions, secured them for settlers from the United
States. The legislature of Maryland having in January, 1781,
withdrawn their objection, the union was then complete,*
Several amendments were made to the articles, all of which
were rejected. Those suggested by New Jersey to the effect
that the United States ought to have the power of regulating
trade, and of using the revenues from duties and customs for
public purposes, pointed at a weak spot which it needed some
time to make apparent throughout the country.
The confederacy established in this instrument is called the
United States of America, and the states, each retaining its
sovereignty, freedom, and independence, with every power
not expressly delegated to the United States, enter into a
perpetual league for common defence and general welfare.
* See G, T. Curtis, Hist of the Constitution, i., 130 and onw.