#OnThisDayInHistory 1777 Second Continental Congress adopted the ‘ Articles of Confederatioin ‘ for ratification but after a review was called it was not until March.01: 1781: before it was fina lised #AceHistoryDesk report

#AceHistoryReport – On November 15, 1777: Second Continental Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation. Submitted to the states for ratification two days later, the Articles of Confederation were accompanied by a letter from Congress urging that the document……

…be candidly reviewed under a sense of the difficulty of combining in one general system the various sentiments and interests of a continent divided into so many sovereign and independent communities, under a conviction of the absolute necessity of uniting all our councils and all our strength, to maintain and defend our common liberties…

Monday, November 17, 1777, Journals of the Continental Congress. A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774-1875. Law Library

Although Congress debated the Articles for over a year, they requested immediate action on the part of the states. However, three-and-a-half years passed before ratification on March 1, 1781.

Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union Between the States… Williamsburg [Va.]: Printed by Alexander Purdie, 1777. Printed Ephemera: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera. Rare Book and Special Collections Division.

Still at war with Great Britain, the colonists were reluctant to establish another powerful national government. Jealously guarding their new independence, the Continental Congress created a loosely structured unicameral legislature that protected the liberty of the individual states at the expense of the nation. While calling on Congress to regulate military and monetary affairs, for example, the Articles of Confederation provided no mechanism to ensure that states complied with requests for troops or revenue. At times this left the military in a precarious position as George Washington wrote in a 1781 letter to the governor of Massachusetts, John Hancock.

The Treaty of Paris, which ended hostilities with England, languished in Congress for months before it was ratified because state representatives failed to attend sessions of the national legislature. Yet, Congress had no power to enforce attendance. Writing to George Clinton in September 1783, George Washington complained:

Congress have come to no determination yet respecting the Peace Establishment, nor am I able to say when they will. I have lately had a conference with a Committee on this subject, and have reiterated my former opinions, but it appears to me that there is not a sufficient representation to discuss Great National points.

Letter George Washington to George Clinton, September 11, 1783. Series 3, Varick Transcripts, 1775-1785, Subseries 3H, Personal Correspondence, 1775-1783, Letterbook 3. George Washington Papers. Manuscript Division

Leaders of the Continental CongressLeaders of the Continental Congress–John Adams, Morris, Hamilton, Jefferson / A. Tholey. Augustus Tholey, artist, c1894. Prints & Photographs Division

In May 1786, Charles Pinckney of South Carolina proposed that Congress revise the Articles of Confederation. On August 7, 1786, a committee recommended amendments to the Articles that included granting Congress power over foreign and domestic commerce and providing means for Congress to collect money from state treasuries. Unanimous approval was necessary to make the alterations, however, and Congress failed to reach a consensus.

In September 1786, a convention was held in Annapolis, Maryland, in an effort to deal with problems of interstate commerce. Led by James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, the delegates at the Annapolis Convention issued a proposal for a new convention to revise the Articles of Confederation.

After debate, Congress endorsed the plan to revise the Articles of Confederation on February 21, 1787.

Although ultimately supplanted by the United States Constitution, the Articles of Confederation provided stability during the Revolutionary Waryears. Most importantly, the experience of drafting and living under this initial document provided valuable lessons in self-governance and somewhat tempered fears about a powerful central government. Still, reconciling the tension between state and federal authority continued to challenge Americans from the 1832 nullification crisis to the Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision.

#AceHistoryDesk report …………..Published: Nov.15: 2020:

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Timeline: From Magna Carta to NO Deal #Brexit – 800 years of constitutional crises in Britain #AceHistoryDesk reports

#AceHistoryReport – Sept.01: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces accusations of triggering the biggest constitutional crisis in decades after he announced that parliament would be suspended for around a month shortly before the country is due to leave the European Union: While Johnson says it is customary for parliament to be suspended – or “prorogued” – before a government outlines its new policy priorities in a Queen’s Speech, his opponents say the timing and length of the suspension is designed to sideline parliament in the countdown to Brexit: Britain has an uncodified constitution, meaning it is largely upheld through convention and precedent: The constitution has changed dramatically down the centuries, with monarchs steadily surrendering their once-vast powers to the government and prime minister of the day. Johnson required Queen Elizabeth’s formal consent to suspend parliament but she was equally required, by custom, to grant it.

Following is a timeline of some major constitutional crises over the last eight centuries that have pitted the executive power – originally the crown and later governments acting in its name – against the legislative arm:

WHOSE CONSTITUTION? ENGLAND, BRITAIN AND THE UK: The story begins in the origins of England’s constitution. England annexed the principality of Wales in the 1530s and then forged the Acts of Union with Scotland in 1707 to create Great Britain. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was formed in 1801 after the Acts of Union with Ireland, before the creation of the Irish Free State in 1922 left the “UK” as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

1215: MAGNA CARTA

Issued in June 1215, the Magna Carta was the first document to establish the principle that the monarch was not above the law and to place limits on royal power.

The charter, which King John was forced by his barons to sign, decreed that nobody should be denied the right to justice or subject to unlawful imprisonment, dispossession or exile.

John later persuaded the Pope to declare the document illegal and a civil war broke out. John died in October 1216 and his son Henry III eventually made peace with the rebels.

1529-1536: HENRY VIII AND THE REFORMATION PARLIAMENT:

Jokingly referred to by some as the “first Brexit”, Henry VIII’s decision to break with Rome over his desire to divorce his first wife Catherine of Aragon split England from the Catholic Church and would fundamentally change Britain’s relationship with mainland Europe.

Henry’s ‘Reformation Parliament’ made laws affecting all areas of life, especially religion, which had previously been under the authority of the Roman Catholic Church alone. It established that parliament was “omnicompetent”, that is, it had control over the whole of government, albeit under the monarch.

1642-1660: CIVIL WAR AND RESTORATION:

Long-simmering tensions between the monarchy and parliament over money, religion and other issues came to a head in 1642 when King Charles I entered the House of Commons in a bid to arrest five lawmakers personally.

Civil war erupted, culminating in victory for the parliamentarians over the royalists and in the execution of Charles I in 1649 for high treason.

England became a republic. Oliver Cromwell, increasingly frustrated with parliament, also led an armed force into the legislature, dissolved it and ruled as Lord Protector until his death in 1658. Chaos then ensued and the monarchy was restored in 1660 under Charles’ son, who became Charles II.

1685-1689: GLORIOUS REVOLUTION:

In 1685, Charles’ brother, a Roman Catholic, became James II and suspended parliament amid tensions over his bid to repeal anti-Catholic laws.

His use of the royal prerogative to suspend all religious penal laws without parliamentary approval prompted lawmakers to invite William of Orange, a Dutch Protestant, to invade England and take the throne.

A Bill of Rights passed in December decreed that only a Protestant could be monarch, a rule which is still in place now.

The so-called ‘Glorious Revolution’ marked the peaceful assertion of parliament’s rights over the monarch.

1906-1911: ASQUITH AND LORDS REFORM:

The landslide election victory of the Liberal Party in 1906 left them with a healthy majority in parliament’s lower chamber, the House of Commons, but massively outnumbered by Conservatives in the unelected House of Lords.

Tensions came to a head in 1909, when the Lords rejected the Liberals’ budget, which included taxes on large landowners, going against parliamentary precedent.

Though the Lords passed the budget in 1910 after a new election, Prime Minister Herbert Asquith introduced a bill to abolish the Lords’ veto on finance bills and allow the Commons to force through other bills after a delay.

The government also sought to involve the monarch in politics, saying it might be necessary to create hundreds of new lords to pass the controversial bill through the chamber. The threat was eventually enough to pass the bill through the Lords.

Today the House of Lords remains an unelected chamber, though its members are now mostly appointees, not hereditary peers. Its role is to scrutinize legislation passed by the Commons and it can block bills for up to a year. The prime minister retains the power to create new lords.

#AceNewsDesk reports ………………Published: Sept.01: 2019: Reuters: Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Gareth Jones

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