The Ninth State: New Hampshire's Formative Years

By Lynn Warren Turner | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6

IN THE FEDERAL UNION

Do you wish to know in what light I am considered here?—an illiberal, ignorant fellow, who has never seen the world, who is startled at the mention of millions.—Jeremiah Smith

By its belated ratification of the federal Constitution, New Hampshire had indicated its willingness to participate with some enthusiasm in the experiment of a stronger national government. 1 To the state legislature elected in March 1788 fell the exciting privilege of giving legal effect to the new partnership by putting the federal machinery into motion. The Constitution's directives were general: the same New Hampshire electors eligible to vote for representatives to the more numerous branch of the state legislature (all male taxpayers) were entitled to elect three of their fellow citizens to the House of Representatives; the state legislature was to choose two others to the Senate; and the state was entitled, before January 7, to select five electors who should then vote for two American citizens, from different states, as president and vice-president. In the process of implementing these new responsibilities, the general court developed some interesting antagonisms.

Perhaps because of the familiar habit of electing delegates to the Continental Congress, the legislature, in its November session, turned first to the choice of its two United States senators. The two houses of the general court decided to do this by concurrent resolution, as had been their custom. Although John Sullivan, probably because of ill health, was not a candidate for this office, John Langdon, Samuel Livermore, Josiah Bartlett, and Nathaniel Peabody were all supported by various factions. Langdon's election was a foregone conclusion, but no other candidate commanded a sure majority. Strangely enough, there was some sentiment for Peabody, even among the Exeter politicians, but he was decisively defeated in the senate. 2 Paine Wingate, already serving in the old Congress, was eventually elected to the second senatorial post as a compromise candidate.

A sharp difference of opinion developed over procedures in the election of the remaining federal officers. It was finally agreed that the people should vote both for their three representatives to Congress and their five electors by general ballot. In case the elections were not completed on the first ballot (and no one expected them to be), the people would meet a

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The Ninth State: New Hampshire's Formative Years
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Ninth State - New Hampshire's Formative Years *
  • Contents *
  • Foreword *
  • Preface *
  • Chapter 1 - Revolutionary New Hampshire *
  • Chapter 2 - Constitution Making *
  • Chapter 3 - Peace and Depression *
  • Chapter 4 - Personal Politics *
  • Chapter 5 - A Fragment of Social History *
  • Chapter 6 - In the Federal Union *
  • Chapter 7 - Constitutional Revision *
  • Chapter 8 - The Rise of Parties *
  • Chapter 9 - Federalists and Republicans *
  • Chapter 10 - Federalist Decline *
  • Chapter 11 - The Old Order Yieldeth *
  • Chapter 12 - Democracy Triumphant *
  • Chapter 13 - Federalist Collapse *
  • Chapter 14 - Blockade and Embargo *
  • Chapter 15 - Drifting Toward War *
  • Chapter 16 - In the War with England *
  • Chapter 17 - The Indian Summer of Federalism *
  • Chapter 18 - Peace Abroad: War at Home *
  • Chapter 19 - Tribulations *
  • Chapter 20 - The Demise of Federalism *
  • Chapter 21 - Reform and Freedom *
  • Appendix - Maps and Explanations *
  • Notes *
  • Index *
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