standard weights and measures, and establish post offices.17 But the Congress alone could do almost none of these things--it could exercise no important power--without the consent of nine of the member States.
The remaining four articles are of less interest and concern, though it may be noted that in three places, the framers of the Articles of Confederation provided that their union was a permanent union. The article were to be inviolably observed by the States the delegates respectively represented, "and the Union shall be perpetual."
"We the People"
OF COURSE, it wasn't perpetual at all. Before six years had elapsed, the States came to recognize grave defects in the Articles of Confederation. And because they were sovereign States--because they had the will to enact and the power to execute, because they who had made could unmake--they set out to do the job again.
What they made, this time, was the Constitution of the United States. So much has been written of the deliberations that summer of 1787 in Philadelphia--so many critics have examined every word of the great document which came forth--that probably no new light can be shed upon it here. Yet the Constitutions of most States command their citizens to recur frequently to fundamental principles, and the commandment is too valuable an admonition to be passed by. There is much of interest to be found if one examines the Constitution, the debates and the commentaries of the time, in terms of the relationship there established between the States and the new Federal government they formed.
It may be inquired, was sovereignty here surrendered in whole or in part? What powers were delegated, what powers retained?