The thirteen American colonies declared their independence from Britain in seventeen seventy-six. But they had to win their independence in a long war that followed. During that war, the colonies were united by an agreement called the Articles of Confederation. The Union was a loose one. The Articles of Confederation did not organize a central government. They did not create courts or decide laws. They did not provide an executive to carry out the laws. All the Articles of Confederation did was to create a Congress. But it was a Congress with little power. It could only advise the separate thirteen states and ask them to do some things. It could not pass laws for the Union of states. The weakness of this system became clear soon after the war for independence ended. British General Charles Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, Virginia, in seventeen eighty-one. A messenger brought the Congress news of the victory. The Congress had no money. It could not even pay the messenger. So money had to be collected from each member of the Congress. Even before the war ended, three men called for a change in the loose confederation of states. They urged formation of a strong central government. Those three men were George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison. George Washington commanded America's troops during the revolution.
He opposed the Articles of Confederation because they provided little support for his army. His soldiers often had no clothes or shoes or food. They had no medicines or blankets or bullets. During the war, Washington wrote many angry letters about the military situation. In one letter, he said: "Our sick soldiers are naked. Our healthy soldiers are naked. Our soldiers who have been captured by the British are naked!" General Washington's letters produced little action. The thirteen separate states refused to listen when he told them the war was a war of all the states. He learned they were more interested in themselves than in what his soldiers needed. After the war, there was much social, political, and economic disorder. General Washington saw once again that there was no hope for the United States under the Articles of Confederation. He wrote to a friend: "I do not believe we can exist as a nation unless there is a central government which will rule all the nation, just as a state government rules each state." Alexander Hamilton agreed. He was a young lawyer and an assistant to General Washington during the revolution. Even before the war ended, Hamilton called for a convention of the thirteen states to create a central government. He expressed his opinion in letters, speeches, and newspaper stories.
Finally, there was James Madison. He saw the picture clearly. It was an unhappy picture. There were thirteen governments. And each tried to help itself at the cost of the others. Nine states had their own navy. Each had its own army. The states used these forces to protect themselves from each other. For example, the state of Virginia passed a law which said it could seize ships that did not pay taxes to the state. Virginia did not mean ships from England and Spain. It meant ships from Maryland, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. James Madison often said most of the new nation's political problems grew out of such commercial problems. In the seventeen eighties, many people in America and Europe believed the United States was on the road to anarchy. One sign was the money system. There was no national money. Many Americans thought of money as the pounds and shillings of the British system. There was an American dollar. But it did not have the same value everywhere. In New York, the dollar was worth eight shillings. In South Carolina, it was worth more than thirty-two shillings. This situation was bad enough. Yet there also were all kinds of other coins used as money: French crowns, Spanish doubloons, European ducats. In seventeen eighty-six, representatives from Maryland and Virginia met to discuss opening land for new settlements along the Potomac River.
The Potomac formed the border between those two states. The representatives agreed that the issue of settling new land was too big for just two states to decide. "Why not invite Delaware and Pennsylvania to help?" someone asked. Someone else said all the states should be invited. Then they could discuss all the problems that were giving the new nation so much trouble. The idea was accepted. And a convention was set for Annapolis, Maryland. The convention opened as planned. It was not much of a meeting. Representatives came from only five states. Four other states had chosen representatives, but they did not come. The remaining four states did not even choose representatives. The men who did meet at Annapolis, however, agreed it was a beginning. They agreed, too, that a larger convention should be called. They appointed the representative from New York, Alexander Hamilton, to put the agreement in writing. So Hamilton sent a message to the legislature of each state. He called for a convention in Philadelphia in May of the next year, seventeen eighty-seven. The purpose of the convention, he said, would be to write a constitution for the United States. Many people believed the convention would not succeed without George Washington. But General Washington did not want to go. He suffered from rheumatism.
His mother and sister were sick. He needed to take care of business at his farm, Mount Vernon. And he already said he was not interested in public office. How would it look if -- as expected -- he was elected president of the convention? George Washington was the most famous man in America. Suppose only a few states sent representatives to the convention? Suppose it failed? Would he look foolish? Two close friends -- James Madison and Edmund Randolph -- urged General Washington to go to Philadelphia. He trusted them. So he said he would go as one of the representatives of Virginia. From that moment, it was clear the convention would be an important event. If George Washington would be there, it had to be important. Madison believed the United States needed a strong central government. He believed the governments of the thirteen states should be second to the central government. Madison knew he should not push his ideas too quickly, however. Many representatives at the convention were afraid of a strong central government. They did not trust central governments with too much power. So Madison planned his work quietly. He came to the convention with hundreds of books and papers. He was prepared to answer any question about government that any other representative might ask him. That will be our story next week.
He also faced down powerful figures in the central government as he took on militias with powerful friends.
One day she saw an advertisement for a job—an assistant to MIT’s director of admissions.
I called for the draft agreement you sent us one week ago.
4.carry out 执行
You must carry out my orders.
No, as you know, I am not interested in games.
不， 如你所知，我对体育比赛不太感兴趣 。
战后，美国出现了社会、政治和经济混乱 。华盛顿将军再次看到，《邦联条例》下的美国毫无希望 。他给一个朋友写信说：“我认为这样的国家无法存在，除非有一个中央政府来统治整个国家，就像州政府统治每个州一样 。”亚历山大•汉密尔顿表示同意 。独立战争期间，汉密尔顿是一名年轻的律师，是华盛顿将军的助手 。甚至在战争结束之前，汉密尔顿就呼吁召集13个州开会，成立中央政府 。他通过信件、演讲和报纸故事表达了自己的观点 。最后是詹姆斯•麦迪逊，他也认为当时的美国前景堪忧 。十三个州各自为政，互相排挤 。九个州拥有自己的海军，各州都拥有自己的军队 。这些州利用这些力量来保护自己免受其他州的伤害 。例如，弗吉尼亚州通过了一项法律，该法律规定，可以扣押不向该州纳税的船只 。弗吉尼亚并不是指来自英格兰和西班牙的船只，它指的是来自马里兰州、马萨诸塞州和宾夕法尼亚州的船只 。詹姆斯•麦迪逊经常说，新国家的大多数政治问题都源于经济纠纷 。十八世纪八十年代，美国和欧洲的许多人认为，美国正处于无政府状态 。一个迹象是货币体系，美国没有国家货币 。许多美国人认为，钱依旧是英国的英镑和先令 。美元已经存在，但并非在所有地方都具有相同的价值 。在纽约，一美元值八先令 。在南卡罗莱纳州，一美元价值超过32先令 。这种情况已经够糟了，然而，法国、西班牙、欧洲的货币也在美国流通 。
1786年，来自马里兰州和弗吉尼亚州的代表开会讨论在波多马克河沿岸开辟新定居点的问题 。波托马克河成为了这两个州的边界 。代表们一致认为，安置新土地的问题太大，无法仅由两个国家来决定 。有人提议：“为什么不邀请特拉华和宾夕法尼亚商量呢?”还有人说应该邀请所有的州 。共同讨论这个新国家面临的诸多麻烦问题 。大家接受了这个想法 。会议在马里兰州安纳波利斯召开 。大会如期召开，但是完全没有达到预想的效果 。只来了五个州的代表 。其他四个州也选出了代表，但没有来 。其余四个州甚至没有推选代表 。然而，在安纳波利斯会面的人一致认为，这次会议是一个起点，他们也同意应该召开一个更大规模的会议 。他们任命纽约代表亚历山大•汉密尔顿把这一结论以书面形式写下来 。汉密尔顿向每个州的立法机构送出了消息 。他呼吁，1787年5月，在费城召开会议 。他表示，这此会议的目的是为美国起草一部宪法 。许多人认为，如果乔治•华盛顿不去的话，大会就不会成功 。但是华盛顿将军不想去，他患了风湿病 。他的母亲和姐姐病了，他需要照料他的弗农山庄的生意 。他已经说过，他对公职不感兴趣 。
如果真如人们所料，华盛顿当选为大会主席，情况会如何?乔治•华盛顿是美国最有名的人 。假设只有几个州派代表参加?假设会议失败了?他会显得愚蠢吗?华盛顿将军的两个亲密好友——詹姆斯•麦迪逊和埃德蒙•伦道夫敦促他前往费城 。华盛顿信任他们，同意作为弗吉尼亚州的代表前去 。从那时起，大会显然成为一个重要事件 。如果乔治•华盛顿会出席，那么会议一定很重要 。第一个到费城参加大会的人是詹姆斯•麦迪逊 。麦迪逊35岁，个子矮矮的，头发快要掉光了，他不是一个好的演说家 。但他总是知道自己想说什么 。他读过所有英语出版的关于政府（从古希腊政府到他那个时代的政府）的书籍 。麦迪逊认为，美国需要一个强大的中央政府 。他认为13个州的政府应该仅次于中央政府 。然而，麦迪逊知道，他不应该过快地推行自己的想法 。大会上的许多代表对强大的中央政府心存芥蒂，他们对权利过大的中央政府缺乏信任 。所以麦迪逊默默地计划着他的工作 。他带着几百本书和报纸来参加会议 。他准备回答其他代表可能提出的任何关于政府的问题 。这就是我们下周要讲的故事 。