Monday, September 17, 2012

President-Elect Samuel Johnston

Samuel Johnston
USCA President-Elect  

Elected President of the United States in Congress Assembled July 9, 1781
Declined the Presidency July 10, 1781

Copyright © Stan Klos, President Who? Forgotten Founders 2004 & 2008 

Students and Teachers of US History this is a video of Stanley and Christopher Klos presenting America's Four United Republics Curriculum at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. The December 2015 video was an impromptu capture by a member of the audience of Penn students, professors and guests that numbered about 200.

The Third United American Republic
Presidents of the United States in Congress Assembled
March 1, 1781 to March 3, 1789

March 1, 1781
July 6, 1781
July 9, 1781
Declined Office
July 10, 1781
November 4, 1781
November 5, 1781
November 3, 1782
November 4, 1782
November 2, 1783
November 3, 1783
June 3, 1784
November 30, 1784
November 22, 1785
November 23, 1785
June 5, 1786
June 6, 1786
February 1, 1787
February 2, 1787
January 21, 1788
January 22, 1788
January 21, 1789

Samuel Johnston was born in Dundee, Scotland, on December 15, 1733.  In 1734 his Uncle, Gabriel Johnston, was appointed the Royal Governor of North Carolina.  His parents, Samuel and Helen (Scrymoure) Johnston, immigrated to North Carolina some time prior to May 25, 1735 according to colonial records.  The family settled in Onslow county and Samuel Johnston, Sr.  accepting the position of surveyor-general of the colony. Senior also served as justice of the peace in New Hanover, Bladen, Craven, and Onslow, a collector of the customs at the port of Brunswick and as road commissioner for Onslow County.   

In 1750, Samuel Johnston was sent to a private school in New Haven, Connecticut.  While in New England, his mother died in childbirth leaving two sons, Samuel and John, and five daughters, Jane, Penelope, Isabelle, Ann, and Hannah.  Samuel continued his studies in New Haven graduating in 1754.  He returned North Carolina and took up residency in Eden where he studied law under Thomas Barker.  While in Eden, his father passed away with a will, probated in January 1757, leaving the bulk of his estate, including 6500 acres & Slaves, to Samuel and John.

Urged by a group of friends to remain in Edenton, Johnston began his law practice and in 1759 was elected to the North Carolina General Assembly serving until 1775. He served in various posts while in the assembly including Clerk of the Court for the Edenton District (1768) and Deputy Naval Officer of the North Carolina province. He was fired from the naval post by Royal Governor Josiah Martin, Nov. 16, 1775, on account of his activity in the revolutionary movement. On December 8, 1773, Johnston was appointed as one of the Committee of Continental Correspondence by the General Assembly. He also served in the first four North Carolina Provincial Congresses, which met Aug. 25, 1774, April 3, 1775, Aug. 20, 1775, and April 4, 1776. In the last two he was elected President.   On December 21, 1776, he was appointed by the Provincial Congress a commissioner to codify the laws of the State. In 1779, 1783, 1784 he represented Chowan County in the State Senate.

Johnston entered the national political stage when the General Assembly of North Carolina elected him a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1780. He remained a delegate to that body until it was dissolved in March 1781 with the adoption of the first U.S. Constitution, the Articles of Confederation.  While a member of the Continental Congress, he was very active in seeking congressional support for the southern army. He understood the challenges that slowed the movement of troops southward as evidence by this letter to James Iredell on February 27th, 1781:

Dear Sir: Philadelphia, 27th February, 1781. Your letter giving an account of Morgan's victory, I had the pleasure to receive yesterday, but have heard nothing of those sent by the gentlemen to Virginia. Our accounts from General Cornwallis are very alarming, but we hope it will not be long before both he and Arnold will repent of their rashness. Congress are not inattentive to the state of the Southern States, but the unfortunate mutinies in the Army, and other unavoidable accidents have prevented them sending on more Troops, and put it out of their power to make such ample provision for those that were sent as would have been wished.[1]

On March 2, 1781 Johnston remained in Philadelphia taking his seat as the North Carolina Delegate to the new government of the United States, the United States in Congress Assembled (USCA).  He vigorously worked at reformulating the new government with a particular interest in seeking to expand the powers of the President.  In an April 8th letter, to James Iredell, he wrote of leadership and the States’ failure to support USCA measures:

You will easily judge that great delay in the deliberative councils of so numerous a body as Congress. You will easily judge that great delay in the deliberative councils of so numerous a body as Congress must necessarily take place, add to this, that the frequent change of the members does in almost every instance break upon the best digested systems, and renders inefficient the best concerted measures. Much time is too often spent in debate, and there is no man of sufficient credit or influence to take the lead, or give a tone to the business. Another circumstance which prevents Congress from taking its measures with a greater degree of confidence and decision is, the inattention which the States pay to the measures recommended by that body. I am fully satisfied that if the States would implicitly comply with every requisition of Congress, even when the propriety of the measure was not evidently apparent, it would be attended by the most salutary consequences, as there is not the least reason to doubt but Congress, both as a body and individually, are disposed to do what is right, and appear to me in almost every instance that has fallen within my observation to be actuated by the most virtuous and disinterested motives. In a few, very few instances, I have suspected individuals to be influenced by local or personal considerations, and this less often than might be naturally expected in so large a body.

Never was a poor fly more completely entangled in a cobweb than Congress in their paper currency. It is the daily subject of conversation in that body; but our situation is so very intricate and delicate that I have as yet heard no proposal that is not subject to numberless objections.[2]

Johnston was unsuccessful in his attempt to strengthen the USCA Presidency. On May 4th, 1781, after three months of committee work and a final debate, the United States in Congress Assembled (USCA) approved the thirty-five rules for conducting the nation’s business under the Articles of Confederation.  The new rules stripped the Presidential office of its important political power to choose when and what matter came before the United States in Congress Assembled.  

Rules for Conduction Business, in the United States in Congress Assembled dated May 4th, 1781, in this entry of The Journals of Congress and the United States in Congress Assembled, For the Year 1781, Published By Order of Congress, Volume VII New York: Printed by John Patterson. This entry reports the that new governing entity, The United States in Congress Assembled, now governs the United States of America -- Image courtesy of the Collection.

Rules for conducting business in the United States in Congress assembled:

1. As soon as seven states are met the President may assume assumes the chair, upon which the members shall take their seats.
2. The minutes of the preceding day shall then be read, and after that the public letters, petitions and memorials, if any have been received or presented.
3. Every letter, petition or memorial read, on which no order is moved, shall of course be considered as ordered to lie on the table, and may be taken up at any future time.
4. After the public dispatches, &c., the reports of committees which may have been delivered by them to the secretary during that morning or the preceding day shall, for the information of the house, be read in the order in which they were delivered, and, if it is judged proper, a day be assigned for considering them.
5. After the public letters, &c., are read, and orders given concerning them, the reports of the Board of Treasury and of the Board of War, if any, shall be taken into consideration; but none of those subjects for the determination of which the assent of nine states is requisite shall be agitated or debated, except when nine states or more are assembled. When a doubt is raised whether any motion or question is of the number of those for the determination of which in the affirmative the articles of confederation require the assent of nine states, the votes and assent of nine states shall always be necessary to solve that doubt, and to determine upon such motions or questions.
6. When a report, which has been read and lies for consideration, is called for it shall immediately be taken up. If two or more are called for, the titles of the several reports shall be read, and then the President shall put the question beginning with the first called for, but there shall be no debate, and the votes of a majority of the states present shall determine which is to be taken up.
7. An order of the day, when called for by a State shall always have the preference and shall not be postponed but by the votes of a majority of the United States in Congress assembled.
8. When a report is brought forward for consideration it shall first be read over and then debated by paragraphs and each paragraph shall be subject to amendments. If it relates only to one subject being in the nature of an ordinance it shall be subject to such additions as may be judged proper to render it compleat and then it shall be read over as it stands amended and a question taken upon the whole: But if it comprehends different subjects, independent one of another, in the form of distinct acts or resolutions a question shall be taken on each and finally a question on the whole.
9. No motion shall be received unless it be made or Negatived. seconded by a state.
9. When any ordinance is introduced by report or otherwise, it shall be read a first time for the information of the house without debate. The President shall then put the following question "Shall this ordinance be read a second time." If it passes in the affirmative then a time shall be appointed for that purpose when it shall be read and debated by paragraphs and when gone through, the question shall be "Shall this ordinance be read a third time"; if agreed to, and a time appointed, it shall be accordingly read by paragraphs, and if necessary debated, and when gone through the question shall be "Shall this ordinance pass", if the vote is in the affirmative, a fair copy shall then be made out by the Secretary, either on parchment or paper and signed by the President and attested by the Secretary in Congress and recorded in the Secretary's office.
10. When a motion is made and seconded it shall be repeated by the President or if he or any other member desire being in writing it shall be delivered to the President in writing and read aloud at the table before it, shall be debated.
11. Every motion shall be reduced to writing and read at the table before it is debated if the President or any member require it.
12. After a motion is repeated by the President or read at the table it shall then be in the possession of the house, but may at any time before decision, be withdrawn, with the consent of a majority of the states present.
13. No member shall speak more than twice in any one debate on the same day, without leave of the house, nor shall any member speak twice in a debate until every member, who chuses, shall have spoken once on the same.
13. Before an original motion shall be brought before the house, it shall be entered in a book to be kept for the purpose and to lie on the table for the inspection of the members, and the time shall be mentioned underneath when the motion is to be made, that the members may some prepared and nothing he brought on hastily or by surprise.
14. When a question is before the house and under debate, no motion shall be received unless for amending it, for the previous question, or to postpone the consideration of the main question or to commit it.
15. No new motion or proposition shall be admitted under colour of amendment as a substitute for the question or proposition under debate until it is postponed or disagreed to.
16. When a motion is made to amend by striking out certain words, whether for the purpose of inserting other words or not, the first question shall be "Shall the words moved to be struck out stand?"
16. The previous question (which is always to be understood in this sense that the main question be not now put) shall only be admitted when in the judgment of two states at least, the subject moved is in its nature or from the circumstances of time or place improper to be debated or decided, and shall therefore preclude all amendments and farther debates on the subject, until it is decided.
17. A motion for commitment shall also have preference and preclude all amendments and debates on the subject until it shall be decided.
18. On motions for the previous question for committing or for postponing no member shall speak more than once without leave of the house.
19. When any subject shall be deemed so important as to require mature discussion or deliberation before it be submitted to the decision of the United States in Congress assembled, it shall be referred to the consideration of a grand committee consisting of one member present from each State, and in such case each State shall nominate its member. But the United States in Congress assembled shall in no case whatever be resolved into a committee of the whole. Every member may attend the debates of a grand committee and for that purpose the time and place of its meeting shall be fixed by the United States in Congress assembled.
20. The states shall ballot for small committees, but if upon counting the ballots, the number required shall not be elected by a majority of the United States in Congress assembled, the President shall name the members who have been balloted for, and the house shall by a vote or votes determine the committee.
21. If a question under debate contains several points any member may have it divided.
22. When a question is about to be put, it shall be in the power of any one of the states to postpone the determination thereof until the next day, and in such case, unless it shall be further postponed by order of the house the question shall, the next day immediately after reading the public dispatches, &c. and before the house go upon other business, be put without any debate, provided there be a sufficient number of states present to determine it; if that should not be the case, it shall be put without debate as soon as a sufficient number shall have assembled.
23. If any member chuse to have the yeas and nays taken upon any question, he shall move for the same previous to the President's putting the question and in such case every member present shall openly and without debate declare by ay or no his assent or dissent to the question.
24. When an ordinance act or resolution is introduced with a preamble, the ordinance, act or resolution shall be first debated, and after it is passed, the preamble if judged necessary shall be adapted thereto: But if the preamble states some matter or thing as fact to which the house do not agree by general consent, and the ordinance, act or resolution is grounded thereon, the preamble shall be withdrawn or the fact resolved on as it appears to the house previous to any debate on the ordinance act or resolution; and if the fact shall not be established to the satisfaction of a majority of the United States in Congress assembled, the ordinance, act or resolution shall fall of course.
24. Every member when he chuses to speak shall rise and address the President. When two members chance to rise at the same time, the President shall name the person who
is to speak first. Every member both in debate, and while the states are assembled shall conduct himself with the utmost decency and decorum. If any member shall transgress, the President shall call to order. In case the disorder be continued or repeated the President may name the person transgressing. Any member may call to order.
25. When a member is called to order, he shall immediately sit down. If he has been named as a transgressor, his conduct shall be enquired into and he shall be liable to a censure.
26. When a question of order is moved, the President if he is in doubt may call for the judgment of the house, otherwise he shall in the first instance give a decision, and an appeal shall lie to the house, but there shall be no debate on questions of order, except that a member called to order for irregular or unbecoming conduct or for improper expressions may be allowed to explain.
27. A motion to adjourn may be made at any time and shall always be in order, and the question thereon shall always be put without any debate.
30. No member shall leave Congress without permission of Congress or of his constituents.
31. No member shall read any printed paper in the house during the sitting thereof.
28. On every Monday after reading and taking order on the public dispatches a committee of three shall be appointed, who shall every morning during the week report to Congress the orders necessary to be made on such dispatches as may be received during the adjournment or sitting of Congress, upon which no orders shall have been made.
The members of such Committee not to be eligible a second time until all the other members have served.
32. The habit of a member of Congress in future shall be a plain purple gown with open-sleeves, plaited at the bend of the arm. And that no member be allowed to sit in Congress without such habit.
33. The members of each state shall sit together in Congress, for the more ready conference with each other on any question above be taken that the house might not be disturbed by the members moving Postponed. from one part to another to confer one the vote to be given. That for the better observance of order, New Hampshire shall sit on the left hand of the President and on every question be first called, and each state from thence to Georgia shall take their seats in the order that their states are situated to each other. The delegates of the respective states to sit in their order of seniority.[3]

On May 30th Johnston, weary of the USCA and its lack of leadership, wrote Iredell about USCA challenges and his decision to remain in Philadelphia:

 I thought about this time to be making preparations for leaving this place, but none of my colleagues appearing to relieve me, several States being unrepresented in Congress, and affairs of the first magnitude being now on the tapis, I thought it inconsistent with my honor to leave the State unrepresented at so interesting a period. Notwithstanding my anxious impatience to return to my family, I have determined to stay till I am relieved, or at least till the States are more fully represented in Congress. I don't doubt but you and my sister will offer such reasons to Mrs. Johnston as will reconcile her to this measure. I hope she will keep up her spirits and if I should not return before the sickly season, I wish you would prevail on her to take the children down to the sea-side, if it can be done with safety; but as I have hopes of returning before that time, it will be unnecessary to say anything on the subject till the season approaches.[4]

Johnston and his fellow delegates had neutered the Presidency by empowering committees, new departments, and enacting these USCA  operating rules. Additionally, the Articles of Confederation required a minimum of two delegates from each state to from a quorum count of at least nine States to pass “major” legislation as prescribed in Article IX:
The United States in Congress assembled shall never engage in a war, nor grant letters of marquee or reprisal in time of peace, nor enter into any treaties or alliances, nor coin money, nor regulate the value thereof, nor ascertain the sums and expenses necessary for the defense and welfare of the United States, or any of them, nor emit bills, nor borrow money on the credit of the United States, nor appropriate money, nor agree upon the number of vessels of war, to be built or purchased, or the number of land or sea forces to be raised, nor appoint a commander in chief of the army or navy, unless nine States assent to the same:nor shall a question on any other point, except for adjourning from day to day be determined, unless by the votes of the majority of the United States in Congress assembled. 
This relegated the President to the duties of a passive chair (no agenda powers) as one of 18 Delegates (Nine States, two delegate minimum), at best, in deciding important matters of State. This new USCA Presidency was very weak in comparison to the Continental Congress Presidents who controlled the agenda, the mail (they read it first and decided what was to be brought before Congress) and were empowered to convene Congress with only one delegate present from only seven States.  A Continental Congress President, after deciding what matters came before his congress, was empowered to vote on crucial legislation during the Revolutionary War as one Delegate representing his state with only six other states present (minimum quorum number was seven states with one delegate each). The USCA Presidents wielded no such powers, after the enactment of the rules, under the ratified Articles of Confederation and although Huntington had a three month reprieve on the rules, his successor was bound to passively preside.  

By the end of June, news of troop movements in the Carolinas remained of great interest to both Congress and Johnston who still longed to return home.  On June 23rd he writes Thomas Burke:

I had the pleasure of receiving your Letter of the 4th of last month and is the latest intelligence which I have received from that Country, your representation differed very little from what I expected from that quarter so I was not much surprised you were very much out, contrary to your usual Sagacity, with regard to the movements of Lord Cornwallis, indeed both Green and his Lordship have taken their Measures in a manner so diametrically opposite to what was generally expected that you were not the only person who was disappointed. The Assembly is now sitting at this place (2) and it is said discover a disposition to do great matters, but you know these people better than I do and can better Judge what is to be expected from them. You will before this reaches you have heard that a Negotiation for peace is on foot in Europe under the Mediation of the Emperor & Empress Queen of Russia. The Events of this Campaign will determine whether America is to reap any Advantages from this Measure.
We have just heard of a Reinforcement having arrived at Charlestown on the 10th of this month said to consist of about two thousand men, three thousand were said to have embarked in that fleet, the remainder are supposed to have gone to the West Indies or come to Virginia. I have heard that our Assembly was to meet the 15th Instant and not doubting but the Delegates are by this time ready to set off for this place, I shall turn my face homeward as soon as completed a little business of considerable importance to our State.[5]

Later that month sickness not only inflicted Johnston but President Huntington who explained his July 8th resignation in letter to George Washington that “My health is so much impaired by long confinement and application as compels me to retire from congress.”   Thomas McKean, on President Huntington’s resignation wrote Samuel Adams:

A new President of Congress is to be chosen tomorrow, as Mr. Huntington will not continue any longer; this honor is going a begging; there is only one Gentleman, and he from the Southward, who seems willing to accept, but I question whether he will be elected. There are some amongst us, who are so fond of having a great and powerful man to look up to, that, tho' they may not like the name of King, seem anxious to confer kingly powers, under the titles of Dictator, Superintendent of Finance, or some such, but the majorities do not yet appear to be so disposed.[6]

National Collegiate Honor’s Council Partners in the Park Class of 2017 Students at the 2nd Bank of the United States under the portrait of USCA President Samuel Huntington. Sydney is holding-up a Revolutionary War–dated manuscript document signed as President of the Continental Congress, “Sam. Huntington,” May 16, 1780. This is a $6,000 pay order issued to Joseph Borden, commissioner of the Continental Loan Office of New Jersey for clothing. Chris is holding-up a document signed by James Lawrence, and cancelled by Oliver Ellsworth, Jr. for monies owed by the State of Connecticut to Huntington for his service as a delegate to congress and the nation. The note is dated March 11, 1781, which was the 11th day of the Huntington’s service as the first USCA President under the Articles of Confederation. On the verso is of this document is written "Number 1424 Certificate, Saml Huntington Dat 1 Feby, 1781, £ 11-9-4" with a second signature “Saml Huntington.” President Samuel Huntington was the first President to serve under the Articles of Confederation, not John Hanson. – For more information visit our National Park and NCHC Partners in the Park Class of 2017 website
The first presidential election under the Articles of Confederation occurred on July 9th, 1781, and North Carolina Delegate Samuel Johnston was chosen the successor to the ailing Samuel Huntington.  The following day, however, Johnston refused the office.

The handwritten July 9th, 1781, Journals of the USCA do record that the following measure was passed after Johnston’s election and thus, if he took the chair, he was technically USCA President for a day:

The honble. Samuel Johnston was elected. 
A letter of this day, from the superintendant of finance was read:  
Ordered, That it be referred to a committee of three:
The members, Mr. Mathews, Mr. Carroll, Mr. Sullivan.
Historians, however, conclude that Samuel Johnston did not take the chair after his election on July 9th, 1781, as the business was so brief that it was not recorded in numerous print issues of the Journals.  The chair, they reason, must have remained with the Delegate or the USCA Secretary that was designated to preside over the election. This conclusion is substantiated by the Journals of the USCA reporting that, the following day, Samuel Johnston declined rather than "resigned" the office of President: 
Mr. [Samuel] Johnston having declined to accept the office of President, and offered such reasons as were satisfactory, the House proceeded to another election; and, the ballots being taken, the Hon. Thomas McKean was elected. [17]  
Delegate Thomas McKean  accepted the USCA Presidential office and began to preside over Congress on July 10th, 1781, four months before John Hanson was elected to the USCA Presidency.

This was the first and to this date the only time a President-elect has refused the office in the United States.  Consequently, there is much speculation on why Johnston would agree to be considered for the office and wait 24 hours to turn the position down.  Due to Johnston’s silence on this issue one can only surmise why he allowed his colleagues to advance his candidacy to the point of a formal election by the USCA.  The reasons why he turned it down, however, are numerous ranging from the office being stripped of its power in May 1781 to his desire to return home to protect and provide for his family.  William Sharpe, also a 1781 North Carolina to USCA, wrote Governor Thomas Burke on July 28th explaining Johnston refusal of the office as:

I greatly lament the absence of so able a representative and of so judicious and very agreeable colleague. Upon the resignation of Mr. Huntington he was almost unanimously elected and earnestly solicited to take the chair; but his ill state of health and other considerations induced him to decline it.[8]

Johnston explained the circumstances of his departure from Philadelphia in a July 30th letter to Governor Burke written on his way home.

Having no prospect of being relieved or supplied with money for my expenses and my disorder, which abated a little on the first approach of warm weather, returning so as to render me of little use in Congress, I left Philadelphia the 14th, for which I hope I shall be held excusable by this State.[9]

USCA Sessions 1781 to 1789
  • First USCA 1780-1781, convened March 2, 1781 - Samuel Huntington and Thomas McKean Presidents*  
  • Second USCA 1781-1782, convened November 5, 1781 - John Hanson President 
  • Third USCA 1782-1783, convened November 4, 1782 - Elias Boudinot President 
  • Fourth USCA 1783-1784, convened November 3, 1783 - Thomas Mifflin President 
  • Fifth USCA 1784-1785, convened November 29, 1784 - Richard Henry Lee President 
  • Sixth USCA 1785-1786, convened November 23, 1785 -John Hancock and Nathaniel Gorham Presidents 
  • Seventh USCA 1786-1787, convened February 2, 1787 - Arthur St. Clair President 
  • Eighth USCA 1787-1788, convened January 21, 1788 - Cyrus Griffin President 
  • Ninth USCA 1788-1789, failed to convene after several attempts 
*Samuel Johnston was also elected to the First USCA Presidency but the following day declined the office.
Johnston did not appear again on the scene of national politics until 1785 when the States of New York and Massachusetts selected him as one of the commissioners to settle a boundary line dispute. After successfully resolving that dispute he was three times elected Governor of North Carolina, Dec. 12, 1787, Nov. 11, 1788, and Nov. 14, 1789.   As governor, in 1788 and 1789 he was elected President of the two North Carolina Constitutional Conventions, at Hillsborough and Fayetteville, called to consider the ratification of the Constitution of 1787. 

At the first Constitution of 1787 ratifying Convention the federalists were led by Johnston’s old friend and colleague James Iredell.  He and Iredell struggled to mitigate Anti-federalists' fears that the Constitution of 1787 would ultimately concentrate power at the national level permitting the federal government to chip away at states' rights and individual liberties. The abuse of power arising from empowering a central government to levy taxes, appoint government officials, and institute a strong court system was of particular concern to Anti-federalists leaders Willie Jones, Samuel Spencer, and Timothy Bloodworth. Anti-federalist William Gowdy of Guilford County summed up the majority’s opinion in the debates, stating:

Its intent is a concession of power, on the part of the people, to their rulers. We know that private interest governs mankind generally. Power belongs originally to the people; but if rulers be not well guarded, that power may be usurped from them. People ought to be cautious in giving away power.[10]

The North Carolina delegates, who overwhelming distrusted the proposed centralized authority, adjourned on August 4th after they had drafted a "Declaration of Rights" and a list of "Amendments to the Constitution." Unlike New York and Virginia, these members voted "neither to ratify nor reject the Constitution proposed for the government of the United States." James Madison reported to his father:

We just learn the fate of the Constitution in N. Carolina. Rho. Island is however her only associate in the opposition and it will be hard indeed if those two States should endanger a system which has been ratified by the eleven others. Congress has not yet finally settled the arrangements for putting the new Government in operation. The place for its first meeting creates the difficulty. The Eastern States with N. York contend for this City. Most of the other States insist on a more central position.[11]  

A second North Carolina ratifying convention was held in Fayetteville in November 1789 while the First Federal Bicameral Congress was debating trade legislation treating North Carolina and Rhode Island as foreign countries. Almost all expected North Carolina to ratify the Constitution because the State’s major objection, a Bill of Rights, was in the process of being finalized in the Bicameral Congress. The prospects of a second Anti-Federalist victory was so bleak that their most outspoken leader, Willie Jones, refused even to attend the Convention. Debate was minimal at the Convention and the Delegates voted overwhelmingly for ratification which occurred on November 21, 1789.

North Carolina "Constitution of 1787" Ratification Resolution - November 21st, 1789 - Image Courtesy of  
In Convention, August 1st, 1788 and November 21st, 1789.
Resolved, That a Declaration of Rights, asserting and securing from encroachment the great Principles of civil and religious Liberty, and the unalienable Rights of the People, together with Amendments to the most ambiguous and exceptional Parts of the said Constitution of Government, ought to be laid before Congress, and the Convention of the States that shall or may be called for the Purpose of Amending the said Constitution, for their consideration, previous to the Ratification of the Constitution aforesaid, on the part of the State of North Carolina.

1st That there are certain natural rights of which men, when they form a social compact, cannot deprive or divest their posterity, among which are the enjoyment of life, and liberty, with the means of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.
2d. That all power is naturally vested in, and consequently derived from the people; that magistrates therefore are their trustees, and agents, and at all times amenable to them.
3d. That Government ought to be instituted for the common benefit, protection and security of the people; and that the doctrine of non-resistance against arbitrary power and oppression is absurd, slavish, and destructive to the good and happiness of mankind.

4th That no man or set of men are entitled to exclusive or separate public emoluments or privileges from the community, but in consideration of public services; which not being descendible, neither ought the offices of magistrate, legislator or judge, or any other public office to be hereditary.

5th. That the legislative, executive and judiciary powers of government should be separate and distinct, and that the members of the two first may be restrained from oppression by feeling and participating the public burthens, they should at fixed periods be reduced to a private station, return into the mass of the people; and the vacancies be supplied by certain and regular elections; in which all or any part of the former members to be eligible or ineligible, as the rules of the Constitution of Government, and the laws shall direct.

6th. That elections of Representatives in the legislature ought to be free and frequent, and all men having sufficient evidence of permanent common interest with, and attachment to the community, ought to have the right of suffrage: and no aid, charge, tax or fee can be set, rated, or levied upon the people without their own consent, or that of their representatives, so elected, nor can they be bound by any law, to which they have not in like manner assented for the public good.

7th. That all power of suspending laws, or the execution of laws by any authority without the consent of the representatives, of the people in the Legislature, is injurious to their rights, and ought not to be exercised.

8th. That in all capital and criminal prosecutions, a man hath a right to demand the cause and nature of his accusation, to be confronted with the accusers and witnesses, to call for evidence and be allowed counsel in his favor, and to a fair and speedy trial by an impartial jury of his vicinage, without whose unanimous consent he cannot be found guilty (except in the government of the land and naval forces) nor can he be compelled to give evidence against himself.

9th That no freeman ought to be taken, imprisoned, or disseized of his freehold, liberties, privileges or franchises, or outlawed or exiled, or in any manner destroyed or deprived of his life, liberty, or property but by the law of the land.

10th. That every freeman restrained of his liberty is entitled to a remedy to inquire into the lawfulness thereof, and to remove the same, if unlawful, and that such remedy ought not to be denied nor delayed.

11th. That in controversies respecting property, and in suits between man and man, the ancient trial by jury is one of the greatest securities to the rights of the people, and ought to remain sacred and inviolable.

12th. That every freeman ought to find a certain remedy by recourse to the laws for all injuries and wrongs he may receive in his person, property, or character. He ought to obtain right and justice freely without sale, completely and without denial, promptly and without delay, and that all establishments, or regulations contravening these rights, are oppressive and unjust.

13th. That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted,

14. That every freeman has a right to be secure from all unreasonable searches, and seizures of his person, his papers, and property: all warrants therefore to search suspected places, or seize any freeman, his papers or property, without information upon oath (or affirmation of a person religiously scrupulous of taking an oath) of legal and sufficient cause, are grievous and oppressive, and all general warrants to search suspected places, or to apprehend any suspected person without specially naming or describing the place or person, are dangerous and ought not to be granted.

15th. That the people have a right peaceably to assemble together to consult for the common good, or to instruct their representatives; and that every freeman has a right to petition or apply to the Legislature for redress of grievances.

16th. That the people have a right to freedom of speech, and of writing and publishing their sentiments; that the freedom of the press is one of the greatest bulwarks of Liberty, and ought not to be violated.

17th. That the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well regulated militia composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural and safe defense of a free state. That standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to Liberty, and therefore ought to be avoided, as far as the circumstances and protection of the community will admit; and that in all cases, the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by the civil power.

18th. That no soldier in time of peace ought to be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner, and in time of war in such manner only as the Laws direct

19th. That any person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms ought to be exempted upon payment of an equivalent to employ another to bear arms in his stead.

10. That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence, and therefore all men have an equal, natural and unalienable right to the free exercise of religion according to the dictates of conscience, and that no particular religious sect or society ought to be favored or established by law in preference to others.


I. THAT each state in the union shall, respectively, retain every power, jurisdiction and right, which is not by this constitution delegated to the Congress of the United States, or to the departments of the Federal Government.

II. That there shall be one representative for every 30.000, according to the enumeration or census, mentioned in the constitution, until the whole number of representatives amounts to two hundred; after which, that number shall be continued or increased, as Congress shall direct, upon the principles fixed in the constitution, by apportioning the representatives of each state to some greater number of people from time to time, as population encreases.

III. When Congress shall lay direct taxes or excises, they shall immediately inform the executive power of each state, of the quota of such State, according to the census herein directed, which is proposed to be thereby raised: And if the legislature of any state shall pass a law, which shall be effectual for raising such quota at the time required by Congress, the taxes and excises laid by Congress shall not be collected in such state.
IV. That the members of the senate and house of representatives shall be ineligible to, and incapable of holding any civil office under the authority of the United States, during the time for which they shall, respectively, be elected.
V. That the journals of the proceedings of the senate and house of representatives shall be published at least once in every year, except such parts thereof relating to treaties, alliances, or military operations, as in their judgment require secrecy.
VI. That a regular statement and account of the receipts and expenditures of the public money shall be published at least once in every year.
VII. That no commercial treaty shall be ratified without the concurrence of two-thirds of the whole number of the members of the Senate: And no treaty, ceding, contracting, or restraining or suspending the territorial rights or claims of the United States, or any of them or their, or any of their rights or claims to fishing in the American seas, or navigating the American rivers shall be made, but in cases of the most urgent and extreme necessity; nor shall any such treaty be ratified without the concurrence of three-fourths of the whole number of the members of both houses respectively.
VIII. That no navigation law, or law regulating commerce shall be passed without the consent of two-thirds of the members present in both houses.
IX That no standing army or regular troops shall be raised or kept up in time of peace, without the consent of two thirds of the members present in both houses.
X. That no soldier shall be enlisted for any longer term than four years, except in time of war, and then for no longer term than the continuance of the war
XI. That each state, respectively, shall have the power to provide for organizing, arming and disciplining its own militia whensoever Congress shall omit or neglect to provide for the same. That the militia shall not be subject to martial law, except when in actual service in time of war, invasion or rebellion: And when not in the actual service of the United States, shall be subject only to such fines, penalties, and punishments as shall be directed or inflicted by the laws of its own state.
XII. That Congress shall not declare any state to be in rebellion without the consent of at least two-thirds of all the members present of both houses.
XIII. That the exclusive power of Legislation given to Congress over the federal town and its adjacent district, and other places, purchased or to be purchased by Congress, of any of the states, shall extend only to such regulations as respect the police and good government thereof.
XIV. That no person shall be capable of being president of the United States for more than eight years in any term of sixteen years.
XV. That the judicial power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme court, and in such courts of admiralty as Congress may from time to time ordain and establish in any of the different states. The judicial power shall extend to all cases in law and equity, arising under treaties made, or which shall be made under the authority of the United States; to all cases affecting ambassadors, other foreign ministers and consuls; to all cases of admiralty, and maritime jurisdiction; to controversies to which the United States shall be a party; to controversies between two or more stares, and between parties claiming lands under the grants of different states. In all cases affecting ambassadors, other foreign ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be a party; the supreme court shall have original jurisdiction, in all other cases before mentioned; the supreme court shall have appellate jurisdiction as to matters of law only, except in cases of equity, and of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, in which the supreme court shall have appellate jurisdiction both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make. But the judicial power of the United States shall extend to no case where the cause of action shall have originated before the ratification of this constitution, except in disputes between states about their territory; disputes between persons claiming lands under the grants of different states, and suits for debts due to the united states.
XVI That in criminal prosecutions, no man shall be restrained in the exercise of the usual and accustomed right of challenging or excepting to the jury.
XVII. That Congress shall not alter, modify, or interfere in the times, places, or manner of holding elections for senators and representatives, or either of them, except when the legislature of any state shall neglect, refuse or be disabled by invasion or rebellion, to prescribe the same.
XVIII. That those clauses which declare that Congress shall not exercise certain powers, be not interpreted in any manner whatsoever to extend the powers of Congress; but that they be construed either as making exceptions to the specified powers where this shall be the case, or otherwise, as inserted merely for greater caution.
XIX That the laws ascertaining the compensation of senators and representatives for their services be postponed in their operation, until after the election of representatives immediately succeeding the passing thereof, that excepted, which shall first be passed on the subject,
XX. That some tribunal, other than the senate, be provided for trying impeachments of senators.
XXI That the salary of a judge shall not be increased or diminished during his continuance in once, otherwise than by general regulations of salary which may take place, on a revision of the subject at stated periods of not less than seven years, to commence from the time such salaries shall be first ascertained by Congress.
XXII. That Congress erect no company of merchants with exclusive advantages of commerce.
XXIII. That no treaties which shall be directly opposed to the existing laws of the United States in Congress assembled, shall be valid until such laws shall be repealed, or made conformable to such Meaty; nor shall any Meaty be valid which is contradictory to the constitution of the United States.
XXIV. That the latter part of the fifth paragraph of the 9th section of the first article be altered to read thus,-Nor shall vessels bound to a particular state be obliged to enter or pay duties in any other; nor when bound from any one of the States be obliged to clear in another.
XXV. That Congress shall not directly or indirectly, either by themselves or thro' the judiciary, interfere with any one of the states in the redemption of paper money already emitted and now in circulation, or in liquidating and discharging the public securities of any one of the states: But each and every state shall have the exclusive right of making such laws and regulations for the above purposes as they shall think proper.
XXVI That Congress shall not introduce foreign troops into the United States without the consent of two-thirds of the members present of both houses.
SAM JOHNSTON, President,
By order
J HUNT Secretary . . .
IN CONVENTION Whereas The General Convention which met in Philadelphia in Pursuance of a recommendation of Congress, did recommend to the Citizens of the United States a Constitution or form of Government in the following words Vizt.
Resolved, that this Convention in behalf of the freemen, citizens and inhabitants of the State of North Carolina, do adopt and ratify the said Constitution and form of Government. Done in Convention this 21 day of November 1789.
SAM JOHNSTON, President of the Convention
J HUNT Secretaries
A month later, Samuel Johnston resigned his governorship and accepted the legislative election to the United States Senate   serving until 1793.  In 1800 he was made a Judge in the Superior Court of North Carolina, an office he held until his retirement in 1803. On August 17, 1816 Samuel Johnston died at "the Hermitage," his home near Williamston in Martin County, North Carolina.   He is buried at the Hayes Plantation Cemetery, former known as the Johnston Family Cemetery in North Carolina.

SAMUEL JOHNSTON - REPORT OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR ON FORTY-SEVEN PETITIONS.... [Knox, Henry]: [Philadelphia]: Childs and Swaine, [1793]. 11pp. Folio. Contemporary plain wrappers. Moderate edge wear. Light toning. Overall very good. This copy bears the ownership signature of Samuel Johnston on the front wrapper. Johnston was a key leader of the Revolution in North Carolina, a delegate to the Continental Congress, and later the first senator from North Carolina. He also served as governor of that state. In this report Knox lists forty-seven petitions from veterans of the Revolutionary War. He offers brief summations of their claims and his position on each matter. He favorably received a similar set of thirty-five additional petitions the same year. Good evidence of the drastic extent to which the federal government was petitioned for economic relief by commissioned and non- commissioned officers of the war. Collection
 The Congressional Evolution of the United States of America 

Continental Congress of the United Colonies Presidents 
Sept. 5, 1774 to July 1, 1776

September 5, 1774
October 22, 1774
October 22, 1774
October 26, 1774
May 20, 1775
May 24, 1775
May 25, 1775
July 1, 1776

Commander-in-Chief United Colonies & States of America

George Washington: June 15, 1775 - December 23, 1783

Continental Congress of the United States Presidents 
July 2, 1776 to February 28, 1781

July 2, 1776
October 29, 1777
November 1, 1777
December 9, 1778
December 10, 1778
September 28, 1779
September 29, 1779
February 28, 1781

Presidents of the United States in Congress Assembled
March 1, 1781 to March 3, 1789

March 1, 1781
July 6, 1781
July 10, 1781
Declined Office
July 10, 1781
November 4, 1781
November 5, 1781
November 3, 1782
November 4, 1782
November 2, 1783
November 3, 1783
June 3, 1784
November 30, 1784
November 22, 1785
November 23, 1785
June 5, 1786
June 6, 1786
February 1, 1787
February 2, 1787
January 21, 1788
January 22, 1788
January 21, 1789

Presidents of the United States of America

D-Democratic Party, F-Federalist Party, I-Independent, R-Republican Party, R* Republican Party of Jefferson & W-Whig Party 

 (1881 - 1881)
*Confederate States  of America

Chart Comparing Presidential Powers Click Here

United Colonies and States First Ladies

United Colonies Continental Congress
18th Century Term
09/05/74 – 10/22/74
Mary Williams Middleton (1741- 1761) Deceased
Henry Middleton
05/20/ 75 - 05/24/75
05/25/75 – 07/01/76
United States Continental Congress
07/02/76 – 10/29/77
Eleanor Ball Laurens (1731- 1770) Deceased
Henry Laurens
11/01/77 – 12/09/78
Sarah Livingston Jay (1756-1802)
12/ 10/78 – 09/28/78
Martha Huntington (1738/39–1794)
09/29/79 – 02/28/81
United States in Congress Assembled
Martha Huntington (1738/39–1794)
03/01/81 – 07/06/81
07/10/81 – 11/04/81
Jane Contee Hanson (1726-1812)
11/05/81 - 11/03/82
11/03/82 - 11/02/83
Sarah Morris Mifflin (1747-1790)
11/03/83 - 11/02/84
11/20/84 - 11/19/85
11/23/85 – 06/06/86
Rebecca Call Gorham (1744-1812)
06/06/86 - 02/01/87
02/02/87 - 01/21/88
01/22/88 - 01/29/89

Constitution of 1787
First Ladies
April 30, 1789 – March 4, 1797
March 4, 1797 – March 4, 1801
Martha Wayles Jefferson Deceased
September 6, 1782  (Aged 33)
March 4, 1809 – March 4, 1817
March 4, 1817 – March 4, 1825
March 4, 1825 – March 4, 1829
December 22, 1828 (aged 61)
February 5, 1819 (aged 35)
March 4, 1841 – April 4, 1841
April 4, 1841 – September 10, 1842
June 26, 1844 – March 4, 1845
March 4, 1845 – March 4, 1849
March 4, 1849 – July 9, 1850
July 9, 1850 – March 4, 1853
March 4, 1853 – March 4, 1857
March 4, 1861 – April 15, 1865
February 22, 1862 – May 10, 1865
April 15, 1865 – March 4, 1869
March 4, 1869 – March 4, 1877
March 4, 1877 – March 4, 1881
March 4, 1881 – September 19, 1881
January 12, 1880 (Aged 43)
June 2, 1886 – March 4, 1889
March 4, 1889 – October 25, 1892
June 2, 1886 – March 4, 1889
March 4, 1897 – September 14, 1901
September 14, 1901 – March 4, 1909
March 4, 1909 – March 4, 1913
March 4, 1913 – August 6, 1914
December 18, 1915 – March 4, 1921
March 4, 1921 – August 2, 1923
August 2, 1923 – March 4, 1929
March 4, 1929 – March 4, 1933
March 4, 1933 – April 12, 1945
April 12, 1945 – January 20, 1953
January 20, 1953 – January 20, 1961
January 20, 1961 – November 22, 1963
November 22, 1963 – January 20, 1969
January 20, 1969 – August 9, 1974
August 9, 1974 – January 20, 1977
January 20, 1977 – January 20, 1981
January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989
January 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993
January 20, 1993 – January 20, 2001
January 20, 2001 – January 20, 2009
January 20, 2009 to date

Capitals of the United Colonies and States of America

Sept. 5, 1774 to Oct. 24, 1774
May 10, 1775 to Dec. 12, 1776
Dec. 20, 1776 to Feb. 27, 1777
March 4, 1777 to Sept. 18, 1777
September 27, 1777
Sept. 30, 1777 to June 27, 1778
July 2, 1778 to June 21, 1783
June 30, 1783 to Nov. 4, 1783
Nov. 26, 1783 to Aug. 19, 1784
Nov. 1, 1784 to Dec. 24, 1784
New York City
Jan. 11, 1785 to Nov. 13, 1788
New York City
October 6, 1788 to March 3,1789
New York City
March 3,1789 to August 12, 1790
Dec. 6,1790 to May 14, 1800       
Washington DC
November 17,1800 to Present

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The United Colonies of North America Continental Congress Presidents (1774-1776)
The United States of America Continental Congress Presidents (1776-1781)
The United States of America in Congress Assembled Presidents (1781-1789)
The United States of America Presidents and Commanders-in-Chiefs (1789-Present)