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tures of the States, or by the people of the States in Convention. All were agreed, as we have seen, that the instrument should be referred to the States. This had been settled; but there were differences of opinion as to how the States should act upon it. Some were in favor of permitting each of the States to choose, for itself, how it would ratify it; others were in favor of referring it to the legislatures, and others, again, to the people of the States in Convention. It was finally decided that it should be referred to Conventions of the people, in the different States.

This being done, their work was completed, and it only remained to refer the rough draft of the instrument to the "Committee on Style," to prune and polish it a little-to lop off a word here, and change or add a word there, the better to conform the language to the sense, and to the proprieties of grammar and rhetoric. The Preamble, as it stood, at once presented a difficulty. All the thirteen States were named in it as adopting the instrument, but it had been provided, in the course of its deliberations by the Convention, that the new government should go into effect if nine States adopted it. Who could tell which these- nine States would be? It was plainly impossible to enumerate all the States-for all of them might not adopt it-or any particular number of them, as adopting the instrument.

Further, it having been determined, as we have seen, that the Constitution should be adopted by the people of the seve ral States, as contra-distinguished from the legislatures of the States, the phraseology of the Preamble must be made to express this idea also. To meet these two new demands upon the phraseology of the instrument, the Committee on Style adopted the expression, "We, the people of the United States," -meaning, as every one must see, "We, the people of the several States united by this instrument." And this is the foundation that the Northern advocates of a consolidated government build upon, when they declare that the people of the United States in the aggregate, as one nation, adopted the Constitution, and thus gave the fundamental law to the States, instead of the States giving it to the Federal Government.

It is well known that this phrase, "We, the people," &c., be

came a subject of discussion in the Virginia ratifying Convention. Patrick Henry, with the prevision of a prophet, was, as we have seen, bitterly opposed to the adoption of the Constitution. He was its enemy a l'outrance. Not having been a member of the Convention, of 1787, that framed the instrument, and being unacquainted with the circumstances above detailed, relative to the change which had been made in the phraseology of its Preamble, he attacked the Constitution on the very ground since assumed by Webster and Story, to wit: that the instrument itself proclaimed that it had been "ordained and established" by the people of the United States in the aggregate, instead of the people of the States. Mr. Madison replied to Henry on this occasion. Madison had been in the Convention, knew, of course, all about the change of phraseology in question, and this was his reply: "The parties to it [the Constitution] were the people, but not the people as composing one great society, but the people as composing thirteen sovereignties. If it were a consolidated government," continued he, "the assent of a majority of the people would be sufficient to establish it. But it was to be binding on the people of a State only by their own separate consent." There was, of course, nothing more to be said, and the Virginia Convention adopted the Constitution.

Madison has been called the Father of the Constitution. Next to him, Alexander Hamilton bore the most conspicuous part in procuring it to be adopted by the people. Hamilton, as is well known, did not believe much in republics; and least of all did he believe in federal republics. His great object was to establish a consolidated republic, if we must have a republic at all. He labored zealously for this purpose, but failed. The States, without an exception, were in favor of the federal form; and no one knew better than Hamilton the kind of government which had been established.

Now let us hear what Hamilton, an unwilling, but an honest witness, says on this subject. Of the eighty-five articles in the "Federalist," Hamilton wrote no less than fifty. Having failed to procure the establishment of a consolidated government, his next great object was, to procure the adoption by the States of

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the present Constitution, and to this task, accordingly, he now addressed his great intellect and powerful energies. In turning over the pages of the Federalist," we can scarcely go amiss in quoting Hamilton, to the point that the Constitution is a compact between the States, and not an emanation from the people of the United States in the aggregate. Let us take up the final article, for instance, the 85th. In this article we find the following expressions: "The compacts which are to embrace thirteen distinct States in a common bond of amity and Union, must necessarily be compromises of as many dissimilar interests and inclinations." Again: "The moment an alteration is made in the present plan, it becomes, to the purpose of adoption, a new one, and must undergo a new decision of each State. To its complete establishment throughout the Union, it will, therefore, require the concurrence of thirteen States."

And again: "Every Constitution for the United States must, inevitably, consist of a great variety of particulars, in which thirteen Independent States are to be accommodated in their interests, or opinions of interests. *** Hence the necessity of moulding and arranging all the particulars which are to compose the whole in such a manner as to satisfy all the parties to the compact." Thus, we do not hear Hamilton, any more than Madison, talking of a "people of the United States in the aggregate" as having anything to do with the formation of the new charter of government. He speaks only of States, and of compacts made or to be made by States.

In view of the great importance of the question, whether it was the people of the United States in the aggregate who "ordained and established" the Constitution, or the States,for this, indeed, is the whole gist of the controversy between the North and South,-I have dwelt somewhat at length on the subject, and had recourse to contemporaneous history; but this was scarcely necessary. The Constitution itself settles the whole controversy. The 7th article of that instrument reads as follows: The ratification of the Conventions of nine States shall be sufficient for the establishment of the Constitution between the States so ratifying the same." How is it possible to reconcile this short, explicit, and unambiguous provision with the theory I am combating? The Preamble, as explained

by the Northern consolidationists, and this article, cannot possibly stand together. It is not possible that the people of the United States in the aggregate, as one nation, "ordained and established" the Constitution, and that the States ordained and established it at the same time; for there was but one set of Conventions called, and these Conventions were called by the States, and acted in the names of the States.

Mr. Madison did, indeed, endeavor to have the ratification made in both modes, but his motion in the Convention to this effect failed, as we have seen. Further, how could the Constitution be binding only between the States that ratified it, if it was not ratified - that is, not "ordained and established" -by them at all, but by the people of the United States in the aggregate? As remarked by Mr. Madison, in the Virginia Convention, a ratification by the people, in the sense in which this term is used by the Northern consolidationists, would have bound all the people, and there would have been no option left the dissenting States. But the 7th article says that they shall have an option, and that the instrument is to be binding only between such of them as ratify it.

With all due deference, then, to others who have written upon this vexed question, and who have differed from me in opinion, I must insist that the proof is conclusive that the Constitution is a compact between the States; and this being so, we have the admission of both Mr. Webster and Justice Story that any one of the States may withdraw from it at pleasure.




NE of the great difficulties in arguing the question of the relative power of the States and of the Federal Government, consists in the fact that the present generation has grown up under the shadow of the great Federal monster, and has been blinded by its giant proportions. They see around them all the paraphernalia and power of a great governmentits splendid capital, its armies, its fleets, its Chief Magistrate, its legislature, and its judiciary-and they find it difficult to realize the fact, that all this grandeur is not self-created, but the offspring of the States.

When our late troubles were culminating, men were heard frequently to exclaim, with plaintive energy, "What! have we no government capable of preserving itself? Is our Government a mere rope of sand, that may be destroyed at the will of the States ?" These men seemed to think that there was but one government to be preserved, and that that was the Government of the United States. Less than a century had elapsed since the adoption of the Constitution, and the generation now on the theatre of events had seemingly forgotten, that the magnificent structure, which they contemplated with so much admiration, was but a creature of the States; that it had been made by them for their convenience, and necessarily held the tenure of its life at sufferance. They lost sight of the fact that the State governments, who were the creators of the Federal Government, were the governments to be preserved, if there should be any antagonism between them and the Federal Government; and that their services, as well as

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