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now considering.” * "In the Constitution the term State most frequently expresses the combined idea just noticed, of people, territory, and government. A State, in the ordinary sense of the Constitution, is a political community of free citizens, occupying a territory of defined boundaries, and organized under a government sanctioned and limited by a written constitution, and established by the consent of the governed. It is the union of such States, under a common Constitution, which forms the distinct and greater political unit which that Constitution designates as the United States, and makes of the people and States which compose it one people and one country.” — Wallace's Reports, Vol. VII, pp. 720, 721.
James Madison opposed the views of certain parties who, “with a boldness truly astonishing, do say, that the Constitution of the United States, which, as such, and under that name, was presented to and accepted by those who ratified it; which has been so deemed and so called by those living under it for nearly half a century; and, as such, sworn to by every officer, State as well as federal, is yet no Constitution, but a treaty, or league, or, at most, a confederacy among nations, as independent and sovereign in relation to each other as before the charter which calls itself a Constitution was formed." Selections from the Private Correspondence of James Madison, p. 405.
In a letter addressed to Daniel Webster, on the 15th of March, 1833, James Madison said: “It is fortunate when disputed theories can be decided by undisputed facts. And here the undisputed fact is, that the Constitution was made by the people, but as imbodied into the several States who were parties to it, and, therefore, made by the States in their highest authoritative capacity.”—Selections from the Private Correspondence of James Madison, p. 299.
"A fundamental error lies in supposing the State governments to be the parties to the constitutional compact from which the government of the United States results.”-Ib., p. 118.
Supreme Court of the United States.
In the case of Martin os. Hunter's Lessee, decided in 1816, the Supreme Court of the United States said: “The Constitution of the United States was ordained and established, not by the States in their sovereign capacities, but emphatically, as the preamble of the Constitution declares, by the people of the United States.'”— Wheaton's Reports, Vol. I, p. 324.
KENT says: “The association of the American people into one body politic, took place while they were Colonies of the British Empire, and owed allegiance to the British crown."
“The Delegates to the Congress of 1774 met, with authority and direction to consult together for the common welfare.'
“The Delegates to the Congresses of 1774 and 1775 were chosen “partly by the popular branch of the Colonial Legislatures when in session, but principally by Conventions of the people in the several Colonies.?”—Kent's Comm., Vol. I, pp. 212, 213, 218.
Phrases used by Congress before the Declaration of
The acts and proceedings of the Continental Congresses, before the 4th of July, 1776, contain the following phrases in reference to the origin of the “Union" which still exists, viz. : “The union of these Colonies.”_"The consolidated powers of North America.”"Our Confederation.”—“Our joint exertions." _“The united efforts of North America.”—“The people of America.”—“Citizens of America.”—“Rights of Americans.”—“United by the indissoluble bands of affection and interest." _“Our union is perfect.”—“These United Colonies,” &c.
Declaration of Independence did not form Thirteen
Separate Sovereign States.
The Declaration of Independence did not dissolve the Union; nor did it form thirteen separate -"new sovereignties,” which “ took their places in the family of independent nations.” On the 4th of July, 1776, the first Resolution adopted by Congress, after the Declaration was signed by the members, was in the words following, viz. : “Resolved, That copies of the Declaration be sent to the several assemblies, conventions and committees, or councils of safety, and to the several commanding officers of the Continental troops; that it be proclaimed in each of the United States, and at the head of the Army.” On the same day, after the adoption of the foregoing Resolution, it was “Resolved, That Dr. Franklin, Mr. J. Adams, and Mr. Jefferson, be a committee to prepare a device for a seal for the United States of America." - Journals of Congress.
A resolution agreed to in Congress, February 15, 1786, refers to engagements entered into “for the common benefit of the Union.” On the 21st of February, 1787, the Congress of the Confederation adopted a resolution relating to "the preservation of the Union.” The Constitution of the United States was ordained and established "in order to form a more perfect Union,” &c. The Constitution declares that representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the States of “this Union.”—That the President shall give to the Congress “information of the state of the Union.”—That new States may be admitted "into this Union." —And that the United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican form of Government."
The Union. In a speech that was delivered in the Senate of the United States, on the 6th of February, 1868, by Charles D. Drake, who is, at the present time, the Chief Justice of the United States Court of Claims, the following passages appear: “The Union dates not from the Constitution, nor from the Articles of Confederation, nor from the Declaration of Independence, but ante-dates them all. Its birthday was the 5th of September, 1774-a day yet to be fitly commemorated, I hope, by this nation-when was assembled that noble band of patriots which constituted the grand old Continental Congress. They were the representatives, not of the chartered organizations known as the Colonies, but of the people thereof, receiving their appointments from the popular or representative branch of the Colonial Legislatures, or from Conventions of the people of the Colonies, and styling themselves in their more formal acts the delegates appointed by the good people of these Colonies.' In them the people of the Colonies were together, and their acts were the acts of the people, before any State had an existence. From the day they came together till this hour, the American people, first as Colonists and British subjects, and then as American citizens, have been a united people.