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Of Nations and States.

ACCORDING to the definition of Noah Webster, a Nation is “a body of people inhabiting the same country, or united under the same sovereign or government, as the English nation, the French nation. * * * Mation, as its etymology imports, originally denoted a family or race of men descended from a common progenitor, like tribe; |but, by emigration, conquest, and intermixture of men of different families, this distinction is, in most countries, lost.”

Encyclopædia Britannica.

The word Wation is “a collective term used for a considerable number of people inhabiting a certain extent of land, confined within fixed limits, and under the same government.”—Ency. Brit., Vol. XV, p. 737.


* Phillimore.

Phillimore defines a State as “a people permanently occupying a fixed territory, bound together by common laws, habits, and customs, into one body politic, exercising, through the medium of an organized government, independent sovereignty and control over all persons and things within its boundaries, capable of making war and peace, and of entering into international relations with other communities.”—New Amer. Cyclopædia, Vol. X, p. 360.

Judge Story.

Judge Story says: “Whatever may be the internal organization of the government of any State, if it has the sole power of governing itself, and is not dependent on any foreign State, it is called a sovereign State: that is, it is a State having the same rights, privileges, and powers as other independent States.

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“Every independent State is entitled to the exclusive power of legislation in respect to the personal rights, and civil state and condition of its citizens, and in respect to all real and personal property situated within its territory, whether belonging to citizens or aliens.”—Wheaton’s El. Int. Law, p. 112. “Every nation possesses and exercises exclusive sovereignty and jurisdiction throughout the full extent of its territory.”—Ib. p. 113.

James Madison.

James Madison said: “It is indeed true that the term ‘States’ is sometimes used in a vague sense, and sometimes in different senses, according to the subject to which it is applied. Thus it sometimes means the separate sections of territory occupied by the political societies within each; sometimes the political governments established by these societies; sometimes those societies, as organized into those particular governments; and, lastly, it means the people composing those political Societies, in their highest sovereign capacity.”—Report in the Virginia Legislature, in January, 1800, cited in Elliot’s Debates, Wol. I, p. 65.

VII. New American Cyclopædia. The Wew American Cyclopædia (Vol. X, p. 360), says: “The sovereignty of a State depends upon its existence de facto as a State; and until this is recognized by other

nations, the State enjoys no share in international rights.”


Montesquieu says: “Every nation that governs itself, under what form soever, without dependence on any foreign power, is a sovereign State.”


“A petty principality in Germany, and the whole German (or Russian) Empire are alike termed States.”— Crabb’s Eng. Syn., p. 190.


The Declaration of American Independence mentions the “State” of Great Britain.

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The State of San Marino, which is known as a Republic, is one of the States of the Kingdom of Italy, which is a Nation and a sovereign independent State; but San Marino is not a Nation; nor was it, at any period of its existence, a sovereign and independent State. a

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The State of Tobasco is one of the States of the Republic of Mexico, which is a sovereign and independent State; but Tobasco is not, nor was it at any time, a sovereign and independent State.

Mr. Austin.

In a work entitled “The Province of Jurisprudence Determined,” the author, John Austin, says: “A system of confederated States, and a number of independent governments connected by an ordinary alliance, cannot be distinguished precisely through general or abstract expressions.”—Vol. 1, p. 224.

Mr. Pendleton, of Virginia.

When the adoption of the Constitution of the United States of America was under consideration, in the Virginia Convention, on the 5th of June, 1788, Mr. Pendleton, one of the members of the Convention, said: “The expression, “We, the People,’ is thought improper. Permit me to ask the gentleman who made this objection, Who but the People can delegate powers ? Who but the People have a right to form government : The expression is a common one, and a favorite one with me. * * * If the objection be that the Union ought to be not of the people, but of the State governments, then I think the choice of the former very happy and proper. What have the State governments to do with it?”—Elliot’s Debates, Vol. III, p. 37.

Mr. Corbin, of Virginia.

Mr. Corbin, in the Virginia Convention, on the seventh of June, 1788, said: “The introductory expression of “We, the People,’ has been thought improper by the honorable gentleman. I expected no such objection as this. Ought not the People, sir, to judge of that government whereby they are to be ruled ? We are, sir, deliberating on a question of great consequence to the people of America, and to the world in general.”—Debates £n the Convention of Virginia, 1788, p. 83.

Mr. Wilson, of Pennsylvania.

In 1788, when the adoption of the Constitution of the United States was under consideration in the Pennsylvania Convention, Mr. Wilson, a member of that body, said: “I had occasion to describe what I meant by a Democracy, and I think I termed it, that government in which the People retain the supreme power, and exercise

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