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will, and for whose benefit the Federal Government was {nstituted, must decide whether they will support their rank as a nation, by maintaining the public faith at home and abroad; or whether, for want of a timely exertion in establishing a general revenue, and thereby giving strength to the Confederacy, they will hazard not only the existence of the Union, but of those great and invaluable privileges for which they have so arduously and so honorably contended.”—Journals of Congress.

Noah Webster, in 1786.

In articles which were published in the Pennsylvania Journal (of January 21, and February 1, 1786), Noah Webster, jr., said: “All power is vested in the people. That this is their natural and inalienable right, is a position that will not be disputed. The only question is how this power shall be exerted to effect the ends of government.” “ * * “The idea of each State preserving its sovereignty and independence in their full latitude, and yet holding up the appearance of a Confederacy and a concert of measures, is a solecism in politics that will sooner or later dissolve the pretended Union, or work other mischiefs sufficient to bear conviction to every mind.” “ * * “We ought to generalize our ideas and our measures. We ought not to consider ourselves as inhabitants of a particular State only, but as Americans; as the common subjects of a great empire.” * * * “As a member of a family, every individual has some domestic interests; as a member of a corporation he has other interests; as an inhabitant of a State he has a more extensive interest; as a citizen and subject of the American empire, he has a national interest far superior to all Others.”


In 1786, Thomas Jefferson said: “When any one State in the American Union refuses obedience to the Confederation by which they have bound themselves, the rest have a natural right to compel them to obedience. Congress would probably exercise long patience before they would recur to force; but if the case ultimately required it, they would use that recurrence. Should the case ever arise, they will probably coerce by a naval force, as being more easy, less dangerous to liberty, and less likely to produce much bloodshed.”—Jefferson's Complete Works, Vol. IX, pp. 291, 292.

Jefferson on the Confederation.

Thomas Jefferson said: “The fundamental defect of the Confederation was, that Congress was not authorized to act immediately on the people, by its own officers. Their power was only requisitory, and these requisitions were addressed to the several legislatures, to be by them carried into execution, without other coercion than the moral principle of duty.”—Jefferson’s Complete Works, Vol. I, p. 78.

Congress of 1787.

On the 21st of March, 1787, Congress unanimously resolved, “That the Legislatures of the several States cannot of right pass any act or acts for interpreting, explaining, or construing a national treaty, or any part or clause thereof; nor for restraining, limiting, or in any manner impeding, retarding, or counteracting the operation and execution of the same.”—Journals of Congress.


Congress of 1787.

In Congress, on the 21st of February, 1787, it was “Resolved, That in the opinion of Congress, it is expedient, that on the second Monday in May next, a Convention of Delegates, who shall have been appointed by the several States, be held at Philadelphia, for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation, and reporting to Congress and the several legislatures such alterations and provisions therein as shall, when agreed to in Congress, and confirmed by the States, render the federal constitution adequate to the exigencies of government and the preservation of the Union.”—Journals of Congress.

Convention of 1787.

In the Convention that met at Philadelphia on the 14th of May, 1787, to form a Constitution for the United States of America, there was a small number of Delegates who supported the theory of the sovereignty and independence of each State; and these Delegates wished to establish a federal government by the authority of the States in their sovereign capacity—that is, by compact, or in the same manner as treaties and alliances are formed by independent nations. “It was urged,” says Luther Martin, who was a Delegate in the Convention from the State of Maryland, “that instead of the [national] Legislature consisting of two branches, one was sufficient, whether examined by the dictates of reason, or the experience of ages: that the representatives, instead of being drawn from the people at large, as individuals, ought to be drawn from the States, as States, in their sovereign capacity; that, in a federal government, the parties to a compact are not the people, as individuals, but the States, as States.”—Luther Martin’s Address to the Legislature of Maryland in 1788. Elliot’s Debates, Vol. I, p. 345, &c.

Convention of 1787.

On the 30th of May, 1787, the following Resolution was before the Convention : “Resolved, That a National Government ought to be established, consisting of a supreme judicial, legislative, and executive.”

“The term ‘Supreme,’” says Judge Yates, “required explanation. It was asked whether it was intended to annihilate State governments. It was answered, only so far as the powers intended to be granted to the new Government should clash with the States, when the latter were to yield.” Of the eight States represented in the Convention on that day, six voted in favor of the Resolution.—Judge Yates' Minutes.—Elliot’s Debates, Vol. I, p. 392.

Mr. Wilson, in Convention, 1787.

In Convention, June 25, 1787, Mr. Wilson, of Pennsylvania, said: “A citizen of America may be considered in two points of view—as a citizen of the General Government, and as a citizen of the particular State in which he may reside. We ought to consider in what character he acts in forming a General Government. I am both a citizen of Pennsylvania and of the United States. I must, therefore, lay aside my State connections, and act for the general good of the whole. We must forget our local habits and attachments. The General Government should not depend on the State governments.”—Elliot’s Debates, Vol. I, pp. 445, 446.

Charles Pinckney, in 1787.

In Convention, June 25, 1787, Mr. Charles Pinckney, of South Carolina, said: “Our Government must be made suitable to the people; and we are, perhaps, the only people in the world who ever had sense enough to appoint delegates to establish a General Government. I |believe that the proposition from Virginia, with some amendments, will satisfy the people. But a General Government must not be dependent on the State Governments.”—Elliot’s Debates, Wol. I, p. 444.

James Madison, in 1787.

In Convention, June 29, 1787, James Madison said: “Some contend that States are sovereign, when in fact they are only political societies. There is a gradation of power in all societies, from the lowest corporation to the highest sovereign. The States never possessed the essential rights of sovereignty. These were always vested in Congress. Their voting, as States, in Congress, is no evidence of sovereignty. The State of Maryland voted

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