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great interests immediately awoke, as from the dead, and sprang forth with newness of life. Every year of its duration has teemed with fresh proofs of its utility and its blessings; and, although our territory has stretched out wider and wider, and our population spread farther and farther, they have not outrun its protection or its benefits. It has been to us all a copious fountain of national, social, and personal happiness. I have not allowed myself, sir, to look beyond the Union, to see what might lie hidden in the dark recess behind. I have not coolly weighed the chances of preserving liberty, when the bonds that unite us together shall be broken asunder. I have not accustomed myself to hang over the precipice of disunion, to see whether, with my short sight, I can fathom the depth of the abyss below; nor could I regard him as a safe counsellor, in the affairs of this Government, whose thoughts should be mainly bent on considering, not how the Union should be best preserved, but how tolerable might be the condition of the people when it shall be broken up and destroyed. While the Union lasts, we have high, exciting, gratifying prospects spread out before us, for us and our children. Beyond that, I seek not to penetrate the veil. God grant that, in my day, at least, that curtain may not rise. God grant that, on my vision, never may be opened what lies behind. When my eyes shall be turned to behold, for the last time, the sun in heaven, may I not see him shining on the broken and dishonored fragments of a once glorious Unien; on States dissevered, discordant, belligerent; on a land rent with civil feuds, or drenched, it may be, in fraternal blood! Let their last feeble and lingering glance, rather, behold the gorgeous ensign of the republic, now known and honored throughout the earth, still full high advanced, its arms and trophies streaming in their original lustre, not a stripe erased or polluted, nor a single star obscured, bearing for its motto no such miserable interrogatory
as, What is all this worth? Nor those other words of delusion and folly, Liberty first, and Union afterwards: but every where, spread all over in characters of living light, blazing on all its ample folds, as they float over the sea and over the land, and in every wind under the whole heavens, that other sentiment, dear to every true American heart-Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!
Hayne's Reply To WEBSTER, JANUARY 27
It cannot be doubted, and is not denied, that, before the formation of the constitution, each State was an independent sovereignty, possessing all the rights and powers appertaining to independent nations; nor can it be denied that, after the constitution was formed, they remained equally sovereign and independent, as to all powers not expressly delegated to the Federal Government. This would have been the case, even if no positive provision to that effect had been inserted in that instrument. But to remove all doubt, it is expressly declared, by the tenth article of the amendments of the constitution, that “the powers not delegated to the United States by the constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, or [are) reserved to the States, respectively, or to the people.” The true nature of the Federal constitution, therefore, is, (in the language of Mr. Madison) “a compact to which the states are parties”
a compact by which each State, acting in its sovereign capacity, has entered into an agreement with the other States, by which they have consented that certain designated powers shall be exercised by the United States, in the manner prescribed in the instrument. Nothing can be clearer, than that, under such a system, the Federal Government, exercising strictly delegated powers, can have no right to act beyond the pale of its authority, and that all such acts are void. A State, on
the contrary, retaining all powers not expressly given away, may lawfully act in all cases where she has not voluntarily imposed restrictions on herself. Here, then, is a case of a compact between sovereigns; and the question arises, What is the remedy for a clear violation of its express terms by one of the parties? And here the plain obvious dictate of common sense is in strict conformity with the understanding of mankind, and the practice of nations in all analogous cases; “that, where resort can be had to no common superior, the parties to the compact must, themselves, be the rightful judges whether the bargain has been pursued or violated.” (Madison's Report, p. 20.) When it is insisted by the gentleman that one of the parties (the Federal Government) “has the power of deciding ultimately and conclusively upon the extent of its own authority," I ask for the grant of such a power. I call upon the gentleman to show it to me in the constitution. It is not to be found there. If it is to be inferred from the nature of the compact, I aver that not a single argument can be urged in support of such an inference, in favor of the Federal Government, which would not apply, with at least equal force, in favor of a State. All sovereigns are of necessity equal; and any one State, however small in population or territory, has the same rights as the rest, just as the most insignificant nation in Europe is as much sovereign as France, or Russia, or England. .
I have already shown that all sovereigns must, as such, be equal. It only remains therefore to inquire whether the States have surrendered their sovereignty, and consented to reduce themselves to mere corporations. The whole form and structure of the Federal Government, the opinions of the framers of the constitution, and the organization of the State Governments, demonstrate that, though the States have surrendered certain specific powers, they have not surrendered their sovereignty. They have each an inde
pendent Legislature, Executive, and Judiciary, and exercise jurisdiction over the lives and property of their citizens. They have, it is true, voluntarily restrained themselves from doing certain acts, but, in all other respects, they are as omnipotent as any independent nation whatever. Here, however, we are met by the argument, that the constitution was not formed by the States in their sovereign capacity, but by the people; and it is therefore inferred that, the Federal Government being created by all the people, must be supreme; and though it is not contended that the constitution may be rightfully violated, yet it is insisted that from the decision of the Federal Government there can be no appeal. It is obvious that this argument rests on the idea of State inferiority. Considering the Federal Government as one whole, and the States merely as component parts, it follows, of course, that the former is as much superior to the latter as the whole is to the parts of which it is composed. Instead of deriving power by delegation from the States to the Union, this scheme seems to imply that the individual States derive their power from the United States, just as petty corporations may exercise so much power, and no more, as their superior may permit them to enjoy. This notion is entirely at variance with all our conceptions of State rights, as those rights were understood by Mr. Madison and others, at the time the constitution was framed. I deny that the constitution was framed by the people in the sense in which that word is used on the other side, and insist that it was framed by the States acting in their sovereign capacity. When, in the preamble of the constitution, we find the words “we the people of the United States," it is clear they can only relate to the people as citizens of the several States, because the Federal Government was not then in existence. We accordingly find, in every part of that instrument,