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What did Hamilton say ?
He called the States, “ societies of men ;” the Union, an association of States.
What did John Marshall say ?
The great Chief-Justice said, in McCullough vs. Maryland (4 Wharton, 403): “ It is true that they [the people] assemble in their several States, and where else should they have assembled ? No political dreamer was ever wild enough to think of breaking down the lines which separate the States, and of compounding the American people into one common mass.” This was in 1819.
What was Story's idea ?
In 1833 Justice Story wrote his “ Commentaries on the Constitution.” He argued in favor of so compounding; and Daniel Webster, in his splendid reply to Hayne, invoked the flag of the United States as the canopy of a people consolidated or compacted into a nation. The legacy of Story and Webster helped to bring on the unfortunate and terrible war between the States.
Is it proper to use the names “ America” and “ American citizens" ?
It is not. History and geography repudiate “ America.” It is an invention of the consolidationists. The Constitution calls our confederacy “ The United States of America.” Ours was the first United States of the Western Hemisphere, called North and South America. We are not American citizens, but citizens of the several States and of the United States. We are New Yorkers, Pennsylvanians, Marylanders, Virginians, North and South Carolinians, Georgians, etc., primarily.
Should the words “nation” and “national” be used when speaking of the United States ?
By no means. The framers of the Constitution carefully avoided the words “nation” and “ national.” They desired to avoid the vice of the British government.
What distinguishes the United States from European nationalities?
The federative system. Judge J. Randolph Tucker of Virginia says that the United States are “ democratic republican in government ;” and, again, a “ Federal government,” that is, “one in whose organism States are factors, and through which States act with united powers as constituents.”
What is a nation ?
The word is an exotic. Its derivative, “national,” is also foreign. Both have crept into our political vocabulary. They can never be naturalized if the Constitution is patriotically observed. But that little pamphlet, which embodies the wisdom of our fathers, is seldom consulted, rarely studied by men in authority. Now for a direct answer to the foregoing question:
A nation is a sovereign body, having and knowing no limitations, with only one code of laws and a homogeneous population. These United States have forty-five State governments, thirteen of which possessed original sovereignty, and a general government as an agency. This general government, the name of which is the Government of the United States, being created by the States, is but an extension of their own powers severally, which doctrine was held by Jefferson, and can be and has been modified by amendments, ratified by the creators of the same. Three-fourths of the States can amend at any time the Constitution of the United States, which proves that the general government has no original sovereignty.
The government of the United States is not, as Mr. Lincoln said at Gettysburg, a “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” That presupposes but one government. The true doctrine is: The general government is a government of the States, by the States, and for the people of the States.
Careless or ignorant writers and speakers forget, or do not know, that the words “ The United States” are defined in the Constitution as plural. “No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States; and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them,” is the language of the ninth section of the first article. “Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or adhering to their enemies," is the language of the third section of the third article. “Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority,” are the words of section 2, Article III. “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion,” is the phraseology of section 4, Article IV. In Article XI. the language is: “ The judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit of law or equity commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by citizens of another State," etc.
The late war changed no salient feature of our great confederation of equal and co-equal States. It only abolished slavery and conferred suffrage on negroes in general terms. The thirteenth amendment declares: “ Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude,” etc., “shall exist within the
United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."
The Constitution of the United States, in the first article, limits the Congress of the United States to “ all legislative powers herein granted.” And, in the first ten amendments, or Bill of Rights, it is declared that, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Our Presidents, until late years, did not call the general government “a nation ;” and to call such a creation “the nation,” and capitalize the word “nation," as is now common, is the grossest centralism.
Washington called the District of Columbia “ Federal property ; ” Jefferson spoke of our “ Federal or general government;” Madison, of “the various forms of our extended Confederacy;" John Quincy Adams, of the“ constitutional powers of the Federal government ;” Jackson, of the patronage of the “ Federal government,” and of the “general government ;” Van Buren, of the“ concerns of the whole Confederacy;" William H. Harrison, of the “powers that have been granted to the Federal government;” Tyler, of the “ office of President of this Confederacy ;” Polk, of the “ safeguard of our Federative com