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FOR THE USE OF THE
UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA.
BY HENRY ST. GEORGE TUCKER,
E 1843. ja
CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES.
Having presented to you, young gentlemen, in some former lectures, my views of the character and principles of the several forms of government, and particularly of the representative and confederate, we will now proceed to a more accurate examination of our own political system, which has been professedly constructed upon the combined principles of popular representation and an union of sovereign and independent states. I confidently believe that these enquiries will result in the conviction that whilst we have adopted a system without a prototype, we shall, nevertheless, find it eminently calculated to protect us from foreign aggression, and to secure the rights of life, liberty and property to every citizen of those free and happy republics.
Before we proceed however with our task, it may not be improper to recall to your recollections certain points of our national history with which you are doubtless familiar, but which bear too materially upon our subject to be passed at least without a reference.
The people of the United States, as you all are aware, are composed of the descendants of those subjects of the British crown, who, from various motives, left within the two last centuries their native isles and settled themselves upon this wild and desert continent. It is a principle of British law that if an uninhabited country is discovered and planted by British subjects, the English laws are immediately in force there; for the law is the birthright of