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derived? Not certainly from the old Confederation; because there the Union was to be

perpetual. The defect of that compact lay in its conditions, making union impossible; but certainly not in permitting secession as a right; and not from the Constitution, because in adopting it the Republic entered into that "more perfect Union " which that Constitution was expressly intended to secure.

L

146

X.

NULLIFICATION AND SECESSION.

We

WE have so far traced the idea of National union pervading the Republic from the early colonial times, through the abortive Articles of "Confederation," and into the complete organization of an established "Constitution." have discovered no trace of a reserved sovereignty on the part of the separate States, except for local purposes, or in their power to grant or withhold their consent to the new terms of the Union proposed in 1787. And when such persistent claims to sovereignty are made, it is somewhat important to remark, that, as a historical fact, it was never exercised by any of the original thirteen States of the Union, with two temporary exceptions, and by none of those since admitted, save Texas. Until the Declaration of Independence, the former were all subject as colonies to the

English crown. That document declared them conjointly absolved from their allegiance, and thenceforth free and independent States; but the same document at once destroyed their independence, for they mutually pledged themselves to act in union. While so united, the Articles of Confederation, binding them together in perpetuity, were proposed and accepted. The Constitution made their Union not less indissoluble and far more perfect, deriving its authority not from the State Legislatures, but direct from the People. In one respect, indeed, this may be considered as a peaceful revolution; for, whereas the Articles had provided that no alteration should be made therein without the unanimous consent of all the legislatures; the Constitutional Convention, on the contrary, recommended, and Congress confirmed their recommendation, that the new Constitution should be complete by the ratification of the people of nine States only out of the thirteen. And here we see the wisdom of Hamilton's suggestion, that the sanction of Congress should be secured for a change so complete. So long as unanimity

was required, the simplest revision of the articles would have been difficult, if not impossible; but when an entire reconstruction of the whole system was to be proposed, superseding the Confederation, and resting upon a totally different basis, that unanimity was utterly hopeless. Every State, however, was represented in Congress, and thus the assent of all the States was indirectly obtained to a mode of ratification which, while it enabled each State to act for itself, involved a new principle of Union for the future.

By the time the new Constitution was organized, all the States had ratified it unconditionally, save Rhode Island and North Carolina. These for a few months exercised complete sovereignty; but with these exceptions the Union formed in 1774 never died; and we must recollect it was that Union which originally gave the name of "State" to each of the colonies. Texas stands upon an entirely different basis. She was an independent power recognized in both hemispheres before admission, at her own request, into the Union; but she is no less bound than the other States by

its terms. No pretence is, of course, set up for original sovereignty by the new States; and as these are expressly invested with equal powers to all the rest, some light may be thrown upon our question by tracing them to their origin.

The United States' territories have been acquired from two sources,-firstly, by cession from certain of the original States of lands lying within their chartered limits and claimed by them as successors to the English crown; secondly, by actual purchase with funds from the National Treasury. All these cessions and purchases are alike held for the common benefit, and to Congress is left the exclusive power of deciding when any portion shall be called into existence as a State, and admitted into the Union.

The North-western territory was acquired in 1781, by cession of Virginia. Congress immediately provided for its future division into States, and its direct government in the meantime; and these provisions were, in 1787, enlarged into an ordinance of law, stating fundamental articles of compact between the people

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