Infomotions, Inc.The American Republic : constitution, tendencies and destiny / Brownson, Orestes Augustus, 1803-1876

Author: Brownson, Orestes Augustus, 1803-1876
Title: The American Republic : constitution, tendencies and destiny
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): sovereign; government; union; constitution; nation; american; united; political; society
Contributor(s): Jameson, J. Franklin (John Franklin), 1859-1937 [Editor]
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Title:  The American Republic

Author:  by O. A. Brownson

January, 2000  [Etext #2053]

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Entered according to Act of Congress, In the year 1865,
In the Clerk's office of the District Court of the United States
for the Southern District of New York.

Historian of the United States,





INTRODUCTION                                                    1


GOVERNMENT                                                     15


ORIGIN OF GOVERNMENT                                           26


ORIGIN OF GOVERMENT-Continued                                  43


ORIGIN OF GOVERNMENT-Continued                                 71


ORIGIN OF GOVERNMENT-Concluded                                106


CONSTITUTION OF GOVERNMENT                                    136


CONSTITUTION OF GOVERNMENT-Concluded                          166


THE UNITED STATES                                             192


CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES                             218


THE CONSTITUTION-Continued                                    244


SECESSION                                                     277


RECONSTRUCTION                                                309


POLITICAL TENDENCIES                                          348


DESTINY-POLITICAL AND RELIGIOUS                               392


In the volume which, with much diffidence, is here offered to the
public, I have given, as far as I have considered it worth giving,
my whole thought in a connected form on the nature, necessity,
extent, authority, origin, ground, and constitution of government,
and the unity, nationality, constitution, tendencies, and destiny
of the American Republic.  Many of the points treated have been
from time to time discussed or touched upon, and many of the views
have been presented, in my previous writings; but this work is
newly and independently written from beginning to end, and is as
complete on the topics treated as I have been able to make it.

I have taken nothing bodily from my previous essays, but I have
used their thoughts as far as I have judged them sound and they
came within the scope of my present work.  I have not felt myself
bound to adhere to my own past thoughts or expressions any farther
than they coincide with my present convictions, and I have written
as freely and as independently as if I had never written or
published any thing before.  I have never been the slave of my
own past, and truth has always been dearer to me than my own
opinions.  This work is not only my latest, but will be my last
on politics or government, and must be taken as the authentic,
and the only authentic statement of my political views and
convictions, and whatever in any of my previous writings conflicts
with the principles defended in its pages, must be regarded as
retracted, and rejected.

The work now produced is based on scientific principles; but it is
an essay rather than a scientific treatise, and even good-natured
critics will, no doubt, pronounce it an article or a series of
articles designed for a review, rather than a book.  It is hard to
overcome the habits of a lifetime.  I have taken some pains to
exchange the reviewer for the author, but am fully conscious that
I have not succeeded.  My work can lay claim to very little
artistic merit.  It is full of repetitions; the same thought is
frequently recurring,--the result, to some extent, no doubt, of
carelessness and the want of artistic skill; but to a greater
extent, I fear, of "malice aforethought."  In composing my work I
have followed, rather than directed, the course of my thought,
and, having very little confidence in the memory or industry of
readers, I have preferred, when the completeness of the argument
required it, to repeat myself to encumbering my pages with
perpetual references to what has gone before.

That I attach some value to this work is evident from my consenting
to its publication; but how much or how little of it is really
mine, I am quite unable to say.  I have, from my youth up, been
reading, observing, thinking, reflecting, talking, I had almost
said writing, at least by fits and starts, on political subjects,
especially in their connection with philosophy, theology, history,
and social progress, and have assimilated to my own mind what it
would assimilate, without keeping any notes of the sources whence
the materials assimilated were derived.  I have written freely
from my own mind as I find it now formed; but how it has been so
formed, or whence I have borrowed, my readers know as well as I.
All that is valuable in the thoughts set forth, it is safe to assume
has been appropriated from others.  Where I have been distinctly
conscious of borrowing what has not become common property, I have
given credit, or, at least, mentioned the author's name, with three
important exceptions which I wish to note more formally.

I am principally indebted for the view of the American nationality
and the Federal Constitution I present, to hints and suggestions
furnished by the remarkable work of John C. Hurd, Esq., on The Law of
Freedom and Bondage in the United States, a work of rare learning
and profound philosophic views.  I could not have written my work
without the aid derived from its suggestions, any more than I
could without Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, St. Thomas,
Suarez, Pierre Leroux, and the Abbate Gioberti.  To these two
last-named authors, one a humanitarian sophist, the other a
Catholic priest, and certainly one of the profoundest
philosophical writers of this century, I am much indebted, though
I have followed the political system of neither.  I have taken
from Leroux the germs of the doctrine I set forth on the solidarity
of the race, and from Gioberti the doctrine I defend in relation
to the creative act, which is, after all, simply that of the
Credo and the first verse of Genesis.

In treating the several questions which the preparation of this
volume has brought up, in their connection, and in the light of
first principles, I have changed or modified, on more than one
important point, the views I had expressed in my previous
writings, especially on the distinction between civilized and
barbaric nations, the real basis of civilization itself, and the
value to the world of the Graeco-Roman civilization.  I have
ranked feudalism under the head of barbarism, rejected every
species of political aristocracy, and represented the English
constitution as essentially antagonistic to the American, not as
its type.  I have accepted universal suffrage in principle, and
defended American democracy, which I define to be territorial
democracy, and carefully distinguish from pure individualism on
the one hand, and from pure socialism or humanitarianism on the

I reject the doctrine of State sovereignty, which I held and
defended from 1828 to 1861, but still maintain that the
sovereignty of the American Republic vests in the States, though
in the States collectively, or united, not severally, and thus
escape alike consolidation and disintegration.  I find, with Mr.
Madison, our most philosophic statesman, the originality of the
American system in the division of powers between a General
government having sole charge of the foreign and general, and
particular or State governments having, within their respective
territories, sole charge of the particular relations and
interests of the American people; but I do not accept his
concession that this division is of conventional origin, and
maintain that it enters into the original Providential
constitution of the American state, as I have done in my Review
for October, 1863, and January and October, 1864.

I maintain, after Mr.  Senator Sumner, one of the most
philosophic and accomplished living American statesmen, that
"State secession is State suicide," but modify the opinion I too
hastily expressed that the political death of a State dissolves
civil society within its territory and abrogates all rights held
under it, and accept the doctrine that the laws in force at the
time of secession remain in force till superseded or abrogated by
competent authority, and also that, till the State is revived and
restored as a State in the Union, the only authority, under the
American system, competent to supersede or abrogate them is the
United States, not Congress, far less the Executive.  The error
of the Government is not in recognizing the territorial laws as
surviving secession but in counting a State that has seceded as
still a State in the Union, with the right to be counted as one
of the United States in amending the Constitution.  Such State
goes out of the Union, but comes under it.

I have endeavored throughout to refer my particular political
views; to their general principles, and to show that the general
principles asserted have their origin and ground in the great,
universal, and unchanging principles of the universe itself.
Hence, I have labored to show the scientific relations of
political to theological principles, the real principles of all
science, as of all reality.  An atheist, I have said, may be a
politician; but if there were no God, there could be no politics.
This may offend the sciolists of the age, but I must follow
science where it leads, and cannot be arrested by those who
mistake their darkness for light.

I write throughout as a Christian, because I am a Christian; as
a Catholic, because all Christian principles, nay, all real
principles are catholic, and there is nothing sectarian either
in nature or revelation.  I am a Catholic by God's grace and
great goodness, and must write as I am.  I could not write
otherwise if I would, and would not if I could.  I have not
obtruded my religion, and have referred to it only where my
argument demanded it; but I have had neither the weakness nor
the bad taste to seek to conceal or disguise it.  I could never
have written my book without the knowledge I have, as a Catholic,
of Catholic theology, and my acquaintance, slight as it is, with
the great fathers and doctors of the church, the great masters of
all that is solid or permanent in modern thought, either with
Catholics or non-Catholics.

Moreover, though I write for all Americans, without distinction
of sect or party, I have had more especially in view the people
of my own religious communion.  It is no discredit to a man in
the United States at the present day to be a firm, sincere, and
devout Catholic.  The old sectarian prejudice may remain with a
few, "whose eyes," as Emerson says, "are in their hind-head, not
in their fore-head;" but the American people are not at heart
sectarian, and the nothingarianism so prevalent among them only
marks their state of transition from sectarian opinions to
positive Catholic faith.  At any rate, it can no longer be
denied that Catholics are an integral, living, and growing
element in the American population, quite too numerous, too
wealthy, and too influential to be ignored.  They have played too
conspicuous a part in the late troubles of the country, and
poured out too freely and too much of their richest and noblest
blood in defence of the unity of the nation and the integrity of
its domain, for that.  Catholics henceforth must be treated as
standing, in all respects, on a footing of equality with any
other class of American citizens, and their views of political
science, or of any other science, be counted of equal importance,
and listened to with equal attention.

I have no fears that my book will be neglected because avowedly
by a Catholic author, and from a Catholic publishing house.  They
who are not Catholics will read it, and it will enter into the
current of American literature, if it is one they must read in
order to be up with the living and growing thought of the age.
If it is not a book of that sort, it is not worth reading by any

Furthermore, I am ambitious, even in my old age, and I wish to
exert an influence on the future of my country, for which I have
made, or, rather, my family have made, some sacrifices, and which
I tenderly love.  Now, I believe that he who can exert the most
influence on our Catholic population, especially in giving tone
and direction to our Catholic youth, will exert the most
influence in forming the character and shaping the future destiny
of the American Republic.  Ambition and patriotism alike, as well
as my own Catholic faith and sympathies, induce me to address
myself primarily to Catholics.  I quarrel with none of the sects;
I honor virtue wherever I see it, and accept truth wherever I
find it; but, in my belief, no sect is destined to a long life,
or a permanent possession.  I engage in no controversy with any
one not of my religion, for, if the positive, affirmative truth
is brought out and placed in a clear light before the public,
whatever is sectarian in any of the sects will disappear as the
morning mists before the rising sun.

I expect the most intelligent and satisfactory appreciation of
my book from the thinking and educated classes among Catholics;
but I speak to my countrymen at large.  I could not personally
serve my country in the field: my habits as well as my
infirmities prevented, to say nothing of my age; but I have
endeavored in this humble work to add my contribution, small
though it may be, to political science, and to discharge, as far
as I am able, my debt of loyalty and patriotism.  I would the
book were more of a book, more worthy of my countrymen, and a
more weighty proof of the love I beat them, and with which I have
written it.  All I can say is, that it is an honest book, a
sincere book, and contains my best thoughts on the subjects
treated.  If well received, I shall be grateful; if neglected, I
shall endeavor to practise resignation, as I have so often done.


ELIZABETH, N. J., September 16, 1865.



The ancients summed up the whole of human wisdom in the maxim,
Know Thyself, and certainly there is for an individual no more
important as there is no more difficult knowledge, than knowledge
of himself, whence he comes, whither he goes, what he is, what he
is for, what he can do, what he ought to do, and what are his
means of doing it.

Nations are only individuals on a larger scale.  They have a
life, an individuality, a reason, a conscience, and instincts of
their own, and have the same general laws of development and
growth, and, perhaps, of decay, as the individual man.  Equally
important, and no less difficult than for the individual, is it
for a nation to know itself, understand its own existence, its
own powers and faculties, rights and duties, constitution,
instincts, tendencies, and destiny.  A nation has a spiritual as
well as a material, a moral as well as a physical existence, and
is subjected to internal as well as external conditions of health
and virtue, greatness and grandeur, which it must in some measure
understand and observe, or become weak and infirm, stunted in its
growth, and end in premature decay and death.

Among nations, no one has more need of full knowledge of itself
than the United States, and no one has hitherto had less.  It has
hardly had a distinct consciousness of its own national existence,
and has lived the irreflective life of the child, with no severe
trial, till the recent rebellion, to throw it back on itself and
compel it to reflect on its own constitution, its own separate
existence, individuality, tendencies, and end.  The defection of
the slaveholding States, and the fearful struggle that has
followed for national unity and integrity, have brought it at
once to a distinct recognition of itself, and forced it to pass
from thoughtless, careless, heedless, reckless adolescence to
grave and reflecting manhood.  The nation has been suddenly
compelled to study itself, and henceforth must act from
reflection, understanding, science, statesmanship, not from
instinct, impulse, passion, or caprice, knowing well what it does,
and wherefore it does it.  The change which four years of civil
war have wrought in the nation is great, and is sure to give it
the seriousness, the gravity, the dignity, the manliness it has
heretofore lacked.

Though the nation has been brought to a consciousness of its own
existence, it has not, even yet, attained to a full and clear
understanding of its own national constitution.  Its vision is
still obscured by the floating mists of its earlier morning, and
its judgment rendered indistinct and indecisive by the wild
theories and fancies of its childhood.  The national mind has
been quickened, the national heart has been opened, the national
disposition prepared, but there remains the important work of
dissipating the mists that still linger, of brushing away these
wild theories and fancies, and of enabling it to form a clear
and intelligent judgment of itself, and a true and just
appreciation of its own constitution tendencies,--and destiny;
or, in other words, of enabling the nation to understand its own
idea, and the means of its actualization in space and time.

Every living nation has an idea given it by Providence to
realize, and whose realization is its special work, mission, or
destiny.  Every nation is, in some sense, a chosen people of God.
The Jews were the chosen people of God, through whom the
primitive traditions were to be preserved in their purity and
integrity, and the Messiah was to come.  The Greeks were the
chosen people of God, for the development and realization of the
beautiful or the divine splendor in art, and of the true in
science and philosophy; and the Romans, for the development of
the state, law, and jurisprudence.  The great despotic nations of
Asia were never properly nations; or if they were nations with a
mission, they proved false to it--, and count for nothing in the
progressive development of the human race.  History has not
recorded their mission, and as far as they are known they have
contributed only to the abnormal development or corruption of
religion and civilization.  Despotism is barbaric and abnormal.

The United States, or the American Republic, has a mission, and
is chosen of God for the realization of a great idea.  It has
been chosen not only to continue the work assigned to Greece and
Rome, but to accomplish a greater work than was assigned to
either.  In art, it will prove false to its mission if it do not
rival Greece; and in science and philosophy, if it do not surpass
it.  In the state, in law, in jurisprudence, it must continue and
surpass Rome.  Its idea is liberty, indeed, but liberty with law,
and law with liberty.  Yet its mission is not so much the
realization of liberty as the realization of the true idea of the
state, which secures at once the authority of the public and the
freedom of the individual--the sovereignty of the people without
social despotism, and individual freedom without anarchy.  In
other words, its mission is to bring out in its life the
dialectic union of authority and liberty, of the natural rights
of man and those of society.  The Greek and Roman republics
asserted the state to the detriment of individual freedom; modern
republics either do the same, or assert individual freedom to the
detriment of the state.  The American republic has been
instituted by Providence to realize the freedom of each with
advantage to the other.

The real mission of the United States is to introduce and
establish a political constitution, which, while it retains all
the advantages of the constitutions of states thus far known, is
unlike any of them, and secures advantages which none of them did
or could possess.  The American constitution has no prototype in
any prior constitution.  The American form of government can be
classed throughout with none of the forms of government described
by Aristotle, or even by later authorities.  Aristotle knew only
four forms of government: Monarchy, Aristocracy, Democracy, and
Mixed Governments.  The American form is none of these, nor any
combination of them.  It is original, a new contribution to
political science, and seeks to attain the end of all wise and
just government by means unknown or forbidden to the ancients,
and which have been but imperfectly comprehended even by American
political writers themselves.  The originality of the American
constitution has been overlooked by the great majority even of
our own statesmen, who seek to explain it by analogies borrowed
from the constitutions of other states rather than by a profound
study of its own principles.  They have taken too low a view of
it, and have rarely, if ever, appreciated its distinctive and
peculiar merits.

As the United States have vindicated their national unity and
integrity, and are preparing to take a new start in history,
nothing is more important than that they should take that new
start with a clear and definite view of their national
constitution, and with a distinct understanding of their
political mission in the future of the world.  The citizen who
can help his countrymen to do this will render them an important
service and deserve well of his country, though he may have been
unable to serve in her armies and defend her on the battle-field.
The work now to be done by American statesmen is even more
difficult and more delicate than that which has been accomplished
by our brave armies.  As yet the people are hardly better
prepared for the political work to be done than they were at the
outbreak of the civil war for the military work they have so
nobly achieved.  But, with time, patience, and good-will, the
difficulties may be overcome, the errors of the past corrected,
and the Government placed on the right track for the future.

It will hardly be questioned that either the constitution of the
United States is very defective or it has been very grossly
misinterpreted by all parties.  If the slave States had not held
that the States are severally sovereign, and the Constitution of
the United States a simple agreement or compact, they would never
have seceded; and if the Free States had not confounded the Union
with the General government, and shown a tendency to make it the
entire national government, no occasion or pretext for secession
would have been given.  The great problem of our statesmen has
been from the first, How to assert union without consolidation,
and State rights without disintegration?  Have they, as yet,
solved that problem?  The war has silenced the State sovereignty
doctrine, indeed, but has it done so without lesion to State
rights?  Has it done it without asserting the General government
as the supreme, central, or national government?  Has it done it
without striking a dangerous blow at the federal element of the
constitution?  In suppressing by armed force the doctrine that
the States are severally sovereign, what barrier is left against
consolidation?  Has not one danger been removed only to give
place to another?

But perhaps the constitution itself, if rightly understood,
solves the problem; and perhaps the problem itself is raised
precisely through misunderstanding of the constitution.  Our
statesmen have recognized no constitution of the American people
themselves; they have confined their views to the written
constitution, as if that constituted the American people a state
or nation, instead of being, as it is, only a law ordained by the
nation already existing and constituted.  Perhaps, if they had
recognized and studied the constitution which preceded that drawn
up by the Convention of 1787, and which is intrinsic, inherent in
the republic itself, they would have seen that it solves the
problem, and asserts national unity without consolidation, and
the rights of the several States without danger of disintegration.
The whole controversy, possibly, has originated in a
misunderstanding of the real constitution of the United States,
and that misunderstanding itself in the misunderstanding of the
origin and constitution of government in general.  The
constitution, as will appear in the course of this essay is not
defective; and all that is necessary to guard against either
danger is to discard all our theories of the constitution, and
return and adhere to the constitution itself, as it really is and
always has been.

There is no doubt that the question of Slavery had much to do
with the rebellion, but it was not its sole cause.  The real
cause must be sought in the program that had been made,
especially in the States themselves, in forming and administering
their respective governments, as well as the General government,
in accordance with political theories borrowed from European
speculators on government, the socalled Liberals and
Revolutionists, which have and can have no legitimate application
in the United States.  The tendency of American politics, for the
last thirty or forty years, has been, within the several States
themselves, in the direction of centralized democracy, as if the
American people had for their mission only the reproduction of
ancient Athens.  The American system is not that of any of the
simple forms of government, nor any combination of them.  The
attempt to bring it under any of the simple or mixed forms of
government recognized by political writers, is an attempt to
clothe the future in the cast-off garments of the past.  The
American system, wherever practicable, is better than monarchy,
better than aristocracy, better than simple democracy, better
than any possible combination of these several forms, because it
accords more nearly with the principles of things, the real order
of the universe.

But American statesmen have studied the constitutions of other
states more than that of their own, and have succeeded in
obscuring the American system in the minds of the people, and
giving them in its place pure and simple democracy, which is its
false development or corruption.  Under the influence of this
false development, the people were fast losing sight of the
political truth that, though the people are sovereign, it is the
organic, not the inorganic people, the territorial people, not
the people as simple population, and were beginning to assert the
absolute God-given right of the majority to govern.  All the
changes made in the bosom of the States themselves have consisted
in removing all obstacles to the irresponsible will of the
majority, leaving minorities and individuals at their mercy.
This tendency to a centralized democracy had more to do with
provoking secession and rebellion than the anti-slavery
sentiments of the Northern, Central, and Western States.

The failure of secession and the triumph of the National cause,
in spite of the short-sightedness and blundering of the
Administration, have proved the vitality and strength of the
national constitution, and the greatness of the American people.
They say nothing for or against the democratic theory of our
demagogues, but every thing in favor of the American system or
constitution of government, which has found a firmer support in
American instincts than in American statesmanship.  In spite of
all that had been done by theorists, radicals, and revolutionists,
no-government men, non-resistants, humanitarians, and sickly
sentimentalists to corrupt the American people in mind, heart,
and body, the native vigor of their national constitution has
enabled them to come forth triumphant from the trial.  Every
American patriot has reason to be proud of his country-men, and
every American lover of freedom to be satisfied with the
institutions of his country.  But there is danger that the
politicians and demagogues will ascribe the merit, not to the
real and living national constitution, but to their miserable
theories of that constitution, and labor to aggravate the several
evils and corrupt tendencies which caused the rebellion it has
cost so much to suppress.  What is now wanted is, that the people,
whose instincts are right, should understand the American
constitution as it is, and so understand it as to render it
impossible for political theorists, no matter of what school or
party, to deceive them again as to its real import, or induce
them to depart from it in their political action.

A work written with temper, without passion or sectional
prejudice, in a philosophical spirit, explaining to the American
people their own national constitution, and the mutual relations
of the General government and the State governments, cannot, at
this important crisis in our affairs, be inopportune, and, if
properly executed, can hardly fail to be of real service.  Such a
work is now attempted--would it were by another and abler hand--
which, imperfect as it is, may at least offer some useful
suggestions, give a right direction to political thought,
although it should fail to satisfy the mind of the reader.

This much the author may say, in favor of his own work, that it
sets forth no theory of government in general, or of the United
States in particular.  The author is not a monarchist, an
aristocrat, a democrat, a feudalist, nor an advocate of what are
called mixed governments like the English, at least for his own
country; but is simply an American, devoted to the real, living,
and energizing constitution of the American republic as it is,
not as some may fancy it might be, or are striving to make it.
It is, in his judgment, what it ought to be, and he has no other
ambition than to present it as it is to the understanding and
love of his countrymen.

Perhaps simple artistic unity and propriety would require the
author to commence his essay directly with the United States; but
while the constitution of the United States is original and
peculiar, the government of the United States has necessarily
something in common with all legitimate governments, and he has
thought it best to precede his discussion of the American
republic, its constitution, tendencies, and destiny, by some
considerations on government in general.  He does this because he
believes, whether rightly or not, that while the American people
have received from Providence a most truly profound and admirable
system of government, they are more or less infected with the
false theories of government which have been broached during the
last two centuries.  In attempting to realize these theories,
they have already provoked or rendered practicable a rebellion
which has seriously threatened the national existence, and come
very near putting an end to the American order of civilization
itself.  These theories have received already a shock in the
minds of all serious and thinking men; but the men who think are
in every nation a small minority, and it is necessary to give
these theories a public refutation, and bring back those who do
not think, as well as those who do, from the world of dreams to
the world of reality.  It is hoped, therefore, that any apparent
want of artistic unity or symmetry in the essay will be pardoned
for the sake of the end the author has had in view.



Man is a dependent being, and neither does nor can suffice for
himself.  He lives not in himself, but lives and moves and has
his being in God.  He exists, develops, and fulfils his existence
only by communion with God, through which he participates of the
divine being and life.  He communes with God through the divine
creative act and the Incarnation of the Word, through his kind,
and through the material world.  Communion with God through
Creation and Incarnation is religion, distinctively taken, which
binds man to God as his first cause, and carries him onward to
God as his final cause; communion through the material world is
expressed by the word property; and communion with God through
humanity is society.  Religion, society, property, are the three
terms that embrace the whole of man's life, and express the
essential means and conditions of his existence, his development,
and his perfection, or the fulfilment of his existence, the
attainment of the end for which he is created.

Though society, or the communion of man with his Maker through
his kind, is not all that man needs in order to live, to grow,
to actualize the possibilities of his nature, and to attain to
his beatitude, since humanity is neither God nor the material
universe, it is yet a necessary and essential condition of his
life, his progress, and the completion of his existence.  He is
born and lives in society, and can be born and live nowhere else.
It is one of the necessities of his nature.  "God saw that it was
not good for man to be alone."  Hence, wherever man is found he
is found in society, living in more or less strict intercourse
with his kind.

But society never does and never can exist without government of
some sort.  As society is a necessity of man's nature, so is
government a necessity of society.  The simplest form of society
is the family--Adam and Eve.  But though Adam and Eve are in many
respects equal, and have equally important though different parts
assigned them, one or the other must be head and governor, or
they cannot form the society called family.  They would be simply
two individuals of different sexes, and the family would fail for
the want of unity.

Children cannot be reared, trained, or educated without some
degree of family government, of some authority to direct,
control, restrain, or prescribe.  Hence the authority of the
husband and father is recognized by the common consent of
mankind.  Still more apparent is the necessity of government the
moment the family develops and grows into the tribe, and the
tribe into the nation.  Hence no nation exists without
government; and we never find a savage tribe, however low or
degraded, that does not assert somewhere in the father, in the
elders, or in the tribe itself, the rude outlines or the faint
reminiscences of some sort of government, with authority to
demand obedience and to punish the refractory.  Hence, as man is
nowhere found out of society, so nowhere is society found without

Government is necessary: but let it be remarked by the way, that
its necessity does not grow exclusively or chiefly out of the
fact that the human race by sin has fallen from its primitive
integrity, or original righteousness.  The fall asserted by
Christian theology, though often misinterpreted, and its effects
underrated or exaggerated, is a fact too sadly confirmed by
individual experience and universal history; but it is not the
cause why government is necessary, though it may be an additional
reason for demanding it.  Government would have been necessary if
man had not sinned, and it is needed for the good as well as for
the bad.  The law was promulgated in the Garden, while man
retained his innocence and remained in the integrity of his
nature.  It exists in heaven as well as on earth, and in heaven
in its perfection.  Its office is not purely repressive, to
restrain violence, to redress wrongs, and to punish the
transgressor.  It has something more to do than to restrict our
natural liberty, curb our passions, and maintain justice between
man and man.  Its office is positive as well as negative.  It is
needed to render effective the solidarity of the individuals of a
nation, and to render the nation an organism, not a mere
organization--to combine men in one living body, and to
strengthen all with the strength of each, and each with the
strength of all--to develop, strengthen, and sustain individual
liberty, and to utilize and direct it to the promotion of the
common weal--to be a social providence, imitating in its order
and degree the action of the divine providence itself, and, while
it provides for the common good of all, to protect each, the
lowest and meanest, with the whole force and majesty of society.
It is the minister of wrath to wrong-doers, indeed, but its nature
is beneficent, and its action defines and protects the right of
property, creates and maintains a medium in which religion can
exert her supernatural energy, promotes learning, fosters science
and art, advances civilization, and contributes as a powerful
means to the fulfilment by man of the Divine purpose in his
existence.  Next after religion, it is man's greatest good; and
even religion without it can do only a small portion of her work.
They wrong it who call it a necessary evil; it is a great good,
and, instead of being distrusted, hated, or resisted, except in
its abuses, it should be loved, respected, obeyed, and if need
be, defended at the cost of all earthly goods, and even of life

The nature or essence of government is to govern.  A government
that does not govern, is simply no government at all.  If it has
not the ability to govern and governs not, it may be an agency,
an instrument in the bands of individuals for advancing their
private interests, but it is not government.  To be government it
must govern both individuals and the community.  If it is a mere
machine for making prevail the will of one man, of a certain
number of men, or even of the community, it may be very effective
sometimes for good, sometimes for evil, oftenest for evil, but
government in the proper sense of the word it is not.  To govern
is to direct, control, restrain, as the pilot controls and
directs his ship.  It necessarily implies two terms, governor and
governed, and a real distinction between them.  The denial of all
real distinction between governor and governed is an error in
politics analogous to that in philosophy or theology of denying
all real distinction between creator and creature, God and the
universe, which all the world knows is either pantheism or pure
atheism--the supreme sophism.  If we make governor and governed
one and the same, we efface both terms; for there is no governor
nor governed, if the will that governs is identically the will
that is governed.  To make the controller and the controlled the
same is precisely to deny all control.  There must, then, if
there is government at all, be a power, force, or will that
governs, distinct from that which is governed.  In those
governments in which it is held that the people govern, the
people governing do and must act in a diverse relation from the
people governed, or there is no real government.

Government is not only that which governs, but that which has the
right or authority to govern.  Power without right is not
government.  Governments have the right to use force at need, but
might does not make right, and not every power wielding the
physical force of a nation is to be regarded as its rightful
government.  Whatever resort to physical force it may be obliged
to make, either in defence of its authority or of the rights of
the nation, the government itself lies in the moral order, and
politics is simply a branch of ethics--that branch which treats
of the rights and duties of men in their public relations, as
distinguished from their rights and duties in their private

Government being not only that which governs, but that which has
the right to govern, obedience to it becomes a moral duty, not a
mere physical necessity.  The right to govern and the duty to
obey are correlatives, and the one cannot exist or be conceived
without the other.  Hence loyalty is not simply an amiable
sentiment but a duty, a moral virtue.  Treason is not merely a
difference in political opinion with the governing authority, but
a crime against the sovereign, and a moral wrong, therefore a sin
against God, the Founder of the moral Law.  Treason, if committed
in other Countries, unhappily, has been more frequently termed by
our countrymen Patriotism and loaded with honor than branded as a
crime, the greatest of crimes, as it is, that human governments
have authority to punish.  The American people have been chary of
the word loyalty, perhaps because they regard it as the
correlative of royalty; but loyalty is rather the correlative of
law, and is, in its essence, love and devotion to the sovereign
authority, however constituted or wherever lodged.  It is as
necessary, as much a duty, as much a virtue in republics as in
monarchies; and nobler examples of the most devoted loyalty are
not found in the world's history than were exhibited in the
ancient Greek and Roman republics, or than have been exhibited by
both men and women in the young republic of the United States.
Loyalty is the highest, noblest, and most generous of human
virtues, and is the human element of that sublime love or charity
which the inspired Apostle tells us is the fulfilment of the law.
It has in it the principle of devotion, of self-sacrifice, and
is, of all human virtues, that which renders man the most
Godlike.  There is nothing great, generous, good, or heroic of
which a truly loyal people are not capable, and nothing mean,
base, cruel, brutal, criminal, detestable, not to be expected of
a really disloyal people.  Such a people no generous sentiment
can move, no love can bind.  It mocks at duty, scorns virtue,
tramples on all rights, and holds no person, no thing, human or
divine, sacred or inviolable.  The assertion of government as
lying in the moral order, defines civil liberty, and reconciles
it with authority.  Civil liberty is freedom to do whatever one
pleases that authority permits or does not forbid.  Freedom to
follow in all things one's own will or inclination, without any
civil restraint, is license, not liberty.  There is no lesion to
liberty in repressing license, nor in requiring obedience to the
commands of the authority that has the right to command.  Tyranny
or oppression is not in being subjected to authority, but in
being subjected to usurped authority--to a power that has no
right to command, or that commands what exceeds its right or its
authority.  To say that it is contrary to liberty to be forced to
forego our own will or inclination in any case whatever, is
simply denying the right of all government, and falling into
no-governmentism.  Liberty is violated only when we are required
to forego our own will or inclination by a power that has no
right to make the requisition; for we are bound to obedience as
far as authority has right to govern, and we can never have the
right to disobey a rightful command.  The requisition, if made by
rightful authority, then, violates no right that we have or can
have, and where there is no violation of our rights there is no
violation of our liberty.  The moral right of authority, which
involves the moral duty of obedience, presents, then, the ground
on which liberty and authority may meet in peace and operate to
the same end.

This has no resemblance to the slavish doctrine of passive
obedience, and that the resistance to power can never be lawful.
The tyrant may be lawfully resisted, for the tyrant, by force of
the word itself, is a usurper, and without authority.  Abuses of
power may be resisted even by force when they become too great to
be endured, when there is no legal or regular way of redressing
them, and when there is a reasonable prospect that resistance
will prove effectual and substitute something better in their
place.  But it is never lawful to resist the rightful sovereign,
for it can never be right to resist right, and the rightful
sovereign in the constitutional exercise of his power can never
be said to abuse it.  Abuse is the unconstitutional or wrongful
exercise of a power rightfully held, and when it is not so
exercised there is no abuse or abuses to redress.  All turns,
then, on the right of power, or its legitimacy.  Whence does
government derive its right to govern?  What is the origin and
ground of sovereignty?  This question is fundamental and without
a true answer to it politics cannot be a science, and there can
be no scientific statesmanship.  Whence, then, comes the
sovereign right to govern?



Government is both a fact and a right.  Its origin as a fact, is
simply a question of history; its origin as a right or authority
to govern, is a question of ethics.  Whether a certain territory
and its population are a sovereign state or nation, or
not--whether the actual ruler of a country is its rightful ruler,
or not--is to be determined by the historical facts in the case;
but whence the government derives its right to govern, is a
question that can be solved only by philosophy, or, philosophy
failing, only by revelation.

Political writers, not carefully distinguishing between the fact
and the right, have invented various theories as to the origin of
government, among which may be named--
I. Government originates in the right of the father to govern his
II. It originates in convention, and is a social compact.
III. It originates in the people, who, collectively taken, are
IV. Government springs from the spontaneous development of nature.
V. It derives its right from the immediate and express
appointment of God;--
VI. From God through the Pope, or visible head of the spiritual
VII. From God through the people;--
VIII. From God through the natural law.

I. The first theory is sound, if the question is confined to the
origin of government as a fact.  The patriarchal system is the
earliest known system of government, and unmistakable traces of
it are found in nearly all known governments--in the tribes of
Arabia and Northern Africa, the Irish septs and the Scottish
clans, the Tartar hordes, the Roman qentes, and the Russian and
Hindoo villages.  The right of the father was held to be his
right to govern his family or household, which, with his children,
included his wife and servants.  From the family to the tribe the
transition is natural and easy, as also from the tribe to the
nation.  The father is chief of the family; the chief of the
eldest family is chief of the tribe; the chief of the eldest
tribe becomes chief of the nation, and, as such, king or monarch.
The heads of families collected in a senate form an aristocracy,
and the families themselves, represented by their delegates, or
publicly assembling for public affairs, constitute a democracy.
These three forms, with their several combinations, to wit,
monarchy, aristocracy, democracy, and mixed governments, are all
the forms known to Aristotle, and have generally been held to be
all that are possible.

Historically, all governments have, in some sense, been developed
from the patriarchal, as all society has been developed from the
family.  Even those governments, like the ancient Roman and the
modern feudal, which seem to be founded on landed property, may
be traced back to a patriarchal origin.  The patriarch is sole
proprietor, and the possessions of the family are vested in him,
and he governs as proprietor as well as father.  In the tribe,
the chief is the proprietor, and in the nation, the king is the
landlord, and holds the domain.  Hence, the feudal baron is
invested with his fief by the suzerain, holds it from him, and to
him it escheats when forfeited or vacant.  All the great Asiatic
kings of ancient or modern times hold the domain and govern as
proprietors; they have the authority of the father and the owner;
and their subjects, though theoretically their children, are
really their slaves.

In Rome, however, the proprietary right undergoes an important
transformation.  The father retains all the power of the
patriarch within his family, the patrician in his gens or house,
but, outside of it, is met and controlled by the city or state.
The heads of houses are united in the senate, and collectively
constitute and govern the state.  Yet, not all the heads of
houses have seats in the senate, but only the tenants of the
sacred territory of the city, which has been surveyed and marked
by the god Terminus.  Hence the great plebeian houses, often
richer and nobler than the patrician, were excluded from all
share in the government and the honors of the state, because they
were not tenants of any portion of the sacred territory.  There
is here the introduction of an element which is not patriarchal,
and which transforms the patriarch or chief of a tribe into the
city or state, and founds the civil order, or what is now called
civilization.  The city or state takes the place of the private
proprietor, and territorial rights take the place of purely
personal rights.

In the theory of the Roman law, the land owns the man, not the
man the land.  When land was transferred to a new tenant, the
practice in early times was to bury him in it, in order to
indicate that it took possession of him, received, accepted, or
adopted him; and it was only such persons as were taken
possession of, accepted or adopted by the sacred territory or
domain that, though denizens of Rome, were citizens with full
political rights.  This, in modern language, means that the state
is territorial, not personal, and that the citizen appertains to
the state, not the state to the citizen.  Under the patriarchal,
the tribal, and the Asiatic monarchical systems, there is,
properly speaking, no state, no citizens, and the organization is
economical rather than political.  Authority--even the nation
itself--is personal, not territorial.  The patriarch, the chief
of the tribe, or the king, is the only proprietor.  Under the
Graeco-Roman system all this is transformed.  The nation is
territorial as well as personal, and the real proprietor is the
city or state.  Under the Empire, no doubt, what lawyers call the
eminent domain was vested in the emperor, but only as the
representative and trustee of the city or state.

When or by what combination of events this transformation was
effected, history does not inform us.  The first-born of Adam, we
are told, built a city, and called it after his son Enoch; but
there is no evidence that it was constituted a municipality.  The
earliest traces of the civil order proper are found in the Greek
and Italian republics, and its fullest and grandest developments
are found in Rome, imperial as well as republican.  It was no
doubt preceded by the patriarchal system, and was historically
developed from it, but by way of accretion rather than by simple
explication.  It has in it an element that, if it exists in the
patriarchal constitution, exists there only in a different form,
and the transformation marks the passage from the economical
order to the political, from the barbaric to the civil
constitution of society, or from barbarism to civilization.

The word civilization stands opposed to barbarism, and is derived
from civitas--city or state.  The Greeks and Romans call all
tribes and nations in which authority is vested in the chief, as
distinguished from the state, barbarians.  The origin of the word
barbarian, barbarus, or ........, is unknown, and its primary
sense can be only conjectured.  Webster regards its primary sense
as foreign, wild, fierce; but this could not have been its
original sense; for the Greeks and Romans never termed all
foreigners barbarians, and they applied the term to nations that
had no inconsiderable culture and refinement of manners, and that
had made respectable progress in art and sciences--the Indians,
Persians, Medians, Chaldeans, and Assyrians.  They applied the
term evidently in a political, not an ethical or an aesthetical
sense, and as it would seem to designate a social order in which
the state was not developed, and in which the nation was personal,
not territorial, and authority was held as a private right, not
as a public trust, or in which the domain vests in the chief or
tribe, and not in the state; for they never term any others

Republic is opposed not to monarchy, in the modern European
sense, but to monarchy in the ancient or absolute sense.
Lacedaemon had kings; yet it was no less republican than Athens;
and Rome was called and was a republic under the emperors no less
than under the consuls.  Republic, respublica, by the very force
of the term, means the public wealth, or, in good English, the
commonwealth; that is, government founded not on personal or
private wealth, but on the public wealth, public territory, or
domain, or a Government that vests authority in the nation, and
attaches the nation to a certain definite territory.  France,
Spain, Italy, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, even Great Britain in
substance though not in form, are all, in the strictest sense of
the word, republican states; for the king or emperor does not
govern in his own private right, but solely as representative of
the power and majesty of the state.  The distinctive mark of
republicanism is the substitution of the state for the personal
chief, and public authority for personal or private right.
Republicanism is really civilization as opposed to barbarism, and
all civility, in the old Sense of the word, or Civilian in
Italian, is republican, and is applied in modern tiles to
breeding or refinement of manners, simply because these are
characteristics of a republican, or polished [from ....., city]
people.  Every people that has a real civil order, or a fully
developed state or polity, is a republican people; and hence the
church and her great doctors when they speak of the state as
distinguished from the church, call it the republic, as may be
seen by consulting even a late Encyclical of Pius IX., which some
have interpreted wrongly in an anti-republican sense.

All tribes and nations in which the patriarchal system remains,
or is developed without transformation, are barbaric, and really
so regarded by all Christendom.  In civilized nations the
patriarchal authority is transformed into that of the city or
state, that is, of the republic; but in all barbarous nations it
retains its Private and personal character.  The nation is only
the family or tribe, and is called by the name of its ancestor,
founder, or chief, not by a geographical denomination.  Race has
not been supplanted by country; they are a people, not a state.
They are not fixed to the soil, and though we may find in them
ardent love of family, the tribe, or the chief, we never find
among them that pure love of country or patriotism which so
distinguished the Greeks and Romans, and is no less marked among
modern Christian nations.  They have a family, a race, a chief or
king, but no patria, or country.  The barbarians who overthrew
the Roman Empire, whether of the West or the East, were nations,
or confederacies of nations, but not states.  The nation with
them was personal, not territorial.  Their country was wherever
they fed their flocks and herds, pitched their tents, and
encamped for the night.  There were Germans, but no German state,
and even to-day the German finds his "father-land" wherever the
German speech is spoken.  The Polish, Sclavonian, Hungarian,
Illyrian, Italian, and other provinces held by German states, in
which the German language is not the mother-tongue, are excluded
from the Germanic Confederation.  The Turks, or Osmanlis, are a
race, not a state, and are encamped, not settled, on the site of
the Eastern Roman or Greek Empire.

Even when the barbaric nations have ceased to be nomadic,
pastoral, or predatory nations, as the ancient Assyrians and
Persians or modern Chinese, and have their geographical
boundaries, they have still no state, no country.  The nation
defines the boundaries, not the boundaries the nation.  The
nation does not belong to the territory, but the territory to the
nation or its chief.  The Irish and Anglo-Saxons, in former
times, held the land in gavelkind, and the territory belonged to
the tribe or sept; but if the tribe held it as indivisible, they
still held it as private property.  The shah of Persia holds the
whole Persian territory as private property, and the landholders
among his subjects are held to be his tenants.  They hold it from
him, not from the Persian state.

The public domain of the Greek empire is in theory the private
domain of the Ottoman emperor or Turkish sultan.  There is in
barbaric states no republic, no commonwealth; authority is
parental, without being tempered by parental affection.  The
chief is a despot, and rules with the united authority of the
father and the harshness of the proprietor.  He owns the land and
his subjects.

Feudalism, established in Western Europe after the downfall of
the Roman Empire, however modified by the Church and by
reminiscences of Graeco-Roman civilization retained by the
conquered, was a barbaric constitution.  The feudal monarch, as
far as he governed at all, governed as proprietor or landholder,
not as the representative of the commonwealth.  Under feudalism
there are estates, but no state.  The king governs as an estate,
the nobles hold their power as an estate, and the commons are
represented as an estate.  The whole theory of power is, that it
is an estate; a private right, not a public trust.  It is not
without reason, then that the common sense of civilized nations
terms the ages when it prevailed in Western Europe barbarous ages.

It may seem a paradox to class democracy with the barbaric
constitutions, and yet as it is defended by many stanch
democrats, especially European democrats and revolutionists, and
by French and Germans settled in our own country, it is
essentially barbaric and anti-republican.  The characteristic
principle of barbarism is, that power is a private or personal
right, and when democrats assert that the elective franchise is a
natural right of man, or that it is held by virtue of the fact
that the elector is a man, they assert the fundamental principle
of barbarism and despotism.  This says nothing in favor of
restricted suffrage, or against what is called universal suffrage.
To restrict suffrage to property-holders helps nothing,
theoretically or practically.  Property has of itself advantages
enough, without clothing its holders with exclusive political
rights and privileges, and the laboring classes any day are as
trustworthy as the business classes.  The wise statesman will
never restrict suffrage, or exclude the poorer and more numerous
classes from all voice in the government of their country.
General suffrage is wise, and if Louis Philippe had had the sense
to adopt it, and thus rally the whole nation to the support of
his government, he would never have had to encounter the
revolution of 1848.  The barbarism, the despotism, is not in
universal suffrage, but in defending the elective franchise as a
private or personal right.  It is not a private, but a political
right, and, like all political rights, a public trust.  Extremes
meet, and thus it is that men who imagine that they march at the
head of the human race and lead the civilization of the age, are
really in principle retrograding to the barbarism of the past, or
taking their place with nations on whom the light of civilization
has never yet dawned.  All is not gold that glisters.

The characteristic of barbarism is, that it makes all authority a
private or personal right; and the characteristic of civilization
is, that it makes it a public trust.  Barbarism knows only
persons; civilization asserts and maintains the state.  With
barbarians the authority of the patriarch is developed simply by
way of explication; in civilized states it is developed by way of
transformation.  Keeping in mind this distinction, it may be
maintained that all systems of government, as a simple historical
fact, have been developed from the patriarchal.  The patriarchal
has preceded them all, and it is with the patriarchal that the
human race has begun its career.  The family or household is not
a state, a civil polity, but it is a government, and,
historically considered, is the initial or inchoate state as well
as the initial or inchoate nation.  But its simple direct
development gives us barbarism, or what is called Oriental
despotism, and which nowhere exists, or can exist, in Christendom.
It is found only in pagan and Mohammedan nations; Christianity in
the secular order is republican, and continues and completes the
work of Greece and Rome.  It meets with little permanent success
in any patriarchal or despotic nation, and must either find or
create civilization, which has been developed from the patriarchal
system by way of transformation.

But, though the patriarchal system is the earliest form of
government, and all governments have been developed or modified
from it, the right of government to govern cannot be deduced from
the right of the father to govern his children, for the parental
right itself is not ultimate or complete.  All governments that
assume it to be so, and rest on it as the foundation of their
authority, are barbaric or despotic, and, therefore , without any
legitimate authority.  The right to govern rests on ownership or
dominion.  Where there is no proprietorship, there is no dominion;
and where there is no dominion, there is no right to govern.
Only he who is sovereign proprietor is sovereign lord.

Property, ownership, dominion rests on creation.  The maker has
the right to the thing made.  He, so far as he is sole creator,
is sole proprietor, and may do what he will with it.  God is
sovereign lord and proprietor of the universe because He is its
sole creator.  He hath the absolute dominion, because He is
absolute maker.  He has made it, He owns it; and one may do what
he will with his own.  His dominion is absolute, because He is
absolute creator, and He rightly governs as absolute and
universal lord; yet is He no despot, because He exercises only
His sovereign right, and His own essential wisdom, goodness,
justness, rectitude, and immutability, are the highest of all
conceivable guaranties that His exercise of His power will always
be right, wise, just, and good.  The despot is a man attempting
to be God upon earth, and to exercise a usurped power.  Despotism
is based on, the parental right, and the parental right is
assumed to be absolute.  Hence, your despotic rulers claim to
reign, and to be loved and worshipped as gods.  Even the Roman
emperors, in the fourth and fifth centuries, were addressed as
divinities; and Theodosius the Great, a Christian , was addressed
as "Your Eternity," Eternitas vestras--so far did barbarism
encroach on civilization, even under Christian emperors.

The right of the father over his child is an imperfect right, for
he is the generator, not the creator of his child.  Generation is
in the order of second causes, and is simply the development or
explication of the race.  The early Roman law, founded on the
confusion of generation with creation, gave the father absolute
authority over the child--the right of life and death, as over
his servants or slaves; but this was restricted under the Empire,
and in all Christian nations the authority of the father is
treated, like all power, as a trust.  The child, like the father
himself, belongs to the state, and to the state the father is
answerable for the use he makes of his authority.  The law fixes
the age of majority, when the child is completely emancipated;
and even during his nonage, takes him from the father and places
him under guardians, in case the father is incompetent to fulfil
or grossly abuses his trust.  This is proper, because society
contributes to the life of the child, and has a right as well as
an interest in him.  Society, again, must suffer if the child is
allowed to grow up a worthless vagabond or a criminal; and has a
right to intervene, both in behalf of itself and of the child, in
case his parents neglect to train him up in the nurture and
admonition of the Lord, or are training him up to be a liar, a
thief, a drunkard, a murderer, a pest to the community.  How,
then, base the right of society on the right of the father,
since, in point of fact, the right of society is paramount to the
right of the parent?

But even waiving this, and granting what is not the fact that the
authority of the father is absolute, unlimited, it cannot be the
ground of the right of society to govern.  Assume the parental
right to be perfect and inseparable from the parental relation,
it is no right to govern where no such relation exists.  Nothing
true, real, solid in government can be founded on what Carlyle
calls a "sham."  The statesman, if worthy of the name, ascertains
and conforms to the realities, the verities of things; and all
jurisprudence that accepts legal fictions is imperfect, and even
censurable.  The presumptions or assumptions of law or politics
must have a real and solid basis, or they are inadmissible.  How,
from the right of the father to govern his own child, born from
his loins, conclude his right to govern one not his child?  Or
how, from my right to govern my child, conclude the right of
society to found the state, institute government, and exercise
political authority over its members?



II. Rejecting the patriarchal theory as untenable, and shrinking
from asserting the divine origin of government, lest they should
favor theocracy, and place secular society under the control of
the clergy, and thus disfranchise the laity, modern political
writers have sought to render government purely human, and
maintain that its origin is conventional, and that it is founded
in compact or agreement.  Their theory originated in the
seventeenth century, and was predominant in the last century and
the first third of the present.  It has been, and perhaps is yet,
generally accepted by American politicians and statesmen, at
least so far as they ever trouble their heads with the question
at all, which it must be confessed is not far.

The moral theologians of the Church have generally spoken of
government as a social pact or compact, and explained the
reciprocal rights and obligations of subjects and rulers by the
general law of contracts; but they have never held that
government originates in a voluntary agreement between the people
and their rulers, or between the several individuals composing
the community.  They have never held that government has only a
conventional origin or authority.  They have simply meant, by the
social compact, the mutual relations and reciprocal rights and
duties of princes and their subjects, as implied in the very
existence and nature of civil society.  Where there are rights
and duties on each side, they treat the fact, not as an agreement
voluntarily entered into, and which creates them, but as a
compact which binds alike sovereign and subject; and in
determining whether either side has sinned or not, they inquire
whether either has broken the terms of the social compact.  They
were engaged, not with the question whence does government derive
its authority, but with its nature, and the reciprocal rights and
duties of governors and the governed.  The compact itself they
held was not voluntarily formed by the people themselves, either
individually or collectively, but was imposed by God, either
immediately, or mediately, through the law of nature.  "Every
man," says Cicero, "is born in society, and remains there."  They
held the same, and maintained that every one born into society
contracts by that fact certain obligations to society, and
society certain obligations to him; for under the natural law,
every one has certain rights, as life, liberty, and the pursuit
of happiness, and owes certain duties to society for the
protection and assistance it affords him.

But modern political theorists have abused the phrase borrowed
from the theologians, and made it cover a political doctrine
which they would have been the last to accept.  These theorists
or political speculators have imagined a state of nature
antecedently to civil society, in which men lived without
government, law, or manners, out of which they finally came by
entering into a voluntary agreement with some one of their number
to be king and to govern them, or with one another to submit to
the rule of the majority.  Hobbes, the English materialist, is
among the earliest and most distinguished of the advocates of
this theory.  He held that men lived, prior to the creation of
civil society, in a state of nature, in which all were equal, and
every one had an equal right to every thing, and to take any
thing on which he could lay his hands and was strong enough to
hold.  There was no law but the will of the strongest.  Hence,
the state of nature was a state of continual war.  At length,
wearied and disgusted, men sighed for peace, and, with one
accord, said to the tallest, bravest, or ablest among them: Come,
be our king, our master, our sovereign lord, and govern us; we
surrender our natural rights and our natural independence to you,
with no other reserve or condition than that you maintain peace
among us, keep us from robbing and plundering one another or
cutting each other's throats.

Locke followed Hobbes, and asserted virtually the same theory,
but asserted it in the interests of liberty, as Hobbes had
asserted it in the interests of power.  Rousseau, a citizen of
Geneva, followed in the next century with his Contrat Social, the
text-book of the French revolutionists--almost their Bible--and
put the finishing stroke to the theory.  Hitherto the compact or
agreement had been assumed to be between the governor and the
governed; Rousseau supposes it to be between the people
themselves, or a compact to which the people are the only parties.
He adopts the theory of a state of nature in which men lived,
antecedently to their forming themselves into civil society,
without government or law.  All men in that state were equal, and
each was independent and sovereign proprietor of himself.  These
equal, independent, sovereign individuals met, or are held to
have met, in convention, and entered into a compact with
themselves, each with all, and all with each, that they would
constitute government, and would each submit to the determination
and authority of the whole, practically of the fluctuating and
irresponsible majority.  Civil society, the state, the
government, originates in this compact, and the government, as
Mr. Jefferson asserts in the Declaration of American
Independence, "derives its just powers from the consent of the

This theory, as so set forth, or as modified by asserting that
the individual delegates instead of surrendering his rights to
civil society, was generally adopted by the American people in
the last century, and is still the more prevalent theory with
those among them who happen to have any theory or opinion on the
subject.  It is the political tradition of the country.  The
state, as defined by the elder Adams, is held to be a voluntary
association of individuals.  Individuals create civil society,
and may uncreate it whenever they judge it advisable.  Prior to
the Southern Rebellion, nearly every American asserted with
Lafayette, "the sacred right of insurrection" or revolution, and
sympathized with insurrectionists, rebels, and revolutionists,
wherever they made their appearance.  Loyalty was held to be the
correlative of royalty, treason was regarded as a virtue, and
traitors were honored, feasted, and eulogized as patriots, ardent
lovers of liberty, and champions of the people.  The fearful
struggle of the nation against a rebellion which threatened its
very existence may have changed this.

That there is, or ever was, a state of nature such as the theory
assumes, may be questioned.  Certainly nothing proves that it is,
or ever was, a real state.  That there is a law of nature is
undeniable.  All authorities in philosophy, morals, politics, and
jurisprudence assert it; the state assumes it as its own
immediate basis, and the codes of all nations are founded on it;
universal jurisprudence, the jus qentium of the Romans, embodies
it, and the courts recognize and administer it.  It is the reason
and conscience of civil society, and every state acknowledges its
authority.  But the law of nature is as much in force in civil
society as out of it.  Civil law does not abrogate or supersede
natural law, but presupposes it, and supports itself on it as its
own ground and reason.  As the natural law, which is only natural
justice and equity dictated by the reason common to all men,
persists in the civil law, municipal or international, as its
informing soul, so does the state of nature persist in the civil
state, natural society in civil society, which simply develops,
applies, and protects it.  Man in civil society is not out of
nature, but is in it--is in his most natural state; for society
is natural to him, and government is natural to society, and in
some form inseparable from it.  The state of nature under the
natural law is not, as a separate state, an actual state, and
never was; but an abstraction, in which is considered, apart from
the concrete existence called society, what is derived
immediately from the natural law.  But as abstractions have no
existence, out of the mind that forms them, the state of nature
has no actual existence in the world of reality as a separate

But suppose with the theory the state of nature to have been a
real and separate state, in which men at first lived, there is
great difficulty in understanding how they ever got out of it.
Can a man divest himself of his nature, or lift himself above it?
Man is in his nature, and inseparable from it.  If his primitive
state was his natural state, and if the political state is
supernatural, preternatural, or subnatural, how passed he alone,
by his own unaided powers, from the former to the latter?  The
ancients, who had lost the primitive tradition of creation,
asserted, indeed, the primitive man as springing from the earth,
and leading a mere animal life, living in eaves or hollow trees,
and feeding on roots and nuts, without speech, without science,
art, law, or sense of right and wrong; but prior to the
prevalence of the Epicurean philosophy, they never pretended,
that man could come out of that state alone by his own unaided
efforts.  They ascribed the invention of language, art, and
science, the institution of civil society, government, and laws,
to the intervention of the gods.  It remained for the
Epicureans--who, though unable, like their modern successors,
the Positivists or Developmentists, to believe in a first cause,
believed in effects without causes, or that things make or take
care of themselves--to assert that men could, by their own
unassisted efforts, or by the simple exercise of reason, come out
of the primitive state, and institute what in modern times is
called civilta, civility, or civilization.

The partisans of this theory of the state of nature from which
men have emerged by the voluntary and deliberate formation of
civil society, forget that if government is not the sole
condition, it is one of the essential conditions of progress.
The only progressive nations are civilized or republican nations.
Savage and barbarous tribes are unprogressive.  Ages on ages roll
over them without changing any thing in their state; and Niebuhr
has well remarked with others, that history records no instance
of a savage tribe or people having become civilized by its own
spontaneous or indigenous efforts.  If savage tribes have ever
become civilized, it has been by influences from abroad, by the
aid of men already civilized, through conquest, colonies, or
missionaries; never by their own indigenous efforts, nor even by
commerce, as is so confidently asserted in this mercantile age.
Nothing in all history indicates the ability of a savage people
to pass of itself from the savage state to the civilized.  But
the primitive man, as described by Horace in his Satires, and
asserted by Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and others, is far below the
savage.  The lowest, most degraded, and most debased savage tribe
that has yet been discovered has at least some rude outlines or
feeble reminiscences of a social state, of government, morals,
law, and religion, for even in superstition the most gross there
is a reminiscence of true religion; but the people in the alleged
state of nature have none.

The advocates of the theory deceive themselves by transporting
into their imaginary state of nature the views, habits, and
capacities of the civilized man.  It is, perhaps, not difficult
for men who have been civilized, who have the intelligence, the
arts, the affections, and the habits of civilization, if deprived
by some great social convulsion of society, and thrown back on
the so-called state of nature, or cast away on some uninhabited
island in the ocean, and cut off from all intercourse with the
rest of mankind, to reconstruct civil society, and re-establish
and maintain civil government.  They are civilized men, and bear
civil society in their own life.  But these are no
representatives of the primitive man in the alleged state of
nature.  These primitive men have no experience, no knowledge, no
conception even of civilized life, or of any state superior to
that in which they have thus far lived.  How then can they,
since, on the theory, civil society has no root in nature, but is
a purely artificial creation, even conceive of civilization,
much less realize it?

These theorists, as theorists always do, fail to make a complete
abstraction of the civilized state, and conclude from what they
feel they could do in case civil society were broken up, what
men may do and have done in a state of nature.  Men cannot divest
themselves of themselves, and, whatever their efforts to do it,
they think, reason, and act as they are.

Every writer, whatever else he writes, writes himself.  The
advocates of the theory, to have made their abstraction complete,
should have presented their primitive man as below the lowest
known savage, unprogressive, and in himself incapable of
developing any progressive energy.  Unprogressive, and, without
foreign assistance, incapable of progress, how is it possible for
your primitive man to pass, by his own unassisted efforts, from
the alleged state of nature to that of civilization, of which he
has no conception, and towards which no innate desire, no
instinct, no divine inspiration pushes him?

But even if, by some happy inspiration, hardly supposable without
supernatural intervention repudiated by the theory--if by some
happy inspiration, a rare individual should so far rise above the
state of nature as to conceive of civil society and of civil
government, how could he carry his conception into execution?
Conception is always easier than its realization, and between the
design and its execution there is always a weary distance.  The
poetry of all nations is a wail over unrealized ideals.  It is
little that even the wisest and most potent statesman can realize
of what he conceives to be necessary for the state: political,
legislative or judicial reforms, even when loudly demanded, and
favored by authority, are hard to be effected, and not seldom
generations come and go without effecting them.  The republics of
Plato, Sir Thomas More, Campanella, Harrington, as the
communities of Robert Owen and M. Cabet, remain Utopias, not
solely because intrinsically absurd, though so in fact, but
chiefly because they are innovations, have no support in
experience, and require for their realization the modes of
thought, habits, manners, character, life, which only their
introduction and realization can supply.  So to be able to
execute the design of passing from the supposed state of nature
to civilization, the reformer would need the intelligence, the
habits, and characters in the public which are not possible
without civilization itself.  Some philosophers suppose men have
invented language, forgetting that it requires language to give
the ability to invent language.

Men are little moved by mere reasoning, however clear and
convincing it may be.  They are moved by their affections,
passions, instincts, and habits.  Routine is more powerful with
them than logic.  A few are greedy of novelties, and are always
for trying experiments; but the great body of the people of all
nations have an invincible repugnance to abandon what they know
for what they know not.  They are, to a great extent, the slaves
of their own vis inertiae, and will not make the necessary
exertion to change their existing mode of life, even for a
better.  Interest itself is powerless before their indolence,
prejudice, habits, and usages.  Never were philosophers more
ignorant of human nature than they, so numerous in the last
century, who imagined that men can be always moved by a sense of
interest, and that enlightened self-interest, L'interet bien
entendu, suffices to found and sustain the state.  No reform, no
change in the constitution of government or of society, whatever
the advantages it may promise, can be successful, if introduced,
unless it has its root or germ in the past.  Man is never a
creator; he can only develop and continue, because he is himself
a creature, and only a second cause.  The children of Israel,
when they encountered the privations of the wilderness that lay
between them and the promised land flowing with milk and honey,
fainted in spirit, and begged Moses to lead them back to Egypt,
and permit them to return to slavery.

In the alleged state of nature, as the philosophers describe it,
there is no germ of civilization, and the transition to civil
society would not be a development, but a complete rupture with
the past, and an entire new creation.  When it is with the
greatest difficulty that necessary reforms are introduced in old
and highly civilized nations and when it can seldom be done at
all without terrible political and social convulsions, how can we
suppose men without society, and knowing nothing of it, can
deliberately, and, as it were, with "malice aforethought," found
society?  Without government, and destitute alike of habits of
obedience and habits of command, how can they initiate,
establish, and sustain government?  To suppose it, would be to
suppose that men in a state of nature, without culture, without
science, without any of the arts, even the most simple and
necessary, are infinitely superior to the men formed under the
most advanced civilization.  Was Rousseau right in asserting
civilization as a fall, as a deterioration of the race?

But suppose the state of nature, even suppose that men, by some
miracle or other, can get out of it and found civil society, the
origin of government as authority in compact is not yet
established.  According to the theory, the rights of civil
society are derived from the rights of the individuals who form
or enter into the compact.  But individuals cannot give what they
have not, and no individual has in himself the right to govern
another.  By the law of nature all men have equal rights, are
equals, and equals have no authority one over another.  Nor has
an individual the sovereign right even to himself, or the right
to dispose of himself as he pleases.  Man is not God,
independent, self-existing and self-sufficing.  He is dependent,
and dependent not only on his Maker, but on his fellow-men, on
society, and even on nature, or the material world.  That on
which he depends in the measure in which be depends on it,
contributes to his existence, to his life, and to his well-being,
and has, by virtue of its contribution, a right in him and to
him; and hence it is that nothing is more painful to the proud
spirit than to receive a favor that lays him under an obligation
to another.  The right of that on which man depends, and by
communion with which he lives, limits his own right over himself.

Man does not depend exclusively on society, for it is not his
only medium of communion with God, and therefore its right to him
is neither absolute nor unlimited; but still be depends on it,
lives in it, and cannot live without it.  It has, then, certain
lights over him, and he cannot enter into any compact, league, or
alliance that society does not authorize, or at least permit.
These rights of society override his rights to himself, and he
can neither surrender them nor delegate them.  Other rights, as
the rights of religion and property, which are held directly from
God and nature, and which are independent of society, are
included in what are called the natural rights of man; and these
rights cannot be surrendered in forming civil society, for they
are rights of man only before civil society, and therefore not
his to cede, and because they are precisely the rights that
government is bound to respect and protect.  The compact, then,
cannot be formed as pretended, for the only rights individuals
could delegate or surrender to society to constitute the sum of
the rights of government are hers already, and those which are
not hers are those which cannot be delegated or surrendered, and
in the free and full enjoyment of which, it is the duty, the
chief end of government to protect each and every individual.

The convention not only is not a fact, but individuals have no
authority without society, to meet in convention, and enter into
the alleged compact, because they are not independent, sovereign
individuals.  But pass over this: suppose the convention, suppose
the compact, it must still be conceded that it binds and can bind
only those who voluntarily and deliberately enter into it.  This
is conceded by Mr. Jefferson and the American Congress of l776,
in the assertion that government derives its "just powers from
the consent of the governed."  This consent, as the matter is one
of life and death, must be free, deliberate, formal, explicit,
not simply an assumed, implied, or constructive consent.  It must
be given personally, and not by one for another without his
express authority.

It is usual to infer the consent or the acceptance of the terms
of the compact from the silence of the individual, and also from
his continued residence in the country and submission to its
government.  But residence is no evidence of consent, because it
may be a matter of necessity.  The individual may be unable to
emigrate, if he would; and by what right can individuals form an
agreement to which I must consent or else migrate to some strange

Can my consent, under such circumstances, even if given, be any
thing but a forced consent, a consent given under duress, and
therefore invalid?  Nothing can be inferred from one's silence,
for he may have many reasons for being silent besides approval of
the government.  He may be silent because speech would avail
nothing; because to protest might be dangerous--cost him his
liberty, if not his life; because he sees and knows nothing
better, and is ignorant that he has any choice in the case; or
because, as very likely is the fact with the majority, he has
never for moment thought of the matter, or ever had his attention
called to it, and has no mind on the subject.

But however this may be, there certainly must be excluded from
the compact or obligation to obey the government created by it
all the women of a nation, all the children too young to be
capable of giving their consent, and all who are too ignorant,
too weak of mind to be able to understand the terms of the
contract.  These several classes cannot be less than three-fourths
of the population of any country.  What is to be done with them?
Leave them without government?  Extend the power of the
government over them?  By what right?  Government derives its
just powers from the consent of the governed, and that consent
they have not given.  Whence does one-fourth of the population
get its right to govern the other three-fourths?

But what is to be done with the rights of minorities?  Is the
rule of unanimity to be insisted on in the convention and in the
government, when it goes into operation?  Unanimity is
impracticable, for where there are many men there will be
differences of opinion.  The rule of unanimity gives to each
individual a veto on the whole proceeding, which was the grand
defect of the Polish constitution.  Each member of the Polish
Diet, which included the whole body of the nobility, had an
absolute veto, and could, alone, arrest the whole action of the
government.  Will you substitute the rule of the majority, and
say the majority must govern?  By what right?  It is agreed to in
the convention.  Unanimously, or only by a majority?  The right
of the majority to have their will is, on the social compact
theory, a conventional right, and therefore cannot come into play
before the convention is completed, or the social compact is
framed and accepted.  How, in settling the terms of the compact,
will you proceed?  By majorities?  But suppose a minority
objects, and demands two-thirds, three-fourths, or four-fifths,
and votes against the majority rule, which is carried only by a
simple plurality of votes, will the proceedings of the convention
bind the dissenting minority?  What gives to the majority the
right to govern the minority who dissent from its action?

On the supposition that society has rights not derived from
individuals, and which are intrusted to the government, there is
a good reason why the majority should prevail within the
legitimate sphere of government, because the majority is the best
representative practicable of society itself; and if the
constitution secures to minorities and dissenting individuals
their natural rights and their equal rights as citizens, they
have no just cause of complaint, for the majority in such case
has no power to tyrannize over them or to oppress them.  But the
theory under examination denies that society has any rights
except such as it derives from individuals who all have equal
rights.  According to it, society is itself conventional, and
created by free, independent, equal, sovereign individuals.
Society is a congress of sovereigns, in which no one has
authority over another, and no one can be rightfully forced to
submit to any decree against his will.  In such a congress the
rule of the majority is manifestly improper, illegitimate, and
invalid, unless adopted by unanimous consent.

But this is not all.  The individual is always the equal of
himself, and if the government derives its powers from the
consent of the governed, he governs in the government, and parts
with none of his original sovereignty.  The government is not his
master, but his agent, as the principal only delegates, not
surrenders, his rights and powers to the agent.  He is free at
any time he pleases to recall the powers he has delegated, to
give new instructions, or to dismiss him.  The sovereignty of the
individual survives the compact, and persists through all the
acts of his agent, the government.  He must, then, be free to
withdraw from the compact whenever be judges it advisable.
Secession is perfectly legitimate if government is simply a
contract between equals.  The disaffected, the criminal, the
thief the government would send to prison, or the murderer it
would hang, would be very likely to revoke his consent, and to
secede from the state.  Any number of individuals large enough to
count a majority among themselves, indisposed to pay the
government taxes, or to perform the military service exacted,
might hold a convention, adopt a secession ordinance, and declare
themselves a free, independent, sovereign state, and bid defiance
to the tax-collector and the provost-marshall, and that, too,
without forfeiting their estates or changing their domicile.
Would the government employ military force to coerce them back to
their allegiance?  By what right?  Government is their agent,
their creature, and no man owes allegiance to his own agent, or

The compact could bind only temporarily, and could at any moment
be dissolved.  Mr. Jefferson saw this, and very consistently
maintained that one generation has no power to bind another; and,
as if this was not enough, he asserted the right of revolution,
and gave it as his opinion that in every nation a revolution once
in every generation is desirable, that is, according to his
reckoning, once every nineteen years.  The doctrine that one
generation has no power to bind its successor is not only a
logical conclusion from the theory that governments derive their
just powers from the consent of the governed, since a generation
cannot give its consent before it is born, but is very convenient
for a nation that has contracted a large national debt; yet,
perhaps, not so convenient to the public creditor, since the new
generation may take it into its head not to assume or discharge
the obligations of its predecessor, but to repudiate them.  No
man, certainly, can contract for any one but himself; and how
then can the son be bound, without his own personal or individual
consent, freely given, by the obligations entered into by his

The social compact is necessarily limited to the individuals who
form it, and as necessarily, unless renewed, expires with them.
It thus creates no state, no political corporation, which
survives in all its rights and powers, though individuals die.
The state is on this theory a voluntary association, and in
principle, except that it is not a secret society, in no respect
differs from the Carbonari, or the Knights of the Golden Circle.
When Orsini attempted to execute the sentence of death on the
Emperor of the French, in obedience to the order of the
Carbonari, of which the Emperor was a member, he was, if the
theory of the origin of government in compact be true, no more an
assassin than was the officer who executed on the gallows the
rebel spies and incendiaries Beal and Kennedy.

Certain it is that the alleged social compact has in it no social
or civil element.  It does not and cannot create society.  It can
give only an aggregation of individuals, and society is not an
aggregation nor even an organization of individuals.  It is an
organism, and individuals live in its life as well as it in
theirs.  There is a real living solidarity, which makes
individuals members of the social body, and members one of another.
There is no society without individuals, and there are no
individuals without society; but in society there is that which
is not individual, and is more than all individuals.  The social
compact is an attempt to substitute for this real living
solidarity, which gives to society at once unity of life and
diversity of members, an artificial solidarity, a fictitious
unity for a real unity, and membership by contract for real
living membership, a cork leg for that which nature herself gives.
Real government has its ground in this real living solidarity,
and represents the social element, which is not individual, but
above all individuals, as man is above men.  But the theory
substitutes a simple agency for government, and makes each
individual its principal.  It is an abuse of language to call
this agency a government.  It has no one feature or element of
government.  It has only an artificial unity, based on diversity;
its authority is only personal, individual, and in no sense a
public authority, representing a public will, a public right, or
a public interest.  In no country could government be adopted and
sustained if men were left to the wisdom or justness of their
theories, or in the general affairs of life, acted on them.
Society, and government as representing society, has a real
existence, life, faculties, and organs of its own, not derived or
derivable from individuals.  As well might it be maintained that
the human body consists in and derives all its life from the
particles of matter it assimilates from its food, and which are
constantly escaping as to maintain that society derives its life,
or government its powers, from individuals.  No mechanical
aggregation of brute matter can make a living body, if there is
no living and assimilating principle within; and no aggregation
of individuals, however closely bound together by pacts or oaths,
can make society where there is no informing social principle
that aggregates and assimilates them to a living body, or produce
that mystic existence called a state or commonwealth.

The origin of government in the Contrat Social supposes the
nation to be a purely personal affair.  It gives the government
no territorial status, and clothes it with no territorial rights
or jurisdiction.  The government that could so originate would be,
if any thing, a barbaric, not a republican government.  It has
only the rights conferred on it, surrendered or delegated to it
by individuals, and therefore, at best, only individual rights.
Individuals can confer only such rights as they have in the
supposed state of nature.  In that state there is
neither private nor public domain.  The earth in
that state is not property, and is open to the first occupant,
and the occupant can lay no claim to any more than he actually
occupies.  Whence, then, does government derive its territorial
jurisdiction, and its right of eminent domain claimed by all
national governments?  Whence its title to vacant or unoccupied
lands?  How does any particular government fix its territorial
boundaries, and obtain the right to prescribe who may occupy, and
on what conditions the vacant lands within those boundaries?
Whence does it get its jurisdiction of navigable rivers, lakes,
bays, and the seaboard within its territorial limits, as
appertaining to its domain?  Here are rights that it could not
have derived from individuals, for individuals never possessed
them in the so-called state of nature.  The concocters of the
theory evidently overlooked these rights, or considered them of
no importance.  They seem never to have contemplated the
existence of territorial states, or the division of mankind into
nations fixed to the soil.  They seem not to have supposed the
earth could be appropriated; and, indeed, many of their followers
pretend that it cannot be, and that the public lands of a nation
are open lands, and whoso chooses may occupy them, without leave
asked of the national authority or granted.  The American people
retain more than one reminiscence of the nomadic and predatory
habits of their Teutonic or Scythian ancestors before they
settled on the banks of the Don or the Danube, on the Northern
Ocean, in Scania, or came in contact with the Graeco-Roman

Yet mankind are divided into nations, and all civilized nations
are fixed to the soil.  The territory is defined, and is the
domain of the state, from which all private proprietors hold
their title-deeds.  Individual proprietors hold under the state,
and often hold more, than they occupy; but it retains in all
private estates the eminent domain, and prohibits the alienation
of land to one who is not a citizen.  It defends its domain, its
public unoccupied lauds, and the lands owned by private
individuals, against all foreign powers.  Now whence, if
government has only the rights ceded it by individuals, does it
get this domain, and hold the right to treat settlers on even
its unoccupied lands as trespassers?  In the state of nature the
territorial rights of individuals, if any they have, are
restricted to the portion of land they occupy with their rude
culture, and with their flocks and herds, and in civilized
nations to what they hold from the state, and, therefore, the
right as held and defended by all nations, and without which the
nation has no status, no fixed dwelling, and is and can be no
state, could never have been derived from individuals.  The
earliest notices of Rome show the city in possession of the
sacred territory, to which the state and all political power are
attached.  Whence did Rome become a landholder, and the
governing people a territorial people?  Whence does any nation
become a territorial nation and lord of the domain?  Certainly
never by the cession of individuals, and hence no civilized
government ever did or could originate in the so-called social



III. The tendency of the last century was to individualism; that
of the present is to socialism.  The theory of Hobbes, Locke,
Rousseau, and Jefferson, though not formally abandoned, and still
held by many, has latterly been much modified, if not wholly
transformed.  Sovereignty, it is now maintained, is inherent in
the people; not individually, indeed, but collectively, or the
people as society.  The constitution is held not to be simply a
compact or agreement entered into by the people as individuals
creating civil society and government, but a law ordained by the
sovereign people, prescribing the constitution of the state and
defining its rights and powers.

This transformation, which is rather going on than completed, is,
under one aspect at least, a progress, or rather a return to the
sounder principles of antiquity.  Under it government ceases to
be a mere agency, which must obtain the assassin's consent to be
hung before it can rightfully hang him, and becomes authority,
which is one and imperative.  The people taken collectively are
society, and society is a living organism, not a mere aggregation
of individuals.  It does not, of course, exist without
individuals, but it is something more than individuals, and has
rights not derived from them, and which are paramount to theirs.
There is more truth, and truth of a higher order, in this than in
the theory of the social compact.  Individuals, to a certain
extent, derive their life from God through society, and so far
they depend on her, and they are hers; she owns them, and has the
right to do as she will with them.  On this theory the state
emanates from society, and is supreme.  It coincides with the
ancient Greek and Roman theory, as expressed by Cicero, already
cited.  Man is born in society and remains there, and it may be
regarded as the source of ancient Greek and Roman patriotism,
which still commands the admiration of the civilized world.  The
state with Greece and Rome was a living reality, and loyalty a
religion.  The Romans held Rome to be a divinity, gave her
statues and altars, and offered her divine worship.  This was
superstition, no doubt, but it had in it an element of truth.  To
every true philosopher there is something divine in the state,
and truth in all theories.  Society stands nearer to God, and
participates more immediately of the Divine essence, and the
state is a more lively image of God than the individual.  It was
man, the generic and reproductive man, not the isolated
individual, that was created in the image and likeness of his
Maker.  "And God created man in his own image; in the image of
God created he him; male and female created he them."

This theory is usually called the democratic theory, and it
enlists in its support the instincts, the intelligence, the
living forces, and active tendencies of the age.  Kings, kaisers,
and hierarchies are powerless before it, and war against it in
vain.  The most they can do is to restrain its excesses, or to
guard against its abuses.  Its advocates, in returning to it,
sometimes revive in its name the old pagan superstition.  Not a
few of the European democrats recognize in the earth, in heaven,
or in hell, no power superior to the people, and say not only
people-king but people-God.  They say absolutely, without any
qualification, the voice of the people is the voice of God, and
make their will the supreme law, not only in politics, but in
religion, philosophy, morals, science, and the arts.  The people
not only found the state, but also the church.  They inspire or
reveal the truth, ordain or prohibit worships, judge of
doctrines, and decide cases of conscience.  Mazzini said , when
at the bead of the Roman Republic in 1848, the question of
religion must be remitted to the judgment of the people.  Yet
this theory is the dominant theory of the age, and is in all
civilized nations advancing with apparently irresistible force.

But this theory has its difficulties.  Who are the collective
people that have the rights of society, or, who are the sovereign
people?  The word people is vague, and in itself determines
nothing.  It may include a larger or a smaller number; it may
mean the political people, or it may mean simply population; it
may mean peasants, artisans, shopkeepers, traders, merchants, as
distinguished from the nobility; hired laborers or workmen as
distinguished from their employer, or slaves as distinguished
from their master or owner.  In which of these senses is the word
to be taken when it is said, "The people are sovereign?"  The
people are the population or inhabitants of one and the same
country.  That is something.  But who or what determines the
country?  Is the country the whole territory of the globe?  That
will not be said, especially since the dispersion of mankind and
their division into separate nations.  Is the territory
indefinite or undefined?  Then indefinite or undefined are its
inhabitants, or the people invested with the rights of society.
Is it defined and its boundaries fixed?  Who has done it?  The
people.  But who are the people?  We are as wise as we were at
starting.  The logicians say that the definition of idem per
idem, or the same by the same, is simply no definition at all.

The people are the nation, undoubtedly, if you mean by the people
the sovereign people.  But who are the people constituting the
nation?  The sovereign people?  This is only to revolve in a
vicious circle.  The nation is the tribe or the people living
under the same regimen, and born of the same ancestor, or sprung
from the same ancestor or progenitor.  But where find a nation in
this the primitive sense of the word?  Migration, conquest, and
intermarriage, have so broken up and intermingled the primitive
races, that it is more than doubtful if a single nation, tribe,
or family of unmixed blood now exists on the face of the earth.
A Frenchman, Italian, Spaniard, German, or Englishman, may have
the blood of a hundred different races coursing in his veins.
The nation is the people inhabiting the same country, and united
under one and the same government, it is further answered.  The
nation, then, is not purely personal, but also territorial.
Then, again, the question comes up, who or what determines the
territory?  The government?  But not before it is constituted,
and it cannot be constituted till its territorial limits are
determined.  The tribe doubtless occupies territory, but is not
fixed to it, and derives no jurisdiction from it, and therefore
is not territorial.  But a nation, in the modern or civilized
sense, is fixed to the territory, and derives from it its
jurisdiction, or sovereignty; and, therefore, till the territory
is determined, the nation is not and cannot be determined.

The question is not an idle question.  It is one of great
practical importance; for, till it is settled, we can neither
determine who are the sovereign people, nor who are united under
one and the same government.  Laws have no extra-territorial
force, and the officer who should attempt to enforce the national
laws beyond the national territory would be a trespasser.  If the
limits are undetermined, the government is not territorial, and
can claim as within its jurisdiction only those who choose to
acknowledge its authority.  The importance of the question has
been recently brought home to the American people by the
secession of eleven or more States from the Union.  Were these
States a part of the American nation, or were they not?  Was the
war which followed secession, and which cost so many lives and so
much treasure, a civil war or a foreign war?  Were the
secessionists traitors and rebels to their sovereign, or were
they patriots fighting for the liberty and independence of their
country and the right of self-government?  All on both sides
agreed that the nation is sovereign; the dispute was as to the
existence of the nation itself, and the extent of its
jurisdiction.  Doubtless, when a nation has a generally
recognized existence as an historical fact, most of the
difficulties in determining who are the sovereign people can be
got over; but the question here concerns the institution of
government, and determining who constitute society and have the
right to meet in person, or by their delegates in convention,
to institute it.  This question, so important, and at times so
difficult, the theory of the origin of government in the people
collectively, or the nation, does not solve, or furnish any means
of solving.

But suppose this difficulty surmounted there is still another,
and a very grave one, to overcome.  The theory assumes that the
people collectively, "in their own native right and might," are
sovereign.  According to it the people are ultimate, and free to
do whatever they please.  This sacrifices individual freedom.
The origin of government in a compact entered into by
individuals, each with all and all with each, sacrificed the
rights of society, and assumed each individual to be in himself
an independent sovereignty.  If logically carried out, there
could be no such crime as treason, there could be no state, and
no public authority.  This new theory transfers to society the
sovereignty which that asserted for the individual, and asserts
social despotism, or the absolutism of the state.  It asserts
with sufficient energy public authority, or the right of the
people to govern; but it leaves no space for individual rights,
which society must recognize, respect, and protect.  This was the
grand defect of the ancient Graeco-Roman civilization.  The
historian explores in vain the records of the old Greek and Roman
republics for any recognition of the rights of individuals not
held as privileges or concessions from the state.  Society
recognized no limit to her authority, and the state claimed over
individuals all the authority of the patriarch over his
household, the chief over his tribe, or the absolute monarch over
his subjects.  The direct and indirect influence of the body of
freemen admitted to a voice in public affairs, in determining the
resolutions and action of the state, no doubt tempered in
practice to some extent the authority of the state, and prevented
acts of gross oppression; but in theory the state was absolute,
and the people individually were placed at the mercy of the
people collectively, or, rather, the majority of the collective

Under ancient republicanism, there were rights of the state and
rights of the citizen, but no rights of man, held independently
of society, and not derived from God through the state.  The
recognition of these rights by modern society is due to
Christianity: some say to the barbarians, who overthrew the Roman
empire; but this last opinion is not well founded.  The barbarian
chiefs and nobles had no doubt a lively sense of personal freedom
and independence, but for themselves only.  They had no
conception of personal freedom as a general or universal right,
and men never obtain universal principles by generalizing
particulars.  They may give a general truth a particular
application, but not a particular truth--understood to be a
particular truth--a general or universal application.  They are
too good logicians for that.  The barbarian individual freedom
and personal independence was never generalized into the doctrine
of the rights of man, any more than the freedom of the master has
been generalized into the right of his slaves to be free.  The
doctrine of individual freedom before the state is due to the
Christian religion, which asserts the dignity and worth of every
human soul, the accountability to God of each man for himself,
and lays it down as law for every one that God is to be obeyed
rather than men.  The church practically denied the absolutism of
the state, and asserted for every man rights not held from the
state, in converting the empire to Christianity, in defiance of
the state authority, and the imperial edicts punishing with death
the profession of the Christian faith.  In this she practically,
as well as theoretically, overthrew state absolutism, and infused
into modern society the doctrine that every individual, even the
lowest and meanest, has rights which the state neither confers
nor can abrogate; and it will only be by extinguishing in modern
society the Christian faith, and obliterating all traces of
Christian civilization, that state absolutism can be revived with
more than a partial and temporary success.

The doctrine of individual liberty may be abused, and so
explained as to deny the rights of society, and to become pure
individualism; but no political system that runs to the opposite
extreme, and absorbs the individual in the state, stands the
least chance of any general or permanent success till
Christianity is extinguished.  Yet the assertion of principles
which logically imply state absolutism is not entirely harmless,
even in Christian countries.  Error is never harmless, and only
truth can give a solid foundation on which to build.
Individualism and socialism are each opposed to the other, and
each has only a partial truth.  The state founded on either
cannot stand, and society will only alternate between the two
extremes.  To-day it is torn by a revolution in favor of
socialism; to-morrow it will be torn by another in favor of
individualism, and without effecting any real progress by either
revolution.  Real progress can be secured only by recognizing and
building on the truth, not as it exists in our opinions or in our
theories, but as it exists in the world of reality, and
independent of our opinions.

Now, social despotism or state absolutism is not based on truth
or reality.  Society has certain rights over individuals, for she
is a medium of their communion with God, or through which they
derive life from God, the primal source of all life; but she is
not the only medium of man's life.  Man, as was said in the
beginning, lives by communion with God, and he communes with God
in the creative act and the Incarnation, through his kind, and,
through nature.  This threefold communion gives rise to three
institutions--religion or the church, society or the state, and
property.  The life that man derives from God through religion
and property, is not derived from him through society, and
consequently so much of his life be holds independently of
society; and this constitutes his rights as a man as
distinguished from his rights as a citizen.  In relation to
society, as not held from God through her, these are termed his
natural rights, which, she must hold inviolable, and government
protect for every one, whatever his complexion or his social
position.  These rights--the rights of conscience and the rights
of property, with all their necessary implications--are
limitations of the rights of society, and the individual has the
right to plead them against the state.  Society does not confer
them, and it cannot take them away, for they are at least as
sacred and as fundamental as her own.

But even this limitation of popular sovereignty is not all.  The
people can be sovereign only in the sense in which they exist and
act.  The people are not God, whatever some theorists may
pretend--are not independent, self-existent, and self-sufficing.
They are as dependent collectively as individually, and therefore
can exist and act only as second cause, never as first cause.
They can, then, even in the limited sphere of their sovereignty,
be sovereign only in a secondary sense, never absolute sovereign
in their own independent right.  They are sovereign only to the
extent to which they impart life to the individual members of
society, and only in the sense in which she imparts it, or is its
cause.  She is not its first cause or creator, and is the medial
cause or medium through which they derive it from God, not its
efficient cause or primary source.  Society derives her own life
from God, and exists and acts only as dependent on him.  Then she
is sovereign over individuals only as dependent on God.  Her
dominion is then not original and absolute, but secondary and

This third theory does not err in assuming that the people
collectively are more than the people individually, or in denying
society to be a mere aggregation of individuals with no life, and
no rights but what it derives from them; nor even in asserting
that the people in the sense of society are sovereign, but in
asserting that they are sovereign in their own native or
underived right and might.  Society has not in herself the
absolute right to govern, because she has not the absolute
dominion either of herself or her members.  God gave to man
dominion over the irrational creation, for he made irrational
creatures for man; but he never gave him either individually or
collectively the dominion over the rational creation.  The theory
that the people are absolutely sovereign in their own independent
right and might, as some zealous democrats explain it, asserts
the fundamental principle of despotism, and all despotism is
false, for it identifies the creature with the Creator.  No
creature is creator, or has the rights of creator, and
consequently no one in his own right is or can be sovereign.
This third theory, therefore, is untenable.

IV. A still more recent class of philosophers, if philosophers
they may be called, reject the origin of government in the people
individually or collectively.  Satisfied that it has never been
instituted by a voluntary and deliberate act of the people, and
confounding government as a fact with government as authority,
maintain that government is a spontaneous development of nature.
Nature develops it as the liver secretes bile, as the bee
constructs her cell, or the beaver builds his dam.  Nature,
working by her own laws and inherent energy, develops society,
and society develops government.  That is all the secret.
Questions as to the origin of government or its rights, beyond
the simple positive fact, belong to the theological or
metaphysical stage of the development of nature, but are left
behind when the race has passed beyond that stage, and has
reached the epoch of positive science, in which all, except the
positive fact, is held to be unreal and non-existent.
Government, like every thing else in the universe, is simply a
positive development of nature.  Science explains the laws and
conditions of the development, but disdains to ask for its origin
or ground in any order that transcends the changes of the world
of space and time.

These philosophers profess to eschew all theory, and yet they
only oppose theory to theory.  The assertion that reality for the
human mind is restricted to the positive facts of the sensible
order, is purely theoretic, and is any thing but a positive fact.
Principles are as really objects of science as facts, and it is
only in the light of principles that facts themselves are
intelligible.  If the human mind had no science of reality that
transcends the sensible order, or the positive fact, it could
have no science at all.  As things exist only in their principles
or causes, so can they be known only in their principles and
causes; for things can be known only as they are, or as they
really exist.  The science that pretends to deduce principles
from particular facts, or to rise from the fact by way of
reasoning to an order that transcends facts, and in which facts
have their origin, is undoubtedly chimerical, and as against that
the positivists are unquestionably right.  But to maintain that
man has no intelligence of any thing beyond the fact, no
intuition or intellectual apprehension of its principle or cause,
is equally chimerical.  The human mind cannot have all science,
but it has real science as far as it goes, and real science is
the knowledge of things as they are, not as they are not.
Sensible facts are not intelligible by themselves, because they
do not exist by themselves; and if the human mind could not
penetrate beyond the individual fact, beyond the mimetic to the
methexic, or transcendental principle, copied or imitated by the
individual fact, it could never know the fact itself.  The error
of modern philosophers, or philosopherlings, is in supposing the
principle is deduced or inferred from the fact, and in denying
that the human mind has direct and immediate intuition of it.

Something that transcends the sensible order there must be, or
there could be no development; and if we had no science of it, we
could never assert that development is development, or
scientifically explain the laws and conditions of development.
Development is explication, and supposes a germ which precedes
it, and is not itself a development; and development, however far
it may be carried, can never do more than realize the
possibilities of the germ.  Development is not creation, and
cannot supply its own germ.  That at least must be given by the
Creator, for from nothing nothing can be developed.  If authority
has not its germ in nature, it cannot be developed from nature
spontaneously or otherwise.  All government has a governing will;
and without a will that commands, there is no government; and
nature has in her spontaneous developments no will, for she has
no personality.  Reason itself, as distinguished from will, only
presents the end and the means, but does not govern; it
prescribes a rule, but cannot ordain a law.  An imperative will,
the will of a superior who has the right to command what reason
dictates or approves, is essential to government; and that will
is not developed from nature, because it has no germ in nature.
So something above and beyond nature must be asserted, or
government itself cannot be asserted, even as a development.
Nature is no more self-sufficing than are the people, or than is
the individual man.

No doubt there is a natural law, which is law in the proper sense
of the word law; but this is a positive law under which nature is
placed by a sovereign above herself, and is never to be
confounded with those laws of nature so-called, according to
which she is productive as second cause, or produces her effects,
which are not properly laws at all.  Fire burns, water flows,
rain falls, birds fly, fishes swim, food nourishes, poisons kill,
one substance has a chemical affinity for another, the needle
points to the pole, by a natural law, it is said; that is, the
effects are produced by an inherent and uniform natural force.
Laws in this sense are simply physical forces, and are nature
herself.  The natural law, in an ethical sense, is not a physical
law, is not a natural force, but a law impose by the Creator on
all moral creatures, that is, all creatures endowed with reason
and free-will, and is called natural because promulgated in
natural reason, or the reason common and essential to all moral
creatures.  This is the moral law.  It is what the French call le
droit naturell, natural right, and, as the theologians teach us,
is the transcript of the eternal law, the eternal will or reason
of God.  It is the foundation of all law, and all acts of a state
that contravene it are, as St. Augustine maintains, violences
rather than laws.  The moral law is no development of nature, for
it is above nature, and is imposed on nature.  The only
development there is about it is in our understanding of it.

There is, of course, development in nature, for nature considered
as creation has been created in germ, and is completed only in
successive developments.  Hence the origin of space and time.
There would have been no space if there had been no external
creation, and no time if the creation had been completed
externally at once, as it was in relation to the Creator.  Ideal
space is simply the ability of God to externize his creative act,
and actual space is the relation of coexistence in the things
created; ideal time is the ability of God to create existences
with the capacity of being completed by successive developments,
and actual time is the relation of these in the order of
succession, and when the existence is completed or consummated
development ceases, and time is no more.  In relation to himself
the Creator's works are complete from the first, and hence with
him there is no time, for there is no succession.  But in
relation to itself creation is incomplete, and there is room for
development, which may be continued till the whole possibility of
creation is actualized.  Here is the foundation of what is true
in the modern doctrine of progress.  Man is progressive, because
the possibilities of his nature are successively unfolded and

Development is a fact, and its laws and conditions may be
scientifically ascertained and defined.  All generation is
development, as is all growth, physical, moral, or intellectual.
But everything is developed in its own order, and after its kind.
The Darwinian theory of the development of species is not
sustained by science. The development starts from the germ, and
in the germ is given the law or principle of the development.
>From the acorn is developed the oak, never the pine or the
linden.  Every kind generates its kind, never another.  But no
development is, strictly speaking, spontaneous, or the result
alone of the inherent energy or force of the germ developed.
There is not only a solidarity of race, but in some sense of all
races, or species; all created things are bound to their Creator,
and to one another.  One and the same law or principle of life
pervades all creation, binding the universe together in a unity
that copies or imitates the unity of the Creator.  No creature is
isolated from the rest, or absolutely independent of others.  All
are parts of one stupendous whole, and each depends on the whole,
and the whole on each, and each on each.  All creatures are
members of one body, and members one of another.  The germ of the
oak is in the acorn, but the acorn left to itself alone can never
grow into the oak, any more than a body at rest can place itself
in motion.  Lay the acorn away in your closet, where it is
absolutely deprived of air, heat, and moisture, and in vain will
you watch for its germination.  Germinate it cannot without some
external influence, or communion, so to speak, with the elements
from which it derives its sustenance and support.

There can be no absolutely spontaneous development.  All things
are doubtless active, for nothing exists except in so far as it
is an active force of some sort; but only God himself alone
suffices for his own activity.  All created things are dependent,
have not their being in themselves, and are real only as they
participate, through the creative act, of the Divine being.  The
germ can no more be developed than it could exist without God,
and no more develop itself than it could create itself.  What is
called the law of development is in the germ; but that law or
force can operate only in conjunction with another force or other
forces.  All development, as all growth, is by accretion or
assimilation.  The assimilating force is, if you will, in the
germ, but the matter assimilated comes and must come from abroad.
Every herdsman knows it, and knows that to rear his stock he must
supply them with appropriate food; every husbandman knows it, and
knows that to raise a crop of corn, be must plant the seed in a
soil duly prepared, and which will supply the gases needed for
its germination, growth, flowering, boiling, and ripening.  In
all created things, in all things not complete in themselves, in
all save God, in whom there is no development possible, for He
is, as say the schoolmen, most pure act, in whom there is no
unactualized possibility, the same law holds good.  Development
is always the resultant of two factors, the one the thing itself,
the other some external force co-operating with it, exciting
it, and aiding it to act.

Hence the praemotio physica of the Thomists, and the praevenient
and adjuvant grace of the theologians, without which no one can
begin the Christian life, and which must needs be supernatural
when the end is supernatural.  The principle of life in all
orders is the same, and human activity no more suffices for
itself in one order than in another.

Here is the reason why the savage tribe never rises to a
civilized state without communion in some form with a people
already civilized, and why there is no moral or intellectual
development and progress without education and instruction,
consequently without instructors and educators.  Hence the value
of tradition; and hence, as the first man could not instruct
himself, Christian theologians, with a deeper philosophy than is
dreamed of by the sciolists of the age, maintain that God himself
was man's first teacher, or that he created Adam a full-grown
man, with all his faculties developed, complete, and in full
activity.  Hence, too, the heathen mythologies, which always
contain some elements of truth, however they may distort,
mutilate, or travesty them, make the gods the first teachers of
the human race, and ascribe to their instruction even the most
simple and ordinary arts of every-day life. The gods teach men to
plough, to plant, to reap, to work in iron, to erect a shelter
from the storm, and to build a fire to warm them and to cook
their food.  The common sense, as well as the common traditions
of mankind, refuses to accept the doctrine that men are developed
without foreign aid, or progressive without divine assistance.
Nature of herself can no more develop government than it can
language.  There can be no language without society, and no
society without language.  There can be no government without
society, and no society without government of some sort.

But even if nature could spontaneously develop herself, she could
never develop an institution that has the right to govern, for
she has not herself that right.  Nature is not God, has not
created us, therefore has not the right of property in us.  She
is not and cannot be our sovereign.  We belong not to her, nor
does she belong to herself, for she is herself creature, and
belongs to her Creator.  Not being in herself sovereign, she
cannot develop the right to govern, nor can she develop
government as a fact, to say nothing of its right, for
government, whether we speak of it as fact or as authority, is
distinct from that which is governed; but natural developments
are nature, and indistinguishable from her.  The governor and the
governed, the restrainer and the restrained, can never as such be
identical.  Self-government, taken strictly, is a contradiction
in terms.  When an individual is said to govern himself, he is
never understood to govern himself in the sense in which be is
governed.  He by his reason and will governs or restrains his
appetites and passions.  It is man as spirit governing man as
flesh, the spiritual mind governing the carnal mind.

Natural developments cannot in all cases be even allowed to take
their own course without injury to nature herself.  "Follow
nature" is an unsafe maxim, if it means, leave nature to develop
herself as she will, and follow thy natural inclinations.  Nature
is good, but inclinations are frequently bad.  All our appetites
and passions are given us for good, for a purpose useful and
necessary to individual and social life, but they become morbid
and injurious if indulged without restraint.  Each has its
special object, and naturally seeks it exclusively, and thus
generates discord and war in the individual, which immediately
find expression in society, and also in the state, if the state
be a simple natural development.  The Christian maxim, Deny
thyself, is far better than the Epicurean maxim, Enjoy thyself,
for there is no real enjoyment without self-denial.  There is
deep philosophy in Christian asceticism, as the Positivists
themselves are aware, and even insist.  But Christian asceticism
aims not to destroy nature, as voluptuaries pretend, but to
regulate, direct, and restrain its abnormal developments for its
own good.  It forces nature in her developments to submit to a
law which is not in her, but above her.  The Positivists pretend
that this asceticism is itself a natural development, but that
cannot be a natural development which directs, controls, and
restrains natural development.

The Positivists confound nature at one time with the law of
nature, and at another the law of nature with nature herself, and
take what is called the natural law to be a natural development.
Here is their mistake, as it is the mistake of all who accept
naturalistic theories.  Society, no doubt, is authorized by the
law of nature to institute and maintain government.  But the law
of nature is not a natural development, nor is it in nature, or
any part of nature.  It is not a natural force which operates in
nature, and which is the developing principle of nature.  Do they
say reason is natural, and the law of nature is only reason?
This is not precisely the fact.  The natural law is law proper,
and is reason only in the sense that reason includes both
intellect and will, and nobody can pretend that nature in her
spontaneous developments acts from intelligence and volition.
Reason, as the faculty of knowing, is subjective and natural; but
in the sense in which it is coincident with the natural law, it
is neither subjective nor natural, but objective and divine, and
is God affirming himself and promulgating his law to his
creature, man.  It is, at least, an immediate participation of
the divine by which He reveals himself and His will to the human
understanding, and is not natural, but supernatural, in the sense
that God himself is supernatural.  This is wherefore reason is
law, and every man is bound to submit or conform to reason.

That legitimate governments are instituted under the natural law
is frankly conceded, but this is by no means the concession of
government as a natural development.  The reason and will of
which the natural law is the expression are the reason and will
of God.  The natural law is the divine law as much as the
revealed law itself, and equally obligatory.  It is not a natural
force developing itself in nature, like the law of generation,
for instance, and therefore proceeding from God as first cause,
but it proceeds from God as final cause, and is, therefore,
theological, and strictly a moral law, founding moral rights and
duties.  Of course, all morality and all legitimate government
rest on this law, or, if you will, originate in it.  But not
therefore in nature, but in the Author of nature.  The authority
is not the authority of nature, but of Him who holds nature in
the hollow of His hand.

V. In the seventeenth century a class of political writers who
very well understood that no creature, no man, no number of men,
not even, nature herself, can be inherently sovereign, defended
the opinion that governments are founded, constituted, and
clothed with their authority by the direct and express
appointment of God himself.  They denied that rulers hold their
power from the nation; that, however oppressive may be their
rule, that they are justiciable by any human tribunal, or that
power, except by the direct judgment of God, is amissible.  Their
doctrine is known in history as the doctrine of "the divine right
of kings, and passive obedience."  All power, says St. Paul, is
from God, and the powers that be are ordained of God, and to
resist them is to resist the ordination of God.  They must be
obeyed for conscience' sake.

It would, perhaps, be rash to say that this doctrine had never
been broached before the seventeenth century, but it received in
that century, and chiefly in England, its fullest and most
systematic developments.  It was patronized by the Anglican
divines, asserted by James I. of England, and lost the Stuarts
the crown of three kingdoms.  It crossed the Channel, into
France, where it found a few hesitating and stammering defenders
among Catholics, under Louis XIV., but it has never been very
generally held, though it has had able and zealous supporters.
In England it was opposed by all the Presbyterians, Puritans,
Independents, and Republicans, and was forgotten or abandoned by
the Anglican divines themselves in the Revolution of 1688, that
expelled James II. and crowned William and Mary.  It was ably
refuted by the Jesuit Suarez in his reply to a Remonstrance for
the Divine Right of Kings by the James I.; and a Spanish monk who
had asserted it in Madrid, under Philip II., was compelled by the
Inquisition to retract it publicly in the place where he had
asserted it.  All republicans reject it, and the Church has never
sanctioned it.  The Sovereign Pontiffs have claimed and exercised
the right to deprive princes of their principality, and to
absolve their subjects from the oath of fidelity.  Whether the
Popes rightly claimed and exercised that power is not now the
question; but their having claimed and exercised it proves that
the Church does not admit the inamissibility of power and passive
obedience; for the action of the Pope was judicial, not
legislative.  The Pope has never claimed the right to depose a
prince till by his own act he has, under the moral law or the
constitution of his state, forfeited his power, nor to absolve
subjects from their allegiance till their oath, according to its
true intent and meaning, has ceased to bind.  If the Church has
always asserted with the Apostle there is no power but from
God--non est potestas nisi a Deo--she has always through her
doctors maintained that it is a trust to be exercised for the
public good, and is forfeited when persistently exercised in a
contrary sense.  St. Augustine, St. Thomas, and Suarez all
maintain that unjust laws are violences rather than laws, and do
not oblige, except in charity or prudence, and that the republic
may change its magistrates, and even its constitution, if it sees
proper to do so.

That God, as universal Creator, is Sovereign Lord and proprietor
of all created things or existences, visible or invisible, is
certain; for the maker has the absolute right to the thing made;
it is his, and he may do with it as he will.  As he is sole
creator, he alone hath dominion; and as he is absolute creator,
he has absolute dominion over all the things which he has made.
The guaranty against oppression is his own essential nature, is
in the plenitude of his own being, which is the plenitude of
wisdom and goodness.  He cannot contradict himself, be other than
he is, or act otherwise than according to his own essential
nature.  As he is, in his own eternal and immutable essence,
supreme reason and supreme good, his dominion must always in its
exercise be supremely good and supremely reasonable, therefore
supremely just and equitable.  From him certainly is all power;
he is unquestionably King of kings, and Lord of lords.  By him
kings reign and magistrates decree just things.  He may, at his
will, set up or pull down kings, rear or overwhelm empires,
foster the infant colony, and make desolate the populous city.
All this is unquestionably true, and a simple dictate of reason
common to all men.  But in what sense is it true?  Is it true in
a supernatural sense?  Or is it true only in the sense that it is
true that by him we breathe, perform any or all of our natural
functions, and in him live, and move, and have our being?

Viewed in their first cause, all things are the immediate
creation of God, and are supernatural, and from the point of view
of the first cause the Scriptures usually speak, for the great
purpose and paramount object of the sacred writers, as of
religion itself, is to make prominent the fact that God is
universal creator, and supreme governor, and therefore the first
and final cause of all things.  But God creates second causes, or
substantial existences, capable themselves of acting and
producing effects in a secondary sense, and hence he is said to
be causa causarum, cause of causes.  What is done by these second
causes or creatures is done eminently by him, for they exist only
by his creative act, and produce only by virtue of his active
presence, or effective concurrence.  What he does through them or
through their agency is done by him, not immediately, but
mediately, and is said to be done naturally, as what he does
immediately is said to be done supernaturally.  Natural is what
God does through second causes, which he creates; supernatural is
that which he does by himself alone, without their intervention
or agency.  Sovereignty, or the right to govern, is in him, and
he may at his will delegate it to men either mediately or
immediately, by a direct and express appointment, or mediately
through nature.  In the absence of all facts proving its
delegation direct and express, it must be assumed to be mediate,
through second causes.  The natural is always to be presumed, and
the supernatural is to be admitted only on conclusive proof.

The people of Israel had a supernatural vocation, and they
received their law, embracing their religious and civil
constitution and their ritual directly from God at the hand of
Moses, and various individuals from time to time appear to have
been specially called to be their judges, rulers, or kings.  Saul
was so called, and so was David. David and his line appear, also,
to have been called not only to supplant Saul and his line, but
to have been supernaturally invested with the kingdom forever;
but it does not appear that the royal power with which David and
his line were invested was inamissible.  They lost it in the
Babylonish captivity, and never afterwards recovered it.  The
Asmonean princes were of another line, and when our Lord came the
sceptre was in the hands of Herod, an Idumean Or Edomite.  The
promise made, to David and his house is generally held by
Christian commentators to have received its fulfilment in the
everlasting spiritual royalty of the Messiah, sprung through Mary
from David's line.

The Christian Church is supernaturally constituted and
supernaturally governed, but the persons selected to exercise
powers supernaturally defined, from the Sovereign Pontiff down to
the humblest parish priest are selected and inducted into office
through human agency.  The Gentiles very generally claimed to
have received their laws from the gods, but it does not appear,
save in exceptional cases, that they claimed that their princes
were designated and held their powers by the direct and express
appointment of the god.  Save in the case of the Jews, and that
of the Church, there is no evidence that any particular
government exists or ever has existed by direct or express
appointment, or otherwise than by the action of the Creator
through second causes, or what is called his ordinary providence.
Except David and his line, there is no evidence of the express
grant by the Divine Sovereign to any individual or family, class
or caste of the government of any nation or country.  Even those
Christian princes who professed to reign "by the grace of God,"
never claimed that they received their principalities from God
otherwise than through his ordinary providence, and meant by it
little more than an acknowledgment of their dependence on him,
their obligation to use their power according to his law and
their accountability to him for the use they make of it.

The doctrine is not favorable to human liberty, for it recognizes
no rights of man in face of civil society.  It consecrates
tyranny, and makes God the accomplice of the tyrant, if we
suppose all governments have actually existed by his express
appointment.  It puts the king in the place of God, and requires
us to worship in him the immediate representative of the Divine
Being.  Power is irresponsible and inamissible, and however it
may be abused, or however corrupt and oppressive may be its
exercise, there is no human redress.  Resistance to power is
resistance to God.  There is nothing for the people but passive
obedience and unreserved submission.  The doctrine, in fact,
denies all human government, and allows the people no voice in
the management of their own affairs, and gives no place for human
activity.  It stands opposed to all republicanism, and makes
power an hereditary and indefeasible right, not a trust which he
who holds it may forfeit, and of which he may be deprived if he
abuses it.



VI. The theory which derives the right of government from the
direct and express appointment of God is sometimes modified so as
to mean that civil authority is derived from God through the
spiritual authority.  The patriarch combined in his person both
authorities, and was in his own household both priest and king,
and so originally was in his own tribe the chief, and in his
kingdom the king.  When the two offices became separated is not
known.  In the time of Abraham they were still united.
Melchisedech, king of Salem, was both priest and king, and the
earliest historical records of kings present them as offering
sacrifices.  Even the Roman emperor was Pontifex Maximus as well
as Imperator, but that was so not because the two offices were
held to be inseparable, but because they were both conferred on
the same person by the republic.  In Egypt, in the time of Moses,
the royal authority and the priestly were separated and held by
different persons.  Moses, in his legislation for his nation,
separated them, and instituted a sacerdotal order or caste.  The
heads of tribes and the heads of families are, under his law,
princes, but not priests, and the priesthood is conferred on and
restricted to his own tribe of Levi, and more especially the
family of his own brother Aaron.

The priestly office by its own nature is superior to the kingly,
and in all primitive nations with a separate, organized
priesthood, whether a true priesthood or a corrupt, the priest is
held to be above the king, elects or establishes the law by which
is selected the temporal chief, and inducts him into his office,
as if he received his authority from God through the priesthood.
The Christian priesthood is not a caste, and is transmitted by
the election of grace, not as with the Israelites and all
sacerdotal nations, by natural Generation.  Like Him whose
priests they are, Christian priests are priests after the order
of Melchisedech, who was without priestly descent, without father
or mother of the priestly line.  But in being priests after the
order of Melchisedech, they are both priests and kings, as
Melchisedech was, and as was our Lord himself, to whom was given
by his Father all power in heaven and in earth.  The Pope, or
Supreme Pontiff, is the vicar of our Lord on earth, his
representative--the representative not only of him who is our
invisible High-Priest, but of him who is King of kings and Lord
of lords, therefore of both the priestly and the kingly power.
Consequently, no one can have any mission to govern in the state
any more than in the church, unless derived from God directly or
indirectly through the Pope or Supreme Pontiff.  Many theologians
and canonists in the Middle Ages so held, and a few perhaps hold
so still.  The bulls and briefs of several Popes, as Gregory VII.,
Innocent Ill., Gregory IX., Innocent IV., and Boniface VIII.,
have the appearance of favoring it.

At one period the greater part of the medieval kingdoms and
principalities were fiefs of the Holy See, and recognized the
Holy Father as their suzerain.  The Pope revived the imperial
diunity in the person of Charlemagne, and none could claim that
dignity in the Western world unless elected and crowned by him,
that is, unless elected directly by the Pope or by electors
designated by him, and acting under his authority.  There can be
no question that the spiritual is superior to the temporal, and
that the temporal is bound in the very nature of things to conform
to the spiritual, and any law enacted by the civil power in
contravention of the law of God is null and void from the
beginning.  This is what Mr. Seward meant by the higher law, a
law higher even than the Constitution of the United States.
Supposing this higher law, and supposing that kings and princes
hold from God through the spiritual society, it is very evident
that the chief of that society would have the right to deprive
them, and to absolve their subjects, as on several occasions he
actually has done.

But this theory has never been a dogma of the Church, nor, to any
great extent, except for a brief period, maintained by
theologians or canonists.  The Pope conferred the imperial
dignity on Charlemagne and his successors, but not the civil
power, at least out of the Pope's own temporal dominions.  The
emperor of Germany was at first elected by the Pope, and
afterwards by hereditary electors designated or accepted by him,
but the king of the Germans with the full royal authority could
be elected and enthroned without the papal intervention or
permission.  The suzerainty of the Holy See over Italy, Naples,
Aragon, Muscovy, England, and other European states, was by
virtue of feudal relations, not by virtue of the spiritual authority
of the Holy See or the vicarship of the Holy Father.  The right
to govern under feudalism was simply an estate, or property; and
as the church could acquire and hold property, nothing prevented
her holding fiefs, or her chief from being suzerain.  The
expressions in the papal briefs and bulls, taken in connection
with the special relations existing between the Pope and emperor
in the Middle Ages, and his relations with other states as their
feudal sovereign, explained by the controversies concerning
rights growing out of these relations, will be found to give no
countenance to the theory in question.

These relations really existed, and they gave the Pope certain
temporal rights in certain states, even the temporal supremacy,
as he has still in what is left him of the States of the Church;
but they were exceptional or accidental relations, not the
universal and essential relations between the church and the
state.  The rights that grew out of these relations were real
rights, sacred and inviolable, but only where and while the
relations subsisted.  They, for the most part, grew out of the
feudal system introduced into the Roman empire by its barbarian
conquerors, and necessarily ceased with the political order in
which they originated.  Undoubtedly the church consecrated civil
rulers, but this did not imply that they received their power or
right to govern from God through her; but implied that their
persons were sacred, and that violence to them would be
sacrilege; that they held the Christian faith, and acknowledged
themselves bound to protect it, and to govern their subjects
justly, according to the law of God.

The church, moreover, has always recognized the distinction of
the two powers, and although the Pope owes to the fact that he is
chief of the spiritual society, his temporal principality, no
theologian or canonist of the slightest respectability would
argue that he derives his rights as temporal sovereign from his
rights as pontiff.  His rights as pontiff depend on the express
appointment of God; his rights as temporal prince are derived
from the same source from which other princes derive their
rights, and are held by the same tenure.  Hence canonists have
maintained that the subjects of other states may even engage in
war with the Pope as prince, without breach of their fidelity to
him as pontiff or supreme visible head of the church.

The church not only distinguishes between the two powers, but
recognizes as legitimate, governments that manifestly do not
derive from God through her.  St. Paul enjoins obedience to the
Roman emperors for conscience' sake, and the church teaches that
infidels and heretics may have legitimate government; and if she
has ever denied the right of any infidel or heretical prince, it
has been on the ground that the constitution and laws of his
principality require him to profess and protect the Catholic
faith.  She tolerates resistance in a non-Catholic state no more
than in a Catholic state to the prince; and if she has not
condemned and cut off from her communion the Catholics who in our
struggle have joined the Secessionists and fought in their ranks
against the United States, it is because the prevalence of the
doctrine of State sovereignty has seemed to leave a reasonable
doubt whether they were really rebels fighting against their
legitimate sovereign or not.

No doubt, as the authority of the church is derived immediately
from God in a supernatural manner, and as she holds that the
state derives its authority only mediately from him, in a natural
mode, she asserts the superiority of her authority, and that, in
case of conflict between the two powers, the civil must yield.
But this is only saying that supernatural is above natural.
But--and this is the important point--she does not teach, nor
permit the faithful to hold, that the supernatural abrogates the
natural, or in any way supersedes it.  Grace, say the
theologians, supposes nature, gratia supponit naturam.  The
church in the matter of government accepts the natural, aids it,
elevates it, and is its firmest support.

VII. St. Augustine, St. Gregory Magnus, St. Thomas, Bellarmin,
Suarez, and the theologians generally, hold that princes derive
their power from God through the people, or that the people,
though not the source, are the medium of all political authority,
and therefore rulers are accountable for the use they make of
their power to both God and the people.

This doctrine agrees with the democratic theory in vesting
sovereignty in the people, instead of the king or the nobility, a
particular individual, family, class, or caste; and differs from
it, as democracy is commonly explained, in understanding by the
people, the people collectively, not individually--the organic
people, or people fixed to a given territory, not the people as a
mere population--the people in the republican sense of the word
nation, not in the barbaric or despotic sense; and in deriving
the sovereignty from God, from whom is all power, and except from
whom there is and can be no power, instead of asserting it as the
underived and indefeasible right of the people in their "own
native right and might."  The people not being God, and being
only what philosophers call a second cause, they are and can be
sovereign only in a secondary and relative sense.  It asserts the
divine origin of power, while democracy asserts its human origin.
But as, under the law of nature, all men are equal, or have equal
rights as men, one man has and can have in himself no right to
govern another; and as man is never absolutely his own, but
always and everywhere belongs to his Creator, it is clear that no
government originating in humanity alone can be a legitimate
government.  Every such government is founded on the assumption
that man is God, which is a great mistake--is, in fact, the
fundamental sophism which underlies every error and every sin.

The divine origin of government, in the sense asserted by
Christian theologians, is never found distinctly set forth in the
political writings of the ancient Greek and Roman writers.
Gentile philosophy had lost the tradition of creation, as some
modern philosophers, in so-called Christian nations, are fast
losing it, and were as unable to explain the origin of government
as they were the origin of man himself.

Even Plato, the profoundest of all ancient philosophers, and the
most faithful to the traditionary wisdom of the race, lacks the
conception of creation, and never gets above that of generation
and formation.  Things are produced by the Divine Being
impressing his own ideas, eternal in his own mind, on a
pre-existing matter, as a seal on wax.  Aristotle teaches
substantially the same doctrine.  Things eternally exist as
matter and form, and all the Divine Intelligence does, is to
unite the form to the matter, and change it, as the schoolmen say,
from materia informis to materia formata.  Even the Christian
Platonists and Peripatetics never as philosophers assert creation;
they assert it, indeed, but as theologians, as a fact of
revelation, not as a fact of science; and hence it is that their
theology and their philosophy never thoroughly harmonize, or at
least are not shown to harmonize throughout.

Speaking generally, the ancient Gentile philosophers were
pantheists, and represented the universe either as God or as an
emanation from God.  They had no proper conception of Providence,
or the action of God in nature through natural agencies, or as
modern physicists say, natural laws.  If they recognized the
action of divinity at all, it was a supernatural or miraculous
intervention of some god.  They saw no divine intervention in any
thing naturally explicable, or explicable by natural laws.
Having no conception of the creative act, they could have none of
its immanence, or the active and efficacious presence of the
Creator in all his works, even in the action of second causes
themselves.  Hence they could not assert the divine origin of
government, or civil authority, without supposing it
supernaturally founded, and excluding all human and natural
agencies from its institution.  Their writings may be studied
with advantage on the constitution of the state, on the practical
workings of different forms of government, as well as on the
practical administration of affairs, but never on the origin of
the state, and the real ground of its authority.

The doctrine is derived from Christian theology, which teaches
that there is no power except from God, and enjoins civil
obedience as a religious duty.  Conscience is accountable to God
alone, and civil government, if it had only a natural or human
origin, could not bind it.  Yet Christianity makes the civil law,
within its legitimate sphere, as obligatory on conscience as the
divine law itself, and no man is blameless before God who is not
blameless before the state.  No man performs faithfully his
religious duties who neglects his civil duties, and hence, the
law of the church allows no one to retire from the world and
enter a religious order, who has duties that bind him or her to
the family or the state; though it is possible that the law is
not always strictly observed, and that individuals sometimes
enter a convent for the sake of getting rid of those duties, or
the equally important duty of taking care of themselves.  But by
asserting the divine origin of government, Christianity
consecrates civil authority, clothes it with a religious
character, and makes civil disobedience, sedition, insurrection,
rebellion, revolution, civil turbulence of any sort or degree,
sins against God as well as crimes against the state.  For the
same reason she makes usurpation, tyranny, oppression of the
people by civil rulers, offences against God as well as against
society, and cognizable by the spiritual authority.

After the establishment of the Christian church, after its public
recognition, and when conflicting claims arose between the two
powers--the civil and the ecclesiastical--this doctrine of the
divine origin of civil government was abused, and turned against
the church with most disastrous consequences.  While the Roman
Empire of the West subsisted, and even after its fall, so long as
the emperor of the East asserted and practically maintained his
authority in the Exarchate of Ravenna and the Duchy of Rome, the
Popes comported themselves, in civil matters, as subjects of the
Roman emperor, and set forth no claim to temporal independence.
But when the emperor had lost Rome, and all his possessions in
Italy, had abandoned them, or been deprived of them by the
barbarians, and ceased to make any efforts to recover them, the
Pope was no longer a subject, even in civil matters, of the
emperor, and owed him no civil allegiance.  He became civilly
independent of the Roman Empire, and had only spiritual relations
with it.  To the new powers that sprang up in Europe he appears
never to have acknowledged any civil subjection, and uniformly
asserted, in face of them, his civil as well as spiritual

This civil independence the successors of Charlemagne, who
pretended to be the successors of the Roman Emperors of the West,
and called their empire the Holy Roman Empire, denied, and
maintained that the Pope owed them civil allegiance, or that, in
temporals, the emperor was the Pope's superior.  If, said the
emperor, or his lawyers for him, the civil power is from God, as
it must be, since non est potestas nisi a Deo, the state stands
on the same footing with the church, and the imperial power
emanates from as high a source as the Pontifical. The
emperor is then as supreme in temporals as the Pope in
spirituals, and as the emperor is subject to the pope in
spirituals, so must the Pope be subject to the emperor in
temporals.  As at the time when the dispute arose, the temporal
interests of churchmen were so interwoven with their spiritual
rights, the pretensions of the emperor amounted practically to
the subjection in spirituals as well as temporals of the
ecclesiastical authority to the civil, and absorbed the church in
the state, the reasoning was denied, and churchmen replied: The
Pope represents the spiritual order, which is always and
everywhere supreme over the temporal, since the spiritual order
is the divine sovereignty itself.  Always and everywhere, then,
is the Pope independent of the emperor, his superior, and to
subject him in any thing to the emperor would be as repugnant to
reason as to subject the soul to the body, the spirit to the
flesh, heaven to earth, or God to man.

If the universal supremacy claimed for the Pope, rejoined the
imperialists, be conceded, the state would be absorbed in the
church, the autonomy of civil society would be destroyed, and
civil rulers would have no functions but to do the bidding of the
clergy.  It would establish a complete theocracy, or, rather,
clerocracy, of all possible governments the government the most
odious to mankind, and the most hostile to social progress.  Even
the Jews could not, or would not, endure it, and prayed God to
give them a king, that they might be like other nations.

In the heat of the controversy neither party clearly and
distinctly perceived the true state of the question, and each was
partly right and partly wrong.  The imperialists wanted room for
the free activity of civil society, the church wanted to
establish in that society the supremacy of the moral order, or
the law of God, without which governments can have no stability,
and society no real well-being.  The real solution of the
difficulty was always to be found in the doctrine of the church
herself, and had been given time and again by her most approved
theologians.  The Pope, as the visible head of the spiritual
society, is, no doubt, superior to the emperor, not precisely
because he represents a superior order, but because the church,
of which he is the visible chief, is a supernatural institution,
and holds immediately from God; whereas civil society,
represented by the emperor, holds from God only mediately,
through second causes, or the people.  Yet, though derived from
God only through the people, civil authority still holds from God,
and derives its right from Him through another channel than the
church or spiritual society, and, therefore, has a right, a
sacredness, which the church herself gives not, and must
recognize and respect.  This she herself teaches in teaching that
even infidels, as we have seen, may have legitimate government,
and since, though she interprets and applies the law of God, both
natural and revealed, she makes neither.

Nevertheless, the imperialists or the statists insisted on their
false charge against the Pope, that he labored to found a purely
theocratic or clerocratic government, and finding themselves
unable to place the representative of the civil society on the
same level with the representative of the spiritual, or to
emancipate the state from the law of God while they conceded the
divine origin or right of government, they sought to effect its
independence by asserting for it only a natural or purely human
origin.  For nearly two centuries the most popular and
influential writers on government have rejected the divine origin
and ground of civil authority, and excluded God from the state.
They have refused to look beyond second causes, and have labored
to derive authority from man alone.  They have not only separated
the state from the church as an external corporation, but from
God as its internal lawgiver, and by so doing have deprived the
state of her sacredness, inviolability, or hold on the conscience,
scoffed at loyalty as a superstition, and consecrated not civil
authority, but what is called "the right of insurrection."  Under
their teaching the age sympathizes not with authority in its
efforts to sustain itself and protect society, but with those who
conspire against it--the insurgents, rebels, revolutionists
seeking its destruction.  The established government that seeks
to enforce respect for its legitimate authority and compel
obedience to the laws, is held to be despotic, tyrannical,
oppressive, and resistance to it to be obedience to God, and a
wild howl rings through Christendom against the prince that will
not stand still and permit the conspirators to cut his throat.
There is hardly a government now in the civilized world that can
sustain itself for a moment without an armed force sufficient to
overawe or crush the party or parties in permanent conspiracy
against it.

This result is not what was aimed at or desired, but it is the
logical or necessary result of the attempt to erect the state on
atheistical principles.  Unless founded on the divine sovereignty,
authority can sustain itself only by force, for political atheism
recognizes no right but might.  No doubt the politicians have
sought an atheistical, or what is the same thing, a purely human,
basis for government, in order to secure an open field for human
freedom and activity, or individual or social progress.  The end
aimed at has been good, laudable even, but they forgot that
freedom is possible only with authority that protects it against
license as well as against despotism, and that there can be no
progress where there is nothing that is not progressive.  In
civil society two things are necessary--stability and movement.
The human is the element of movement, for in it are possibilities
that can be only successively actualized.  But the element of
stability can be found only in the divine, in God, in whom there
is no unactualized possibility, who, therefore, is immovable,
immutable, and eternal.  The doctrine that derives authority from
God through the people, recognizes in the state both of these
elements, and provides alike for stability and progress.

This doctrine is not mere theory; it simply states the real order
of things.  It is not telling what ought to be, but what is in
the real order.  It only asserts for civil government the
relation to God which nature herself holds to him, which the
entire universe holds to the Creator.  Nothing in man, in nature,
in the universe, is explicable without the creative act of God,
for nothing exists without that act.  That God "in the beginning
created heaven and earth," is the first principle of all science
as of all existences, in politics no less than in theology.  God
and creation comprise all that is or exists, and creation, though
distinguishable from God as the act from the actor, is
inseparable from him, "for in Him we live and move and have our
being."  All creatures are joined to him by his creative act, and
exist only as through that act they participate of his being.
Through that act he is immanent as first cause in all creatures
and in every act of every creature.  The creature deriving from
his creative act can no more continue to exist than it could
begin to exist without it.  It is as bad philosophy as theology,
to suppose that God created the universe, endowed it with certain
laws of development or activity, wound it up, gave it a jog, set
it agoing, and then left it to go of itself.  It cannot go of
itself, because it does not exist of itself.  It did not merely
not begin to exist, but it cannot continue to exist, without the
creative act.  Old Epicurus was a sorry philosopher, or rather,
no philosopher at all.  Providence is as necessary as creation,
or rather, Providence is only continuous creation, the creative
act not suspended or discontinued, or not passing over from the
creature and returning to God.

Through the creative act man participates of God, and he can
continue to exist, act, or live only by participating through it
of his divine being.  There is, therefore , something of divinity,
so to speak, in every creature, and therefore it is that God is
worshipped in his works without idolatry.  But he creates
substantial existences capable of acting as second causes.  Hence,
in all living things there is in their life a divine element and
a natural element; in what is called human life, there are the
divine and the human, the divine as first and the human as second
cause, precisely what the doctrine of the great Christian
theologians assert to be the fact with all legitimate or real
government.  Government cannot exist without the efficacious
presence of God any more than man himself, and men might as well
attempt to build up a world as to attempt to found a state
without God.  A government founded on atheistical principles were
less than a castle in the air.  It would have nothing to rest on,
would not be even so much as "the baseless fabric of a vision,"
and they who imagine that they really do exclude God from their
politics deceive themselves; for they accept and use principles
which, though they know it not, are God.  What they call abstract
principles, or abstract forms of reason, without which there were
no logic, are not abstract, but the real, living God himself.
Hence government, like man himself, participates of the divine
being, and, derived from God through the people, it at the same
time participates of human reason and will, thus reconciling
authority with freedom, and stability with progress.

The people, holding their authority from God, hold it not as an
inherent right, but as a trust from Him, and are accountable to
Him for it.  It is not their own.  If it were their own they
might do with it as they pleased, and no one would have any right
to call them to an account; but holding it as a trust from God,
they are under his law, and bound to exercise it as that law
prescribes.  Civil rulers, holding their authority from God
through the people, are accountable for it both to Him and to
them.  If they abuse it they are justiciable by the people and
punishable by God himself.

Here is the guaranty against tyranny, oppression, or bad
government, or what in modern times is called the responsibility
of power.  At the same time the state is guarantied against
sedition, insurrection, rebellion, revolution, by the elevation
of the civic virtues to the rank of religious, virtues, and
making loyalty a matter of conscience.  Religion is brought to
the aid of the state, not indeed as a foreign auxiliary, but as
integral in the political order itself.  Religion sustains the
state, not because it externally commands us to obey the higher
powers, or to be submissive to the powers that be, not because it
trains the people to habits of obedience, and teaches them to be
resigned and patient under the grossest abuses of power, but
because it and the state are in the same order, and inseparable,
though distinct, parts of one and the same whole.  The church and
the state, as corporations or external governing bodies, are
indeed separate in their spheres, and the church does not absorb
the state, nor does the state the church; but both are from God,
and both work to the same end, and when each is rightly
understood there is no antithesis or antagonism between them.
Men serve God in serving the state as directly as in serving the
church.  He who dies on the battle-field fighting for his country
ranks with him who dies at the stake for his faith.  Civic
virtues are themselves religious virtues, or at least virtues
without which there are no religious virtues, since no man who
loves not his brother does or can love God.

The guaranties offered the state or authority are ample, because
it has not only conscience, moral sentiment, interest, habit, and
the via inertia of the mass, but the whole physical force of the
nation, at its command.  The individual has, indeed, only moral
guaranties against the abuse of power by the sovereign people,
which may no doubt sometimes prove insufficient.  But moral
guaranties are always better than none, and there are none where
the people are held to be sovereign in their own native right and
might, organized or unorganized, inside or outside of the
constitution, as most modern democratic theorists maintain;
since, if so, the will of the people, however expressed, is the
criterion of right and wrong, just and unjust, true and false, is
infallible and impeccable, and no moral right can ever be pleaded
against it; they are accountable to nobody, and, let them do what
they please, they can do no wrong.  This would place the
individual at the mercy of the state, and deprive him of all
right to complain, however oppressed or cruelly treated.  This
would establish the absolute despotism of the state, and deny
every thing like the natural rights of man, or individual and
personal freedom, as has already been shown.  Now as men do take
part in government, and as men, either individually or
collectively, are neither infallible nor impeccable, it is never
to be expected, under any possible constitution or form of
government, that authority will always be wisely and justly
exercised, that wrong will ever be done, and the rights of
individuals never in any instance be infringed; but with the
clear understanding that all power is of God, that the political
sovereignty is vested in the people or the collective body, that
the civil rulers hold from God through them and are responsible
to Him through them, and justiciable by them, there is all the
guaranty against the abuse of power by the, nation, the political
or organic people, that the nature of the case admits.  The
nation may, indeed, err or do wrong, but in the way supposed you
get in the government all the available wisdom and virtue the
nation has, and more is never, under any form or constitution of
government, practicable or to be expected,

It is a maxim with constitutional statesmen, that "the king
reigns, not governs."  The people, though sovereign under God,
are not the government.  The government is in their name and by
virtue of authority delegated from God through them, but they are
not it, are not their own ministers.  It is only when the people
forget this and undertake to be their own ministers and to manage
their own affairs immediately by themselves instead of selecting
agents to do it for them, and holding their agents to a strict
account for their management, that they are likely to abuse their
power or to sanction injustice.  The nation may be misled or
deceived for a moment by demagogues, those popular courtiers, but
as a rule it is disposed to be just and to respect all natural
rights.  The wrong is done by individuals who assume to speak in
their name, to wield their power, and to be themselves the state.
L'etat, c'est moi. I am the state, said Louis XIV. of France,
and while that was conceded the French nation could have in its
government no more wisdom or virtue than he possessed, or at
least no more than he could appreciate.  And under his government
France was made responsible for many deeds that the nation would
never have sanctioned, if it bad been recognized as the
depositary of the national sovereignty, or as the French state,
and answerable to God for the use it made of political power, or
the conduct of its government.

But be this as it may, there evidently can be no physical force
in the nation to coerce the nation itself in case it goes wrong,
for if the sovereignty vests in the nation, only the nation can
rightly command or authorize the employment of force, and all
commissions must run in its name.  Written constitutions alone
will avail little, for they emanate from the people, who can
disregard them, if they choose, and alter or revoke them at will.
The reliance for the wisdom and justice of the state must after
all be on moral guaranties.  In the very nature of the case there
are and can be no other.  But these, placed in a clear light,
with an intelligent and religious people, will seldom be found
insufficient.  Hence the necessity for the protection, not of
authority simply or chiefly, but of individual rights and the
liberty of religion and intelligence in the nation, of the
general understanding that the nation holds its power to govern
as a trust from God, and that to God through the people all civil
rulers are strictly responsible.  Let the mass of the people in
any nation lapse into the ignorance and barbarism of atheism, or
lose themselves in that supreme sophism called pantheism, the
grand error of ancient as well as of modern gentilism, and
liberty, social or political, except that wild kind of liberty,
and perhaps not even that should be excepted, which obtains among
savages, would be lost and irrecoverable.

But after all, this theory does not meet all the difficulties of
the case.  It derives sovereignty from God, and thus asserts the
divine origin of government in the sense that the origin of
nature is divine; it derives it from God through the people,
collectively, or as society, and therefore concedes it a natural,
human, and social element, which distinguishes it from pure
theocracy.  It, however, does not explain how authority comes
from God to the people.  The ruler, king, prince, or emperor,
holds from God through the people, but how do the people
themselves hold from God?  Mediately or immediately?  If
mediately, what is the medium?  Surely not the people themselves.
The people can no more be the medium than the principle of their
own sovereignty. If immediately, then God governs in them as he
does in the church, and no man is free to think or act contrary
to popular opinion, or in any case to question the wisdom or
justice of any of the acts of the state, which is arriving at
state absolutism by another process.  Besides, this would
theoretically exclude all human or natural activity, all human
intelligence and free-will from the state, which were to fall
into either pantheism or atheism.

VIII. The right of government to govern, or political authority,
is derived by the collective people or society, from God through
the law of nature.  Rulers hold from God through the people or
nation, and the people or nation hold from God through the
natural law.  How nations are founded or constituted, or a
particular people becomes a sovereign political people, invested
with the rights of society, will be considered in following
chapters.  Here it suffices to say that supposing a political
people or nation, the sovereignty vests in the community, not
supernaturally, or by an external supernatural appointment, as
the clergy hold their authority, but by the natural law, or law
by which God governs the whole moral creation.

They who assert the origin of government in nature are right, so
far as they derive it from God through the law of nature, and
are wrong only when they understand by the law of nature the
physical force or forces of nature, which are not laws in the
primary and proper sense of the term.  The law of nature is not
the order or rule of the divine action in nature which is
rightfully called providence, but is, as has been said, law in
its proper and primary sense, ordained by the Author of nature,
as its sovereign and supreme Lawgiver, and binds all of his
creatures who are endowed with reason and free-will, and is
called natural, because promulgated through the reason common to
all men.  Undoubtedly, it was in the first instance, to the first
man, supernaturally promulgated, as it is republished and
confirmed by Christianity, as an integral part of the Christian
code itself.  Man needs even yet instruction in relation to
matters lying within the range of natural reason, or else secular
schools, colleges, and universities would be superfluous, and
manifestly the instructor of the first man could have been only
the Creator himself.

The knowledge of the natural law has been transmitted from Adam
to us through two channels--reason, which is in every man, and in
immediate relation with the Creator, and the traditions of the
primitive instruction embodied in language and what the Romans
call jus gentium, or law common to all civilized nations.  Under
this law. whose prescriptions are promulgated through reason and
embodied in universal jurisprudence, nations are providentially
constituted, and invested with political sovereignty; and as they
are constituted under this law and hold from God through it, it
defines their respective rights and powers, their limitation and
their extent.

The political sovereignty, under the law of nature, attaches to
the people, not individually, but collectively, as civil or
political society.  It is vested in the political community or
nation, not in an individual, or family, or a class, because,
under the natural law, all men are equal, as they are under the
Christian law, and one man has, in his own right, no authority
over another.  The family has in the father a natural chief, but
political society has no natural chief or chiefs.  The authority
of the father is domestic, not political, and ceases when his
children have attained to majority, have married and become heads
of families themselves, or have ceased to make part of the
paternal household.  The recognition of the authority of the
father beyond the limits of his own household, is, if it ever
occurs, by virtue of the ordinance, the consent, express or
tacit, of the political society.  There are no natural-born
political chiefs, and wherever we find men claiming or
acknowledged to be such, they are either usurpers, what the
Greeks called tyrants, or they are made such by the will or
constitution of the people or the nation.

Both monarchy and aristocracy were, no doubt, historically
developed from the authority of the patriarchs, and have
unquestionably been sustained by an equally false development of
the right of property, especially landed property.  The owner of
the land, or he who claimed to own it, claimed as an incident of
his ownership the right to govern it, and consequently to govern
all who occupied it.  But however valid may be the landlord's
title to the soil, and it is doubtful if man can own any thing in
land beyond the usufruct, it can give him under the law of nature
no political right.  Property, like all natural rights, is
entitled by the natural law to protection, but not to govern.
Whether it shall be made a basis of political power or not is a
question of political prudence, to be determined by the supreme
political authority.  It was the basis, and almost exclusive
basis, in the Middle Ages, under feudalism, and is so still in
most states.  France and the United States are the principal
exceptions in Christendom.  Property alone, or coupled with
birth, is made elsewhere in some form a basis of political
power, and where made so by the sovereign authority, it is
legitimate, but not wise nor desirable; for it takes from the
weak and gives to the strong.  The rich have in their riches
advantages enough over the poor, without receiving from the state
any additional advantage.  An aristocracy, in the sense of
families distinguished by birth, noble and patriotic services,
wealth, cultivation, refinement, taste, and manners, is desirable
in every nation, is a nation's ornament, and also its chief
support, but they need and should receive no political
recognition.  They should form no privileged class in the state
or political society.



The Constitution is twofold: the constitution of the state or
nation, and the constitution of the government.  The constitution
of the government is, or is held to be, the work of the nation
itself; the constitution of the state, or the people of the
state, is, in its origin at least, providential, given by God
himself, operating through historical events or natural causes.
The one originates in law, the other in historical fact.  The
nation must exist, and exist as a political community, before it
can give itself a constitution; and no state, any more than an
individual, can exist without a constitution of some sort.

The distinction between the providential constitution of the
people and the constitution of the government, is not always
made.  The illustrious Count de Maistre, one of the ablest
political philosophers who wrote in the last century, or the
first quarter of the present, in his work on the Generative
Principle of Political Constitutions, maintains that
constitutions are generated, not made, and excludes all human
agency from their formation and growth.  Disgusted with French
Jacobinism, from which he and his kin and country had suffered so
much, and deeply wedded to monarchy in both  church and state, he
had the temerity to maintain that God creates expressly royal
families for the government of nations, and that it is idle for a
nation to expect a good government without a king who has
descended from one of those divinely created royal families.  It
was with some such thought, most likely, that a French
journalist, writing home from the United States, congratulated
the American people on having a Bonaparte in their army, so that
when their democracy failed, as in a few years it was sure to do,
they would have a descendant of a royal house to be their king or
emperor.  Alas! the Bonaparte has left us, and besides, he was
not the descendant of a royal house, and was, like the present
Emperor of the French, a decided parvenu.  Still, the Emperor of
the French, if only a parvenu, bears himself right imperially
among sovereigns, and has no peer among any of the descendants of
the old royal families of Europe

There is a truth, however, in De Maistre's doctrine that
constitutions are generated, or developed, not created de novo,
or made all at once.  But nothing is more true than that a nation
can alter its constitution by its own deliberate and voluntary
action, and many nations have done so, and sometimes for the
better, as well as for the worse.  If the constitution once given is
fixed and unalterable, it must be wholly divine, and contain no
human element, and the people have and can have no hand in their
own government--the fundamental objection to the theocratic
constitution of society.  To assume it is to transfer to civil
society, founded by the ordinary providence of God, the
constitution of the church, founded by his gracious or
supernatural providence, and to maintain that the divine
sovereignty governs in civil society immediately and
supernaturally, as in the spiritual society.  But such is not the
fact.  God governs the nation by the nation itself, through its
own reason and free-will.  De Maistre is right only as to the
constitution the nation starts with, and as to the control which
that constitution necessarily exerts over the constitutional
changes the nation can successfully introduce.

The disciples of Jean Jacques Rousseau recognize no providential
constitution, and call the written instrument drawn up by a
convention of sovereign individuals the constitution, and the
only constitution, both of the people and the government.  Prior
to its adoption there is no government, no state, no political
community or authority.  Antecedently to it the people are an
inorganic mass, simply individuals, without any political or
national solidarity.  These individuals, they suppose, come
together in their own native right and might, organize themselves
into a political community, give themselves a constitution, and
draw up and vote rules for their government, as a number of
individuals might meet in a public hall and resolve themselves
into a temperance society or a debating club.  This might do very
well if the state were, like the temperance society or debating
club, a simple voluntary association, which men are free to join
or not as they please, and which they are bound to obey no
farther and no longer than suits their convenience.  But the
state is a power, a sovereignty; speaks to all within its
jurisdiction with an imperative voice; commands, and may use
physical force to compel obedience, when not voluntarily yielded.
Men are born its subjects, and no one can withdraw from it
without its express or tacit permission, unless for causes that
would justify resistance to its authority.  The right of subjects
to denationalize or expatriate themselves, except to escape a
tyranny or an oppression which would forfeit the rights of power
and warrant forcible resistance to it, does not exist, any more
than the right of foreigners to become citizens, unless by the
consent and authorization of the sovereign; for the citizen or
subject belongs to the state, and is bound to it.

The solidarity of the individuals composing the population of a
territory or country under one political head is a truth; but
"the solidarity of peoples," irrespective of the government or
political authority of their respective countries, so eloquently
preached a few years since by the Hungarian Kossuth, is not only
a falsehood, but a falsehood destructive of all government and of
all political organization.  Kossuth's doctrine supposes the
people, or the populations of all countries, are, irrespective of
their governments, bound together in solido, each for all and all
for each, and therefore not only free, but bound, wherever they
find a population struggling nominally for liberty against its
government, to rush with arms in their hands to its assistance--a
doctrine clearly incompatible with any recognition of political
authority or territorial rights.  Peoples or nations commune with
each other only through the national authorities, and when the
state proclaims neutrality or non-intervention, all its subjects
are bound to be neutral, and to abstain from all intervention on
either side.  There may be, and indeed there is, a solidarity,
more or less distinctly recognized, of Christian nations, but of
the populations with and through their governments, not without
them.  Still more strict is the solidarity of all the individuals
of one and the same nation.  These are all bound together, all
for each and each for all.  The individual is born into society
and under the government, and without the authority of the
government, which represents all and each, he cannot release
himself from his obligations.  The state is then by no means a
voluntary association.  Every one born or adopted into it is
bound to it, and cannot without its permission withdraw from it,
unless, as just said, it is manifest that he can have under it no
protection for his natural rights as a man, more especially for
his rights of conscience.  This is Vattel's doctrine, and the
dictate of common sense.

The constitution drawn up, ordained, and established by a nation
for itself is a law--the organic or fundamental law, if you will,
but a law, and is and must be the act of the sovereign power.
That sovereign power must exist before it can act, and it cannot
exist, if vested in the people or nation, without a constitution,
or without some sort of political organization of the people or
nation.  There must, then, be for every state or nation a
constitution anterior to the constitution which the nation gives
itself, and from which the one it gives itself derives all its
vitality and legal force.

Logic and historical facts are here, as elsewhere, coincident,
for creation and providence are simply the expression of the
Supreme Logic, the Logos, by whom all things are made.  Nations
have originated in various ways, but history records no instance
of a nation existing as an inorganic mass organizing itself into
a political community.  Every nation, at its first appearance
above the horizon, is found to have an organization of some sort.
This is evident from the only ways in which history shows us
nations originating.  These ways are: 1. The union of families in
the tribe. 2. The union of tribes in the nation. 3. The migration
of families, tribes, or nations in search of new settlements.
4. Colonization, military, agricultural, commercial, industrial,
religious, or penal. 5. War and conquest. 6. The revolt,
separation, and independence of provinces. 7. The intermingling
of the conquerors and conquered, and by amalgamation forming a
new people.  These are all the ways known to history, and in none
of these ways does a people, absolutely destitute of all
organization, constitute itself a state, and institute and carry
on civil government.

The family, the tribe, the colony are, if incomplete, yet
incipient states, or inchoate nations, with an organization,
individuality, and a centre of social life of their own.  The
families and tribes that migrate in search of new settlements
carry with them their family and tribal organizations, and
retain it for a long time.  The Celtic tribes retained it in Gaul
till broken up by the Roman conquest, under Caesar Augustus; in
Ireland, till the middle of the seventeenth century; and in
Scotland, till the middle of the eighteenth.  It subsists still
in the hordes of Tartary, the Arabs of the Desert, and the
Berbers or Kabyles of Africa.

Colonies, of whatever description, have been founded, if not by,
at least under, the authority of the mother country, whose
political constitution, laws, manners, and customs they carry
with them.  They receive from the parent state a political
organization, which, though subordinate, yet constitutes them
embryonic states, with a unity, individuality, and centre of
public life in themselves, and which, when they are detached and
recognized as independent, render them complete states.  War and
conquest effect great national changes, but do not, strictly
speaking, create new states.  They simply extend and consolidate
the power of the conquering state.

Provinces revolt and become independent states or nations, but
only when they have previously existed as such, and have retained
the tradition of their old constitution and independence; or when
the administration has erected them into real though dependent
political communities.  A portion of the people of a state not so
erected or organized, that has in no sense had a distinct
political existence of its own, has never separated from the
national body and formed a new and independent nation.  It cannot
revolt; it may rise up against the government, and either
revolutionize and take possession of the state, or be put down by
the government as an insurrection.  The amalgamation of the
conquering and the conquered forms a new people, and modifies the
institutions of both, but does not necessarily form a new nation
or political community.  The English of to-day are very different
from both the Normans and the Saxons, or Dano-Saxons, of the time
of Richard Coeur de Lion, but they constitute the same state or
political community.  England is still England.

The Roman empire, conquered by the Northern barbarians, has been
cut up into several separate and independent nations, but because
its several provinces had, prior to their conquest by the Roman
arms, been independent nations or tribes, and more especially
because the conquerors themselves were divided into several
distinct nations or confederacies.  If the barbarians had been
united in a single nation or state, the Roman empire most likely
would have changed masters, indeed, but have retained its unity
and its constitution, for the Germanic nations that finally
seated themselves on its ruins had no wish to destroy its name or
nationality, for they were themselves more than half Romanized
before conquering Rome.  But the new nations into which the
empire has been divided have never been, at any moment, without
political or governmental organization, continued from the
constitution of the conquering tribe or nation, modified more or
less by what was retained from the empire.

It is not pretended that the constitutions of states cannot be
altered, or that every people starts with a constitution fully
developed, as would seem to be the doctrine of De Maistre.  The
constitution of the family is rather economical than political,
and the tribe is far from being a fully developed state.
Strictly speaking, the state, the modern equivalent for the city
of the Greeks and Romans, was not fully formed till men began to
build and live in cities, and became fixed to a national
territory.  But in the first place, the eldest born of the human
race, we are told, built a city, and even in cities we find
traces of the family and tribal organization long after their
municipal existence--in Athens down to the Macedonian conquest,
and in Rome down to the establishment of the Empire; and, in the
second place, the pastoral nations, though they have not
precisely the city or state organization, yet have a national
organization, and obey a national authority.  Strictly speaking,
no pastoral nation has a civil or political constitution, but
they have what in our modern tongues can be expressed by no other
term.  The feudal regime, which was in full vigor even in Europe
from the tenth to the close of the fourteenth century, had
nothing to do with cities, and really recognized no state proper;
yet who hesitates to speak of it as a civil or political system,
though a very imperfect one?

The civil order, as it now exists, was not fully developed in the
early ages.  For a long time the national organizations bore
unmistakable traces of having been developed from the patriarchal,
and modelled from the family or tribe, as they do still in all
the non-Christian world.  Religion itself, before the Incarnation,
bore traces of the same organization.  Even with the Jews,
religion was transmitted and disused, not as under Christianity
by conversion, but by natural generation or family adoption.
With all the Gentile tribes or nations, it was the same.  At
first the father was both priest and king, an when the two
offices were separated, the priests formed a distinct and
hereditary class or caste, rejected by Christianity, which, as we
have seen, admits priests only after the order of Melchisedech.
The Jews had the synagogue, and preserved the primitive
revelation in its purity and integrity; but the Greeks and
Romans, more fully than any other ancient nations, preserved or
developed the political order that best conforms to the Christian
religion; and Christianity, it is worthy of remark, followed in
the track of the Roman armies, and it gains a permanent
establishment only where was planted, or where it is able to
plant, the Graeco-Roman civilization.  The Graeco-Roman republics
were hardly less a schoolmaster to bring the world to Christ in
the civil order, than the Jewish nation was to bring it to Him in
the spiritual order, or in faith and worship.  In the Christian
order nothing is by hereditary descent, but every thing is by
election of grace.  The Christian dispensation is teleological,
palingenesiac, and the whole order, prior to the Incarnation, was
initial, genesiac, and continued by natural generation, as it is
still in all nations and tribes outside of Christendom.  No
non-Christian people is a civilized people, and, indeed, the
human race seems not anywhere, prior to the Incarnation, to have
attained to its majority: and it is, perhaps, because the race
were not prepared for it, that the Word was not sooner incarnated.
He came only in the fulness of time, when the world was ready to
receive him.

The providential constitution is, in fact, that with which the
nation is born, and is, as long as the nation exists, the real
living and efficient constitution of the state.  It is the source
of the vitality of the state, that which controls or governs its
action, and determines its destiny.  The constitution which a
nation is said to give itself, is never the constitution of the
state, but is the law ordained by the state for the government
instituted under it.  Thomas Paine would admit nothing to be the
constitution but a written document which he could fold up and
put in his pocket, or file away in a pigeon-hole.  The Abbe
Sieyes pronounced politics a science which he had finished, and
he was ready to turn you out constitutions to order, with no
other defect than that they had, as Carlyle wittily says, no feet,
and could not go.  Many in the last century, and some, perhaps,
in the present, for folly as well as wisdom has her heirs,
confounded the written instrument with the constitution itself.
No constitution can be written on paper or engrossed on parchment.
What the convention may agree upon, draw up, and the people
ratify by their votes, is no constitution, for it is extrinsic to
the nation, not inherent and living in it--is, at best,
legislative instead of constitutive.  The famous Magna Charta
drawn up by Cardinal Langton, and wrung from John Lackland by the
English barons at Runnymede, was no constitution of England till
long after the date of its concession, and even then was no
constitution of the state, but a set of restrictions on power.
The constitution is the intrinsic or inherent and actual
constitution of the people or political community itself; that
which makes the nation what it is, and distinguishes it from
every other nation, and varies as nations themselves vary from
one another.

The constitution of the state is not a theory, nor is it drawn up
and established in accordance with any preconceived theory.  What
is theoretic in a constitution is unreal.  The constitutions
conceived by philosophers in their closets are constitutions only
of Utopia or Dreamland.  This world is not governed by
abstractions, for abstractions are nullities.  Only the concrete
is real, and only the real or actual has vitality or force.  The
French people adopted constitution after constitution of the most
approved pattern, and amid bonfires, beating of drums, sound of
trumpets, roar of musketry, and thunder of artillery, swore, no
doubt, sincerely as well as enthusiastically, to observe them,
but all to no effect; for they had no authority for the nation,
no hold on its affections, and formed no element of its life.
The English are great constitution-mongers--for other nations.
They fancy that a constitution fashioned after their own will fit
any nation that can be persuaded, wheedled, or bullied into
trying it on; but, unhappily, all that have tried it on have
found it only an embarrassment or encumbrance.  The doctor might
as well attempt to give an individual a new constitution, or the
constitution of another man, as the statesman to give a nation
any other constitution than that which it has, and with which it
is born.

The whole history of Europe, since the fall of the Roman empire,
proves this thesis.  The barbarian conquest of Rome introduced
into the nations founded on the site of the empire, a double
constitution--the barbaric and the civil--the Germanic and the
Roman in the West, and the Tartaric or Turkish and the
Graeco-Roman in the East.  The key to all modern history is in
the mutual struggles of these two constitutions and the interests
respectively associated with them, which created two societies on
the same territory, and, for the most part, under the same
national denomination.  The barbaric was the constitution of the
conquerors; they had the power, the government, rank, wealth, and
fashion, were reinforced down to the tenth century by fresh
hordes of barbarians, and had even brought the external
ecclesiastical society to a very great extent into harmony with
itself.  The Pope became a feudal sovereign, and the bishops and
mitred abbots feudal princes and barons.  Yet, after eight
hundred years of fierce struggle, the Roman constitution got the
upper hand, and the barbaric constitution, as far as it could not
be assimilated to the Roman, was eliminated.  The original Empire
of the West is now as thoroughly Roman in its constitution, its
laws, and its civilization, as it ever was under any of its
Christian emperors before the barbarian conquest.

The same process is going on in the East, though it has not
advanced so far, having begun there several centuries later, and
the Graeco-Roman constitution was far feebler there than in the
West at the epoch of the conquest.  The Germanic tribes that
conquered the West had long had close relations with the empire,
had served as its allies, and even in its armies, and were
partially Romanized.  Most of their chiefs had received a Roman
culture; and their early conversion to the Christian faith
facilitated the revival and permanence of the old Roman
constitution.  In the East it was different.  The conquerors had
no touch of Roman civilization, and, followers of the Prophet,
they were animated with an intense hatred, which, after the
conquest, was changed into a superb contempt, of Christians and
Romans.  They had their civil constitution in the Koran; and the
Koran, in its principles, doctrines, and spirit, is exclusive and
profoundly intolerant.  The Graeco-Roman constitution was always
much weaker in the East, and had far greater obstacles to
overcome there than in the West; yet it has survived the shock of
the conquest.  Throughout the limits of the ancient Empire of the
East, the barbaric constitution has received and is daily
receiving rude blows, and, but as reenforced by barbarians lying
outside of the boundaries of that empire, would be no longer able
to sustain itself.  The Greek or Christian populations of the
empire are no longer in danger of being exterminated or absorbed
by the Mohammedan state or population.  They are the only living
and progressive people of the Ottoman Empire, and their complete
success in absorbing or expelling the Turk is only a question of
time.  They will, in all present probability, reestablish a
Christian and Roman East in much less time from the fall of
Constantinople in 1453, than it took the West from the fall of
Rome in 476 to put an end to the feudal or barbaric constitution
founded by its Germanic invaders.

Indeed, the Roman constitution, laws, and civilization not only
gain the mastery in the nations seated within the limits of the
old Roman Empire, but extend their power through out the whole
civilized world.  The Graeco-Roman civilization is, in fact, the
only civilization now recognized, and nations are accounted
civilized only in proportion as they are Romanized and
Christianized.  The Roman law, as found in the Institutes,
Pandects, and Novellae of Justinian, or the Corpus Legis Civilis,
is the basis of the law and jurisprudence of all Christendom.
The Graeco-Roman civilization, called not improperly Christian
civilization, is the only progressive civilization.  The old
feudal system remains in England little more than an empty name.
The king is only the first magistrate of the kingdom, and the
House of Lords is only an hereditary senate.  Austria is hard at
work in the Roman direction, and finds her chief obstacle to
success in Hungary, with the Magyars whose feudalism retains
almost the full vigor of the Middle Ages.  Russia is moving in
the same direction; and Prussia and the smaller Germanic states
obey the same impulse.  Indeed, Rome has survived the
conquest--has conquered her conquerors, and now invades every
region from which they came.  The Roman Empire may be said to be
acknowledged and obeyed in lands lying far beyond the farthest
limits reached by the Roman eagles, and to be more truly the
mistress of the world than under Augustus, Trajan, or the
Antonines.  Nothing can stand before the Christian and Romanized
nations, and all pagandom and Mohammedom combined are too weak to
resist their onward march.

All modern European revolutions result only in reviving the Roman
Empire, whatever the motives, interests, passions, or theories
that initiate them.  The French Revolution of the last century
and that of the present prove it.  France, let people say what
they will, stands at the head of the European civilized world,
and displays en grand all its good and all its bad tendencies.
When she moves, Europe moves; when she has a vertigo, all
European nations are dizzy; when she recovers her health, her
equilibrium, and good sense, others become sedate, steady, and
reasonable.  She is the head, nay, rather, the heart of
Christendom--the head is at Rome--through which circulates the
pure and impure blood of the nations.  It is in vain Great
Britain, Germany, or Russia disputes with her the hegemony of
European civilization.  They are forced to yield to her at last,
to be content to revolve around her as the centre of the
political system that masters them.  The reason is, France is
more completely and sincerely Roman than any other nation.  The
revolutions that have shaken the world have resulted in
eliminating the barbaric elements she had retained, and clearing
away all obstacles to the complete triumph of Imperial Rome.
Napoleon III. is for France what Augustus was for Rome.  The
revolutions in Spain and Italy have only swept away the relics of
the barbaric constitution, and aided the revival of Roman
imperialism.  In no country do the revolutionists succeed in
establishing their own theories; Caesar remains master of the
field.  Even in the United States, a revolution undertaken in
favor of the barbaric system has resulted in the destruction of
what remained of that system--in sweeping away the last relics of
disintegrating feudalism, and in the complete establishment of
the Graeco-Roman system, with important improvements, in the New

The Roman system is republican, in the broad sense of the term,
because under it power is never an estate, never the private
for the public good.  As it existed under the Caesars, and is
revived in modern times, whether under the imperial or the
democratic form, it, no doubt, tends to centralism, to the
concentration of all the powers and forces of the state in one
central government, from which all local authorities and
institutions emanate.  Wise men oppose it as affording no
guaranties to individual liberty against the abuses of power.
This it may not do, but the remedy is not in feudalism.  The
feudal lord holds his authority as an estate, and has over the
people under him all the power of Caesar and all the rights of
the proprietor.  He, indeed, has a guaranty against his
liege-lord, sometimes a more effective guaranty than his
liege-lord has against him; but against his centralized power his
vassals and serfs have only the guaranty that a slave has against
his owner.

Feudalism is alike hostile to the freedom of public authority and
of the people.  It is essentially a disintegrating element in the
nation.  It breaks the unity and individuality of the state,
embarrasses the sovereign, and guards against the abuse of public
authority by overpowering and suppressing it.  Every feudal lord
is a more thorough despot in his own domain than Caesar ever was
or could be in the empire; and the monarch, even if strong enough,
is yet not competent to intervene between him and his people, any
more than the General government in the United States was to
intervene between the negro slave and his master.  The great
vassals of the crown singly, or, if not singly, in
combination--and they could always combine in the interest of
their order--were too strong for the king, or to be brought under
any public authority, and could issue from their fortified
castles and rob and plunder to their hearts' content, with none
to call them to an account.  Under the most thoroughly
centralized government there is far more liberty for the people,
and a far greater security for person and property, except in the
case of the feudal nobles themselves, than was even dreamed of
while the feudal regime was in full vigor.  Nobles were
themselves free, it is conceded, but not the people.  The king
was too weak, too restricted in his action by the feudal
constitution to reach them, and the higher clergy were ex officio
sovereigns, princes, barons, or feudal lords, and were led by
their private interests to act with the feudal nobility, save
when that nobility threatened the temporalities of the church.
The only reliance, under God, left in feudal times to the poor
people was in the lower ranks of the clergy, especially of the
regular clergy.  All the great German emperors in the twelfth and
thirteenth centuries, who saw the evils of feudalism, and
attempted to break it up and revive imperial Rome, became
involved in quarrels with the chiefs of the religious society,
and failed, because the interest of the Popes, as feudal
sovereigns and Italian princes, and the interests of the
dignified clergy, were for the time bound up with the feudal
society, though their Roman culture and civilization made them at
heart hostile to it.  The student of history, however strong his
filial affection towards the visible head of the church, cannot
help admiring the grandeur of the political views of Frederic the
Second, the greatest and last of the Hohenstaufen, or refrain
from dropping a tear over his sad failure.  He had great faults
as a man, but he had rare genius as a statesman; and it is some
consolation to know that he died a Christian death, in charity
with all men, after having received the last sacraments of his

The Popes, under the circumstances, were no doubt justified in
the policy they pursued, for the Swabian emperors failed to
respect the acknowledged rights of the church, and to remember
their own incompetency in spirituals; but evidently their
political views and aims were liberal, far-reaching, and worthy
of admiration. Their success, if it could have been effected
without lesion to the church, would have set Europe forward some
two or three hundred years, and probably saved it from the
schisms of the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries.  But it is
easy to be wise after the event.  The fact is, that during the
period when feudalism was in full vigor, the king was merely a
shadow; the people found their only consolation in religion, and
their chief protectors in the monks, who mingled with them, saw
their sufferings, and sympathized with them, consoled them,
carried their cause to the castle before the feudal lord and
lady, and did, thank God, do something to keep alive religious
sentiments and convictions in the bosom of the feudal society
itself.  Whatever opinions may be formed of the monastic orders
in relation to the present, this much is certain, that they were
the chief civilizers of Europe, and the chief agents in
delivering European society from feudal barbarism.

The aristocracy have been claimed as the natural allies of the
throne, but history proves them to be its natural enemies,
whenever it cannot be used in their service, and kings do not
consent to be their ministers and to do their bidding.  A
political aristocracy has at heart only the interests of its
order, and pursues no line of policy but the extension or
preservation of its privileges.  Having little to gain and much
to lose, it opposes every political change that would either
strengthen the crown or elevate the people.  The nobility in the
French Revolution were the first to desert both the king and the
kingdom, and kings have always found their readiest and firmest
allies in the people.  The people in Europe have no such bitter
feelings towards royalty as they have towards the feudal
nobility--for kings have never so grievously oppressed them.  In
Rome the patrician order opposed alike the emperor and the
people, except when they, as chivalric nobles sometimes will do,
turned courtiers or demagogues.  They were the people of Rome and
the provinces that sustained the emperors, and they were the
emperors who sustained the people, and gave to the provincials
the privileges of Roman citizens.

Guaranties against excessive centralism are certainly needed, but
the statesman will not seek them in the feudal organization of
society--in a political aristocracy, whether founded on birth or
private wealth, nor in a privileged class of any sort.  Better
trust Caesar than Brutus, or even Cato.  Nor will he seek them in
the antagonism of interests intended to neutralize or balance
each other, as in the English constitution.  This was the great
error of Mr. Calhoun.  No man saw more clearly than Mr. Calhoun
the utter worthlessness of simple paper constitutions, on which
Mr. Jefferson placed such implicit reliance, or that the real
constitution is in the state itself, in the manner in which the
people themselves are organized; but his reliance was in
constituting, as powers in the state, the several popular
interests that exist, and pitting them against each other--the
famous system of checks and balances of English states men.  He
was led to this, because be distrusted power, and was more
intention guarding against its abuses than on providing for its
free, vigorous, and healthy action, going on the principle that
"that is the best government which governs least." But, if the
opposing interests could be made to balance one another perfectly,
the result would be an equilibrium, in which power would be
brought to a stand-still; and if not, the stronger would succeed
and swallow up all the rest.  The theory of checks and balances
is admirable if the object be to trammel power, and to have as
little power in the government as possible; but it is a theory
which is born from passions engendered by the struggle against
despotism or arbitrary power, not from a calm and philosophical
appreciation of government itself.  The English have not
succeeded in establishing their theory, for, after all, their
constitution does not work so well as they pretend.  The landed
interest controls at one time, and the mercantile and
manufacturing interest at another.  They do not perfectly balance
one another, and it is not difficult to see that the mercantile
and manufacturing interest, combined with the moneyed interest,
is henceforth to predominate.  The aim of the real statesman is
to organize all the interests and forces of the state
dialectically, so that they shall unite to add to its strength,
and work together harmoniously for the common good.



Though the constitution of the people is congenital, like the
constitution of an individual, and cannot be radically changed
without the destruction of the state, it must not be supposed
that it is wholly withdrawn from the action of the reason and
free-will of the nation, nor from that of individual statesmen.
All created things are subject to the law of development, and may
be developed either in a good sense or in a bad; that is, may be
either completed or corrupted.  All the possibilities of the
national constitution are given originally in the birth of the
nation, as all the possibilities of mankind were given in the
first man.  The germ must be given in the original constitution.
But in all constitutions there is more than one element, and the
several elements maybe developed pari passu, or unequally, one
having the ascendency and suppressing the rest.  In the original
constitution of Rome the patrician element was dominant, showing
that the patriarchal organization of society still retained no
little force.  The king was only the presiding officer of the
senate and the leader of the army in war.  His civil functions
corresponded very nearly to those of a mayor of the city of New
York, where all the effective power is in the aldermen, common
council, and heads of departments.  Except in name he was little
else than a pageant.  The kings, no doubt, labored to develop and
extend the royal element of the constitution.  This was natural;
and it was equally natural that they should be resisted by the
patricians.  Hence when the Tarquins, or Etruscan dynasty,
undertook to be kings in fact as well as in name, and seemed
likely to succeed, the patricians expelled them, and supplied
their place by two consuls annually elected.  Here was a
modification, but no real change of the constitution.  The
effective Power, as before, remained in the senate.

But there was from early times a plebeian element in the
population of the city, though forming at first no part of the
political people.  Their origin is not very certain, nor their
original position in the city.	Historians give different
accounts of them.  But that they should, as they increased in
numbers, wealth, and importance, demand admission into the
political society, religious or solemn marriage, a voice in the
government, and the faculty of holding civil and military offices,
was only in the order of regular development.  At first the
patricians fought them, and, failing to subdue them by force,
effected a compromise, and bought up their leaders.  The
concession which followed of the tribunitial veto was only a
further development.  By that veto the plebeians gained no
initiative, no positive power, indeed, but their tribunes, by
interposing it, could stop the proceedings of the government.
They could not propose the measures they liked, but they could
prevent the legal adoption of measures they disliked--a faculty
Mr. Calhoun asserted for the several States of the American Union
in his doctrine of nullification, or State veto, as he called it.
It was simply an obstructive power.

But from a power to obstruct legislative action to the power to
originate or propose it, and force the senate to adopt it through
fear of the veto of measures the patricians had at heart, was
only a still further development.  This gained, the exclusively
patrician constitution had disappeared, and Marius, the head of a
great plebeian house, could be elected consul and the plebeians
in turn threaten to become predominant, which Sylla or Sulla, as
dictator, seeing, tried in vain to prevent.  The dictator was
provided for in the original constitution.  Retain the
dictatorship for a time, strengthen the plebeian element by
ruthless proscriptions of patricians and by recruits from the
provinces, unite the tribunitial, pontifical, and military powers
in the imperator designated by the army, all elements existing in
the constitution from an early day, and already developed in the
Roman state, and you have the imperial constitution, which
retained to the last the senate and consuls, though with less and
less practical power.  These changes are very great, but are none
of them radical, dating from the recognition of	the plebs as
pertaining to the Roman people.  They are normal developments,
not corruptions, and the transition from the consular republic to
the imperial was unquestionably a real social and political
progress.  And yet the Roman people, had they chosen, could have
given a different direction to the developments of their
constitution.  There was Providence in the course of events, but
no fatalism.

Sulla was a true patrician, a blind partisan of the past.  He
sought to arrest the plebeian development led by Marius, and to
restore the exclusively patrician government.  But it was too late.
His proscriptions, confiscations, butcheries, unheard-of cruelties
which anticipated and surpassed those of the French Revolution of
1793, availed nothing.  The Marian or plebeian movement,
apparently checked for a moment, resumed its march with renewed
vigor under Julius, and triumphed at Pharsalia.  In vain Cicero,
only accidentally associated with the patrician party, which
distrusted him--in vain Cicero declaims, Cato scolds, or parades
his impractical virtues, Brutus and Cassius seize the assassin's
dagger, and strike to the earth "the foremost man of all the
world;" the plebeian cause moves on with resistless force,
triumphs anew at Philippi, and young Octavius avenges the murder
of his uncle, and proves to the world that the assassination of a
ruler is a blunder as well as a crime.  In vain does Mark Antony
desert the movement, rally Egypt and the barbaric East, and seek
to transfer the seat of empire from the Tiber to the banks of the
Nile or the Orontes; plebeian and imperial Rome wins a final
victory at Actium, and definitively secures the empire of the
civilized world to the West.

Thus far the developments were normal, and advanced civilization.
But Rome still retained the barbaric element of slavery in her
bosom, and had conquered more barbaric nations than she had
assimilated.  These nations she at first governed as tributary
states, with their own constitutions and national chiefs;
afterwards as Roman provinces, by her own proconsuls and prefects.
When the emperors threw open the gates of the city to the
provincials, and conceded them the rights and privileges of Roman
citizens, they introduced not only a foreign element into the
state, destitute of Roman patriotism, but the barbaric and
despotic elements retained by the conquered nations as yet only
partially assimilated.  These elements became germs of
anti-republican developments, rather of corruptions, and prepared
the downfall of the empire.  Doubtless these corruptions might
have been arrested, and would have been, if Roman patriotism had
survived the changes effected in the Roman population by the
concession of Roman citizenship to provincials; but it did not,
and they were favored as time went on by the emperors themselves,
and more especially by Dioclesian, a real barbarian, who hated
Rome, and by Constantine, surnamed the Great, a real despot, who
converted the empire from a republican to a despotic empire.
Rome fell from the force of barbarism developed from within, far
more than from the force of the barbarians hovering on her
frontiers and invading her provinces.

The law of all possible developments is in the providential or
congenital constitution; but these possible developments are many
and various, and the reason and free-will of the nation as well
as of individuals are operative in determining which of them
shall be adopted.  The nation, under the direction of wise and
able statesmen who understood their age and country, who knew how
to discern between normal developments and barbaric corruptions,
placed at the head of affairs in season, might have saved Rome
from her fate, eliminated the barbaric and assimilated the
foreign elements, and preserved Rome as a Christian and
republican empire to this day, and saved the civilized world from
the ten centuries of barbarism which followed her conquest by the
barbarians of the North.  But it rarely happens that the real
statesmen of a nation are placed at the head of affairs.

Rome did not fall in consequence of the strength of her external
enemies, nor through the corruption of private morals and manners,
which was never greater than under the first Triumvirate.  She
fell from the want of true statesmanship in her public men, and
patriotism in her people.  Private virtues and private vices are
of the last consequence to individuals, both here and hereafter;
but private virtues never saved, private vices never ruined a
nation.  Edward the Confessor was a saint, and yet be prepared
the way for the Norman conquest of England; and France owes
infinitely less to St. Louis than to Louis XI., Richelieu, and
Napoleon, who, though no saints, were statesmen.  What is
specially needed in statesmen is public spirit, intelligence,
foresight, broad views, manly feelings, wisdom, energy,
resolution; and when statesmen with these qualities are placed at
the head of affairs, the state, if not already lost, can, however
far gone it may be, be recovered, restored, reinvigorated,
advanced, and private vice and corruption disappear in the
splendor of public virtue.  Providence is always present in the
affairs of nations, but not to work miracles to counteract the
natural effects of the ignorance, ineptness, short-sightedness,
narrow views, public stupidity, and imbecility of rulers, because
they are irreproachable and saintly in their private characters
and relations, as was Henry VI. of England, or, in some respects,
Louis XVI. of France.  Providence is God intervening through the
laws he by his creative act gives to creatures, not their
suspension or abrogation.  It was the corruption of the
statesmen, in substituting the barbaric element for the proper
Roman, to which no one contributed more than Constantine, the
first Christian emperor, that was the real cause of the downfall
of Rome, and the centuries of barbarism that followed, relieved
only by the superhuman zeal and charity of the church to save
souls and restore civilization.

But in the constitution of the government, as distinguished from
the state, the nation is freer and more truly sovereign.  The
constitution of the state is that which gives to the people of a
given territory political existence, unity, and individuality,
and renders it capable of political action.  It creates political
or national solidarity, in imitation of the solidarity of the
race, in which it has its root.  It is the providential charter
of national existence, and that which gives to each nation its
peculiar character, and distinguishes it from every other nation.
The constitution of government is the constitution by the
sovereign authority of the nation of an agency or ministry for
the management of its affairs, and the letter of instructions
according to which the agent or minister is to act and conduct
the matters intrusted to him.  The distinction which the English
make between the sovereign and the ministry is analogous to that
between the state and the government, only they understand by the
sovereign the king or queen, and by the ministry the executive,
excluding, or not decidedly including, the legislature and the
judiciary.  The sovereign is the people as the state or body
politic, and as the king holds from God only through the people,
he is not properly sovereign, and is to be ranked with the
ministry or government.  Yet when the state delegates the full or
chief governing power to the king, and makes him its sole or
principal representative, he may, with sufficient accuracy for
ordinary purposes, be called sovereign.  Then, understanding by
the ministry or government the legislative and judicial, as well
as the executive functions, whether united in one or separated
into distinct and mutually independent departments, the English
distinction will express accurately enough, except for strictly
scientific purposes, the distinction between the state and the

Still, it is only in despotic states, which are not founded on
right, but force, that the king can say, L'etat, c'est moi, I am
the state; and Shakespeare's usage of calling the king of France
simply France, and the king of England simply England, smacks of
feudalism, under which monarchy is an estate, property, not a
public trust.  It corresponds to the Scottish usage of calling
the proprietor by the name of his estate.  It is never to be
forgotten that in republican states the king has only a delegated
sovereignty, that the people, as well as God, are above him.  He
holds his power, as the Emperor of the French professes to hold
his, by the grace of God and the national will--the only title by
which a king or emperor can legitimately hold power.

The king or emperor not being the state, and the government,
whatever its form or constitution, being a creature of the state,
he can be dethroned, and the whole government even virtually
overthrown, without dissolving the state or the political society.
Such an event may cause much evil, create much social confusion,
and do grave injury to the nation, but the political society may
survive it; the sovereign remains in the plenitude of his rights,
as competent to restore government as be was originally to
institute it.  When, in 1848, Louis Philippe was dethroned by the
Parisian mob, and fled the kingdom, there was in France no
legitimate government, for all commissions ran in the king's
name; but the organic or territorial people of France, the body
politic, remained, and in it remained the sovereign power to
organize and appoint a new government.  When, on the 2d of
December, 1851, the president, by a coup d'etat, suppressed the
legislative assembly and the constitutional government, there was
no legitimate government standing, and the power assumed by the
president was unquestionably a usurpation; but the nation was
competent to condone his usurpation and legalize his power, and
by a plebiscitum actually did so.  The wisdom or justice of the
coup d'etat is another question, about which men may differ; but
when the French nation, by its subsequent act, had condoned it,
and formally conferred dictatorial powers on the prince-president,
the principal had approved the act of his agent, and given him
discretionary powers, and nothing more was to be said.  The
imperial constitution and the election of the president to be
emperor, that followed on December 2d, 1852, were strictly legal,
and, whatever men may think of Napoleon III., it must be conceded
that there is no legal flaw in his title, and that he holds his
power by a title as high and as perfect as there is for any
prince or ruler.

But the plebiscitum cannot be legally appealed to or be valid
when and where there is a legal government existing and in the
full exercise of its constitutional functions, as was decided by
the Supreme Court of the United States in a case growing out of
what is known as the Dorr rebellion in Rhode Island.  A suffrage
committee, having no political authority, drew up and presented a
new constitution of government to the people, plead a plebiscitum
in its favor, and claimed the officers elected under it as the
legally elected officers of the state.  The court refused to
recognize the plebiscitum, and decided that it knew Rhode Island
only as represented through the government, which had never
ceased to exist.  New States in Territories have been organized
on the strength of a plebiscitum when the legal Territorial
government was in force, and were admitted as States into the
Union, which, though irregular and dangerous, could be done
without revolution, because Congress, that admitted them, is the
power to grant the permission to organize as States and apply for
admission.  Congress is competent to condone an offence against
its own rights.  The real danger of the practice is, that it
tends to create a conviction that sovereignty inheres in the
people individually, or as population, not as the body politic or
organic people attached to a sovereign domain; and the people who
organize under a plebiscitum are not, till organized and admitted
into the Union, an organic or a political people at all.  When
Louis Napoleon made his appeal to a vote of the French people, he
made an appeal to a people existing as a sovereign people, and a
sovereign people without a legal government.  In his case the
plebiscitum was proper and sufficient, even if it be conceded
that it was through his own fault that France at the moment was
found without a legal government.  When a thing is done, though
wrongly done, you cannot act as if it were not done, but must
accept it as a fact and act accordingly.

The plebiscitum, which is simply an appeal to the people outside
of government, is not valid when the government has not lapsed,
either by its usurpations or by its dissolution, nor is it valid
either in the case of a province, or of a population that has no
organic existence as an independent sovereign state.  The
plebiscitum in France was valid, but in the Grand Duchy of
Tuscany, the Duchies of Modena, Parma, and Lucca, and in the
Kingdom of the Two Sicilies it was not valid, for their legal
governments had not lapsed; nor was it valid in the Aemilian
provinces of the Papal States, because they were not a nation or
a sovereign people, but only a portion of such nation or people.
In the case of the states and provinces--except Lombardy, ceded
to France by Austria, and sold to the Sardinian king--annexed to
Piedmont to form the new kingdom of Italy, the plebiscitum was
invalid, because implying the right of the people to rebel
against the legal authority, and to break the unity and
individuality of the state of which they form an integral part.
The nation is a whole, and no part has the right to secede or
separate, and set up a government for itself, or annex itself to
another state, without the consent of the whole.  The solidarity
of the nation is both a fact and a law.  The secessionists from
the United States defended their action only on the ground that
the States of the American Union are severally independent
sovereign states, and they only obeyed the authority of their
respective states.

The plebiscitum, or irregular appeal to what is called universal
suffrage, since adopted by Louis Napoleon in France after the
coup d'etat, is becoming not a little menacing to the stability
of governments and the rights and integrity of states, and is not
less dangerous to the peace and order of society than "the
solidarity of peoples" asserted by Kossuth, the revolutionary
ex-governor of Hungary, the last stronghold of feudal barbarism
in Christian Europe; for Russia has emancipated her serfs.

The nation, as sovereign, is free to constitute government
according to its own judgment, under any form it
pleases--monarchical, aristocratic, democratic, or mixed--vest
all power in an hereditary monarch, in a class or hereditary
nobles, in a king and two houses of parliament, one hereditary,
the other elective, or both elective; or it may establish a
single, dual, or triple executive, make all officers of
government hereditary or all elective, and if elective, elective
for a longer or a shorter time, by universal suffrage or a select
body of electors.  Any of these forms and systems, and many
others besides, are or may be legitimate, if established and
maintained by the national will.  There is nothing in the law of
God or of nature, antecedently to the national will, that gives
any one of them a right to the exclusion of any one of the others.
The imperial system in France is as legitimate as the federative
system in the United States.  The only form or system that is
necessarily illegal is the despotic.  That can never be a truly
civilized government, nor a legitimate government, for God has
given to man no dominion over man.  He gave men, as St. Augustine
says, and Pope St. Gregory the Great repeats, dominion over the
irrational creation, not over the rational, and hence the
primitive rulers of men were called pastors or shepherds, not
lords.  It may be the duty of the people subjected to a despotic
government to demean themselves quietly and peaceably towards it,
as a matter of prudence, to avoid sedition, and the evils that
would necessarily follow an attempted revolution, but not
because, founded as it is on mere force, it has itself any right
or legality.

All other forms of government are republican in their essential
constitution, founded on public right, and held under God from
and for the commonwealth, and which of them is wisest and best
for the commonwealth is, for the most part, an idle question.
"Forms of government," somebody has said, "are like shoes--that
is the best form which best fit the feet that are to wear them."
Shoes are to be fitted to the feet, not the feet to the shoes,
and feet vary in size and conformation.  There is, in regard to
government, as distinguished from the state, no antecedent right
which binds the people, for antecedently to the existence of the
government as a fact, the state is free to adopt any form that it
finds practicable, or judges the wisest and best for itself.
Ordinarily the form of the government practicable for a nation is
determined by the peculiar providential constitution of the
territorial people, and a form of government that would be
practicable and good in one country may be the reverse in another.
The English government is no doubt the best practicable in Great
Britain, at present at least, but it has proved a failure
wherever else it has been attempted.  The American system has
proved itself, in spite of the recent formidable rebellion to
overthrow it, the best and only practicable government for the
United States, but it is impracticable everywhere else, and all
attempts by any European or other American state to introduce it
can end only in disaster.  The imperial system apparently works
well in France, but though all European states are tending to it,
it would not work well at all on the American continent,
certainly not until the republic of the United States has ceased
to exist.  While the United States remain the great American
power, that system, or its kindred system, democratic centralism,
can never become an American system, as Maximilian's experiment
in Mexico is likely to prove.

Political propagandism, except on the Roman plan, that is, by
annexation and incorporation, is as impracticable as it is
wanting in the respect that one independent people owes to
another.  The old French Jacobins tried to propagate, even with
fire and sword, their system throughout Europe, as the only
system compatible with the rights of man.  The English, since
1688, have been great political propagandists, and at one time it
seemed not unlikely that every European state would try the
experiment of a parliamentary government, composed of an
hereditary crown, an hereditary house of lords, and an elective
house of commons.  The democratic Americans are also great
political propagandists, and are ready to sympathize with any
rebellion, insurrection, or movement in behalf of democracy in
any part of the world, however mean or contemptible, fierce or
bloody it may be; but all this is as unstatesmanlike as unjust;
unstatesmanlike, for no form of government can bear
transplanting, and because every independent nation is the sole
judge of what best comports with its own interests, and its
judgment is to be respected by the citizens as well as by the
governments of other states.  Religious propagandism is a right
and a duty, because religion is catholic and of universal
obligation; and so is the jus gentium of the Romans, which is
only the application to individuals and nations of the great
principles of natural justice; but no political propagandism is
ever allowable, because no one form of government is catholic in
its nature, or of universal obligation.

Thoughtful Americans are opposed to political propagandism, and
respect the right of every nation to choose its own form of
government; but they hold that the American system is the best in
itself, and that if other nations were as enlightened as the
American, they would adopt it.  But though the American system,
rightly understood, is the best, as they hold, it is not because
other nations are less enlightened, which is by no means a fact,
that they do not adopt, or cannot bear it, but solely because
their providential constitutions do not require or admit it, and
an attempt to introduce it in any of them would prove a failure
and a grave evil.

Fit your shoes to your feet.  The law of the governmental
constitution is in that of the nation.  The constitution of the
government must grow out of the constitution of the state, and
accord with the genius, the character, the habits, customs, and
wants of the people, or it will not work well, or tend to secure
the legitimate ends of government.  The constitutions imagined by
philosophers are for Utopia, not for any actual, living,
breathing people.  You must take the state as it is, and develop
your governmental constitution from it, and harmonize it with it.
Where there is a discrepancy between the two constitutions, the
government has no support in the state, in the organic people, or
nation, and can sustain itself only by corruption or physical
force.  A government may be under the necessity of using force to
suppress an insurrection or rebellion against the national
authority, or the integrity of the national territory, but no
government that can sustain itself, not the state, only by
physical force or large standing armies, can be a good government,
or suited to the nation.  It must adopt the most stringent
repressive measures, suppress liberty of speech and of conscience,
outrage liberty in what it has the most intimate and sacred, and
practise the most revolting violence and cruelty, for it can
govern only by terror.  Such a government is unsuited to the

This is seen in all history: in the attempt of the dictator Sulla
to preserve the old patrician government against the plebeian
power that time and events had developed in the Roman state, and
which was about to gain the supremacy, as we have seen, at
Pharsalia, Philippi, and Actium; in the efforts to establish a
Jacobinical government in France in 1793; in Rome in 1848, and
the government of Victor Emmanuel in Naples in 1860 and 1861.
These efforts, proscriptions, confiscations, military executions,
assassinations, massacres, are all made in the name of liberty,
or in defence of a government supposed to guaranty the well-being
of the state and the rights of the people.  They are rendered
inevitable by the mad attempt to force on a nation a constitution
of government foreign to the national constitution, or repugnant
to the national tastes, interests, habits, convictions, or whole
interior life.  The repressive policy, adopted to a certain
extent by nearly all European governments, grows out of the
madness of a portion of the people of the several states in
seeking to force upon the nation an anti-national constitution.
The sovereigns may not be very wise, but they are wiser, more
national, more patriotic than the mad theorists who seek to
revolutionize the state and establish a government that has no
hold in the national traditions, the national character, or the
national life; and the statesman, the patriot, the true friend of
liberty sympathizes with the national authorities, not with the
mad theorists and revolutionists.

The right of a nation to change its form of government, and its
magistrates or representatives, by whatever name called, is
incontestable.  Hence the French constitution of l789, which
involved that of 1793, was not illegal, for though accompanied by
some irregularities, it was adopted by the manifest will of the
nation, and consented to by all orders in the state.  Not its
legality but its wisdom is to be questioned, together with the
false and dangerous theories of government which dictated it.
There is no compact or mutual stipulation between the state and
the government.  The state, under God, is sovereign, and ordains
and establishes the government, instead of making a contract, a
bargain, or covenant, with it.  The common democratic doctrine on
this point is right, if by people is understood the organic
people attached to a sovereign domain, not the people as
individuals or as a floating or nomadic multitude.  By people in
the political sense, Cicero, and St. Augustine after him,
understood the people as the republic, organized in reference to
the common or public good.  With this understanding, the
sovereignty persists in the people, and they retain the supreme
authority over the government.  The powers delegated are still
the powers of the sovereign delegating them, and may be modified,
altered, or revoked, as the sovereign judges proper.  The nation
does not, and cannot abdicate or delegate away its own
sovereignty, for sovereign it is, and cannot but be, so long as
it remains a nation not subjected to another nation.

By the imperial constitution of the French government, the
imperial power is vested in Napoleon III., and made hereditary in
his family, in the male line of his legitimate descendants.  This
is legal, but the nation has not parted with its sovereignty or
bound itself by contract forever to a Napoleonic dynasty.
Napoleon holds the imperial power "by the grace of God and the
will of the nation," which means simply that he holds his
authority from God, through the French people, and is bound to
exercise it according to the law of God and the national will.
The nation is as competent to revoke this constitution as the
legislature is to repeal any law it is competent to enact, and in
doing so breaks no contract, violates no right, for Napoleon and
his descendants hold their right to the imperial throne subject
to the national will from which it is derived.  In case the
nation should revoke the powers delegated, he or they would have
no more valid claim to the throne than have the Bourbons, whom
the nation has unmistakably dismissed from its service.

The only point here to be observed is, that the change must be by
the nation itself, in its sovereign capacity; not by a mob, nor
by a part of the nation conspiring, intriguing, or rebelling,
without any commission from the nation.  The first Napoleon
governed by a legal title, but he was never legally dethroned,
and the government of the Bourbons, whether of the elder branch
or the younger, was never a legal government, for the Bourbons
had lost their original rights by the election of the first
Napoleon, and never afterwards had the national will in their
favor.  The republic of 1848 was legal, in the sense that the
nation acquiesced in it as a temporary necessity; but hardly
anybody believed in it or wanted it, and the nation accepted it
as a sort of locum tenens, rather than willed or ordained it.
Its overthrow by the coup d'etat may not be legally defensible,
but the election of Napoleon III. condoned the illegality, if
there was any, and gave the emperor a legal title, that no
republican, that none but a despot or a no-government man can
dispute.  As the will of the nation, in so far as it contravenes
not the law of God or the law of nature, binds every individual
of the nation, no individual or number of individuals has, or can
have, any right to conspire against him, or to labor to oust him
from his place, till his escheat has been pronounced by the voice
of the nation.  The state, in its sovereign capacity, willing it,
is the only power competent to revoke or to change the form and
constitution of the imperial government.  The same must be said
of every nation that has a lawful government; and this, while it
preserves the national sovereignty, secures freedom of progress,
condemns all sedition, conspiracy, rebellion, revolution, as does
the Christian law itself.



Sovereignty, under God, inheres in the organic people, or the
people as the republic; and every organic people fixed to the
soil, and politically independent of every other people, is a
sovereign people, and, in the modern sense, an independent
sovereign nation.

Sovereign states may unite in an alliance, league, or
confederation, and mutually agree to exercise their sovereign
powers or a portion of them in common, through a common organ or
agency; but in this agreement they part with none of their
sovereignty, and each remains a sovereign state or nation as
before.  The common organ or agency created by the convention is
no state, is no nation, has no inherent sovereignty, and derives
all its vitality and force from the persisting sovereignty of the
states severally that have united in creating it.  The agreement
no more affects the sovereignty of the several states entering
into it, than does the appointment of an agent affect the rights
and powers of the principal.  The creature takes nothing from the
Creator, exhausts not, lessens not his creative energy, and it is
only by his retaining and continuously exerting his creative
power that the creature continues to exist.

An independent state or nation may, with or without its consent,
lose its sovereignty, but only by being merged in or subjected to
another.  Independent sovereign states cannot by convention, or
mutual agreement, form themselves into a single sovereign state,
or nation.  The compact, or agreement, is made by sovereign
states, and binds by virtue of the sovereign power of each of the
contracting parties.  To destroy that sovereign power would be to
annul the compact, and render void the agreement.  The agreement
can be valid and binding only on condition that each of the
contracting parties retains the sovereignty that rendered it
competent to enter into the compact, and states that retain
severally their sovereignty do not form a single sovereign state
or nation.  The states in convention cannot become a new and
single sovereign state, unless they lose their several
sovereignty, and merge it in the new sovereignty; but this they
cannot do by agreement, because the moment the parties to the
agreement cease to be sovereign, the agreement, on which alone
depends the new sovereign state, is vacated, in like manner as a
contract is vacated by the death of the contracting parties.

That a nation may voluntarily cede its sovereignty is frankly
admitted, but it can cede it only to something or somebody
actually existing, for to cede to nothing and not to cede is one
and the same thing.  They can part with their own sovereignty by
merging themselves in another national existence, but not by
merging themselves in nothing; and, till they have parted with
their own sovereignty, the new sovereign state does not exist.  A
prince can abdicate his power, because by abdicating he simply
gives back to the people the trust he had received from them; but
a nation cannot, save by merging itself in another.  An
independent state not merged in another, or that is not subject
to another, cannot cease to be a sovereign nation, even if it

That no sovereign state can be formed by a agreement or compact
has already been shown in the refutation of the theory of the
origin of government in convention, or the so-called social
compact.  Sovereign states are as unable to form themselves into
a single sovereign state by mutual compact as are the sovereign
individuals imagined by Rousseau.  The convention, either of
sovereign states or of sovereign individuals, with the best will
in the world, can form only a compact or agreement between
sovereigns, and an agreement or compact, whatever its terms or
conditions, is only an alliance, a league, or a confederation,
which no one can pretend is a sovereign state, nation, or

The question, then, whether the United States are a single
sovereign state or nation, or a confederacy of independent
sovereign states depends on the question whether the American
people originally existed as one people or as several independent
states.  Mr. Jefferson maintains that before the convention of
1787 they existed as several independent sovereign states, but
that since that convention, or the ratification of the
constitution it proposed, they exist as one political people in
regard to foreign nations, and several sovereign states in regard
to their internal and domestic relations.  Mr. Webster concedes
that originally the States existed as severally sovereign states,
but contends that by ratifying the constitution they have been
made one sovereign political people, state, or nation, and that
the General government is a supreme national government, though
with a reservation in favor of State rights.  But both are wrong.
If the several States of the Union were severally sovereign
states when they met in the convention, they are so now; and the
constitution is only an agreement or compact between sovereigns,
and the United States are, as Mr. Calhoun maintained, only a
confederation of sovereign states, and not a single state or one
political community.

But if the sovereignty persists in the States severally, any
State, saving its faith, may whenever it chooses to do so,
withdraw from the Union, absolve its subjects from all obligation
to the Federal authorities, and make it treason in them to adhere
to the Federal government.  Secession is, then, an incontestable
right; not a right held under the constitution or derived from
the convention but a right held prior to it, independently of it,
inherent in the State sovereignty, and inseparable from it.  The
State is bound by the constitution of the Union only while she is
in it, and is one of the States united.  In ratifying the
constitution she did not part with her sovereignty, or with any
portion of it, any more than France has parted with her
sovereignty, and ceased to be an independent sovereign nation, by
vesting the imperial power in Napoleon III. and his legitimate
heirs male.  The principal parts not with his power to his agent,
for the agent is an agent only by virtue of the continued power
of the principal.  Napoleon is emperor by the will of the French
people, and governs only by the authority of the French nation,
which is as competent to revoke the powers it has conferred on
him, when it judges proper, as it was to confer them.  The Union
exists and governs, if the States are sovereign, only by the will
of the State, and she is as competent to revoke the powers she
has delegated as she was to delegate them.  The, Union, as far as
she is concerned, is her creation, and what she is competent to
make she is competent to unmake.

In seceding or withdrawing from the Union a State may act very
unwisely, very much against her own interests and the interests
of the other members of the confederacy; but, if sovereign, she
in doing so only exercises her unquestionable right.  The other
members may regret her action, both for her sake and their own,
but they cannot accuse her or her citizens of disloyalty in
seceding, nor of rebellion, if in obedience to her authority they
defend their independence by force of arms against the Union.
Neither she nor they, on the supposition, ever owed allegiance to
the Union.  Allegiance is due from the citizen to the sovereign
state, but never from a sovereign state or from its citizens to
any other sovereign state.  While the State is in the Union the
citizen owes obedience to the United States, but only because his
State has, in ratifying the Federal constitution, enacted that it
and all laws and treaties made under it shall be law within her
territory.  The repeal by the State of the act of ratification
releases the citizen from the obligation even of obedience, and
renders it criminal for him to yield it without her permission.

It avails nothing, on the hypothesis of the sovereignty of the
States as distinguished from that of the United States, to appeal
to the language or provisions of the Federal constitution.  That
constitutes the government, not the state or the sovereign.  It
is ordained by the sovereign, and if the States were severally
independent and sovereign states, that sovereign is the States
severally, not the States united.  The constitution is law for
the citizens of a State only so long as the State remains one of
the United States.  No matter, then, how clear and express the
language, or stringent the provisions of the constitution, they
bind only the citizens of the States that enact the constitution.
The written constitution is simply a compact, and obliges only
while the compact is continued by the States, each for itself.
The sovereignty of the United States as a single or political
people must be established before any thing in the constitution
can be adduced as denying the right of secession.

That this doctrine would deprive the General government of all
right to enforce the laws of the Union on a State that secedes,
or the citizens thereof, is no doubt true; that it would weaken
the central power and make the Union a simple voluntary
association of states, no better than a rope of sand, is no less
true; but what then?  It is simply saying that a confederation is
inferior to a nation, and that a federal government lacks many of
the advantages of a national government.  Confederacies are
always weak in the centre, always lack unity, and are liable to
be dissolved by the influence of local passions, prejudices, and
interests.  But if the United States are a confederation of
states or nations, not a single nation or sovereign state, then
there is no remedy.

If the Anglo-American colonies, when their independence of Great
Britain was achieved and acknowledged, were severally sovereign
states, it has never since been in their power to unite and form
a single sovereign state, or to form themselves into one
indivisible sovereign nation.  They could unite only by mutual
agreement, which gives only a confederation, in which each
retains its own sovereignty, as two individuals, however closely
united, retain each his own individuality.  No sovereignty is of
conventional origin, and none can emerge from the convention that
did not enter it.  Either the states are one sovereign people or
they are not.  If they are not, it is undoubtedly a great
disadvantage; but a disadvantage that must be accepted, and
submitted to without a murmur.

Whether the United States are one sovereign people or only a
confederation is a question of very grave importance.  If they
are only a confederation of states--and if they ever were
severally sovereign states, only a confederation they certainly
are--state secession is an inalienable right, and the government
has had no right to make war on the secessionists as rebels, or
to treat them, when their military power is broken, as traitors,
or disloyal persons.  The honor of the government, and of the
people who have sustained it, is then deeply compromised.

What then is the fact?  Are the United States politically one
people, nation, state, or republic, or are they simply
independent sovereign states united in close and intimate
alliance, league, or federation, by a mutual pact or agreement?
Were the people of the United States who ordained and established
the written constitution one people, or were they not?  If they
were not before ordaining and establishing the government, they
are not now; for the adoption of the constitution did not and
could not make them one.  Whether they are one or many is then
simply a question of fact, to be decided by the facts in the
case, not by the theories of American statesmen, the opinion of
jurists, or even by constitutional law itself.  The old Articles
of Conferation and the later Constitution can serve here only as
historical documents.  Constitutions and laws presuppose the
existence of a national sovereign from which they emanate, and
that ordains them, for they are the formal expression of a
sovereign will.  The nation must exist as an historical fact,
prior to the possession or exercise of sovereign power, prior to
the existence of written Constitutions and laws of any kind, and
its existence must be established before they can be recognized
as having any legal force or vitality.

The existence of any nation, as an independent sovereign nation,
is a purely historical fact, for its right to exist as such is in
the simple fact that it does so exist.  A nation de facto is a
nation de jure, and when we have ascertained the fact, we have
ascertained the right.  There is no right in the case separate
from the fact--only the fact must be really a fact.  A people
hitherto a part of another people, or subject to another
sovereign, is not in fact a nation, because they have declared
themselves independent, and have organized a government, and are
engaged in what promises to be a successful struggle for
independence.  The struggle must be practically over; the former
sovereign must have practically abandoned the effort to reduce
them to submission, or to bring them back under his authority,
and if he continues it, does it as a matter of mere form; the
postulant must have proved his ability to maintain civil
government, and to fulfil within and without the obligations
which attach to every civilized nation, before it can be
recognized as an independent sovereign nation; because before it
is not a fact that it is a sovereign nation.  The prior
sovereign, when no longer willing or able to vindicate his right,
has lost it, and no one is any longer bound to respect it, for
humanity demands not martyrs to lost causes.

This doctrine may seem harsh, and untenable even, to those sickly
philanthropists who are always weeping over extinct or oppressed
nationalities; but nationality in modern civilization is a fact,
not a right antecedent to the fact.  The repugnance felt to this
assertion arises chiefly from using the word nation sometimes in
a strictly political sense, and sometimes in its original sense
of tribe, and understanding by it not simply the body politic,
but a certain relation of origin, family, kindred, blood, or
race.  But God has made of one blood, or race, all the nations of
men; and, besides, no political rights are founded by the law of
nature on relations of blood, kindred, or family.  Under the
patriarchal or tribal system, and, to some extent, under
feudalism, these relations form the basis of government, but they
are economical relations rather than civil or political, and,
under Christian and modern civilization, are restricted to the
household, are domestic relations, and enter not the state or
body politic, except by way of reminiscence or abuse.  They are
protected by the state, but do not found or constitute it.  The
vicissitudes of time, the revolutions of states and empires,
migration, conquest, and intermixture of families and races, have
rendered it impracticable, even if it were desirable, to
distribute people into nations according to their relations of
blood or descent.

There is no civilized nation now existing that has been,
developed from a common ancestor this side of Adam, and the most
mixed are the most civilized.  The nearer a nation approaches to
a primitive people of pure unmixed blood, the farther removed it
is from civilization.  All civilized nations are political
nations, and are founded in the fact, not on rights antecedent to
the fact.  A hundred or more lost nationalities went to form the
Roman empire, and who can tell us how many layers of crushed
nationalities, superposed one upon another, serve for the
foundation of the present French, English, Russian, Austrian, or
Spanish nationalities?  What other title to independence and
sovereignty, than the fact, can you plead in behalf of any
European nation?  Every one has absorbed and extinguished--no one
can say how many--nationalities, that once had as good a right to
be as it has, or can have.  Whether those nationalities have been
justly extinguished or not, is no question for the statesman; it
is the secret of Providence.  Failure in this world is not always
a proof of wrong; nor success, of right.  The good is sometimes
overborne, and the bad sometimes triumphs; but it is
consoling, and even just, to believe that the good oftener
triumphs than the bad.

In the political order, the fact, under God, precedes the law.
The nation holds not from the law, but the law holds from the
nation.  Doubtless the courts of every civilized nation recognize
and apply both the law of nature and the law of nations, but only
on the ground that they are included, or are presumed to be
included, in the national law, or jurisprudence.  Doubtless, too,
the nation holds from God, under the law of nature, but only by
virtue of the fact that it is a nation; and when it is a nation
dependent on no other, it holds from God all the rights and
powers of any independent sovereign nation.  There is no right
behind the fact needed to legalize the fact, or to put the nation
that is in fact a nation in possession of full national rights.
In the case of a new nation, or people, lately an integral part
of another people, or subject to another people@ the right of the
prior sovereign must be extinguished indeed, but the extinction
of that right is necessary to complete the fact, which otherwise
would be only an initial, inchoate fact, not a fait accompli.
But that right ceases when its claimant, willingly or
unwillingly, formally or virtually, abandons it; and he does so
when he practically abandons the struggle, and shows no ability
or intention of soon renewing it with any reasonable prospect of

The notion of right, independent of the fact as applied to
sovereignty, is founded in error.  Empty titles to states and
kingdoms are of no validity.  The sovereignty is, under God, in
the nation and the title and the possession are inseparable.  The
title of the Palaeologi to the Roman Empire of the East, of the
king of Sicily, the king of Sardinia, or the king of Spain--for
they are all claimants--to the kingdom of Jerusalem founded by
Godfrey and his crusaders, of the Stuarts to the thrones of
England, Ireland, and Scotland, or of the Bourbons to the throne
of France, are vacated and not worth the parchment on which they
are engrossed.  The contrary opinion, so generally entertained,
belongs to barbarism, not to civilization.  It is in modern
society a relic of feudalism, which places the state in the
government, and makes the government a private estate--a private,
and not a public right--a right to govern the public, not a right
to govern held from or by the public.

The proprietor may be dispossessed in fact of his estate by
violence, by illegal or unjust means, without losing his right,
and another may usurp it, occupy it, and possess it in fact
without acquiring any right or legal title to it.  The man who
holds the legal title has the right to oust him and re-enter upon
his estate whenever able to do so.  Here, in the economical
order, the fact and the right are distinguishable, and the actual
occupant may be required to show his title-deeds.  Holding
sovereignty to be a private estate, the feudal lawyers very
properly distinguish between governments de facto and governments
de jure, and argue very logically that violent dispossession of a
prince does not invalidate his title.  But sovereignty, it has
been shown, is not in the government, but in the state, and the
state is inseparable from the public domain.  The people
organized and held by the domain or national territory, are under
God the sovereign nation, and remain so as long as the nation
subsists without subjection to another.  The government, as
distinguished from the state or nation, has only a delegated
authority, governs only by a commission from the nation.  The
revocation of the commission vacates, its title and extinguishes
its rights.  The nation is always sovereign, and every organic
people fixed to the soil, and actually independent of every
other, is a nation.  There can then be no independent nation de
facto that is not an independent nation de jure, nor de jure that
is not de facto.  The moment a people cease to be an independent
nation in fact, they cease to be sovereign, and the moment they
become in fact an independent nation, they are so of right.
Hence in the political order the fact and the right are born and
expire together; and when it is proved that a people, are in fact
an independent nation, there is no question to be asked as to
their right to be such nation.

In the case of the United States there is only the question of
fact.  If they are in fact one people they are so in right,
whatever the opinions and theories of statesmen, or even the
decisions of courts; for the courts hold from the national
authority, and the theories and opinions of statesmen may be
erroneous.  Certain it is that the States in the American Union
have never existed and acted as severally sovereign states.
Prior to independence, they were colonies under the sovereignty
of Great Britain, and since independence they have existed and
acted only as states united.  The colonists, before separation
and independence, were British subjects, and whatever rights the
colonies had they held by charter or concession from the British
crown.  The colonists never pretended to be other than British
subjects, and the alleged ground of their complaint against the
mother country was not that she had violated their natural rights
as men, but their rights as British subjects--rights, as
contended by the colonists, secured by the English constitution
to all Englishmen or British su6jects.  The denial to them of
these common rights of Englishmen they called tyranny, and they
defended themselves in throwing off their allegiance to George III.,
on the ground that he had, in their regard, become a tyrant, and
the tyranny of the prince absolves the subject from his

In the Declaration of Independence they declared themselves
independent states indeed, but not severally independent.  The
declaration was not made by the states severally, but by the
states jointly, as the United States.  They unitedly declared
their independence; they carried on the war for independence, won
it, and were acknowledged by foreign powers and by the mother
country as the United States, not as severally independent
sovereign states.  Severally they have never exercised the full
powers of sovereign states; they have had no flag--symbol of
sovereignty--recognized by foreign powers, have made no foreign
treaties, held no foreign relations, had no commerce foreign or
interstate, coined no money, entered into no alliances or
confederacies with foreign states or with one another, and in
several respects have been more restricted in their powers in the
Union than they were as British colonies.

Colonies are initial or inchoate states, and become complete
states by declaring and winning their independence; and if the
English colonies, now the United States, had separately declared
and won their independence, they would unquestionably have become
separately independent states, each invested by the law of nature
with all the rights and powers of a sovereign nation.  But they
did not do this.  They declared and won their independence
jointly, and have since existed and exercised sovereignty only as
states united, or the United States, that is, states sovereign in
their union, but not in their separation.  This is of itself
decisive of the whole question.

But the colonists have not only never exercised the full powers
of sovereignty save as citizens of states united, therefore as
one people, but they were, so far as a people at all, one people
even before independence.  The colonies were all erected and
endowed with their rights and powers by one and the same national
authority, and the colonists were subjects of one and the same
national sovereign.  Mr. Quincy Adams, who almost alone among our
prominent statesmen maintains the unity of the colonial people,
adds indeed to their subjection to the same sovereign authority,
community of origin, of language, manners, customs, and law.  All
these, except the last, or common law, may exist without national
unity in the modern political sense of the term nation.  The
English common law was recognized by the colonial courts, and in
force in all the colonies, not by virtue of colonial legislation,
but by virtue of English authority, as expressed in English
jurisprudence.  The colonists were under the Common Law, because
they were Englishmen, and subjects of the English sovereign.
This proves that they were really one people with the English
people, though existing in a state of colonial dependence, and
not a separate people having nothing politically in common with
them but in the accident of having the same royal person for
their king.  The union with the mother country was national, not
personal, as was the union existing between England and Hanover,
or that still existing between the empire of Austria, formerly
Germany, and the kingdom of Hungary; and hence the British
parliament claimed, and not illegally, the right to tax the
colonies for the support of the empire, and to bind them in all
cases whatsoever--a claim the colonies themselves admitted in
principle by recognizing and observing the British navigation
laws.  The people of the several colonies being really one people
before independence, in the sovereignty of the mother country,
must be so still, unless they have since, by some valid act,
divided themselves or been divided into separate and independent

The king, say the jurists, never dies, and the heralds cry, "The
king is dead!  Live the king!" Sovereignty never lapses, is never
in abeyance, and the moment it ceases in one people it is renewed
in another.  The British sovereignty ceased in the colonies with
independence, and the American took its place.  Did the
sovereignty, which before independence was in Great Britain, pass
from Great Britain to the States severally, or to the States
united?  It might have passed to them severally, but did it?
There is no question of law or antecedent right in the case, but
a simple question of fact, and the fact is determined by
determining who it was that assumed it, exercised it, and has
continued to exercise it.  As to this there is no doubt.  The
sovereignty as a fact has been assumed and exercised by the
United States, the States united, and never by the States
separately or severally.  Then as a fact the sovereignty that
before independence was in Great Britain, passed, on independence
to the States united, and reappears in all its vigor in the
United States, the only successor to Great Britain known to or
recognized by the civilized world.

As the colonial people were, though distributed in distinct
colonies, still one people, the people of the United States,
though distributed into distinct and mutually independent States,
are yet one sovereign people, therefore a sovereign state or
nation, and not a simple league or confederacy of nations.

There is no doubt that all the powers exercised by the General
Government, though embracing all foreign relations and all
general interests and relations of all the States, might have
been exercised by it under the authority of a mutual compact of
the several States, and practically the difference between the
compact theory and the national view would be very little, unless
in cases like that of secession.  On the supposition that the
American people are one political people, the government would
have the right to treat secession, in the sense in which the
seceders understand it, as rebellion, and to suppress it by
employing all the physical force at its command; but on the
compact theory it would have no such right.  But the question now
under discussion turns simply on what has been and is the
historical fact.  Before the States could enter into the compact
and delegate sovereign powers to the Union, they must have
severally possessed them.  It is historically certain that they
did not possess them before independence; they did not obtain
them by independence, for they did not severally succeed to the
British sovereignty, to which they succeeded only as States
united.  When, then, and by what means did they or could they
become severally sovereign States?  The United States having
succeeded to the British sovereignty in the Anglo-American
colonies, they came into possession of full national sovereignty,
and have alone held and exercised it ever since independence
became a fact.  The States severally succeeding only to the
colonies, never held, and have never been competent to delegate
sovereign powers.

The old Articles of Confederation, it is conceded, were framed on
the assumption that the States are severally sovereign; but the
several States, at the same time, were regarded as forming one
nation, and, though divided into separate States, the people were
regarded as one people.  The Legislature of New York, as early as
1782, calls for an essential change In the Articles of
Confederation, as proved to be inadequate to secure the peace,
security, and prosperity of "the nation."  All the proceedings
that preceded and led to the call of the convention of 1781 were
based on the assumption that the people of the United States were
one people.  The States were called united, not confederated
States, even in the very Articles of Confederation themselves,
and officially the United States were called "the Union."  That
the united colonies by independence became united States, and
formed really one and only one people, was in the thought, the
belief, the instinct of the great mass of the people.  They acted
as they existed through State as they had previously acted
through colonial organization, for in throwing off the British
authority there was no other organization through which they
could act.  The States, or people of the States, severally sent
their delegates to the Congress of the United States, and these
delegates adopted the rule of voting in Congress by States, a
rule that might be revived without detriment to national unity.
Nothing was more natural, then, than that Congress, composed of
delegates elected or appointed by States, should draw up articles
of confederation rather than articles of union, in order, if for
no other reason, to conciliate the smaller States, and to prevent
their jealousy of the larger States such as Virginia,
Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.

Moreover, the Articles of Confederation were drawn up and adopted
during the transition from colonial dependence to national
independence.  Independence was declared in 1776, but it was not
a fact till l782, when the preliminary treaty acknowledging it
was signed at Paris.  Till then the United States were not an
independent nation; they were only a people struggling to become
an independent nation.  Prior to that preliminary treaty, neither
the Union nor the States severally were sovereign.  The articles
were agreed on in Congress in 1777, but they were not ratified by
all the States till May, 1781, and in 1782 the movement was
commenced in the Legislature of New York for their amendment.
Till the organization under the constitution ordained by the
people of the United States in l787, and which went into
operation in 1789, the United States had in reality only a
provisional government, and it was not till then that the
national government was definitively organized, and the line of
demarcation between the General Government and the particular
State governments was fixed.

The Confederation was an acknowledged failure, and was rejected
by the American people, precisely because it was not in harmony
with the unwritten or Providential constitution of the nation;
and it was not in harmony with that constitution precisely
because it recognized the States as severally sovereign, and
substituted confederation for union.  The failure of
confederation and the success of union are ample proofs of the
unity of the American nation.  The instinct of unity rejected
State sovereignty in 1787 as it did in 1861.  The first and the
last attempt to establish State sovereignty have failed, and the
failure vindicates the fact that the sovereignty is in the States
united, not in the States severally.



The constitution of the United States is twofold, written and
unwritten, the constitution of the people and the constitution of
the government.

The written constitution is simply a law ordained by the nation
or people instituting and organizing the government; the
unwritten constitution is the real or actual constitution of the
people as a state or sovereign community, and constituting them
such or such a state.  It is Providential, not made by the
nation, but born with it.  The written constitution is made and
ordained by the sovereign power, and presupposes that power as
already existing and constituted.

The unwritten or Providential constitution of the United States
is peculiar, and difficult to understand, because incapable of
being fully explained by analogies borrowed from any other state
historically known, or described by political philosophers.  It
belongs	to the Graeco-Roman family, and is republican as
distinguished from despotic constitutions, but it comes under the
head of neither monarchical nor aristocratic, neither democratic
nor mixed constitutions, and creates a state which is neither a
centralized state nor a confederacy.  The difficulty of
understanding it is augmented by the peculiar use under it of the
word state, which does not in the American system mean a
sovereign community or political society complete in itself, like
France, Spain, or Prussia, nor yet a political society
subordinate to another political society and dependent on it.
The American States are all sovereign States united, but,
disunited, are no States at all.  The rights and powers of the
States are not derived from the United States, nor the rights and
powers of the United States derived from the States.

The simple fact is, that the political or sovereign people of the
United States exists as united States, and only as united States.
The Union and the States are coeval, born together, and can exist
only together.  Separation is dissolution--the death of both.
The United States are a state, a single sovereign state; but this
single sovereign state consists in the union and solidarity of
States instead of individuals.  The Union is in each of the
States, and each of the States is in the Union.

It is necessary to distinguish in the outset between the United
States and the government of the United States, or the so-called
Federal government, which the convention refused, contrary to its
first intention to call the national government.  That government
is not a supreme national government, representing all the powers
of the United States, but a limited government, restricted by its
constitution to certain specific relations and interests.  The
United States are anterior to that government, and the first
question to be settled relates to their internal and inherent
Providential constitution as one political people or sovereign
state.  The written constitution, in its preamble, professes to
be ordained by "We, the people of the United States."  Who are
this people?  How are they constituted, or what the mode and
conditions of their political existence?  Are they the people of
the States severally?  No; for they call themselves the people of
the United States.  Are they a national people, really existing
outside and independently of their organization into distinct and
mutually independent States?  No; for they define themselves to
be the people of the United States.  If they had considered
themselves existing as States only, they would have said "We, the
States," and if independently of State organization, they would
have said "We, the people," do ordain, &c.

The key to the mystery is precisely in this appellation United
States, which is not the name of the country, for its distinctive
name is America, but a name expressive of its political
organization.  In it there are no sovereign people without
States, and no States without union, or that are not united
States.  The term united is not part of a proper name, but is
simply an adjective qualifying States, and has its full and
proper sense.  Hence while the sovereignty is and must be in the
States, it is in the States united, not in the States severally,
precisely as we have found the sovereignty of the people is in
the people collectively or as society, not in the people
individually.  The life is in the body, not in the members,
though the body could not exist if it had no members; so the
sovereignty is in the Union, not in the States severally; but
there could be no sovereign union without the States, for there
is no union where there is nothing united.

This is not a theory of the constitution, but the constitutional
fact itself.  It is the simple historical fact that precedes the
law and constitutes the law-making power.  The people of the
United States are one people, as has already been proved: they
were one people, as far as a people at all, prior to
independence, because under the same Common Law and subject to
the same sovereign, and have been so since, for as united States
they gained their independence and took their place among
sovereign nations, and as united States they have possessed and
still possess the government.  As their existence before
independence in distinct colonies did not prevent their unity,
so their existence since in distinct States does not hinder them
from being one people.  The States severally simply continue the
colonial organizations, and united they hold the sovereignty that
was originally in the mother country.  But if one people, they
are one people existing in distinct State organizations, as
before independence they were one people existing in distinct
colonial organizations.  This is the original, the unwritten, and
Providential constitution of the people of the United States.

This constitution is not conventional, for it existed before the
people met or could meet in convention.  They have not, as an
independent sovereign people, either established their union, or
distributed themselves into distinct and mutually independent
States.  The union and the distribution, the unity and the
distinction, are both original in their constitution, and they
were born United States, as much and as truly so as the son of a
citizen is born a citizen, or as every one born at all is born a
member of society, the family, the tribe, or the nation.  The
Union and the States were born together, are inseparable in their
constitution, have lived and grown up together; no serious
attempt till the late secession movement has been made to
separate them; and the secession movement, to all persons who
knew not the real constitution of the United States, appeared
sure to succeed, and in fact would have succeeded if, as the
secessionists pretended, the Union had been only a confederacy,
and the States had been held together only by a conventional
compact, and not by a real and living bond of unity.  The popular
instinct of national unity, which seemed so weak, proved to be
strong enough to defeat the secession forces, to trample out the
confederacy, and maintain the unity of the nation and the
integrity of its domain.

The people can act only as they exist, as they are, not as they
are not.  Existing originally only as distributed in distinct and
mutually independent colonies, they could at first act only
through their colonial organizations, and afterward only through
their State organizations.  The colonial people met in
convention, in the person of representatives chosen by colonies,
and after independence in the person of representatives chosen by
States.  Not existing outside of the colonial or State
organizations, they could not act outside or independently of
them.  They chose their representatives or delegates by colonies
or States, and called at first their convention a Congress; but
by an instinct surer than their deliberate wisdom, they called it
not the Congress of the confederate, but of the United States,
asserting constitutional unity as well as constitutional
multiplicity.  It is true, in their first attempt to organize a
general government, they called the constitution they devised
Articles of Confederation, but only because they had not attained
to full consciousness of themselves; and that they really meant
union, not confederation, is evident from their adopting, as the
official style of the nation or new power, united, not
confederate States.

That the sovereignty vested in the States united, and was
represented in some sort by the Congress, is evident from the
fact that the several States, when they wished to adopt State
constitutions in place of colonial charters, felt not at liberty
to do so without asking and obtaining the permission of Congress,
as the elder Adams informs us in his Diary, kept at the time;
that is, they asked and obtained the equivalent of what has
since, in the case of organizing new States, been called an
"enabling act."  This proves that the States did not regard
themselves as sovereign States out of the Union, but as
completely sovereign only in it.  And this again proves that the
Articles of Confederation did not correspond to the real, living
constitution of the people.  Even then it was felt that the
organization and constitution of a State in the Union could be
regularly effected only by the permission of Congress; and no
Territory can, it is well known, regularly organize itself as a
State, and adopt a State constitution, without an enabling act by
Congress, or its equivalent.

New States, indeed, have been organized and been admitted into
the Union without an enabling act of Congress; but the case of
Kansas, if nothing else, proves that the proceeding is irregular,
illicit, invalid, and dangerous.  Congress, of course, can
condone the wrong and validate the act, but it were better that
the act should be validly done, and that there should be no wrong
to condone.  Territories have organized as States, adopted State
constitutions, and instituted State governments under what has
been called "squatter sovereignty;" but such sovereignty has no
existence, because sovereignty is attached to the domain; and the
domain is in the United States.  It is the offspring of that
false view of popular sovereignty which places it in the people
personally or generically, irrespective of the domain, which
makes sovereignty a purely personal right, not a right fixed to
the soil, and is simply a return to the barbaric constitution of
power.  In all civilized nations, sovereignty is inseparable from
the state, and the state is inseparable from the domain.  The
will of the people, unless they are a state, is no law, has no
force, binds nobody, and justifies no act.

The regular process of forming and admitting new States explains
admirably the mutual relation of the Union and the several
States.  The people of a Territory belonging to the United States
or included in the public domain not yet erected into a State and
admitted into the Union, are subjects of the United States,
without any political rights whatever, and, though a part of the
population, are no part of the sovereign people of the United
States.  They become a part of that people, with political rights
and franchises, only when they are erected into a State, and
admitted into the Union as one of the United States.  They may
meet in convention, draw up and adopt a constitution declaring or
assuming them to be a State, elect State officers, senators, and
representatives in the State legislature, and representatives and
senators in Congress, but they are not yet a State, and are, as
before, under the Territorial government established by the
General Government.  It does not exist as a State till recognized
by Congress and admitted into the Union.  The existence of the
State, and the rights and powers of the people within the State,
depend on their being a State in the Union, or a State united.
Hence a State erected on the national domain, but itself outside
of the Union, is not an independent foreign State, but simply no
State at all, in any sense of the term.  As there is no union
outside of the States, so is there no State outside of the Union;
and to be a citizen either of a State or of the United States, it
is necessary to be a citizen of a State, and of a State in the
Union.  The inhabitants of Territories not yet erected into
States are subjects, not citizens--that is, not citizens with
political rights.  The sovereign people are not the people
outside of State organization, nor the people of the States
severally, but the distinct people of the several States united,
and therefore most appropriately called the people of the United

This is the peculiarity of the American constitution and is
substantially the very peculiarity noted and dwelt upon by
Mr. Madison in his masterly letter to Edward Everett, published
in the "North American Review," October, 1830.

"I In order to understand the true character of the constitution
of the United States," says Mr. Madison, "the error, not
uncommon, must be avoided of viewing it through the medium either
of a consolidated government or of a confederated government,
whilst it is neither the one nor the other, but a mixture of
both.  And having, in no model, the similitudes and analogies
applicable to other systems of government, it must, more than any
other, be its own interpreter, according to its text and the
facts in the case.

"From these it will be seen that the characteristic peculiarities
of the constitution are: 1. The mode of its formation. 2. The
division of the supreme powers of government between the States
in their united capacity and the States in their individual

"1. It was formed not by the governments of the component States,
as the Federal Government, for which it was substituted, was
formed; nor was it formed by a majority of the people of the
United States as a single community, in the manner of a
consolidated government.  It was formed by the States; that is,
by the people in each of the States, acting in their highest
sovereign capacity, and formed consequently by the same authority
which formed the State constitution.

"Being thus derived from the same source as the constitutions of
the States, it has within each State the same authority as the
constitution of the State, and is as much a constitution in the
strict sense of the term, within its prescribed sphere, as the
constitutions of the States are within their respective spheres;
but with this obvious and essential difference, that, being a
compact among the States in their highest capacity, and
constituting the people thereof one people for certain purposes,
it cannot be altered or annulled at the will of the States
individually, as the constitution of a State may be at its
individual will.

"2. And that it divides the supreme powers of government between
the government of the United States and the governments of the
individual States, is stamped on the face of the instrument; the
powers of war and of taxation, of commerce and treaties, and
other enumerated powers vested in the government of the United
States, are of high and sovereign a character as any of the
powers reserved to the State governments."

Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Webster, Chancellor Kent, Judge Story, and
nearly all the old Republicans, and even the old Federalists, on
the question as to what is the actual constitution of the United
States, took substantially the same view; but they all, as well
as Mr. Madison himself, speak of the written constitution, which
on their theory has and can have only a conventional value.
Mr. Madison evidently recognizes no constitution of the people
prior to the written constitution, from which the written
constitution, or the constitution of the government, derives all
its force and vitality.  The organization of the American people,
which he knew well--no man better,--and which he so justly
characterizes, he supposes to have been deliberately formed by
the people themselves, through the convention--not given them by
Providence as their original and inherent constitution.  But this
was merely the effect of the general doctrine which he had
adopted, in common with nearly all his contemporaries, of the
origin of the state in compact, and may be eliminated from his
view of what the constitution actually is, without affecting that
view itself.

Mr. Madison lays great stress on the fact that though the
constitution of the Union was formed by the States, it was
formed, not by the governments, but by the people of the several
States; but this makes no essential difference, if the people are
the people of the States, and sovereign in their severalty, and
not in their union.  Had it been formed by the State governments
with the acquiescence of the people, it would have rested on as
high authority as if formed by the people of the State in
convention assembled.  The only difference is, that if the State
ratified it by the legislature, she could abrogate it by the
legislature; if in convention, she could abrogate it only in
convention.  Mr. Madison, following Mr. Jefferson, supposes the
constitution makes the people of the several States one people
for certain specific purposes, and leaves it to be supposed that
in regard to all other matters, or in all other relations, they
are sovereign; and hence he makes the government a mixture of a
consolidated government and a confederated government, but
neither the one nor the other exclusively.  Say the people of the
United States were one people in all respects, and under a
government which is neither a consolidated nor a confederated
government, nor yet a mixture of the two, but a government in
which the powers of government are divided between a general
government and particular governments, each emanating from the
same source, and you will have the simple fact, and precisely
what Mr. Madison means, when is eliminated what is derived from
his theory of the origin of government in compact.  It is this
theory of the conventional origin of the constitution, and which
excludes the Providential or real constitution of the people,
that has misled him and so many other eminent statesmen and
constitutional lawyers.

The convention did not create the Union or unite the States, for
it was assembled by the authority of the United States who were
present in it.  The United States or Union existed before the
convention, as the convention itself affirms in declaring one of
its purposes to be "to provide for a more perfect union."  If
there had been no union, it could not and would not have spoken
of providing for a more perfect union, but would have stated its
purpose to be to create or form a union.  The convention did not
form the Union, nor in fact provide for a more perfect union; it
simply provided for the more perfect representation or expression
in the General government of the Union already existing.  The
convention, in common with the statesmen at the time, recognized
no unwritten or Providential constitution of a people, and
regarded the constitution of government as the constitution of
the state, and consequently sometimes put the state for the
government.  In intepreting its language, it is necessary to
distinguish between its act and its theory.  Its act is law, its
theory is not.  The convention met, among other things, to
organize a government which should more perfectly represent the
union of the States than did the government created by the
Articles of Confederation.

The convention, certainly, professes to grant or concede powers
to the United States, and to prohibit powers to the States; but
it simply puts the state for the government.  The powers of the
United States are, indeed, grants or trusts, but from God through
the law of nature, and are grants, trusts, or powers always
conceded to every nation or sovereign people.  But none of them
are grants from the convention.  The powers the convention grants
or concedes to the United States are powers granted or conceded
by the United States to the General government it assembled to
organize and establish, which, as it extends over the whole
population and territory of the Union, and, as the interests it
is charged with relate to all the States in common, or to the
people as a whole, is with no great impropriety called the
government of the United States, in contradistinction from the
State governments, which have each only a local jurisdiction.
But the more exact term is, for the one, the general government,
and for the others, particular governments, as having charge only
of the particular interests of the State; and the two together
constitute the government of the United States, or the complete
national government; for neither the General government nor the
State government is complete in itself.  The convention developed
a general government, and prescribed its powers, and fixed their
limits and extent, as well as the bounds of the powers of the
State or particular governments; but they are the United States
assembled in convention that do all this, and, therefore,
strictly speaking, no powers are conceded to the United States
that they did not previously possess.  The convention itself, in
the constitution it ordained, defines very clearly from whom the
General government holds its powers.  It holds them, as we I
have seen, from "We, the people of the United States;" not we,
the people of the States severally, but of the States united.  If
it had meant the States severally, it would have said, We, the
States; if it had recognized and meant the population of the
country irrespective of its organization into particular States,
it would have said simply, We, the people.  By saying "We, the
people of the United States," it placed the sovereign power where
it is, in the people of the States united.

The convention ordains that the powers not conceded to the
General government or prohibited to the particular governments,
"are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." But
the powers reserved to the States severally are reserved by order
of the United States, and the powers not so reserved are reserved
to the people.  What people?  The first thought is that they are
the people of the States severally; for the constitution
understands by people the state as distinguished from the state
government; but if this had been its meaning in this place, it
would have said, "are reserved to the States respectively, or to
the people" thereof.  As it does not say so, and does not define
the people it means, it is necessary to understand by them the
people called in the preamble "the people of the United States."
This is confirmed by the authority reserved to amend the
constitution, which certainly is not reserved to the States
severally, but necessarily to the power that ordains the
constitution--"We, the people of the United States."  No power
except that which ordains is or can be competent to amend a
constitution of government.  The particular mode prescribed by
the convention in which the constitution of the government may be
amended has no bearing on the present argument, because it is
prescribed by the States united, not severally, and the power to
amend is evidently reserved, not indeed to the General
government, but to the United States; for the ratification by any
State or Territory not in the Union counts for nothing.  The
States united, can, in the way prescribed, give more or less
power to the General government, and reserve more or less power
to the States individually.  The so-called reserved powers are
really reserved to the people of the United States, who can make
such disposition of them as seems to them good.

The conclusion, then, that the General government holds from the
States united, not from the States severally, is not invalidated
by the fact that its constitution was completed only by the
ratification of the States in their individual capacity.  The
ratification was made necessary by the will of the people in
convention assembled; but the convention was competent to
complete it and put it in force without that ratification, had it
so willed.  The general practice under the American system is for
the convention to submit the constitution it has agreed on to the
people, to be accepted or rejected by a plebiscitum; but such
submission, though it may be wise and prudent, is not necessary.
The convention is held to be the convention of the people, and to
be clothed with the full authority of the sovereign people, and
it is in this that it differs from the congress or the
legislature.  It is not a congress of delegates or ministers who
are obliged to act under instructions, to report their acts to
their respective sovereigns for approval or rejection; it is
itself sovereign, and may do whatever the people themselves can
do.  There is no necessity for it to appeal to a plebiscitum to
complete its acts.  That the convention, on the score of
prudence, is wise in doing so, nobody questions; but the
convention is always competent, if it chooses, to ordain the
constitution without appeal.  The power competent to ordain the
constitution is always competent to change, modify, or amend it.
That amendments to the constitution of the government can be
adopted only by being proposed by a convention of all the States
in the Union, or by being proposed, by a two-thirds vote of both
houses of Congress, and ratified by three-fourths of the States,
is simply a conventional ordinance, which the convention can
change at its pleasure.  It proves nothing as it stands but the
will of the convention.

The term ratification itself, because the term commonly used in
reference to treaties between sovereign powers, has been seized
on, since sometimes used by the convention, to prove that the
constitution emanates from the States severally, and is a treaty
or compact between sovereign states, not an organic or
fundamental law ordained by a single sovereign will; but this
argument is inadmissible, because, as we have just seen, the
convention is competent to ordain the constitution without
submitting it for ratification, and because the convention uses
sometimes the word adopt instead of the word ratify.  That the
framers of the constitution held it to be a treaty, compact, or
agreement among sovereigns, there is no doubt, for they so held
in regard to all constitution of government; and there is just as
little doubt that they intended to constitute, and firmly
believed that they were constituting a real government.
Mr. Madison's authority on this point is conclusive.  They
unquestionably regarded the States, prior to the ratification of
the constitution they proposed, as severally sovereign, as they
were declared to be by the old Articles of Confederation, but
they also believed that all individuals are sovereign prior to
the formation of civil society.  Yet very few, if any, of them
believed that they remained sovereign after the adoption of the
constitution; and we may attribute to their belief in the
conventional origin of all government,--the almost universal
belief of the time among political philosophers,--the little
account which they made of the historical facts that prove that
the people of the United States were always one people, and that
the States never existed as severally sovereign states.

The political philosophers of the present day do not generally
accept the theory held by our fathers, and it has been shown in
these pages to be unsound and incompatible with the essential
nature of government.  The statesmen of the eighteenth century
believed that the state is derived from the people individually,
and held that sovereignty is created by the people in convention.
The rights and powers of the state, they held, were made up of
the rights held by individuals under the law of nature, and which
the individuals surrendered to civil society on its formation.
So they supposed that independent sovereign states might meet in
convention, mutually agree to surrender a portion of their
rights, organize their surrendered rights into a real government,
and leave the convention shorn, at least, of a portion of their
sovereignty.  This doctrine crops out everywhere in the writings
of the elder Adams, and is set forth with rare ability by
Mr. Webster, in his great speech in the Senate against the State
sovereignty doctrine of General Hayne and Mr. Calhoun, which won
for him the honorable title of Expounder of the Constitution--and
expound it he, no doubt, did in the sense of its framers.  He
boldly concedes that prior to the adoption of the constitution,
the people of the United States were severally sovereign states,
but by the constitution they were made one sovereign political
community or people, and that the States, though retaining
certain rights, have merged their several sovereignty in the

The subtle mind of Mr. Calhoun, who did not hold that a state can
originate in compact, proved to Mr. Webster that his theory could
not stand; that, if the States went into the convention sovereign
States, they came out of it sovereign States; and that the
constitution they formed could from the nature of the case be
only a treaty, compact, or agreement between sovereigns.  It
could create an agency, but not a government.  The sovereign
States could only delegate the exercise of their sovereign
powers, not the sovereign powers themselves.  The States could
agree to exercise certain specific powers of sovereignty only in
common, but the force and vitality of the agreement depended on
the States, parties to the agreement retaining respectively their
sovereignty.  Hence, he maintained that sovereignty, after as
before the convention, vested in the States severally.  Hence
State sovereignty, and hence his doctrine that in all cases that
cannot come properly before the Supreme Court of the United
States for decision, each State is free to decide for itself, on
which he based the right of nullification, or the State veto of
acts of Congress whose constitutionality the State denies.
Mr. Calhoun was himself no secessionist, but he laid down the
premises from which secession is the logical deduction; and large
numbers of young men, among the most open, the most generous, and
the most patriotic in the country, adopted his premises, without
being aware of this fact any more than he himself was, and who
have been behind none in their loyalty to the Union, and in their
sacrifices to sustain it, in the late rebellion.

The formidable rebellion which is now happily suppressed, and
which attempted to justify itself by the doctrine of State
sovereignty, has thrown, in many minds, new light on the subject,
and led them to re-examine the historical facts in the case from
a different point of view, to see if Mr. Calhoun's theory is not
as unfounded as be had proved Mr. Webster's theory to be.  The
facts in the case really sustain neither, and both failed to see
it: Mr. Calhoun because be had purposes to accomplish which
demanded State sovereignty, and Mr. Webster because he examined
them in the distorting medium of the theory or understanding of
the statesmen of the eighteenth century.  The civil war has
vindicated the Union, and defeated the armed forces of the State
sovereignty men; but it has not refuted their doctrine, and as
far as it has had any effect, it has strengthened the tendency to
consolidation or centralism.

But the philosophy, the theory of government, the understanding
of the framers of the constitution, must be considered, if the
expression will be allowed, as obiter dicta, and be judged on
their merits.  What binds is the thing done, not the theory on
which it was done, or on which the actors explained their work
either to themselves or to others.  Their political philosophy,
or their political theory, may sometimes affect the phraseology
they adopt, but forms no rule for interpreting their work.  Their
work was inspired by and accords with the historical facts in the
case, and is authorized and explained by them.  The American
people were not made one people by the written constitution, as
Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Madison, Mr. Webster, and so many others
supposed, but were made so by the unwritten constitution, born
with and inherent in them.



Providence, or God operating through historical facts,
constituted the American people one political or sovereign
people, existing and acting in particular communities,
organizations, called states.  This one people organized as
states, meet in convention, frame and ordain the constitution of
government, or institute a general government in place of the
Continental Congress; and the same people, in their respective
State organizations, meet in convention in each State, and frame
and ordain a particular government for the State individually,
which, in union with the General government, constitutes the
complete and supreme government within the States, as the General
government, in union with all the particular governments,
constitutes the complete and supreme government of the nation or
whole country.  This is clearly the view taken by Mr. Madison in
his letter to Mr. Everett, when freed from his theory of the
origin of government in compact.

The constitution of the people as one people, and the
distinction at the same time of this one people into particular
States, precedes the convention, and is the unwritten
constitution, the Providential constitution, of the American
people or civil society, as distinguished from the constitution
of the government, which, whether general or particular, is the
ordination of civil society itself.  The unwritten constitution
is the creation or constitution of the sovereign, and the
sovereign providentially constituted constitutes in turn the
government, which is not sovereign, but is clothed with just so
much and just so little authority as the sovereign wills or

The sovereign in the republican order is the organic people, or
State, and is with us the United States, for with us the organic
people exist only as organized into States united, which in their
union form one compact and indissoluble whole.  That is to say,
the organic American people do not exist as a consolidated people
or state; they exist only as organized into distinct but
inseparable States.  Each State is a living member of the one
body, and derives its life from its union with the body, so that
the American state is one body with many members; and the
members, instead of being simply individuals, are States, or
individuals organized into States.  The body consists of many
members, and is one body, because the members are all members of
it, and members one of another.  It does not exist as separate
or distinct from the members, but exists in their solidarity or
membership one of another.  There is no sovereign people or
existence of the United States distinguishable from the people
or existence of the particular States united.  The people of the
United States, the state called the United States, are the
people of the particular States united.  The solidarity of the
members constitutes the unity of the body.  The difference
between this view and Mr. Madison's is, that while his view
supposes the solidarity to be conventional, originating and
existing in compact, or agreement, this supposes it to be real,
living, and prior to the convention, as much the work of
Providence as the existence in the human body of the living
solidarity of its members.  One law, one life, circulates
through all the members, constituting them a living organism,
binding them in living union, all to each and each to all.

Such is the sovereign people, and so far the original unwritten
constitution.  The sovereign, in order to live and act, must
have an organ through which be expresses his will.  This organ
under the American system, is primarily the Convention.  The
convention is the supreme political body, the concrete sovereign
authority, and exercises practically the whole sovereign power
of the people.  The convention persists always, although not in
permanent session.  It can at any time be convened by the
ordinary authority of the government, or, in its failure, by a

Next follows the Government created and constituted by the
convention.  The government is constituted in such manner, and
has such and only such powers, as the convention ordains.  The
government has, in the strict sense, no political authority
under the American system, which separates the government from
the convention.  All political questions proper, such as the
elective franchise, eligibility, the constitution of the several
departments of government, as the legislative, the judicial, and
the executive, changing, altering, or amending the constitution
of government, enlarging, or contracting its powers, in a word,
all those questions that arise on which it is necessary to take
the immediate orders of the sovereign, belong not to the
government, but to the convention; and where the will of the
sovereign is not sufficiently expressed in the constitution, a
new appeal to the convention is necessary, and may always be had.
The constitution of Great Britain makes no distinction between
the convention and the government.  Theoretically the
constitution of Great Britain is feudal, and there is, properly
speaking, no British state; there are only the estates, king,
lords, and commons, and these three estates constitute the
Parliament, which is held to be omnipotent; that is, has the
plenitude of political sovereignty.  The British Parliament,
composed of the three estates, possesses in itself all the
powers of the convention in the American constitution, and is at
once the convention and the government.  The imperial
constitution of France recognizes no convention, but clothes the
senate with certain political functions, which, in some
respects, subjects theoretically the sovereign to his creature.
The emperor confessedly holds his power by the grace of God and
the will of the nation, which is a clear acknowledgment that the
sovereignty vests in the French people as the French state; but
the imperial constitution, which is the constitution of the
government, not of the state, studies, while acknowledging the
sovereignty of the people, to render it nugatory, by transferring
it, under various subtle disguises, to the government, and
practically to the emperor as chief of the government.  The
senate, the council of state, the legislative body, and the
emperor, are all creatures of the French state, and have properly
no political functions, and to give them such functions is to
place the sovereign under his own subjects!  The real aim of the
imperial constitution is to secure despotic power under the
guise of republicanism.  It leaves and is intended to leave the
nation no way of practically asserting its sovereignty but by
either a revolution or a plebiscitum, and a plebiscitum is
permissible only where there is no regular government.

The British constitution is consistent with itself, but imposes
no restriction on the power of the government.  The French
imperial constitution is illogical, inconsistent with itself as
well as with the free action of the nation.  The American
constitution has all the advantages of both, and the
disadvantages of neither.  The convention is not the government
like the British Parliament, nor a creature of the state like
the French senate, but the sovereign state itself, in a
practical form.  By means of the convention the government is
restricted to its delegated powers, and these, if found in
practice either too great or too small, can be enlarged or
contracted in a regular, orderly way, without resorting to a
revolution or to a plebiscitum.  Whatever political grievances
there may be, there is always present the sovereign convention
competent to redress them.  The efficiency of power is thus
secured without danger to liberty, and freedom without danger to
power.  The recognition of the convention, the real political
sovereign of the country and its separation from and
independence of the ordinary government, is one of the most
striking features of the American constitution.

The next thing to be noted, after the convention, is the
constitution by the convention of the government.  This
constitution, as Mr. Madison well observes, divides the powers
conceded by the convention to government between the General
Government and the particular State governments.  Strictly
speaking, the government is one, and its powers only are divided
and exercised by two sets of agents or ministries.  This
division of the powers of government could never have been
established by the convention if the American people had not
been providentially constituted one people, existing and acting
through particular State organizations.  Here the unwritten
constitution, or the constitution written in the people
themselves, rendered practicable and dictated the written
constitution, or constitution ordained by the convention and
engrossed on parchment.  It only expresses in the government the
fact which pre-existed in the national organization and life.

This division of the powers of government is peculiar to the
United States, and is an effective safeguard against both feudal
disintegration and Roman centralism.  Misled by their prejudices
and peculiar interests, a portion of the people of the United
States, pleading in their justification the theory of State
sovereignty, attempted disintegration, secession, and national
independence separate from that of the United States, but the
central force of the constitution was too strong for them to
succeed.  The unity of the nation was too strong to be
effectually broken.  No doubt the reaction against secession and
disintegration will strengthen the tendency to centralism, but
centralism can succeed no better than disintegration has
succeeded because the General government has no subsistentia, no
suppositum, to borrow a theological term, outside or independent
of the States.  The particular governments are stronger, if
there be any difference, to protect the States against
centralism than the General government is to protect the Union
against disintegration; and after swinging for a time too far
toward one extreme and then too far toward the other, the public
mind will recover its equilibrium, and the government move on in
its constitutional path.

Republican Rome attempted to guard against excessive centralism
by the tribunitial veto, or by the organization of a negative or
obstructive power.  Mr. Calhoun thought this admirable, and
wished to effect the same end here, where it is secured by
other, more effective, and less objectionable means, by a State
veto on the acts of Congress, by a dual executive, and by
substituting concurrent for numerical majorities.  Imperial Rome
gradually swept away the tribunitial veto, concentrated all
power in the hands of the emperor, became completely
centralized, and fell.  The British constitution seeks the same
end by substituting estates for the state, and establishing a
mixed government, in which monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy
temper, check, or balance each other; but practically the
commons estate has become supreme, and the nobility govern not
in the house of lords, and can really influence public affairs
only through the house of commons.  The principle of the British
constitution is not the division of the powers of government,
but the antagonism of estates, or rather of interests, trusting
to the obstructive influence of that antagonism to preserve the
government from pure centralism.  Hence the study of the British
statesman is to manage diverse and antagonistic parties and
interests so as to gain the ability to act, which he can do only
by intrigue, cajolery, bribery in one form or another, and
corruption of every sort.  The British government cannot be
carried on by fair, honest, and honorable means, any more than
could the Roman under the antagonism created by the tribunitial
veto.  The French tried the English system of organized
antagonism in 1789, as a cure for the centralism introduced by
Richelieu and Louis XIV., and again under the Restoration and
Louis Philippe, and called it the system of constitutional
guarantees; but they could never manage it, and they have taken
refuge in unmitigated centralism under Napoleon III., who,
however well disposed, finds no means in the constitution of the
French nation of tempering it.  The English system, called the
constitutional, and sometimes the parliamentary system, will not
work in France, and indeed works really well nowhere.

The American system, sometimes called the Federal system, is not
founded on antagonism of classes, estates, or interests, and is
in no sense a system of checks and balances.  It needs and
tolerates no obstructive forces.  It does not pit section
against section, the States severally against the General
government, nor the General government against the State
governments, and nothing is more hurtful than the attempt to
explain it and work it on the principles of British
constitutionalism.  The convention created no antagonistic
powers; it simply divided the powers of government, and gave
neither to the General government nor to the State governments
all the powers of government, nor in any instance did it give to
the two governments jurisdiction in the same matters. Hence each
has its own sphere, in which it can move on without colliding
with that of the other.  Each is independent and complete in
relation to its own work, incomplete and dependent on the other
for the complete work of government.

The division of power is not between a NATIONAL government and
State governments, but between a GENERAL government and
particular governments.  The General government, inasmuch as it
extends to matters common to all the States, is usually called
the Government of the United States, and sometimes the Federal
government, to distinguish it from the particular or State
governments, but without strict propriety; for the government of
the United States, or the Federal government, means, in
strictness, both the General government and the particular
Governments, since neither is in itself the complete government
of the country.  The General government has authority within
each of the States, and each of the State governments has
authority in the Union.  The line between the Union and the
States severally, is not precisely the line between the General
government and the particular governments.  As, for instance,
the General government lays direct taxes on the people of the
States, and collects internal revenue within them; and the
citizens of a particular State, and none others, are electors of
President and Vice-President of the United States, and
representatives in the lower house of Congress, while senators
in Congress are elected by the State legislatures themselves.

The line that distinguishes the two governments is that which
distinguishes the general relations and interests from the
particular relations and interests of the people of the United
States.  These general relations and interests are placed under
the General government, which, because its jurisdiction is
coextensive with the Union, is called the Government of the
United States; the particular relations and interests are placed
under particular governments, which, because their jurisdiction
is only coextensive, with the States respectively, are called
State governments.  The General government governs supremely all
the people of the United States and Territories belonging to the
Union, in all their general relations and interests, or
relations and interests common alike to them all; the particular
or State government governs supremely the people of a particular
State, as Massachusetts, New York, or New Jersey, in all that
pertains to their particular or private rights, relations, and
interests.  The powers of each are equally sovereign, and
neither are derived from the other.  The State governments are
not subordinate to the General government, nor the General
government to the State governments.  They are co-ordinate
governments, each standing on the same level, and deriving its
powers from the same sovereign authority.  In their respective
spheres neither yields to the other.  In relation to the matters
within its jurisdiction, each government is independent and
supreme in regard of the other, and subject only to the

The powers of the General government are the power--

To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay
the debts and provide for the general welfare of the United
States; to borrow money on the credit of the United States; to
regulate commerce with foreign nations, among the several
States, and with the Indian tribes; to establish a uniform rule
of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of
bankruptcies throughout the United States; to coin money and
regulate the value thereof, and fix the standard of weights and
measures; to provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the
securities and current coin of the United States; to establish
post-offices and post-roads; to promote the progress of science
and of the useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors
and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings
and discoveries; to define and punish piracies and felonies
committed on the high seas, and offences against the law of
nations; to declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal,
and make rules concerning captures on land and water; to raise
and support armies; to provide and maintain a navy; to make
rules for the government of the land and naval forces; to
provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the
Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions; to provide
for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and of
governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of
the United States; to exercise exclusive legislation in all
cases whatsoever over such district, not exceeding ten miles
square, as may by cession of particular States and the
acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the
United States, and to exercise a like authority over all places
purchased by the consent of the legislature of the State in
which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines,
arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful buildings; and to make
all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into
execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by
this constitution in the government of the United States, or in
any department or office thereof.

In addition to these, the General government is clothed with the
treaty-making power, and the whole charge of the foreign
relations of the country; with power to admit new States into
the Union; to dispose of and make all needful rules and
regulations concerning the territory and all other property
belonging to the United States; to declare, with certain
restrictions, the punishment of treason, the constitution itself
defining what is treason against the United States; and to
propose, or to call, on the application of the legislatures of
two-thirds of all the states, a convention for proposing
amendments to this constitution; and is vested with supreme
judicial power, original or appellate, in all cases of law and
equity arising under this constitution, the laws of the United
States, and treaties made or to be made under their authority,
in all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers, and
consuls, in all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, in
all controversies to which the United States shall be a party,
all controversies between two or more States, between a State
and citizens of another State, between citizens of different
States, between citizens of the same State claiming lands under
grants of different States, and between a State or the citizens
thereof and foreign states, citizens, or subjects.

These, with what is incidental to them, and what is necessary
and proper to carry them into effect, are all the positive
powers with which the convention vests the General government,
or government of the United States, as distinguished from the
governments of the particular States; and these, with the
exception of what relates to the district in which it has its
seat, and places of forts, magazines, &c., are of a general
nature, and restricted to the common relations and interests of
the people, or at least to interests and relations which extend
beyond the limits of a particular State.  They are all powers
that regard matters which extend beyond not only the individual
citizen, but the individual State, and affect alike the
relations and interests of all the States, or matters which
cannot be disposed of by a State government without the exercise
of extra-territorial jurisdiction.  They give the government no
jurisdiction of questions which affect individuals or citizens
only in their private and domestic relations which lie wholly
within a particular State.  The General government does not
legislate concerning private rights, whether of persons or
things, the tenure of real estate, marriage, dower, inheritance,
wills, the transferrence or transmission of property, real or
personal; it can charter no private corporations, out of the
District of Columbia, for business, literary, scientific, or
eleemosynary purposes, establish no schools, found no colleges
or universities, and promote science and the useful arts only by
securing to authors and inventors for a time the exclusive right
to their writings and discoveries.  The United States Bank was
manifestly unconstitutional, as probably are the present
so-called national banks.  The United States Bank was a private
or particular corporation, and the present national banks are
only corporations of the same sort, though organized under a
general law.  The pretence that they are established to supply a
national currency, does not save their constitutionality, for
the convention has not given the General government the power
nor imposed on it the duty of furnishing a national currency.
To coin money, and regulate the value thereof, is something very
different from authorizing private companies to issue bank
notes, on the basis of the public stocks held as private
property, or even on what is called a specie basis.  To claim
the power under the general welfare clause would be a simple
mockery of good sense.  It is no more for the general welfare
than any other successful private business.  The private welfare
of each is, no doubt, for the welfare of all, but not therefore
is it the "general welfare," for what is private, particular in
its nature, is not and cannot be general.  To understand by
general welfare that which is for the individual welfare of all
or the greater number, would be to claim for the General
government all the powers of government, and to deny that very
division of powers which is the crowning merit of the American
system.  The general welfare, by the very force of the words
themselves, means the common as distinguished from the private
or individual welfare.  The system of national banks may or may
not be a good and desirable system, but it is difficult to
understand the constitutional power of the General government to
establish it.

On the ground that its powers are general, not particular, the
General government has no power to lay a protective tariff.  It
can lay a tariff for revenue, not for protection of home
manufactures or home industry; for the interests fostered, even
though indirectly advantageous to the whole people, are in their
nature private or particular, not general interests, and chiefly
interests of private corporations and capitalists.  Their
incidental or even consequential effects do not change their
direct and essential nature.  So with domestic slavery.  Slavery
comes under the head of private rights, whether regarded on the
side of the master or on the side of the slave.  The right of a
citizen to hold a slave, if a right at all, is the private right
of property, and the right of the slave to his freedom is a
private and personal right, and neither is placed under the
safeguard of the General government, which has nowhere, unless
in the District of Columbia and the places over which it has
exclusive legislative power in all cases whatsoever, either the
right to establish it or to abolish it, except perhaps under the
war power, as a military necessity, an indemnity for the past,
or a security for the future.

This applies to what are called Territories as well as to the
States.  The right of the government to govern the Territories
in regard to private and particular rights and interests, is
derived from no express grant of power, and is held only ex
necessitate--the United States owning the domain, and there
being no other authority competent to govern them.  But, as in
the case of all powers held ex necessitate, the power is
restricted to the absolute necessity in the case.  What are
called Territorial governments, to distinguish them from the
State governments, are only provisional governments, and can
touch private rights and interests no further than is necessary
to preserve order and prepare the way for the organization and
installation of a regular State government.  Till then the law
governing private rights is the law that was in force, if any
such there was, when the territory became by purchase, by
conquest, or by treaty, attached to the domain of the United

Hence the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional the ordinance
of l787, prohibiting slavery in what was called the territory of
the Northwest, and the so-called Missouri Compromise,
prohibiting slavery north of the parallel 36' 30'.  The Wilmot
proviso was for the same reason unconstitutional.  The General
government never had and has not any power to exclude slavery
from the Territories, any more than to abolish it in the States.
But slavery being a local institution, sustained neither by the
law of nature nor the law of nations, no citizen migrating from
a slave State could carry his slaves with him, and hold them as
slaves in the Territory.  Rights enacted by local law are rights
only in that locality, and slaves carried by their masters into
a slave State even, are free, unless the State into which they
are carried enacts to the contrary.  The only persons that could
be held as slaves in a Territory would be those who were slaves
or the children of those who were slaves in the Territory when
it passed to the United States.  The whole controversy on,
slavery in the Territories, and which culminated in the civil
war, was wholly unnecessary, and never could have occurred had
the constitution been properly understood and adhered to by both
sides.  True, Congress could not exclude slavery from the
Territory, but neither could citizens migrating to them hold
slaves in them; and so really slavery was virtually excluded,
for the inhabitants in nearly all of them, not emigrants from
the States after the cession to the United States, were too few
to be counted.

The General government has power to establish a uniform rule of
naturalization, to which all the States must conform, and it was
very proper that it should have this power, so as to prevent one
State from gaining by its naturalization laws an undue advantage
over another; but the General government has itself no power to
naturalize a single foreigner, or in any case to say who shall
or who shall not be citizens, either of a State or of the United
States, or to declare who may or may not be electors even of its
own officers.  The convention ordains that members of the house
of representatives shall be chosen by electors who have the
qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous
branch of the State legislature, but the State determines these
qualifications, and who do or do not possess them; that the
senators shall be chosen by the State legislatures, and that the
electors of President and Vice-President shall be appointed in
such manner as the respective State legislatures may direct.  The
whole question of citizenship, what shall or shall not be the
qualifications of electors, who shall or shall not be freemen, is
reserved to the, States, as coming under the head of personal or
private rights and franchises.  In practice, the exact line of
demarcation may not always have been strictly observed either by
the General government or by the State governments; but a
careful study of the constitution cannot fail to show that the
division of powers is the division or distinction between the
public and general relations and interests, rights and duties of
the people, and their private and particular relations and
interests, rights and duties.  As these two classes of relations
and interests, rights and duties, though distinguishable, are
really inseparable in nature, it follows that the two governments
are essential to the existence of a complete government, or to
the existence of a real government in its plenitude and
integrity.  Left to either alone, the people would have only an
incomplete, an initial, or inchoate government.  The General
government is the complement of the State governments, and the
State governments are the complement of the General government.

The consideration of the powers denied by the convention to the
General government and to the State governments respectively,
will lead to the same conclusion.  To the General government is
denied expressly or by necessary implication all jurisdiction in
matters of private rights and interests, and to the State
government is denied all jurisdiction in right, or interests
which extend, as has been said, beyond the boundaries of the
State.  "No State shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or
confederation; grant letters of marque and reprisal; coin money,
emit bills of credit, make any thing but gold and silver coin a
tender in the payment of debts; pass any bill of attainder, ex
post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts, or
grant any title of nobility.  No State shall, without the
consent of Congress, lay any imposts or duties on imports or
exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing
its inspection laws and the net produce of all duties and
imposts laid by any State on imports and exports shall be for the
use of the treasury of the United States, and all such laws
shall be subject to the revision and control of Congress.  No
State shall, without the consent of Congress, lay any duty of
tonnage, keep troops or ships-of-war in time of peace, enter into
any agreement or compact with another State or with a foreign
power, or engage in war, unless actually invaded, or in such
imminent danger as will not admit of delay."

The powers denied to the States in some matters which are rather
private and particular, such as bills of attainder, ex post
facto laws, laws impairing the obligation of contracts, granting
titles of nobility, are denied equally to the General government.
There is evidently a profound logic in the constitution, and
there is not a single provision in it that is arbitrary, or
anomalous, or that does not harmonize dialectically with the
whole, and with the real constitution of the American people.  At
first sight the reservation to the State of the appointment of
the officers of the militia might seem an anomaly; but as the
whole subject of internal police belongs to the State, it should
have some military force at its command.  The subject of
bankruptcies, also, might seem to be more properly within the
province of the State, and so it would be if commerce between the
several States had not been placed under Congress, or if trade
were confined to the citizens of the State and within its
boundaries; but as such is not the case, it was necessary to
place it under the General government, in order that laws on the
subject might be uniform throughout the Union, and that the
citizens of all the States, and foreigners trading with them,
should be placed on an equal footing, and have the same remedies.
The subject follows naturally in the train of commerce, for
bankruptcies, as understood at the time, were confined to the
mercantile class, bankers, and brokers; and since the regulation
of commerce, foreign and inter-state, was to be placed under the
sole charge of the General government, it was necessary that
bankruptcy should be included.  The subject of patents is placed
under the General government, though the patent is a private
right, because it was the will of the convention that the patent
should be good in all the States, as affording more encouragement
to science and the useful arts than if good only within a single
State, or if the power were left to each State to recognize or
not patents granted by another.  The right created, though
private in its nature, is Yet general or common to all the States
in its enjoyment or exercise.

The division of the powers of government between a General
government and particular governments, rendered possible and
practicable by the original constitution of the people
themselves, as one people existing and acting through State
organizations, is the American method of guarding against the
undue centralism to which Roman imperialism inevitably tends;
and it is far simpler and more effective than any of the
European systems of mixed governments, which seek their end by
organizing an antagonism of interests or classes.  The American
method demands no such antagonism, no neutralizing of one social
force by another, but avails itself of all the forces of society,
organizes them dialectically, not antagonistically, and thus
protects with, equal efficiency both public authority and
private rights.  The General government can never oppress the
people as individuals, or abridge their private rights or
personal freedom and independence, because these are not within
its jurisdiction, but are placed in charge, within each State,
of the State government, which, within its sphere, governs as
supremely as the General government: the State governments
cannot weaken the public authority of the nation or oppress the
people in their general rights and interests, for these are
withdrawn from State jurisdiction, and placed under charge of a
General government, which, in its sphere, governs as supremely as
the State government.  There is no resort to a system of checks
and balances; there is no restraint on power, and no systematic
distrust of power, but simply a division of powers between two
co-ordinate governments, distinct but inseparable, moving in
distinct spheres, but in the same direction, or to a common end.
The system is no invention of man, is no creation of the
convention, but is given us by Providence in the living
constitution of the American people.  The merit of the statesmen
of 1787 is that they did not destroy or deface the work of
Providence, but accepted it, and organized the government in
harmony with the real orders the real elements given them.  They
suffered themselves in all their positive substantial work to be
governed by reality, not by theories and speculations.  In this
they proved themselves statesmen, and their work survives; and
the republic, laugh as sciolists may, is, for the present and
future, the model republic--as much so as was Rome in her day;
and it is not simply national pride nor American self-conceit
that pronounces its establishment the beginning of a new and
more advanced order of civilization; such is really the fact.

The only apparently weak point in the system is in the
particular States themselves.  Feudalism protected the feudal
aristocracy effectively for a time against both the king and the
people, but left the king and the, people without protection
against the aristocracy, and hence it fell.  It was not adequate
to the wants of civil society, did not harmonize all social
elements, and protect all social and individual rights and
interests, and therefore could not but fail.  The General
government takes care of public authority and rights; the State
protects private rights and personal freedom as against the
General government: but what protects the citizens in their
private rights, their personal freedom and independence, against
the particular State government?  Universal suffrage, answers
the democrat.  Armed with the ballot, more powerful than the
sword, each citizen is able to protect himself.  But this is
theory, not reality.  If it were true, the division of the
powers of government between two co-ordinate, governments would
be of no practical importance.  Experience does not sustain the
theory, and the power of the ballot to protect the individual
may be rendered ineffective by the tyranny of party.  Experience
proves that the ballot is far less effective in securing the
freedom and independence of the individual citizen than is
commonly pretended.  The ballot of an isolated individual counts
for nothing.  The individual, though armed with the ballot, is
as powerless, if he stands alone, as if he had it not.  To
render it of any avail he must associate himself with a party,
and look for his success in the success of his party; and to
secure the success of his party, he must give up to it his own
private convictions and free will.  In practice, individuals are
nothing individually, and parties are every thing.  Even the
suppression of the late rebellion, and the support of the
Administration in doing it, was made a party question, and the
government found the leaders of the party opposed to the
Republican party an obstacle hardly less difficult to surmount
than the chiefs of the armies of the so-called Confederate

Parties are formed, one hardly knows how, and controlled, no one
knows by whom; but usually by demagogues, men who have some
private or personal purposes, for which they wish, through party
to use the government.  Parties have no conscience, no
responsibility, and their very reason of being is, the
usurpation and concentration of power.  The real practical
tendency of universal suffrage is to democratic, instead of an
imperial, centralism.  What is to guard against this centralism?
Not universal suffrage, for that tends to create it;, and if the
government is left to it, the government becomes practically the
will of an ever shifting and irresponsible majority.  Is the
remedy in written or paper constitutions?  Party can break
through them, and by making the judges elective by party, for
short terms, and re-eligible, can do so with impunity.  In
several of the States, the dominant majority have gained the
power to govern at will, without any let or hindrance.  Besides,
constitutions can be altered, and have been altered, very nearly
at the will of the majority.  No mere paper constitutions are
any protection against the usurpations of party, for party will
always grasp all the power it can.

Yet the evil is not so great as it seems, for in most of the
States the principle of division of powers is carried into the
bosom of the State itself; in some States further than in
others, but in all it obtains to some extent.  In what are
called the New England States, the best governed portion of the
Union, each town is a corporation, having important powers and
the charge of all purely local matters--chooses its own
officers, manages its own finances, takes charge of its own
poor, of its own roads and bridges, and of the education of its
own children.  Between these corporations and the State
government are the counties, that take charge of another class
of interests, more general than those under the charge of the
town, but less general than those of the State.  In the great
central and Northwestern States the same system obtains, though
less completely carried out.  In the Southern and Southwestern
States, the town corporations hardly exist, and the rights and
interests of the poorer classes of persons have been less well
protected in them than in the Northern and Eastern States.  But
with the abolition of slavery, and the lessening of the
influence of the wealthy slaveholding class, with the return of
peace and the revival of agricultural, industrial, and
commercial prosperity, the New England system, in its main
features, is pretty sure to be gradually introduced, or
developed, and the division of powers in the State to be as
effectively and as systematically carried out as it is between
the General government and the particular or State governments.
So, though universal suffrage, good as far as it goes, is not
alone sufficient, the division of powers affords with it a not
inadequate protection.

No government, whose workings are intrusted to men, ever is or
can be practically perfect--secure all good, and guard against
all evil.  In all human governments there will be defects and
abuses, and he is no wise man who expects perfection from
imperfection.  But the American constitution, taken as a whole,
and in all its parts, is the least imperfect that has ever
existed, and under it individual rights, personal freedom and
independence, as well as public authority or society, are better
protected than under any other; and as the few barbaric elements
retained from the feudal ages are eliminated, the standard of
education elevated, and the whole population Americanized,
moulded by and to the American system, it will be found to
effect all the good, with as little of the evil, as can be
reasonably expected from any possible civil government or
political constitution of society.



The doctrine that a State has a right to secede and carry with it
its population and domain, has been effectually put down, and the
unity and integrity of the United States as a sovereign nation
have been effectively asserted on the battle-field; but the
secessionists, though disposed to submit to superior force, and
demean themselves henceforth as loyal citizens, most likely hold
as firmly to the doctrine as before finding themselves unable to
reduce it to practice, and the Union victory will remain
incomplete till they are convinced in their understandings that
the Union has the better reason as well as the superior military
resources.  The nation has conquered their bodies, but it is
hardly less important for our statesmen to conquer their minds
and win their hearts.

The right of secession is not claimed as a revolutionary right,
or even as a conventional right.  The secessionists disclaim
revolutionary principles, and hold that the right of secession is
anterior to the convention, a right which the convention could
neither give, nor take away, because inherent in the very
conception of a sovereign State.  Secession is simply the repeal
by the State of the act of accession to the Union; and as that
act was a free, voluntary act of the State, she must always be
free to repeal it.  The Union is a copartnership; a State in the
Union is simply a member of the firm, and has the right to
withdraw when it judges it for its interest to do so.  There is
no power in a firm to compel a copartner to remain a member any
longer than be pleases.  He is undoubtedly holden for the
obligations contracted by the firm while he remains a member; but
for none contracted after he has withdrawn and given due notice

So of a sovereign State in the Union.  The Union itself, apart
from the sovereign States that compose it, is a mere abstraction,
a nullity, and binds nobody.  All its substance and vitality are
in the agreement by which the States constitute themselves a firm
or copartnership, for certain specific purposes, and for which
they open an office and establish an agency under express
instructions for the management of the general affairs of the
firm.  The State is held jointly and severally for all the legal
obligations of the Union, contracted while she is in it but no
further; and is free to withdraw when she pleases, precisely as
an individual may withdraw from an ordinary business firm. The
remaining copartners have no right of compulsion or coercion
against the seceding member, for he, saving the obligations
already contracted, is as free to withdraw as they are to remain.

The population is fixed to the domain and goes with it; the
domain is attached to the State, and secedes in the secession of
the State.  Secession, then, carries the entire State government,
people, and domain out of the Union, and restores ipso facto the
State to its original position of a sovereign State, foreign to
the United States.  Being an independent sovereign State, she may
enter into a new confederacy, form a new copartnership, or merge
herself in some other foreign state, as she judges proper or
finds opportunity.  The States that seceded formed among
themselves a new confederacy, more to their mind than the one
formed in 1787, as they had a perfect right to do, and in the war
just ended they were not rebels nor revolutionists, but a people
fighting for the right of self-government, loyal citizens and
true patriots de fending the independence and inviolability of
their country against foreign invaders.  They are to be honored
for their loyalty and patriotism, and not branded as rebels and
punished as traitors.

This is the secession argument, which rests on no assumption of
revolutionary principles or abstract rights of man, and on no
allegation of real or imaginary wrongs received from the Union,
but simply on the original and inherent rights of the several
States as independent sovereign States.  The argument is
conclusive, and the defence complete, if the Union is only a firm
or copartnership, and the sovereignty vests in the States
severally.  The refutation of the secessionists is in the facts
adduced that disprove the theory of State sovereignty, and prove
that the sovereignty vests not in the States severally, but in
the States united, or that the Union is sovereign, and not the
States individually.  The Union is not a firm, a copartnership,
nor an artificial or conventional union, but a real, living,
constitutional union, founded in the original and indissoluble
unity of the American people, as one sovereign people.  There is,
indeed, no such people, if we abstract the States, but there are
no States if we abstract this sovereign people or the Union.
There is no Union without the States, and there are no States
without the Union.  The people are born States, and the States
are born United States.  The Union and the States are
simultaneous, born together, and enter alike into the original
and essential constitution of the American state.  This the facts
and reasonings adduced fully establish.

But this one sovereign people that exists only as organized into
States, does not necessarily include the whole population or
territory included within the jurisdiction of the United States.
It is restricted to the people and territory or domain organized
into States in the Union, as in ancient Rome the ruling people
were restricted to the tenants of the sacred territory, which had
been surveyed, and its boundaries marked by the god Terminus, and
which by no means included all the territory held by the city,
and of which she was both the private proprietor and the public
sovereign.  The city had vast possessions acquired by
confiscation, by purchase, by treaty, or by conquest, and in
reference to which her celebrated agrarian laws were enacted, and
which have their counterpart in our homestead and kindred laws.
In this class of territory, of which the city was the private
owner, was the territory of all the Roman provinces, which was
held to be only leased to its occupants, who were often
dispossessed, and their lands given as a recompense by the consul
or imperator to his disbanded legionaries.  The provincials were
subjects of Rome, but formed no part of the Roman people, and had
no share in the political power of the state, till at a late
period the privileges of Roman citizens were extended to them,
and the Roman people became coextensive with the Roman empire.
So the United States have held and still hold large territorial
possessions, acquired by the acknowledgment of their independence
by Great Britain, the former sovereign, the cession of particular
states, and purchase from France, Spain, and Mexico.  Till
erected into States and admitted into the Union, this territory,
with its population, though subject to the United States, makes
no part of the political or sovereign territory and people of the
United States.  It is under the Union, not in it, as is indicated
by the phrase admitting into the Union--a legal phrase, since the
constitution ordains that "new States may be admitted by the
Congress into this Union."

There can be no secession that separates a State from the
national domain, and withdraws it from the territorial
sovereignty or jurisdiction of the United States; yet what
hinders a State from going out of the Union in the sense that it
comes into it, and thus ceasing to belong to the political people
of the United States?

If the view of the constitution taken in the preceding chapters
be correct, and certainly no facts tend to disprove it, the
accession of a Territory as a State in the Union is a free act of
the territorial people.  The Territory cannot organize and apply
for admission as a State, without what is called an "enabling act"
of Congress or its equivalent; but that act is permissive, not
mandatory, and nothing obliges the Territory to organize under it
and apply for admission.  It may do so or not, as it chooses.
What, then, hinders the State once in the Union from going out or
returning to its former condition of territory subject to the
Union?  The original States did not need to come in under an
enabling act, for they were born States in the Union, and were
never territory outside of the Union and subject to it.  But they
and the new States, adopted or naturalized States, once in the
Union, stand on a footing of perfect equality, and the original
States are no more and no less bound than they to remain States
in the Union.  The ratification of the constitution by the
original States was a free act, as much so as the accession of a
new State formed from territory subject to the Union is a free
act, and a free act is an act which one is free to do or not to
do, as he pleases.  What a State is free to do or not to do, it
is free to undo, if it chooses.  There is nothing in either the
State constitution or in that of the United States that forbids

This is denied.  The population and domain are inseparable in the
State; and if the State could take itself out of the Union, it
would take them out, and be ipso facto a sovereign State foreign
to the Union.  It would take the domain and the population out of
the Union, it is conceded and even maintained, but not therefore
would it take them out of the jurisdiction of the Union, or would
they exist as a State foreign to the Union; for population and
territory may coexist, as Dacota, Colorado, or New Mexico, out of
the Union, and yet be subject to the Union, or within the
jurisdiction of the United States.

But the Union is formed by the surrender by each of the States of
its individual sovereignty, and each State by its admission into
the Union surrenders its individual sovereignty, or binds itself
by a constitutional compact to merge its individual sovereignty
in that of the whole.  It then cannot cease to be a State in the
Union without breach of contract.  Having surrendered its
sovereignty to the Union, or bound itself by the constitution to
exercise its original sovereignty only as one of the United States,
it can unmake itself of its state character, only by consent of
the United States, or by a successful revolution.  It is by
virtue of this fact that secession is rebellion against the
United States, and that the General government, as representing
the Union, has the right and the duty to suppress it by all the
forces at its command.

There can be no rebellion where there is no allegiance.  The
States in the Union cannot owe allegiance to the Union, for they
are it, and for any one to go out of it is no more an act of
rebellion than it is for a king to abdicate his throne.  The
Union is not formed by the surrender to it by the several States
of their respective individual sovereignty.  Such surrender
could, as we have seen, form only an alliance, or a
confederation, not one sovereign people; and from an alliance, or
confederation, the ally or confederate has, saving its faith, the
inherent right to secede.  The argument assumes that the States
were originally each in its individuality a sovereign state, but by
the convention which framed the constitution, each surrendered
its sovereignty to the whole, and thus several sovereign states
became one sovereign political people, governing in general
matters through the General government, and in particular matters
through particular or State governments.  This is Mr. Madison's
theory, and also Mr. Webster's; but it has been refuted in the
refutation of the theory that makes government originate in
compact.  A sovereign state can, undoubtedly, surrender its
sovereignty, but can surrender it only to something or somebody
that really exists; for to Surrender to no one or to nothing is,
as has been shown, the same thing as not to surrender at all; and
the Union, being formed only by the surrender, is nothing prior
to it, or till after it is made, and therefore can be no
recipient of the surrender.

Besides, the theory is the reverse of the fact.  The State does
not surrender or part with its sovereignty by coming into the
Union, but acquires by it all the rights it holds as a State.
Between the original States and the new States there is a
difference of mode by which they become States in the Union, but
none in their powers, or the tenure by which they hold them.  The
process by which new States are actually formed and admitted into
the Union, discloses at once what it is that is gained or lost by
admission.  The domain and population, before the organization of
the Territory into one of the United States, are subject to the
United States, inseparably attached to the domain of the Union,
and under its sovereignty.  The Territory so remains, organized
or unorganized, under a Territorial Government created by
Congress.  Congress, by an enabling act, permits it to organize
as a State, to call a convention to form a State constitution, to
elect under it, in such way as the convention ordains, State
officers, a State legislature, and, in the way prescribed by the
Constitution of the United States, senators and representatives
in Congress.  Here is a complete organization as a State, yet,
though called a State, it is no State at all, and is simply
territory, without a single particle of political power.  To be a
State it must be recognized and admitted by Congress as a State
in the Union, and when so recognized and admitted it possesses,
in union with the other United States, supreme political
sovereignty, jointly in all general matters, and individually in
all private and particular matters.

The Territory gives up no sovereign powers by coming into the
Union, for before it came into the Union it had no sovereignty,
no political rights at all.  All the rights and powers it holds
are held by the simple fact that it has become a State in the
Union.  This is as true of the original States as of the new
States; for it has been shown in the chapter on The United States,
that the original British sovereignty under which the colonies
were organized and existed passed, on the fact of independence,
to the States United, and not to the States severally.  Hence if
nine States had ratified the constitution, and the other four had
stood out, and refused to do it, which was within their
competency, they would not have been independent sovereign
States, outside of the Union, but Territories under the Union.

Texas forms the only exception to the rule that the States have
never been independent of the Union.  All the other new States
have been formed from territory subject to the Union.  This is
true of all the States formed out of the Territory of the
Northwest, and out of the domain ceded by France, Spain, and
Mexico to the United States.  All these cessions were held by the
United States as territory immediately subject to the Union,
before being erected into States; and by far the larger part is
so held even yet.  But Texas was an independent foreign state,
and was annexed as a State without having been first subjected as
territory to the United States.  It of course lost by annexation
its separate sovereignty.  But this annexation was held by many
to be unconstitutional; it was made when the State sovereignty
theory had gained possession of the Government, and was annexed
as a State instead of being admitted as a State formed from
territory belonging to the United States, for the very purpose of
committing the nation to that theory.  Its annexation was the
prologue, as the Mexican war was the first act in the secession
drama, and as the epilogue is the suppression of the rebellion on
Texan soil.  Texas is an exceptional case, and forms no
precedent, and cannot be adduced as invalidating the general
rule.  Omitting Texas, the simple fact is, the States acquire all
their sovereign powers by being States in the Union, instead of
losing or surrendering them.

Our American statesmen have overlooked or not duly weighed the
facts in the case, because, holding the origin of government in
compact, they felt no need of looking back of the constitution to
find the basis of that unity of the American people which they
assert.  Neither Mr. Madison nor Mr. Webster felt any difficulty
in asserting it as created by the convention of 1787, or in
conceding the sovereignty of the States prior to the Union, and
denying its existence after the ratification of the constitution.
If it were not that they held that the State originates in
convention or the social compact, there would be unpardonable
presumption on the part of the present writer in venturing to
hazard an assertion contrary to theirs.  But, if their theory was
unsound, their practical doctrine was not; for they maintained
that the American people are one sovereign people, and Mr. Quincy
Adams, an authority inferior to neither, maintained that they
were always one people, and that the States hold from the Union,
not the Union from the States.  The States without the Union
cease to exist as political communities: the Union without the
States ceases to be a Union, and becomes a vast centralized and
consolidated state, ready to lapse from a civilized into a
barbaric, from a republican to a despotic nation.

The State, under the American system, as distinguished from
Territory, is not in the domain and population fixed to it, nor
yet in its exterior organization, but solely in the political
powers, rights, and franchises which it holds from the United
States, or as one of the United States.  As these are rights, not
obligations, the State may resign or abdicate them and cease to
be a State, on the same principle that any man may abdicate or
forego his rights.  In doing so, the State breaks no oath of
allegiance, fails to fulfil no obligation she contracted as a
State: she simply forgoes her political rights and franchises.
So far, then, secession is possible, feasible, and not
unconstitutional or unlawful.  But it is, as Mr. Sumner and
others have maintained, simply State suicide.  Nothing hinders a
State from committing suicide, if she chooses, any more than
there was something which compelled the Territory to become a
State in the Union against its will.

It is objected to, this conclusion that the States were, prior to
the Union, independent sovereign States, and secession would not
destroy the State, but restore it to its original sovereignty and
independence, as the secessionists maintain.  Certainly, if the
States were, Prior to the Union, sovereign States; but this is
precisely what has been denied and disproved; for prior to the
Union there were no States.  Secession restores, or reduces,
rather, the State to the condition it was in before its admission
into the Union; but that condition is that of Territory, or a
Territory subject to the United States, and not that of an
independent sovereign state.  The State holds all its political
rights and powers in the Union from the Union, and has none out
of it, or in the condition in which its population and domain
were before being a State in the Union.

State suicide, it has been urged, releases its population and
territory from their allegiance to the Union, and as there is no
rebellion where there is no allegiance, resistance by its
population and territory to the Union, even war against the
Union, would not be rebellion, but the simple assertion of
popular sovereignty.  This is only the same objection in another
form.  The lapse of the State releases the population and
territory from no allegiance to the Union; for their allegiance
to the Union was not contracted by their becoming a State, and
they have never in their State character owed allegiance to the
United States.  A State owes no allegiance to the United States,
for it is one of them, and is jointly sovereign.  The relation
between the United States and the State is not the relation of
suzerain and liegeman or vassal.  A State owes no allegiance, for
it is not subject to the Union; it is never in their State
capacity that its population and territory do or can rebel.
Hence, the Government has steadily denied that, in the late
rebellion, any State as such rebelled.

But as a State cannot rebel, no State can go out of the Union;
and therefore no State in the late rebellion has seceded, and the
States that passed secession ordinances are and all along have
been States in the Union.  No State can rebel, but it does not
follow therefrom that no State can secede or cease to exist as a
State: it only follows that secession, in the sense of State
suicide, or the abdication by the State of its political rights
and powers, is not rebellion.  Nor does it follow from the fact
that no State has rebelled, that no State has ceased to be a
State; or that the States that passed secession ordinances have
been all along States in the Union.

The secession ordinances were illegal, unconstitutional, not
within the competency of the State, and	therefore null and void
from the beginning.  Unconstitutional, illegal, and not within
the competency of the State, so far as intended to alienate any
portion of the national domain and population thereto annexed,
they certainly were, and so far were void and of no effect; but
so far as intended to take the State simply as a State out of the
Union, they were within the competency of the State, were not
illegal or unconstitutional, and therefore not null and void.
Acts unconstitutional in some parts and constitutional in others
are not wholly void.  The unconstitutionality vitiates only the
unconstitutional parts; the others are valid, are law, and
recognized and enforced as such by the courts.

The secession ordinances are void, because they were never passed
by the people of the State, but by a faction that overawed them
and usurped the authority of the State.  This argument implies
that, if a secession ordinance is passed by the people proper of
the State, it is valid; which is more than they who urge it
against the State suicide doctrine are prepared to concede.  But
the secession ordinances were in every instance passed by the
people of the State in convention legally assembled, therefore by
them in their highest State capacity--in the same capacity in
which they ordain and ratify the State constitution itself; and
in nearly all the States they were in addition ratified and
confirmed, if the facts have been correctly reported, by a
genuine plebiscitum, or direct vote of the people.  In all cases
they were adopted by a decided majority of the political people
of the State, and after their adoption they were acquiesced in
and indeed actively supported by very nearly the whole people.
The people of the States adopting the secession ordinances were
far more unanimous in supporting secession than the people of the
other States were in sustaining the Government in its efforts to
suppress the rebellion by coercive measures.  It will not do,
then, to ascribe the secession ordinances to a faction.  The
people are never a faction, nor is a faction ever the majority.

There has been a disposition at the North, encouraged by the few
Union men at the South, to regard secession as the work of a few
ambitious and unprincipled leaders, who, by their threats, their
violence, and their overbearing manner, forced the mass of the
people of their respective States into secession against their
convictions and their will.  No doubt there were leaders at the
South, as there are in every great movement at the North; no
doubt there were individuals in the seceding States that held
secession wrong in principle, and were conscientiously attached
to the Union; no doubt, also, there were men who adhered to the
Union, not because they disapproved secession, but because they
disliked the men at the head of the movement, or because they
were keen-sighted enough to see that it could not succeed, that
the Union must be the winning side, and that by adhering to it
they would become the great and leading men of their respective
States, which they certainly could not be under secession.
Others sympathized fully with what was called the Southern cause,
held firmly the right of secession, and hated cordially the
Yankees, but doubted either the practicability or the expediency
of secession, and opposed it till resolved on, but, after it was
resolved on, yielded to none in their earnest support of it.
These last comprised the immense majority of those who voted
against secession.  Never could those called the Southern leaders
have carried the secession ordinances, never could they have
carried on the war with the vigor and determination, and with
such formidable armies as they collected and armed for four
years, making at times the destiny of the Union well nigh
doubtful, if they had not had the Southern heart with them, if
they had not been most heartily supported by the overwhelming
mass of the people.  They led a popular, not a factious movement.

No State, it is said again, has seceded, or could secede.  The
State is territorial, not personal, and as no State can carry its
territory and population out of the Union, no State can secede.
Out of the jurisdiction of the Union, or alienate them from the
sovereign or national domain, very true; but out of the Union as
a State, with rights, powers, or franchises in the Union, not
true.  Secession is political, not territorial.

But the State holds from the territory or domain.  The people are
sovereign because attached to a sovereign territory, not the
domain because held by a sovereign people, as was established by
the analysis of the early Roman constitution.  The territory of
the States corresponds to the sacred territory of Rome, to which
was attached the Roman sovereignty.  That territory, once
surveyed and consecrated, remained sacred and the ruling
territory, and could not be divested of its sacred and governing
character.  The portions of the territory of the United States
once erected into States and consecrated as ruling territory can
never be deprived, except by foreign conquest or successful
revolution, of its sacred character and inviolable rights.

The State is territorial, not personal, and is constituted by
public, not by private wealth, and is always respublica or
commonwealth, in distinction from despotism or monarchy in its
oriental sense, which is founded on private wealth, or which
assumes that the authority to govern, or sovereignty, is the
private estate of the sovereign.  All power is a domain, but
there is no domain without a dominus or lord.  In oriental
monarchies the dominus is the monarch; in republics it is the
public or people fixed to the soil or territory, that is, the
people in their territorial, and not in their personal or
genealogical relation.  The people of The United States are
sovereign only within the territory or domain of the United
States, and their sovereignty is a state, because fixed,
attached, or limited to that specific territory.  It is fixed to
the soil, not nomadic.  In barbaric nations power is nomadic and
personal, or genealogical, confined to no locality, but attaches
to the chief, and follows wherever he goes.  The Gothic chiefs
hold their power by a personal title, and have the same authority
in their tribes on the Po or the Rhone as on the banks of the
Elbe or the Danube.  Power migrates with the chief and his
people, and may be exercised wherever he and they find
themselves, as a Swedish queen held when she ordered the
execution of one of her subjects at Paris, without asking
permission of the territorial lord.  In these nations, power is a
personal right, or a private estate, not a state which exists
only as attached to the domain, and, as attached to the domain,
exists independently of the chief or the government.  The
distinction is between public domain and private domain.

The American system is republican, and, contrary to what some
democratic politicians assert, the American democracy is
territorial, not personal; not territorial because the majority
of the people are agriculturists or landholders, but because all
political rights, powers, or franchises are territorial.  The
sovereign people of the United States are sovereign only within
the territory of the United States.  The great body of the
freemen have the elective franchise, but no one has it save in
his State, his county, his town, his ward, his precinct.  Out of
the election district in which he is domiciled, a citizen of the
United States has no more right to vote than has the citizen or
subject of a foreign state.  This explains what is meant by the
attachment of power to the territory, and the dependence of the
state on the domain.  The state, in republican states, exists
only as inseparably united with the public domain; under
feudalism, power was joined to territory or domain, but the
domain was held as a private, not as a public domain.  All
sovereignty rests on domain or proprietorship, and is dominion.
The proprietor is the dominus or lord, and in republican states
the lord is society, or the public, and the domain is held for
the common or public good of all.  All political rights are held
from society, or the dominus, and therefore it is the elective
franchise is held from society, and is a civil right, as
distinguished from a natural, or even a purely personal right.

As there is no domain without a lord or dominus, territory alone
cannot possess any political rights or franchises, for it is not
a domain.  In the American system, the dominus or lord is not the
particular State, but the United States, and, the domain of the
whole territory, whether erected into particular States or not,
is in the United States alone.  The United States do not part
with the dominion of that portion of the national domain included
within a particular State.  The State holds the domain not
separately but jointly, as inseparably one of the United States:
separated, it has no dominion, is no State, and is no longer a
joint sovereign at all, and the territory that it included falls
into the condition of any other territory held by the United
States not erected into one of the United States.

Lawyers, indeed, tell us that the eminent domain is in the
particular State, and that all escheats are to the State, not to
the United States.  All escheats of private estates, but no
public or general escheats.  But this has nothing to do with the
public domain.  The United States are the dominus, but they have,
by the constitution, divided the powers of government between a
General government and particular State governments, and ordained
that all matters of a general nature, common to all the States,
should be placed under the supreme control of the former, and all
matters of a private or particular character under the supreme
control of the latter.  The eminent domain of private estates is
in the particular State, but the sovereign authority in the
particular State is that of the United States expressing itself
through the State government.  The United States, in the States
as well as out of them, is the dominus, as the States
respectively would soon find if they were to undertake to
alienate any part of their domain to a foreign power, or even to
the citizens or subjects of a foreign State, as is also evident
from the fact that the United States, in the way prescribed by
the constitution, may enlarge or contract at will the rights and
powers of the States.  The mistake on this point grows out of the
habit of restricting the action of the United States to the
General government, and not recollecting that the United States
govern one class of subjects through the General government and
another class through State governments, but that it is one and
the same authority that governs in both.

The analogy borrowed from the Roman constitution, as far as
applicable, proves the reverse of what is intended.  The dominus
of the sacred territory was the city, or the Roman state, not the
sacred territory itself.  The territory received the tenant, and
gave him as tenant the right to a seat in the senate; but the
right of the territory was derived not from the domain, but from
the dominus, that is, the city.  But the city could revoke its
grant, as it practically did when it conferred the privileges of
Roman citizenship on the provincials, and gave to plebeians seats
in the senate.  Moreover, nothing in Roman history indicates that
to the validity of a senatus consultum it was necessary to count
the vacant domains of the sacred territory.  The particular
domain must, under the American system, be counted when it is
held by a State, but of itself alone, or even with its
population, it is not a State, and therefore as a State domain is
vacant and without any political rights or powers whatever.

To argue that the territory and population once a State in the
Union must needs always be so, would be well enough if a State in
the Union were individually a sovereign state; for territory,
with its population not subject to another, is always a sovereign
state, even though its government has been subverted.  But this
is not the fact, for territory with its population does not
constitute a State in the Union; and, therefore, when of a State
nothing remains but territory and population, the State has
evidently disappeared.  It will not do then to maintain that
State suicide is impossible, and that the States that adopted
secession ordinances have never for a moment ceased to be States
in the Union, and are free, whenever they choose, to send their
representatives and senators to occupy their vacant seats in
Congress.  They must be reorganized first.

There would also be some embarrassment to the government in
holding that the States that passed the secession ordinance
remain, notwithstanding, States in the Union.  The citizens of a
State in the Union cannot be rebels to the United States, unless
they are rebels to their State; and rebels to their State they
are not, unless they resist its authority and make war on it.
The authority of the State in the Union is a legal authority, and
the citizen in obeying it is disloyal neither to the State nor to
the Union.  The citizens in the States that made war on the
United States did not resist their State, for they acted by its
authority.  The only men, on this supposition, in them, who have
been traitors or rebels, are precisely the Union men who have
refused to go with their respective States, and have resisted,
even with armed force, the secession ordinances.  The several
State governments, under which the so-called rebels carried on
the war for the destruction of the Union, if the States are in
the Union, were legal and loyal governments of their respective
States, for they were legally elected and installed, and
conformed to their respective State constitutions.  All the acts
of these governments have been constitutional.  Their entering
into a confederacy for attaining a separate nationality has been
legal, and the debts contracted by the States individually, or by
the confederacy legally formed by them, have been legally
contracted, stand good against them, and perhaps against the
United States.  The war against them has been all wrong, and the
confederates killed in battle have been murdered by the United
States.  The blockade has been illegal, for no nation can
blockade its own ports, and the captures and seizures under it,
robberies.  The Supreme Court has been wrong in declaring the war
a territorial civil war, as well as the government in acting
accordingly.  Now, all these conclusions are manifestly false and
absurd, and therefore the assumption that the States in question
have all along been States in the Union cannot be sustained.

It is easy to understand the resistance the Government offers to
the doctrine that a State may commit suicide, or by its own act
abdicate its rights and cease to be a State in the Union.  It is
admissible on no theory of the constitution that has been widely
entertained.  It is not admissible on Mr. Calhoun's theory of
State sovereignty, for on that theory a State in going out of the
Union does not cease to be a State but simply resumes the powers
it had delegated to the General government.  It cannot be
maintained on Mr. Madison's or Mr. Webster's theory, that the
States prior to the Union were severally sovereign, but by the
Union were constituted one people; for, if this one people are
understood to be a federal people, State secession would not be
State suicide, but State independence; and if understood to be
one consolidated or centralized people, it would be simply
insurrection or rebellion against the national authority,
laboring to make itself a revolution.  The government seems to
have understood Mr. Madison's theory in both senses--in the
consolidated sense, in declaring the secessionists insurgents and
rebels, and in the federal sense, in maintaining that they have
never seceded, and are still States in the Union, in full
possession of all their political or State rights.  Perhaps, if
the government, instead of borrowing from contradictory theories
of the constitution which have gained currency, had examined in
the light of historical facts the constitution itself, it would
have been as constitutional in its doctrine as it has been loyal
and patriotic, energetic and successful in its military

Another reason why the doctrine that State secession is State
suicide has appeared so offensive to many, is the supposition
entertained at one time by some of its friends, that the
dissolution of the State vacates all rights and franchises held
under it.  But this is a mistake.  The principle is well known
and recognized by the jurisprudence of all civilized nations,
that in the transfer of a territory from one territorial
sovereign to another, the laws in force under the old sovereign
remain in force after the change, till abrogated, or others are
enacted in their place by the new sovereign, except such as are
necessarily abrogated by the change itself of the sovereign; not,
indeed, because the old sovereign retains any authority, but,
because such is presumed by the courts to be the will of the new
sovereign.  The principle applies in the case of the death of a
State in the Union.  The laws of the State are territorial, till
abrogated by competent authority, remain the lex loci, and are in
full force.  All that would be vacated would be the public rights
of the State, and in no case the private rights of citizens,
corporations, or laws affecting them.

But the same conclusion is reached in another way.  In the lapse
of a State or its return to the condition of a Territory, there
is really no change of sovereignty.  The sovereignty, both before
and after, is the United States.  The sovereign authority that
governs in the State government, as we have seen, though
independent of the General government, is the United States.  The
United States govern certain matters through a General
government, and others through particular State governments.  The
private rights and interests created, regulated, or protected by
the particular State, are created, regulated, or protected by the
United States, as much and as plenarily as if done by the General
government, and the State laws creating, regulating, or protecting
them can be abrogated by no power known to the constitution, but
either the State itself, or the United States in convention legally
assembled.  If this were what is meant by the States that have
seceded, or professed to secede, remaining States in the Union,
they would, indeed, be States still in the Union, notwithstanding
secession and the government would be right in saying that no
State can secede.  But this is not what is meant, at least not
all that is meant.  It is meant not only that the private rights
of citizens and corporations remain, but the citizens retain all
the public rights of the State, that is, the right to
representation in Congress and in the electoral college, and the
right to sit in the convention, which is not true.

But the correction of the misapprehension that the private rights
and interests are lost by the lapse of the State may remove the
graver prejudices against the doctrine of State suicide, and
dispose loyal and honest Union men to bear the reasons by which
it is supported, and which nobody has refuted or can refute on
constitutional grounds.  A Territory by coming into the Union
becomes a State; a State by going out of the Union becomes a



The question of reconstructing the States that seceded will be
practically settled before these pages can see the light, and
will therefore be considered here only so far as necessary to
complete the view of the constitution of the United States.  The
manner in which the government proposed to settle, has settled,
or will settle the question, proves that both it and the American
people have only confused views of the rights and powers of the
General government, but imperfectly comprehend the distinction
between the legislative and executive departments of that
Government, and are far more familiar with party tactics than
with constitutional law.

It would be difficult to imagine any thing more unconstitutional,
more crude, or more glaringly impolitic than the mode of
reconstruction indicated by the various executive proclamations
that have been issued, bearing on the subject, or even by the
bill for guaranteeing the States republican governments, that
passed Congress, but which failed to obtain the President's
signature.  It is, in some measure, characteristic of the
American government to understand how things ought to be done
only when they are done and it is too late to do them in the
right way.  Its wisdom comes after action, as if engaged in a
series of experiments.  But, happily for the nation, few blunders
are committed that with our young life and elasticity are
irreparable, and that, after all, are greater than are ordinarily
committed by older and more experienced nations.  They are not of
the most fatal character, and are, for the most part, such as are
incident to the conceit, the heedlessness, the ardor, and the
impatience of youth, and need excite no serious alarm for the

There has been no little confusion in the public mind, and in
that of the government itself, as to what reconstruction is, who
has the power to reconstruct, and how that power is to be
exercised.  Are the States that seceded States in the Union, with
no other disability than that of having no legal governments? or
are they Territories subject to the Union?  Is their
reconstruction their erection into new States, or their
restoration as States previously in the Union?  Is the power to
reconstruct in the States themselves? or is it in the General
government?  If partly in the people and partly in the General
government, is the part in the General government in Congress, or
in the Executive?  If in Congress, can the Executive, without the
authority of Congress, proceed to reconstruct, simply leaving it
for Congress to accept or reject the reconstructed State?   If
the power is partly in the people of the disorganized States who
or what defines that people, decides who may or may not vote in
the reorganization?  On all these questions there has been much
crude, if not erroneous, thinking, and much inconsistent and
contradictory action.

The government started with the theory that no State had seceded
or could secede, and held that, throughout, the States in
rebellion continued to be States in the Union.  That is, it held
secession to be a purely personal and not a territorial
insurrection.  Yet it proclaimed eleven States to be in
insurrection against the United States, blockaded their ports,
and interdicted all trade and intercourse of any kind with them.
The Supreme Court, in order to sustain the blockade and interdict
as legal, decided the war to be not a war against simply
individual or personal insurgents but "a territorial civil war."
This negatived the assumption that the States that took up arms
against the United States remained all the while peaceable and
loyal States, with all their political rights and powers in the
Union.  The States in the Union are integral elements of the
political sovereignty, for the sovereignty of the American nation
vests in the States finite; and it is absurd to pretend that the
eleven States that made the rebellion and were carrying on a
formidable war against the United States, were in the Union, an
integral element of that sovereign authority which was carrying
on a yet more formidable war against them.  Nevertheless, the
government still held to its first assumption, that the States in
rebellion continued to be States in the Union--loyal States, with
all their rights and franchises unimpaired!

That the government should at first have favored or acquiesced in
the doctrine that no State had ceased to be a State in the Union,
is not to be wondered at.  The extent and determination of the
secession movement were imperfectly understood, and the belief
among the supporters of the government, and, perhaps, of the
government itself, was, that it was a spasmodic movement for a
temporary purpose, rather than a fixed determination to found an
independent separate nationality; that it was and would be
sustained by the real majority of the people of none of the
States, with perhaps the exception of South Carolina; that the
true policy of the government would be to treat the seceders with
great forbearance, to avoid all measures likely to exasperate
them or to embarrass their loyal fellow-citizens, to act simply
on the defensive, and to leave the Union men in the several
seceding States to gain a political victory at the polls over the
secessionists, and to return their States to their normal
position in the Union.

The government may not have had much faith in this policy, and
Mr. Lincoln's personal authority might be cited to the effect
that it had not, but it was urged strongly by the Union men of
the Border States.  The administration was hardly seated in
office, and its members were new men, without administrative
experience; the President, who had been legally elected indeed,
but without a majority of the popular votes, was far from having
the full confidence even of the party that elected him; opinions
were divided; party spirit ran high; the excitement was great,
the crisis was imminent, the government found itself left by its
predecessor without an army or a navy, and almost without arms or
ordnance; it knew not how far it could count on popular support,
and was hardly aware whom it could trust or should distrust; all
was hurry and confusion; and what could the government do but to
gain time, keep off active war as long as possible, conciliate
all it could, and take ground which at the time seemed likely to
rally the largest number of the people to its support?  There
were men then, warm friends of the administration, and still
warmer friends of their country, who believed that a bolder, a
less timid, a less cautious policy would have been wiser, that in
revolutionary times boldness, what in other times would be
rashness, is the highest prudence, on the side of the government
as well as on the side of the revolution; that when once it has
shown itself, the rebellion that hesitates, deliberates, consults,
is defeated and so is the government.  The seceders owed from the
first their successes not to their superior organization, to
their better preparation, or to the better discipline and
appointment of their armies, but to their very rashness, to their
audacity even, and the hesitancy, cautious and deliberation of
the government.  Napoleon owed his successes as general and
civilian far more to the air of power he assumed, and the
conviction he produced of his invincibility in the minds of his
opponents, than to his civil or military strategy and tactics,
admirable as they both were.  But the government believed it
wisest to adopt a conciliatory and, in many respects, a
temporizing policy, and to rely more on weakening the
secessionists in their respective States than on strengthening
the hands and hearts of its own staunch and uncompromising
supporters.  It must strengthen the Union party in the
insurrectionary States, and as this party hoped to succeed by
political manipulation rather than by military force, the
government must rely rather on a show of military power than on
gaining any decisive battle.  As it hoped, or affected to hope,
to suppress the rebellion in the States that seceded through
their loyal citizens, it was obliged to assume that secession was
the work of a faction, of a few ambitious and disappointed
politicians, and that the States were all in the Union, and
continued in the loyal portion of their inhabitants.  Hence its
aid to the loyal Virginians to organize as the State of Virginia,
and its subsequent efforts to organize the Union men in
Louisiana, Arkansas, and Tennessee, and its disposition to
recognize their organization in each of those States as the State
itself, though including only a small minority of the territorial
people.  Had the facts been as assumed, the government might have
treated the loyal people of each State as the State itself,
without any gross usurpation of power; but, unhappily, the facts
assumed were not facts, and it was soon found that the Union
party in all the States that seceded, except the western part of
Virginia and the eastern section of Tennessee, after secession
had been carried by the popular vote, went almost unanimously
with the secessionists; for they as well as the secessionists
held the doctrine of State sovereignty; and to treat the handful
of citizens that remained loyal in each State as the State
itself, became ridiculous, and the government should have seen
and acknowledged it.

The rebellion being really territorial, and not personal, the
State that seceded was no more continued in the loyal than in the
disloyal population.  While the war lasted, both were public
enemies of the United States, and neither had or could have any
rights as a State in the Union.  The law recognizes a solidarity
of all the citizens of a State, and assumes that, when a State is
at war, all its citizens are at war, whether approving the war or
not.  The loyal people in the States that seceded incurred none
of the pains and penalties of treason, but they retained none of
the political rights of the State in the Union, and, in
reorganizing the State after the suppression of the rebellion,
they have no more right to take part than the secessionists
themselves.  They, as well as the secessionists, have followed
the territory.  It was on this point that the government
committed its gravest mistake.  As to the reorganization or
reconstruction of the State, the whole territorial people stood
on the same footing.

Taking the decision of the Supreme Court as conclusive on the
subject, the rebellion was territorial, and, therefore, placed
all the States as States out of the Union, and retained them only
as population and territory, under or subject to the Union.  The
States ceased to exist, that is, as integral elements of the
national sovereignty.  The question then occurred, are they to be
erected into new States, or are they to be reconstructed and
restored to the Union as the identical old States that seceded?
Shall their identity be revived and preserved, or shall they be
new States, regardless of that identity ?  There can be no
question that the work to be done was that of restoration, not of
creation; no tribe should perish from Israel, no star be struck
from the firmament of the Union.  Every inhabitant of the fallen
States, and every citizen of the United States must desire them
to be revived and continued with their old names and boundaries,
and all true Americans wish to continue the constitution as it
is, and the Union as it was.  Who would see old Virginia, the
Virginia of revolutionary fame, of Washington, Jefferson,
Madison, of Monroe, the "Old Dominion," once the leading State of
the Union, dead without hope of resurrection? or South Carolina,
the land of Rutledge, Moultrie, Laurens, Hayne, Sumter, and
Marion?  There is something grating to him who values State
associations, and would encourage State emulation and State
pride, in the mutilation of the Old Dominion and the erection
within her borders of the new State called West Virginia.  States
in the Union are not mere prefectures, or mere dependencies on
the General government, created for the convenience of
administration.  They have an individual, a real existence of
their own, as much so as have the individual members of society.
They are free members, not of a confederation indeed, but of a
higher political community, and reconstruction should restore the
identity of their individual life, suspended for a moment by
secession, but capable of resuscitation.

These States had become, indeed, for a moment, territory under
the Union; but in no instance had they or could they become
territory that had never existed as States.  The fact that the
territory and people had existed as a State, could with regard to
none of them be obliterated, and, therefore, they could not be
erected into absolutely new States.  The process of
reconstructing them could not be the same as that of creating new
States.  In creating a new State, Congress, ex necessitate,
because there is no other power except the national convention
competent to do it, defines the boundaries of the new State, and
prescribes the electoral people, or who may take part in the
preliminary organization but in reconstructing States it does
neither, for both are done by a law Congress is not competent to
abrogate or modify, and which can be done only by the United
States in convention assembled, or by the State itself after its
restoration.  The government has conceded this, and, in part, has
acted on it.  It preserves, except in Virginia, the old
boundaries, and recognizes, or rather professes to recognize the
old electoral law, only it claims the right to exclude from the
electoral people those who have voluntarily taken part in the

The work to be done in States that have seceded is that of
reconstruction, not creation; and this work is not and cannot be
done, exclusively nor chiefly by the General government, either
by the Executive or by Congress.  That government can appoint
military, or even provisional governors, who may designate the
time and place of holding the convention of the electoral people
of the disorganized State, as also the time and place of holding
the elections of delegates to it, and superintend the elections
so far as to see the polls are opened, and that none but
qualified electors vote, but nothing more.  All the rest is the
work of the territorial electoral people themselves, for the
State within its own sphere must, as one of the United States, be
a self-governing community.  The General government may concede
or withhold permission to the disorganized State to reorganize,
as it judges advisable, but it cannot itself reorganize it.  If it
concedes the permission, it must leave the whole electoral people
under the preexisting electoral law free to take part in the work
of reorganization, and to vote according to their own judgment.
It has no authority to purge the electoral people, and say who
may or may not vote, for the whole question of suffrage and the
qualifications of electors is left to the State, and can be
settled neither by an act of Congress nor by an Executive

If the government theory were admissible, that the disorganized
States remain States in the Union, the General government could
have nothing to say on the subject, and could no more interfere
with elections in any one of them than it could with elections in
Massachusetts or New York.  But even on the doctrine here
defended it can interfere with them only by way of general
superintendence.  The citizens have, indeed, lost their political
rights, but not their private rights.  Secession has not
dissolved civil society, or abrogated any of the laws of the
disorganized State that were in force at the time of secession.
The error of the government is not in maintaining that these laws
survive the secession ordinances, and remain the territorial law,
or lex loci, but in maintaining that they do so by will of the
State, that has, as a State, really lapsed.  They do so by will
of the United States, which enacted them through the individual
State, and which has not in convention abrogated them, save the
law authorizing slavery, and its dependent laws.

This point has already been made, but as it is one of the
niceties of the American constitution, it may not be amiss to
elaborate it at greater length.  The doctrine of Mr. Jefferson,
Mr. Madison, and the majority of our jurists, would see to be
that the States, under God, are severally sovereign in all
matters not expressly confided to the General government, and
therefore that the American sovereignty is divided, and the
citizen owes a double allegiance--allegiance to his State, and
allegiance to the United States--as if there was a United States
distinguishable from the States.  Hence Mr. Seward, in an
official dispatch to our minister at the court of St. James,
says: "The citizen owes allegiance to the State and to the United
States."  And nearly all who hold allegiance is due to the Union
at all, hold that it is also due to the States, only that which
is due to the United States is paramount, as that under feudalism
due to the overlord.  But this is not the case.  There is no
divided sovereignty, no divided allegiance.  Sovereignty is one,
and vests not in the General government or in the State
government, but in the United States, and allegiance is due to
the United States, and to them alone.  Treason can be committed
only against the United States, and against a State only because
against the United States, and is properly cognizable only by the
Federal courts.  Hence the Union men committed no treason in
refusing to submit to the secession ordinances of their
respective States, and in sustaining the national arms against

There are two very common mistakes: the one that the States
individually possess all the powers not delegated to the General
government; and the other that the Union, or United States, have
only delegated powers.  But the United States possess all the
powers of a sovereign state, and the States individually and the
General government possess only such powers as the United States
in convention delegate to them respectively.  The sovereign is
neither the General government nor the States severally, but the
United States in convention.  The United States are the one
indivisible sovereign, and this sovereign governs alike general
matters in the General government, and particular matters in the
several State governments.  All legal authority in either
emanates from this one indivisible and plenary sovereign, and
hence the law enacted by a State are really enacted by the United
States, and derive from them their force and vitality as laws.
Hence, as the United States survive the particular State, the
lapse of the State does not abrogate the State laws, or dissolve
civil society within its jurisdiction.

This is evidently so, because civil society in the particular
State does not rest on the State alone, nor on Congress, but on
the United States.  Hence all civil rights of every sort created
by the individual State are really held from the United States,
and therefore it was that the people of non-slaveholding States
were, as citizens of the United States, responsible for the
existence of slavery in the States that seceded.  There is a
solidarity of States in the Union as there is of individuals in
each of the States.  The political error of the Abolitionists was
not in calling upon the people of the United States to abolish
slavery, but in calling upon them to abolish it through the
General government, which had no jurisdiction in the case; or in
their sole capacity as men, on purely humanitarian grounds, which
were the abrogation of all government and civil society itself,
instead of calling upon them to do it as the United States in
convention assembled, or by an amendment to the constitution of
the United States in the way ordained by that constitution
itself.  This understood, the constitution and laws of a defunct
State remain in force by virtue of the will of the United States,
till the State is raised from the dead, restored to life and
activity, and repeals or alters them, or till they are repealed
or altered by the United States or the national convention.  But
as the defunct State could not, and the convention had not
repealed or altered them, save in the one case mentioned, the
General government had no alternative but to treat them and all
rights created by them as the territorial law, and to respect
them as such.

What then do the people of the several States that seceded lose
by secession?  They lose, besides incurring, so far as disloyal,
the pains and penalties of treason, their political rights, or
right, as has just been said, to be in their own department
self-governing communities, with the right of representation in
Congress and the electoral colleges, and to sit in the national
convention, or of being counted in the ratification of amendments
to the constitution--precisely what it was shown a Territorial
people gain by being admitted as a State into the Union.  This is
the difference between the constitutional doctrine and that
adopted by Mr. Lincoln's and Mr. Johnson's Administrations.  But
what authority, on this constitutional doctrine, does the General
government gain over the people of States that secede, that it
has not over others!  As to their internal constitution, their
private rights of person or property, it gains none.  It has over
them, till they are reconstructed and restored to the Union, the
right to institute for them provisional governments, civil or
military, precisely as it has for the people of a territory that
is not and has never been one of the United States; but in their
reconstruction it has less, for the geographical boundaries and
electoral people of each are already defined by a law which does
not depend on its will, and which it can neither abrogate nor
modify.  Here is the difference between the constitutional
doctrine and that of the so-called radicals.  The State has gone,
but its laws remain, so far as the United States in convention
does not abrogate them; not because the authority of the State
survives, but because the United States so will, or are presumed
to will.  The United States have by a constitutional amendment
abrogated the laws of the several States authorizing slavery, and
prohibited slavery forever within the jurisdiction of the Union;
and no State can now be reconstructed and be admitted into the
Union with a constitution that permits slavery, for that would be
repugnant to the constitution of the United States.  If the
constitutional amendment is not recognized as ratified by the
requisite number of States, it is the fault of the government in
persisting in counting as States what are no States.  Negro
suffrage, as white suffrage, is at present a question for

The United States guarantee to such State a republican form of
government.  And this guarantee, no doubt, authorizes Congress to
intervene in the internal constitution of a State so far as to
force it to adopt a republican form of government, but not so far
as to organize a government for a State, or to compel a
territorial people to accept or adopt a State constitution for
themselves.  If a State attempts to organize a form of government
not republican, it can prevent it; and if a Territory adopts an
unrepublican form, it can force it to change its constitution to
one that is republican, or compel it to remain a Territory under
a provisional government.  But this gives the General government
no authority in the organization or re-organization of States
beyond seeing that the form of government adopted by the
territorial people is republican.  To press it further, to make
the constitutional clause a pretext for assuming the entire
control of the organization or re-organization of a State, is a
manifest abuse--a palpable violation of the constitution and of
the whole American system.  The authority given by the clause is
specific, and is no authority for intervention in the general
reconstruction of the lapsed State.  It gives authority in no
question raised by secession or its consequences, and can give
none, except, from within or from without, there is an overt
attempt to organize a State in the Union with an unrepublican
form of government.

The General government gives permission to the territorial people
of the defunct State to re-organize, or it contents itself with
suffering them, without special recognition, to reorganize in
their own way, and apply to Congress for admission, leaving it to
Congress to admit them as a State, or not, according to its own
discretion, in like manner as it admits a new State; but the
re-organization itself must be the work of the territorial people
themselves, under their old electoral law.  The power that
reconstructs is in the people themselves; the power that admits
them, or receives them into the Union, is Congress.  The
Executive, therefore, has no authority in the matter, beyond that
of seeing that the laws are duly complied with; and whatever
power he assumes, whether by proclamation or by instructions
given to the provisional governors, civil or military, is simply
a usurpation of the power of Congress, which it rests with
Congress to condone or not, as it may see fit.  Executive
proclamations, excluding a larger or a smaller portion of the
electoral or territorial people from the exercise of the elective
franchise in reorganizing the State, and executive efforts to
throw the State into the hands of one political party or another,
are an unwarrantable assumption of power, for the President, in
relation to reconstruction, acts only under the peace powers of
the constitution, and simply as the first executive officer of
the Union.  His business is to execute the laws, not to make
them.  His legislative authority is confined to his qualified
veto on the acts of Congress, and to the recommendation to
Congress of such measures as he believes are needed by the

In reconstructing a disorganized State, neither Congress nor the
Executive has any power that either has not in time of peace.
The Executive, as commander-in-chief of the army, may ex
necessitate, pace it ad interim under a military governor, but he
cannot appoint even a provisional civil governor till Congress
has created the office and given him authority to fill it; far
less can be legally give instructions to the civil governor as to
the mode or manner of reconstructing the disorganized State, or
decide who may or may not vote in the preliminary reorganization.
The Executive could do nothing of the sort, even in regard to a
Territory never erected into a State.  It belongs to Congress,
not to the Executive, to erect Territorial or provisional
governments, like those of Dacotah, Colorado, Montana, Nebraska,
and New Mexico; and, Congress, not the executive, determines the
boundaries of the Territory, passes the enabling act, and defines
the electoral people, till the State is organized and able to act
herself.  Even Congress, in reconstructing and restoring to life
and vigor in the Union a disorganized State, has nothing to say
as to its boundaries or its electoral people, nor any right to
interfere between parties in the State, to throw the
reconstructed State into the hands of one or another party.  All
that Congress can insist on is, that the territorial people shall
reconstruct with a government republican in form; that its
senators and representatives in Congress, and the members of the
State legislature, and all executive and judicial officers of the
State shall be bound by oath or affirmation to support and defend
the constitution of the United States.  In the whole work the
President has nothing to do with reconstruction, except to see
that peace is preserved and the laws are fully executed.

It may be at least doubted that the Executive has power to
proclaim amnesty and pardon to rebels after the civil war has
ceased, and ceased it has when the rebels have thrown down their
arms and submitted; for his pardoning power is only to pardon
after conviction and judgment of the court: it is certain that he
has no power to proscribe or punish even traitors, except by due
process of law.  When the war is over he has only his ordinary
peace powers.  He cannot then disfranchise any portion of the
electoral people of a State that seceded, even though there is no
doubt that they have taken part in the rebellion, and may still
be suspected of disloyal sentiments.  Not even Congress can do
it, and no power known to the constitution till the State is
reconstructed can do it without due process of law, except the
national convention.  Should the President do any of the things
supposed, he would both abuse the power he has and usurp power
that he has not, and render himself liable to impeachment.  There
are many things very proper, and even necessary to be done, which
are high crimes when done by an improper person or agent.  The
duty of the President, when there are steps to be taken or things
to be done which he believes very necessary, but which are not
within his competency, is, if Congress is not in session, to
call it together at the earliest practicable moment, and submit
the matter to its wisdom and discretion.

It must be remembered that the late rebellion was not a merely
personal but a territorial rebellion.  In such a rebellion,
embracing eleven States, and, excluding slaves, a population of
at least seven millions, acting under an organized territorial
government, preserving internal civil order, supporting an army
and navy under regularly commissioned officers, and carrying on
war as a sovereign nation--in such a territorial rebellion no one
in particular can be accused and punished as a traitor.  The
rebellion is not the work of a few ambitious or reckless leaders,
but of the people, and the responsibility of the crime, whether
civil or military, is not individual, but common to the whole
territorial people engaged in it; and seven millions, or the half
of them, are too many to ban to exile, or even to disfranchise
Their defeat and the failure of their cause must be their
punishment.  The interest of the country, as well the sentiment
of the civilized world--it might almost be said the law of
nations--demands their permission to return to their allegiance,
to be treated according to their future merits, as an integral
portion of the American people.

The sentiment of the civilized world has much relaxed from its
former severity toward political offenders.  It regards with
horror the savage cruelties of Great Britain to the unfortunate
Jacobites, after their defeat under Charles Edward, at Culloden,
in 1746, their barbarous treatment of the United Irishmen in
1798, and her brutality to the mutinous Hindoos in 1857-'58; the
harshness of Russia toward the insurgent Poles, defeated in their
mad attempts to recover their lost nationality; the severity of
Austria, under Haynau, toward the defeated Magyars.  The liberal
press kept up for years, especially in England and the United
States, a perpetual howl against the Papal and Neapolitan
governments for arresting and imprisoning men who conspired to
overthrow them.  Louis Kossuth was no less a traitor than
Jefferson Davis, and yet the United States solicited his release
from a Turkish prison, and sent a national ship to bring him
hither as the nation's guest.  The people of the United States
have held from the first "the right of insurrection," and have
given their moral support to every insurrection in the Old or New
World they discovered, and for them to treat with severity any
portion of the Southern secessionists, who, at the very worst,
only acted on the principles the nation had uniformly avowed and
pronounced sacred, would be regarded, and justly, by the
civilized world as little less than infamous.

Not only the fair fame, but the interest of the Union forbids any
severity toward the people lately in arms against the government.
The interest of the nation demands not the death or the expulsion
of the secessionists, and, least of all, of those classes
proscribed by the President's proclamation of the 29th of May,
1865, nor even their disfranchisement, perpetual or temporary;
but their restoration to citizenship, and their loyal
co-operation with all true-hearted Americans, in hearing the
wounds inflicted on the whole country by the civil war.  There
need be no fear to trust them.  Their cause is lost; they may or
may not regret it, but lost it is, and lost forever.  They
appealed to the ballot-box, and were defeated; they appealed from
the ballot-box to arms, to war, and have been again defeated,
terribly defeated.  They know it and feel it.  There is no
further appeal for them; the judgment of the court of last resort
has been rendered, and rendered against them.  The cause is
finished, the controversy closed, never to be re-opened.
Henceforth the Union is invincible, and it is worse than idle to
attempt to renew the war against it.  Henceforth their lot is
bound up with that of the nation, and all their hopes and
interests, for themselves and their children, and their
children's children, depend on their being permitted to demean
themselves henceforth as peaceable and loyal American citizens.
They must seek their freedom, greatness, and glory in the
freedom, greatness, and glory of the American republic, in which,
after all, they can be far freer, greater, more glorious than in
a separate and independent confederacy.  All the arguments and
considerations urged by Union men against their secession, come
back to them now with redoubled force to keep them henceforth
loyal to the Union.

They cannot afford to lose the nation, and the nation cannot
afford to lose them.  To hang or exile them, and depopulate and
suffer to run to waste the lands they had cultivated, were sad
thrift, sadder than that of deporting four millions of negroes
and colored men.  To exchange only those excepted from amnesty
and pardon by President Johnson, embracing some two millions or
more, the very pars sanior of the Southern population, for what
would remain or flock in to supply their place, would be only the
exchange of Glaucus and Diomed, gold for brass; to disfranchise
them, confiscate their estates, and place them under the
political control of the freedmen, lately their slaves, and the
ignorant and miserable "white trash," would be simply to render
rebellion chronic, and to convert seven millions of Americans,
willing and anxious to be free, loyal American citizens,
eternal enemies.  They have yielded to superior numbers and
resources; beaten, but not disgraced, for they have, even in
rebellion, proved themselves what they are--real Americans.  They
are the product of the American soil, the free growth of the
American republic, and to disgrace them were to disgrace the
whole American character and people.

The wise Romans never allowed a triumph to a Roman general for
victories, however brilliant, won over Romans.  In civil war, the
victory won by the government troops is held to be a victory for
the country, in which all parties are victors, and nobody is
vanquished.  It was as truly for the good of the secessionists to
fail, as it was for those, who sustained the government to
succeed; and the government having forced their submission and
vindicated its own authority, it should now leave them to enjoy,
with others, the victory which it his won for the common good of
all.  When war becomes a stern necessity, when it breaks out, and
while it lasts, humanity requires it to be waged in earnest,
prosecuted with vigor, and made as damaging, as distressful to
the enemy as the laws of civilized nations permit.  It is the way
to bring it to a speedy close, and to save life and property.
But when it is over, when the enemy submits, and peace returns,
the vanquished should be treated with gentleness and love.  No
rancor should remain, no vengeance should be sought; they who met
in mortal conflict on the battle-field should be no longer
enemies, but embrace as comrades, as friends, as brothers.  None
but a coward kicks a fallen foe; a brave people is generous, and
the victors in the late war can afford to be generous generously.
They fought for the Union, and the Union has no longer an enemy;
their late enemies are willing and proud to be their countrymen,
fellow-citizens, and friends; and they should look to it that
small politicians do not rob them in the eyes of the world, by
unnecessary and ill-timed severity to the submissive, of the
glory of being, as they are, a great, noble, chivalric, generous,
and magnanimous people.

The government and the small politicians, who usually are the
most influential with all governments, should remember that none
of the secessionists, however much in error they have been, have
committed the moral crime of treason.  They held, with the
majority of the American people, the doctrine of State
sovereignty, and on that doctrine they had a right to secede, and
have committed no treason, been guilty of no rebellion.  That
was, indeed, no reason why the government should not use all its
force, if necessary, to preserve the national unity and the
integrity of the national domain; but it is a reason, and a
sufficient reason, why no penalty of treason should be inflicted
on secessionists or their leaders, after their submission, and
recognition of the sovereignty of the United States as that to
which they owe allegiance.  None of the secessionists have been
rebels or traitors, except in outward act, and there can, after
the act has ceased, be no just punishment where there has been no
criminal intent.  Treason is the highest crime, and deserves
exemplary punishment; but not where there has been no treasonable
intent, where they who committed it did not believe it was
treason, and on principles held by the majority of their
countrymen, and by the party that had generally held the
government, there really was no treason.  Concede State
sovereignty, and Jefferson Davis was no traitor in the war he
made on the United States, for he made none till his State had
seceded.  He could not then be arraigned for his acts after
secession, and at most, only for conspiracy, if at all, before

But, if you permit all to vote in the re-organization of the
State who, under the old electoral law, have the elective
franchise, you throw the State into the hands of those who have
been disloyal to the Union.  If so, and you cannot trust them,
the remedy is not in disfranchising the majority, but in
prohibiting re-organization, and in holding the territorial
people still longer under the provisional government, civil or
military.  The old electoral law disqualifies all who have been
convicted of treason either to the State or the United States,
and neither Congress nor the Executive can declare any others
disqualified on account of disloyalty.  But you must throw the
State into the hands of those who took part, directly or
indirectly, in the rebellion, if you reconstruct the States at
all, for they are undeniably the great body of the territorial
people in all the States that seceded.  These people having
submitted, and declared their intention to reconstruct the State
as a State in the Union, you must amend the constitution of the
United States, unless they are convicted of a disqualifying crime
by due process of law, before you can disfranchise them.  It is
impossible to reconstruct any one of the disorganized States with
those alone, or as the dominant party, who have adhered to the
Union throughout the fearful struggle, as self-governing States.
The State, resting on so small a portion of the people, would
have no internal strength, no self-support, and could stand only
as upheld by federal arms, which would greatly impair the free
and healthy action of the whole American system.

The government attempted to do it in Virginia, Louisiana,
Arkansas, and Tennessee, before the rebellion was suppressed, but
without authority and without success.  The organizations,
effected at great expense, and sustained only by military force,
were neither States nor State governments, nor capable of being
made so by any executive or congressional action.  If the
disorganized States, as the government held, were still States in
the Union, these organizations were flagrantly revolutionary, as
effected not only without, but in defiance of State authority; if
they had seceded and ceased to be States, as was the fact, they
were equally unconstitutional and void of authority, because not
created by the free suffrage of the territorial people, who alone
are competent to construct or reconstruct a state.

If the Unionists had retained the State organization and
government, however small their number, they would have held the
State, and the government would have been bound to recognize and
to defend them as such with all the force of the Union.  The
rebellion would then have been personal, not territorial.  But
such was not the case.  The State organization, the State
government, the whole State authority rebelled, made the
rebellion territorial, not personal, and left the Unionists, very
respectable persons assuredly, residing, if they remained at
home, in rebel territory, traitors in the eye of their respective
States, and shorn of all political status or rights.  Their
political status was simply that of the old loyalists, or
adherents of the British crown in the American war for
Independence, and it was as absurd to call them the State, as it
would have been for Great Britain to have called the old Tories
the colonies.

The theory on which the government attempted to re-organize the
disorganized States rested on two false assumptions: first, that
the people are personally sovereign; and, second, that all the
power of the Union vests in the General government.  The first,
as we have seen, is the principle of so-called "squatter
sovereignty," embodied in the famous Kansas-Nebraska Bill, which
gave birth, in opposition, to the Republican party of 1856.  The
people are sovereign only as the State, and the State is
inseparable from the domain.  The Unionists without the State
government, without any State organization, could not hold the
domain, which, when the State organization is gone, escheats to
the United States, that is to say, ceases to exist.  The American
democracy is territorial, not personal.

The General government, in time of war or rebellion, is indeed
invested, for war purposes, with all the power of the Union.
This is the war power.  But, though apparently unlimited, the war
power is yet restricted to war purposes, and expires by natural
limitation when peace returns;, and peace returns, in a civil
war, when the rebels have thrown down their arms and submitted to
the national authority, and without any formal declaration.
During the war, or while the rebellion lasts, it can suspend the
civil courts, the civil laws, the State constitutions, any thing
necessary to the success of the war--and of the necessity the
military authorities are the judges; but it cannot abolish,
abrogate, or reconstitute them.  On the return of peace they
revive of themselves in all their vigor.  The emancipation
proclamation of the President, if it emancipated the slaves in
certain States and parts of States, and if those whom it
emancipated could not be re-enslaved, did not anywhere abolish
slavery, or change the laws authorizing it; and if the Government
should be sustained by Congress or by the Supreme Court in
counting the disorganized States as States in the Union, the
legal status of slavery throughout the Union, with the exception
of Maryland, and perhaps Missouri, is what it was before the

The Government undoubtedly supposed, in the reconstructions it
attempted, that it was acting under the war power; but as
reconstruction can never be necessary for war purposes, and as it
is in its very nature a work of peace, incapable of being
effected by military force, since its validity depends entirely
on its being the free action of the territorial people to be
reconstructed, the General government had and could have, with
regard to it, only its ordinary

* This was the case in August, 1865.  It may be quite otherwise
before these pages see the light.

                                peace powers.  Reconstruction is
jure pacis, not jure belli.

Yet such illegal organizations, though they are neither States
nor State governments, and incapable of being legalized by any
action of the Executive or of Congress, may, nevertheless, be
legalized by being indorsed or acquiesced in by the territorial
people.  They are wrong, as are all usurpations; they are
undemocratic, inasmuch as they attempt to give the minority the
power to rule the majority; they are dangerous inasmuch as they
place the State in the hands of a party that can stand only as
supported by the General government, and thus destroy the proper
freedom and independence of the State, and open the door to
corruption, tend to keep alive rancor and ill feeling, and to
retard the period of complete pacification, which might be
effected in three months as well as in three years, or twenty
years; yet they can become legal, as other governments illegal in
their origin become legal, with time and popular acquiescence.
The right way is always the shortest and easiest; but when a
government must oftener follow than lead the public, it is not
always easy to hit the right way, and still less easy to take it.
The general instincts of the people are right as to the end to be
gained, but seldom right as to the means of gaining it; and
politicians of the Union party, as well as of the late secession
party, have an eye in reconstructing, to the future political
control of the State when it is reconstructed.

The secessionists, if permitted to retain their franchise, would,
even if they accepted abolition, no doubt re-organize their
respective States on the basis of white suffrage, and so would
the Unionists, if left to themselves.  There is no party at the
South prepared to adopt negro suffrage, and there would be none
at the North if the negroes constituted any considerable portion
of the population.  As the reconstruction of a State cannot be
done under the war power, the General government can no more
enfranchise than it can disfranchise any portion of the
territorial people, and the question of negro suffrage must be
left, where the constitution leaves it--to the States severally,
each to dispose of it for itself.  Negro suffrage will, no doubt,
come in time, as soon as the freedmen are prepared for it, and
the danger is that it will be attempted too soon.

It would be a convenience to have the negro vote in the
reconstruction of the States disorganized by secession, for it
would secure their re-construction with antislavery
constitutions, and also make sure of the proposed antislavery
amendment to the Constitution of the United States; but there is
no power in Congress to enfranchise the negroes in the States
needing reconstruction, and, once assured of their freedom, the
freedmen would care little for the Union, of which they
understand nothing.  They would vote, for the most part, with
their former masters, their employers, the wealthier and more
intelligent classes, whether loyal or disloyal; for, as a rule,
these will treat them with greater personal consideration and
kindness than others.  The dislike of the negro, and hostility to
negro equality, increase as you descend in the social scale.  The
freedmen, without political instruction or experience, who have
had no country, no domicile, understand nothing of loyalty or of
disloyalty.  They have strong local attachments, but they can
have no patriotism.  If they adhered to the Union in the
rebellion, fought for it, bled for it, it was not from loyalty,
but because they knew that their freedom could come only from the
success of the Union arms.  That freedom secured, they have no
longer any interest in the Union, and their local attachments,
personal associations, habits, tastes, likes and dislikes, are
Southern, not Northern.  In any contest between the North and the
South, they would take, to a man, the Southern side.  After the
taunts of the women, the captured soldiers of the Union found,
until nearly the last year of the war, nothing harder to bear,
when marched as prisoners into Richmond, than the antics and
hootings of the negroes.  Negro suffrage on the score of loyalty,
is at best a matter of indifference to the Union, and as the
elective franchise is not a natural right, but a civil trust, the
friends of the negro should, for the present, be contented with
securing him simply equal rights of person and property.



The most marked political tendency of the American people has
been, since 1825, to interpret their government as a pure and
simple democracy, and to shift it from a territorial to a purely
popular basis, or from the people as the state, inseparably
united to the national territory or domain, to the people as
simply population, either as individuals or as the race.  Their
tendency has unconsciously, therefore, been to change their
constitution from a republican to a despotic, or from a civilized
to a barbaric constitution.

The American constitution is democratic, in the sense that the
people are sovereign that all laws and public acts run in their
name; that the rulers are elected by them, and are responsible to
them; but they are the people territorially constituted and fixed
to the soil, constituting what Mr. Disraeli, with more propriety
perhaps than he thinks, calls a "territorial democracy."  To this
territorial democracy, the real American democracy, stand opposed
two other democracies--the one personal and the other
humanitarian--each alike hostile to civilization, and tending to
destroy the state, and capable of sustaining government only on
principles common to all despotisms.

In every man there is a natural craving for personal freedom and
unrestrained action--a strong desire to be himself, not
another--to be his own master, to go when and where he pleases,
to do what he chooses, to take what he wants, wherever he can
find it, and to keep what he takes.  It is strong in all nomadic
tribes, who are at once pastoral and predatory, and is seldom
weak in our bold frontier-men, too often real "border ruffians."
It takes different forms in different stages of social
development, but it everywhere identifies liberty with power.
Restricted in its enjoyment to one man, it makes him chief, chief
of the family, the tribe, or the nation; extended in its
enjoyment to the few, it founds an aristocracy, creates a
nobility--for nobleman meant originally only freeman, as it does
his own consent, express or constructive.  This is the so-called
Jeffersonian democracy, in which government has no powers but
such as it derives from the consent of the governed, and is
personal democracy or pure individualism philosophically
considered, pure egoism, which says, "I am God."  Under this sort
of democracy, based on popular, or rather individual sovereignty,
expressed by politicians when they call the electoral people,
half seriously, half mockingly, "the sovereigns," there obviously
can be no state, no social rights or civil authority; there can
be only a voluntary association, league, alliance, or
confederation, in which individuals may freely act together as
long as they find it pleasant, convenient, or useful, but from
which they may separate or secede whenever they find it for their
interest or their pleasure to do so.  State sovereignty and
secession are based on the same democratic principle applied to
the several States of the Union instead of individuals.

The tendency to this sort of democracy has been strong in large
sections of the American people from the first, and has been
greatly strengthened by the general acceptance of the theory that
government originates in compact.  The full realization of this
tendency, which, happily, is impracticable save in theory, would
be to render every man independent alike of every other man and
of society, with full right and power to make his own will
prevail.  This tendency was strongest in the slaveholding States,
and especially, in those States, in the slaveholding class, the
American imitation of the feudal nobility of mediaeval Europe;
and on this side the war just ended was, in its most general
expression, a war in defence of personal democracy or the
sovereignty of the people individually, against the humanitarian
democracy, represented by the abolitionists, and the territorial
democracy, represented by the Government.  This personal
democracy has been signally defeated in the defeat of the late
confederacy, and can hardly again become strong enough to be

But the humanitarian democracy, which scorns all geographical
lines, effaces all in individualities, and professes to plant
itself on humanity alone, has acquired by the war new strength,
and is not without menace to our future.  The solidarity of the
race, which is the condition of all human life, founds, as we
have seen, society, and creates what are called social rights,
the, rights alike of society in regard to individuals, and of
individuals in regard to society.  Territorial divisions or
circumscriptions found particular societies, states, or nations;
yet as the race is one and all its members live by communion with
God through it and by communion one with another, these
particular states or nations are never absolutely independent of
each other but, bound together by the solidarity of the race, so
that there is a real solidarity of nations as well as of
individuals--the truth underlying Kossuth's famous declaration of
the solidarity of peoples."

The solidarity of nations is the basis of international law,
binding on every particular nation, and which every civilized
nation recognizes and enforces on its own subjects or citizens
through its own courts as an integral part of its own municipal
or national law.

The personal or individual right is therefore restricted by the
rights of society, and the rights of the particular society or
nation are limited by international law, or the rights of
universal society--the truth the ex-governor of Hungary
overlooked.  The grand error of Gentilism was in denying the
unity and therefore the solidarity of the race, involved in its
denial or misconception of the unity of God.  It therefore was
never able to assign any solid basis to international law, and
gave it only a conventional or customary authority, thus leaving
the jus gentium, which it recognized in deed, without any real
foundation in the constitution of things, or authority in the
real world.  Its real basis is in the solidarity of the race,
which has its basis in the unity of God, not the dead or abstract
unity asserted by the old Eleatics, the Neo-Platonists, or the
modern Unitarians, but the living unity consisting in the
threefold relation in the Divine Essence, of Father, Son, and
Holy Ghost, as asserted by Christian revelation, and believed,
more or less intelligently, by all Christendom.

The tendency in the Southern States has been to overlook the
social basis of the state, or the rights of society founded on
the solidarity of the race, and to make all rights and powers
personal, or individual; and as only the white race has been able
to assert and maintain its personal freedom, only men of that
race are held to have the right to be free.  Hence the people of
those States felt no scruple in holding the black or colored race
as slaves. Liberty, said they, is the right only of those who
have the ability to assert and maintain it.  Let the negro prove
that he has this ability by asserting and maintaining his
freedom, and he will prove his right to be free, and that it is a
gross outrage, a manifest injustice, to enslave him; but, till
then, let him be my servant, which is best for him and for me.
Why ask me to free him?  I shall by doing so only change the form
of his servitude.  Why appeal to me!  Am I my brother's keeper?
Nay, is he my brother?  Is this negro, more like an ape or a
baboon than a human being, of the same race with myself?  I
believe it not.  But in some instances, at least, my dear
slaveholder, your slave is literally your brother, and sometimes
even your son, born of your own daughter.  The tendency of the
Southern democrat was to deny the unity of the race, as well as
all obligations of society to protect the weak and helpless, and
therefore all true civil society.

At the North there has been, and is even yet, an opposite
tendency--a tendency to exaggerate the social element, to
overlook the territorial basis of the state, and to disregard the
rights of individuals.  This tendency has been and is strong in
the people called abolitionists.  The American abolitionist is so
engrossed with the unity that he loses the solidarity of the
race, which supposes unity of race and multiplicity of
individuals; and falls to see any thing legitimate and
authoritative in geographical divisions or territorial
circumscriptions.  Back of these, back of individuals, he sees
humanity, superior to individuals, superior to states,
governments, and laws, and holds that he may trample on them all
or give them to the winds at the call of humanity or "the higher
law."  The principle on which he acts is as indefensible as the
personal or egoistical democracy of the slaveholders and their
sympathizers.  Were his socialistic tendency to become exclusive
and realized, it would found in the name of humanity a complete
social despotism, which, proving impracticable from its very
generality, would break up in anarchy, in which might makes
right, as in the slaveholder's democracy.

The abolitionists, in supporting themselves on humanity in its
generality, regardless of individual and territorial rights, can
recognize no state, no civil authority, and therefore are as much
out of the order of civilization, and as much in that of
barbarism, as is the slaveholder himself.  Wendell Phillips is as
far removed from true Christian civilization as was John C.
Calhoun, and William Lloyd Garrison is as much of a barbarian and
despot in principle and tendency as Jefferson Davis.  Hence the
great body of the people in the non-slaveholding States, wedded
to American democracy as they were and are could never, as much
as they detested slavery, be induced to make common cause with
the abolitionists, and their apparent union in the late civil war
was accidental, simply owing to the fact that for the time the
social democracy and the territorial coincides or had the same
enemy.  The great body of the loyal people instinctively felt
that pure socialism is as incompatible with American democracy as
pure individualism; and the abolitionists are well aware that
slavery has been abolished, not for humanitarian or socialistic
reasons but really for reasons of state, in order to save the
territorial democracy.  The territorial democracy would not unite
to eliminate even so barbaric an element as slavery, till the
rebellion gave them the constitutional right to abolish it; and
even then so scrupulous were they, that they demanded a
constitutional amendment, so as to be able to make clean work of
it, without any blow to individual or State rights.

The abolitionists were right in opposing slavery, but not in
demanding its abolition on humanitarian or socialistic grounds.
Slavery is really a barbaric element, and is in direct antagonism
to American civilization.  The whole force of the national life
opposes it, and must finally eliminate it, or become itself
extinct and it is no mean proof of their utter want of sympathy
with all the living forces of modern civilization, that the
leading men of the South and their prominent friends at the North
really persuaded themselves that with cotton, rice, and tobacco,
they could effectually resist the anti-slavery movement, and
perpetuate their barbaric democracy.  They studied the classics,
they admired Greece and Rome, and imagined that those nations
became great by slavery, instead of being great even in spite of
slavery.  They failed to take into the account the fact that when
Greece and Rome were in the zenith of their glory, all
contemporary nations were also slaveholding nations, and that if
they were the greatest and most highly civilized nations of their
times, they were not fitted to be the greatest and most highly
civilized nations of all times.  They failed also to perceive
that, if the Graeco-Roman republic did not include the whole
territorial people in the political people, it yet recognized
both the social and the territorial foundation of the state, and
never attempted to rest it on pure individualism; they forgot,
too, that Greece and Rome both fell, and fell precisely through
internal weakness caused by the barbarism within, not through the
force of the barbarism beyond their frontiers.  The world has
changed since the time when ten thousand of his slaves were
sacrificed as a religious offering to the manes of a single Roman
master.  The infusion of the Christian dogma of the unity and
solidarity of the race into the belief, the life, the laws, the
jurisprudence of all civilized nations, has doomed slavery and
every species of barbarism; but this our slaveholding countrymen
saw not.

It rarely happens that in any controversy, individual or
national, the real issue is distinctly presented, or the precise
question in debate is clearly and distinctly understood by either
party.  Slavery was only incidentally involved in the late war.
The war was occasioned by the collision of two extreme parties;
but it was itself a war between civilization and barbarism,
primarily between the territorial democracy and the personal
democracy, and in reality, on the part of the nation, as much a
war against the socialism of the abolitionist as against the
individualism of the slaveholder.  Yet the victory, though
complete over the former, is only half won over the latter, for
it has left the humanitarian democracy standing, and perhaps for
the moment stronger than ever.  The socialistic democracy was
enlisted by the territorial, not to strengthen the government at
home, as it imagines, for that it did not do, and could not do,
since the national instinct was even more opposed to it than to
the personal democracy; but under its antislavery aspect, to
soften the hostility of foreign powers, and ward off foreign
intervention, which was seriously threatened.  The populations of
Europe, especially of France and England, were decidedly
anti-slavery, and if the war here appeared to them a war, not
solely for the unity of the nation and the integrity of its
domain, as it really was, in which they took and could take no
interest, but a war for the abolition of slavery, their
governments would not venture to intervene.  This was the only
consideration that weighed with Mr. Lincoln, as he himself
assured the author, and induced him to issue his Emancipation
Proclamation; and Europe rejoices in our victory over the
rebellion only so far as it has liberated the slaves, and honors
the late President only as their supposed liberator, not as the
preserver of the unity and integrity of the nation.  This is
natural enough abroad, and proves the wisdom of the anti-slavery
policy of the government, which had become absolutely necessary
to save the Republic long before it was adopted; yet it is not as
the emancipator of some two or three millions of slaves that the
American patriot cherishes the memory of Abraham Lincoln, but,
aided by the loyal people, generals of rare merit, and troops of
unsurpassed bravery and endurance, as the saviour of the American
state, and the protector of modern civilization.  His
anti-slavery policy served this end, and therefore was wise, but
he adopted it with the greatest possible reluctance.

There were greater issues in the late war than negro slavery or
negro freedom.  That was only an incidental issue, as the really
great men of the Confederacy felt, who to save their cause were
willing themselves at last to free and arm their own negroes, and
perhaps were willing to do it even at first.  This fact alone
proves that they had, or believed they had, a far more important
cause than the preservation of negro slavery.  They fought for
personal democracy, under the form of State sovereignty, against
social democracy; for personal freedom and independence against
social or humanitarian despotism; and so far their cause was as
good as that against which they took up arms; and if they had or
could have fought against that, without fighting at the same time
against the territorial, the real American, the only civilized
democracy, they would have succeeded.  It is not socialism nor
abolitionism that has won; nor is it the North that has
conquered.  The Union itself has won no victories over the South,
and it is both historically and legally false to say that the
South has been subjugated.  The Union has preserved itself and
American civilization, alike for North and South, East and West.
The armies that so often met in the shock of battle were not
drawn up respectively by the North and the South, but by two
rival democracies, to decide which of the two should rule the
future.  They were the armies of two mutually antagonistic
systems, and neither army was clearly and distinctly conscious of
the cause for which it was shedding its blood; each obeyed
instinctively a power stronger than itself, and which at best it
but dimly discerned.  On both sides the cause was broader and
deeper than negro slavery, and neither the proslavery men nor the
abolitionists have won.  The territorial democracy alone has won,
and won what will prove to be a final victory over the purely
personal democracy, which had its chief seat in the Southern
States, though by no means confined to them.  The danger to
American democracy from that quarter is forever removed, and
democracy a' la Rousseau has received a terrible defeat
throughout the world, though as yet it is far from being aware of

But in this world victories are never complete.  The socialistic
democracy claims the victory which has been really won by the
territorial democracy, as if it had been socialism, not
patriotism, that fired the hearts and nerved the arms of the
brave men led by McClellan, Grant, and Sherman.  The
humanitarians are more dangerous in principle than the egoists,
for they have the appearance of building on a broader and deeper
foundation, of being more Christian, more philosophic, more
generous and philanthropic; but Satan is never more successful
than under the guise of an angel of light.  His favorite guise in
modern times is that of philanthropy.  He is a genuine
humanitarian, and aims to persuade the world that humanitarianism
is Christianity, and that man is God; that the soft and charming
sentiment of philanthropy is real Christian charity; and he dupes
both individuals and nations, and makes them do his work, when
they believe they are earnestly and most successfully doing the
work of God.  Your leading abolitionists are as much affected by
satanophany as your leading confederates, nor are they one whit
more philosophical or less sophistical.  The one loses the race,
the other the individual, and neither has learned to apply
practically that fundamental truth that there is never the
general without the particular, nor the particular without the
general, the race without individuals, nor individuals without
the race.  The whole race was in Adam, and fell in him, as we are
taught by the doctrine of original sin, or the sin of the race,
and Adam was an individual, as we are taught in the fact that
original sin was in him actual or personal sin.

The humanitarian is carried away by a vague generality, and loses
men in humanity, sacrifices the rights of men in a vain endeavor
to secure the rights of man, as your Calvinist or his brother
Jansenist sacrifices the rights of nature in order to secure the
freedom of grace.  Yesterday he agitated for the abolition of
slavery, to-day he agitates for negro suffrage, negro equality,
and announces that when be has secured that be will agitate for
female suffrage and the equality of the sexes, forgetting or
ignorant that the relation of equality subsists only between
individuals of the same sex; that God made the man the head of
the woman, and the woman for the man, not the man for the woman.
Having obliterated all distinction of sex in politics, in social,
industrial, and domestic arrangements, he must go farther, and
agitate for equality of property.  But since property, if
recognized at all, will be unequally acquired and distributed, he
must go farther still, and agitate for the total abolition of
property, as an injustice, a grievous wrong, a theft, with
M. Proudhon, or the Englishman Godwin.  It is unjust that one
should have what another wants, or even more than another.  What
right have you to ride in your coach or astride your spirited
barb while I am forced to trudge on foot?  Nor can our
humanitarian stop there.  Individuals are, and as long as there
are individuals will be, unequal: some are handsomer and some are
uglier, some wiser or sillier, more or less gifted, stronger or
weaker, taller or shorter, stouter or thinner than others, and
therefore some have natural advantages which others have not.
There is inequality, therefore injustice, which can be remedied
only by the abolition of all individualities, and the reduction
of all individuals to the race, or humanity, man in general.  He
can find no limit to his agitation this side of vague generality,
which is no reality, but a pure nullity, for he respects no
territorial or individual circumscriptions, and must regard
creation itself as a blunder.  This is not fancy, for he has
gone very nearly as far as it is here shown, if logical, be must

The danger now is that the Union victory will, at home and
abroad, be interpreted as a victory won in the interest of social
or humanitarian democracy.  It was because they regarded the war
waged on the side of the Union as waged in the interest of this
terrible democracy, that our bishops and clergy sympathized so
little with the Government in prosecuting it; not, as some
imagined, because they were disloyal, hostile to American or
territorial democracy, or not heartily in favor of freedom for
all men, whatever their race or complexion.  They had no wish to
see slavery prolonged, the evils of which they, better than any
other class of men, knew, and more deeply deplored; none would
have regretted more than they to have seen the Union broken up;
but they held the socialistic or humanitarian democracy
represented by Northern abolitionists as hostile alike to the
Church and to civilization.  For the same reason that they were
backward or reserved in their sympathy, all the humanitarian
sects at home and abroad were forward and even ostentatious in
theirs.  The Catholics feared the war might result in encouraging
La Republiques democratique et sociale; the humanitarian sects
trusted that it would.  If the victory of the Union should turn
out to be a victory for the humanitarian democracy, the civilized
world will have no reason to applaud it.

That there is some danger that for a time the victory will be
taken as a victory for humanitarianism or socialism, it would be
idle to deny.  It is so taken now, and the humanitarian party
throughout the world are in ecstasies over it.  The party claim
it.  The European Socialists and Red Republicans applaud it, and
the Mazzinis and the Garibaldis inflict on us the deep
humiliation of their congratulations.  A cause that can be
approved by the revolutionary leaders of European Liberals must
be strangely misunderstood, or have in it some infamous element.
It is no compliment to a nation to receive the congratulations of
men who assert not only people-king, but people-God; and those
Americans who are delighted with them are worse enemies to the
American democracy than ever were Jefferson Davis and his fellow
conspirators, and more contemptible, as the swindler is more
contemptible than the highwayman.

But it is probable the humanitarians have reckoned without their
host.  Not they are the real victors.  When the smoke of battle
has cleared away, the victory, it will be seen, has been won by
the Republic, and that that alone has triumphed.  The
abolitionists, in so far as they asserted the unity of the race
and opposed slavery as a denial of that unity, have also won; but
in so far as they denied the reality or authority of territorial
and individual circumscriptions, followed a purely socialistic
tendency, and sought to dissolve patriotism into a watery
sentimentality called philanthropy, have in reality been
crushingly defeated, as they will find when the late
insurrectionary States are fully reconstructed.  The Southern or
egoistical democrats, so far as they denied the unity and
solidarity of the race, the rights of society over individuals,
and the equal rights of each and every individual in face of the
state, or the obligations of society to protect the weak and help
the helpless, have been also defeated; but so far as they
asserted personal or individual rights which society neither
gives nor can take away, and so far as they asserted, not State
sovereignty, but State rights, held independently of the General
government, and which limit its authority and sphere of action,
they share in the victory, as the future will prove.

European Jacobins, revolutionists, conspiring openly or secretly
against all legitimate authority, whether in Church or State,
have no lot or part in the victory of the American people: not
for them nor for men with their nefarious designs or mad dreams,
have our brave soldiers fought, suffered and bled for four years
of the most terrible war in modern times, and against troops as
brave and as well led as themselves; not for them has the country
sacrificed a million of lives, and contracted a debt of four
thousand millions of dollars, besides the waste and destruction
that it will take years of peaceful industry to repair.  They and
their barbaric democracy have been defeated, and civilization has
won its most brilliant victory in all history.  The American
democracy has crushed, actually or potentially, every species of
barbarism in the New World, asserted victoriously the state, and
placed the government definitively on the side of legitimate
authority, and made its natural association henceforth with all
civilized governments--not with the revolutionary movements to
overthrow them.  The American people will always be progressive
as well as conservative; but they have learned a lesson, which
they much needed against false democracy: civil war has taught
them that "the sacred right of insurrection" is as much out of
place in a democratic state as in an aristocratic or a monarchical
state; and that the government should always be clothed with
ample authority to arrest and punish whoever plots its
destruction.  They must never be delighted again to have their
government send a national ship to bring hither a noted traitor
to his own sovereign as the nation's guest.  The people of the
Northern States are hardly less responsible for the late
rebellion than the people of the Southern States.  Their press
had taught them to call every government a tyranny that refused
to remain quiet while the traitor was cutting its throat or
assassinating the nation, and they had nothing but mad
denunciations of the Papal, the Austrian, and the Neapolitan
governments for their severity against conspirators and traitors.
But their own government has found it necessary for the public
safety to be equally arbitrary, prompt, and severe, and they will
most likely require it hereafter to co-operate with the
governments of the Old World in advancing civilization, instead
of lending all its moral support, as heretofore, to the Jacobins,
revolutionists, socialists, and humanitarians, to bring back the
reign of barbarism.

The tendency to individualism has been sufficiently checked by
the failure of the rebellion, and no danger from the
disintegrating element, either in the particular State or in the
United States, is henceforth to be apprehended.  But the tendency
in the opposite direction may give the American state some
trouble.  The tendency now is, as to the Union, consolidation,
and as to the particular state, humanitarianism, socialism, or
centralized democracy.  Yet this tendency, though it may do much
mischief, will hardly become exclusive.  The States that seceded,
when restored, will always, even in abandoning State sovereignty,
resist it, and still assert State rights.  When these States are
restored to their normal position, they will always be able to
protect themselves against any encroachments on their special
rights by the General government.  The constitution, in the
distribution of the powers of government, provides the States
severally with ample means to protect their individuality against
the centralizing tendency of the General government, however
strong it may be.

The war has, no doubt, had a tendency to strengthen the General
government, and to cause the people, to a great extent, to look
upon it as the supreme and exclusive national government, and to
regard the several State governments as subordinate instead of
co-ordinate governments.  It is not improbable that the
Executive, since the outbreak of the rebellion, has proceeded
throughout on that supposition, and hence his extraordinary
assumptions of power; but when once peace is fully re-established
and the States have all resumed their normal position in the
Union, every State will be found prompt enough to resist any
attempt to encroach on its constitutional rights.  Its instinct
of self-preservation will lead it to resist, and it will be
protected by both its own judiciary and that of the United

The danger that the General government will usurp the rights of
the States is far less than the danger that the Executive will
usurp all the powers of Congress and the judiciary.  Congress,
during the rebellion, clothed the President, as far as it could,
with dictatorial powers, and these powers the Executive continues
to exercise even after the rebellion is suppressed.  They were
given and held under the rights of war, and for war purposes
only, and expired by natural limitation when the war ceased; but
the Executive forgets this, and, instead of calling Congress
together and submitting the work of reconstruction of the States
that seceded to its wisdom and authority, undertakes to
reconstruct them himself, as if he were an absolute sovereign;
and the people seem to like it.  He might and should, as
commander-in-chief of the army and navy, govern them as military
departments, by his lieutenants, till Congress could either
create provisional civil governments for them or recognize them
as self-governing States in the Union; but he has no right, under
the constitution nor under the war power, to appoint civil
governors, permanent or provisional; and every act he has done in
regard to reconstruction is sheer usurpation, and done without
authority and without the slightest plea of necessity.  His acts
in this respect, even if wise and just in themselves, are
inexcusable, because done by one who has no legal right to do
them.  Yet his usurpation is apparently sustained by public
sentiment, and a deep wound is inflicted on the constitution,
which will be long in healing.

The danger in this respect is all the greater because it did not
originate with the rebellion, but had manifested itself for a
long time before.  There is a growing disposition on the part of

Congress to throw as much of the business of government as
possible into the hands of the Executive.  The patronage the
Executive wields, even in times of peace, is so large that he has
indirectly an almost supreme control over the legislative branch
of the government.  For this, which is, and, if not checked will
continue to be, a growing evil, there is no obvious remedy,
unless the President is chosen for a longer term of office and
made ineligible for a second term, and the mischievous doctrine
of rotation in office is rejected as incompatible with the true
interests of the public.  Here is matter for the consideration of
the American statesman.  But as to the usurpations of the
Executive in these unsettled times, they will be only temporary,
and will cease when the States are all restored.  They are
abuses, but only temporary abuses, and the Southern States, when
restored to the Union, will resume their rights in their own
sphere, as self-governing communities, and legalize or undo the
unwarrantable acts of the Federal Executive.

The socialistic and centralizing tendency in the bosom of the
individual States is the most dangerous, but it will not be able
to become predominant; for philanthropy, unlike charity, does not
begin at home, and is powerless unless it operates at a distance.
In the States in which the humanitarian tendency is the
strongest, the territorial democracy has its most effective
organization.  Prior to the outbreak of the rebellion the
American people had asserted popular sovereignty, but had never
rendered an account to themselves in what sense the people are or
are not sovereign.  They had never distinguished the three sorts
of democracy from one another, asked themselves which of the
three is the distinctively American democracy.  For them,
democracy was democracy, and those who saw dangers ahead sought
to avoid them either by exaggerating one or the other of the two
exclusive tendencies, or else by restraining democracy itself
through restrictions on suffrage.  The latter class began to
distrust universal suffrage, to lose faith in the people, and to
dream of modifying the American constitution so as to make it
conform more nearly to the English model.  The war has proved
that the were wrong, for nothing is more certain than that the
people have saved the national unity and integrity almost in
spite of their government.  The General government either was not
disposed or was afraid to take a decided stand against secession,
till forced to do it by the people themselves.  No wise American
can henceforth distrust American democracy.  The people may be
trusted.  So much is settled.  But as the two extremes were
equally democratic, as the secessionists acted in the name of
popular sovereignty, and as the humanitarians were not unwilling
to allow separation, and would not and did not engage in the war
against secession for the sake of the Union and the integrity of
the national domain, the conviction becomes irresistible that it
was not democracy in the sense of either of the extremes that
made the war and came out of it victorious; and hence the real
American democracy must differ from them both, and is neither a
personal nor a humanitarian, but a territorial democracy.  The
true idea of American democracy thus comes out, for the first
time, freed from the two extreme democracies which have been
identified with it, and henceforth enters into the understandings
as well as the hearts of the people.  The war has enlightened
patriotism, and what was sentiment or instinct becomes reason--a
well-defined, and clearly understood constitutional conviction.

In the several States themselves there are many things to prevent
the socialistic tendency from becoming exclusive.  In the States
that seceded socialism has never had a foothold, and will not
gain it, for it is resisted by all the sentiments, convictions,
and habits of the Southern people, and the Southern people will
not be exterminated nor swamped by migrations either from the
North or from Europe.  They are and always will be an
agricultural people, and an agricultural people are and always
will be opposed to socialistic dreams, unless unwittingly held
for a moment to favor it in pursuit of some special object in
which they take a passionate interest.  The worst of all policies
is that of hanging, exiling, or disfranchising the wealthy
landholders of the South, in order to bring up the poor and
depressed whites, shadowed forth in the Executive proclamation of
the 29th of May, 1865.  Of course that policy will not be carried
out, and if the negroes are enfranchised, they will always vote
with the wealthy landholding class, and aid them in resisting all
socialistic tendencies.  The humanitarians will fail for the want
of a good social grievance against which they can declaim.

In the New England States the humanitarian tendency is strong as
a speculation, but only in relation to objects at a distance.  It
is aided much by the congregational constitution of their
religion; yet it is weak at home, and is resisted practically by
the territorial division of power.  New England means
Massachusetts, and nowhere is the subdivision of the powers of
government carried further, or the constitution of the
territorial democracy more complete, than in that State.
Philanthropy seldom works in private against private vices and
evils: it is effective only against public grievances, and the
farther they are from home and the less its right to interfere
with them, the more in earnest and the more effective for evil
does it become.  Its nature is to mind every one's business but
its own.  But now that slavery is abolished, there is nowhere in
the United States a social grievance of magnitude enough to
enlist any considerable number of the people, even of
Massachusetts, in a movement to redress it.  Negro
enfranchisement is a question of which the humanitarians can make
something and they will make the most of it; but as it is a
question that each State will soon settle for itself, it will not
serve their purpose of prolonged agitation.  They could not and
never did carry away the nation, even on the question of slavery
itself, and abolitionism had comparatively little direct
influence in abolishing slavery; and the exclusion of negro
suffrage can never be made to appear to the American people as
any thing like so great a grievance as was slavery.

Besides, in all the States that did not secede, Catholics are a
numerous and an important portion of the population.  Their
increasing numbers, wealth, and education secure them, as much
as the majority may dislike their religion, a constantly
increasing influence, and it is idle to leave them out in
counting the future of the country.  They will, in a very few
years, be the best and most thoroughly educated class of the
American people; and, aside from their religion, or, rather, in
consequence of their religion, the most learned, enlightened, and
intelligent portion of the American population; and as much as
they have disliked the abolitionists, they have, in the army and
elsewhere, contributed their full share to the victory the nation
has won.  The best things written on the controversy have been
written by Catholics, and Catholics are better fitted by their
religion to comprehend the real character of the American
constitution than any other class of Americans, the moment they
study it in the light of their own theology.  The American
constitution is based on that of natural society, on the
solidarity of the race, and the difference between natural
society and the church or Christian society is, that the one is
initial and the other teleological.  The law of both is the same;
Catholics, as such, must resist both extremes, because each is
exclusive, and whatever is exclusive or one-sided is uncatholic.
If they have been backward in their sympathy with the government,
it has been through their dislike of the puritanic spirit and the
humanitarian or socialistic elements they detected in the
Republican party, joined with a prejudice against political and
social negro equality.  But their church everywhere opposes the
socialistic movements of the age, all movements in behalf of
barbarism, and they may always be counted on to resist the
advance of the socialistic democracy.  If the country has had
reason to complain of some of them in the late war, it will have,
in the future, far stronger reason to be grateful; not to them,
indeed, for the citizen owes his life to his country, but to
their religion, which has been and is the grand protectress of
modern society and civilization.

>From the origin of the government there has been a tendency to
the extension of suffrage, and to exclude both birth and private
property as bases of political rights or franchises.  This
tendency has often been justified on the ground that the elective
franchise is a natural right; which is not true, because the
elective franchise is political power, and political power is
always a civil trust, never a natural right, and the state judges
for itself to whom it will or will not confide the trust; but
there can be no doubt that it is a normal tendency, and in strict
accordance with the constitution of American civil society, which
rests on the unity of the race, and public instead of private
property.  All political distinctions founded on birth, race, or
private wealth are anomalies in the American system, and are
necessarily eliminated by its normal developments.  To contend
that none but property-holders may vote, or none but persons of a
particular race may be enfranchised, is unamerican and contrary,
to the order of civilization the New World is developing.  The
only qualification for the elective franchise the American system
can logically insist on is that the elector belong to the
territorial people--that is, be a natural-born or a naturalized
citizen, be a major in full possession of his natural faculties,
and unconvicted of any infamous offence.  The State is free to
naturalize foreigners or not, and under such restrictions as it
judges proper; but, having naturalized them, it must treat them
as standing on the same footing with natural-born citizens.

The naturalization question is one of great national importance.
The migration of foreigners hither has added largely to the
national population, and to the national wealth and resources,
but less, perhaps, to the development of patriotism, the purity
of elections, or the wisdom and integrity of the government.  It
is impossible that there should be perfect harmony between the
national territorial democracy and individuals born, brought up,
and formed under a political order in many respects widely
different from it; and there is no doubt that the democracy, in
its objectionable sense, has been greatly strengthened by the
large infusion of naturalized citizens.  There can be no question
that, if the laboring classes, in whom the national sentiment is
usually the strongest, had been composed almost wholly of native
Americans, instead of being, as they were, at least in the
cities, large towns, and villages, composed almost exclusively of
persons foreign born, the Government would have found far less
difficulty in filling up the depleted ranks of its armies.  But
to leave so large a portion of the actual population as the
foreign born residing in the country without the rights of
citizens, would have been a far graver evil, and would, in the
late struggle, have given the victory to secession.  There are
great national advantages derived from the migration hither of
foreign labor, and if the migration be encouraged or permitted,
naturalization on easy and liberal terms is the wisest, the best,
and only safe policy.  The children of foreign-born parents are
real Americans.

Emigration has, also, a singular effect in developing the latent
powers of the emigrant, and the children of emigrants are usually
more active, more energetic than the children of the older
inhabitants of the country among whom they settle.  Some of our
first men in civil life have been sons of foreign-born parents,
and so are not a few of our greatest and most successful
generals.  The most successful of our merchants have been
foreign-born.  The same thing has been noticed elsewhere,
especially in the emigration of the French Huguenots to Holland,
Germany, England, and Ireland.  The immigration of so many
millions from the Old World has, no doubt, given to the American
people much of their bold, energetic, and adventurous character,
and made them a superior people on the whole to what they would
otherwise have been.  This has nothing to do with superiority or
inferiority of race or blood, but is a natural effect of breaking
men away from routine, and throwing them back on their own
individual energies and personal resources.

Resistance is offered to negro suffrage, and justly too, till the
recently emancipated slaves have served an apprenticeship to
freedom; but that resistance cannot long stand before the onward
progress of American democracy, which asserts equal rights for
all, and not for a race or class only.  Some would confine
suffrage to landholders, or, at least, to property-holders; but
that is inconsistent with the American idea, and is a relic of
the barbaric constitution which founds power on private instead
of public wealth.  Nor are property-owners a whit more likely to
vote for the public good than are those who own no property but
their own labor.  The men of wealth, the business men,
manufacturers and merchants, bankers and brokers, are the men who
exert the worst influence on government in every country, for
they always strive to use it as an instrument of advancing their
own private interests.  They act on the beautiful maxim, "Let
government take care of the rich, and the rich will take care of
the poor," instead of the far safer maxim, "Let government take
care of the weak, the strong can take care of themselves."
Universal suffrage is better than restricted suffrage, but even
universal suffrage is too weak to prevent private property from
having an undue political influence.

The evils attributed to universal suffrage are not inseparable
from it, and, after all, it is doubtful if it elevates men of an
inferior class to those elevated by restricted suffrage.  The
Congress of 1860, or of 1862. was a fair average of the wisdom,
the talent, and the virtue of the country, and not inferior to
that of 1776, or that of l789; and the Executive during the
rebellion was at least as able and as efficient as it was during
the war of 1812, far superior to that of Great Britain, and not
inferior to that of France during the Crimean war.  The Crimean
war developed and placed in high command, either with the English
or the French, no generals equal to Halleck, Grant, and Sherman,
to say nothing of others.  The more aristocratic South proved
itself, in both statesmanship and generalship, in no respect
superior to the territorial democracy of the North and West.

The great evil the country experiences is not from universal
suffrage, but from what may be called rotation in office.  The
number of political aspirants is so great that, in the Northern
and Western States especially, the representatives in Congress
are changed every two or four years, and a member, as soon as he
has acquired the experience necessary to qualify him for his
position, is dropped, not through the fickleness of his
constituency, but to give place to another whose aid had been
necessary to his first or second election.  Employes are
"rotated," not because they are incapable or unfaithful, but
because there are others who want their places.  This is all bad,
but it springs not from universal suffrage, but from a wrong
public opinion, which might be corrected by the press, but which
is mainly formed by it.  There is, no doubt, a due share of
official corruption, but not more than elsewhere, and that would
be much diminished by increasing the salaries of the public
servants, especially in the higher offices of the government,
both General and State.  The pay to the lower officers and
employes of the government, and to the privates and
non-commissioned officers in the army, is liberal, and, in
general, too liberal; but the pay of the higher grades in both
the civil and military service is too low, and relatively far
lower than it was when the government was first organized.

The worst tendency in the country, and which is not encouraged at
all by the territorial democracy, manifests itself in hostility
to the military spirit and a standing army.  The depreciation of
the military spirit comes from the humanitarian or sentimental
democracy, which, like all sentimentalisms, defeats itself, and
brings about the very evils it seeks to avoid.  The hostility to
standing armies is inherited from England, and originated in the
quarrels between king and parliament, and is a striking evidence
of the folly of that bundle of antagonistic forces called the
British constitution.  In feudal times most of the land was held
by military service, and the reliance of government was on the
feudal militia; but no real progress was made in eliminating
barbarism till the national authority got a regular army at its
command, and became able to defend itself against its enemies.
It is very doubtful if English civilization has not, upon the
whole, lost more than it has gained by substituting parliamentary
for royal supremacy, and exchanging the Stuarts for the Guelfs.

No nation is a living, prosperous nation that has lost the
military spirit, or in which the profession of the soldier is not
held in honor and esteem; and a standing army of reasonable size
is public economy.  It absorbs in its ranks a class of men who
are worth more there than anywhere else; it creates honorable
places for gentlemen or the sons of gentlemen without wealth, in
which they can serve both themselves and their country.  Under a
democratic government the most serious embarrassment to the state
is its gentlemen, or persons not disposed or not fitted to
support themselves by their own hands, more necessary in a
democratic government than in any other.  The civil service,
divinity, law, and medicine, together with literature, science,
and art, cannot absorb the whole of this ever-increasing class,
and the army and navy would be an economy and a real service to
the state were they maintained only for the sake of the rank and
position they give to their officers, and the wholesome influence
these officers would exert on society and the politics of the
country--this even in case there were no wars or apprehension of
wars.  They supply an element needed in all society, to sustain
in it the chivalric and heroic spirit, perpetually endangered by
the mercantile and political spirit, which has in it always
something low and sordid.

But wars are inevitable, and when a nation has no surrounding
nations to fight, it will, as we have just proved, fight itself.
When it can have no foreign war, it will get up a domestic war;
for the human animal, like all animals, must work off in some way
its fighting humor, and the only sure way of maintaining peace is
always to be prepared for war.  A regular standing army of forty
thousand men would have prevented the Mexican war, and an army of
fifty thousand well-disciplined and efficient troops at the
command of the President on his inauguration in March, 1861,
would have prevented the rebellion, or have instantly suppressed
it.  The cost of maintaining a land army of even a hundred
thousand men, and a naval force to correspond, would have been,
in simple money value, only a tithe of what the rebellion has
cost the nation, to say nothing of the valuable lives that have
been sacrificed for the losses on the rebel side, as well as
those on the side of the government, are equally to be counted.
The actual losses to the country have been not less than six or
eight thousand millions of dollars, or nearly one-half the
assessed value of the whole property of the United States
according to the census returns of 1860, and which has only been
partially cancelled by actual increase of property since.  To
meet the interest on the debt incurred will require a heavier sum
to be raised annually by taxation, twice over, without
discharging a cent of the principal, than would have been
necessary to maintain an army and navy adequate to the protection
of peace and the prevention of the rebellion.

The rebellion is now suppressed, and if the government does not
blunder much more in its civil efforts at pacification than it
did in its military operations, before 1868 things will settle
down into their normal order; but a regular army--not militia or
volunteers, who are too expensive--of at least a hundred thousand
men of all arms, and a navy nearly as large as that of England or
France, will be needed as a peace establishment.  The army of a
hundred thousand men must form a cadre of an army of three times
that number, which will be necessary to place the army on a war
footing.  Less will answer neither for peace nor war, for the
nation has, in spite of herself, to maintain henceforth the rank
of a first-class military and maritime power, and take a leading
part in political movements of the civilized world, and, to a
great extent, hold in her hand the peace of Europe.

Canning boasted that be had raised up the New World to redress
the balance of the Old: a vain boast, for he simply weakened
Spain and gave the hegemony of Europe to Russia, which the
Emperor of the French is trying, by strengthening Italy and
Spain, and by a French protectorate in Mexico, to secure to
France, both in the Old World and the New--a magnificent dream,
but not to be realized.  His uncle judged more wisely when he
sold Louisiana, left the New World to itself, and sought only to
secure to France the hegemony of the Old.  But the hegemony of
the New World henceforth belongs to the United States, and she
will have a potent voice in adjusting the balance of power even
in Europe.  To maintain this position, which is imperative on
her, she must always have a large armed force, either on foot or
in reserve, which she can call out and put on a war footing at
short notice.  The United States must henceforth be a great
military and naval power, and the old hostility to a standing
army and the old attempt to bring the military into disrepute
must be abandoned, and the country yield to its destiny.

Of the several tendencies mentioned, the humanitarian tendency,
egoistical at the South, detaching the individual from the race
and socialistic at the North, absorbing the individual in the
race, is the most dangerous.  The egoistical form is checked,
sufficiently weakened by the defeat of the rebels; but the social
form believes that it has triumphed, and that individuals are
effaced in society, and the States in the Union.  Against this,
more especially should public opinion and American statesmanship
be now directed, and territorial democracy and the division of
the powers of government be asserted and vigorously maintained.
The danger is that while this socialistic form of democracy is
conscious of itself, the territorial democracy has not yet
arrived, as the Germans say, at self
consciousness--selbsbewusstseyn--and operates only instinctively.
All the dominant theories and sentimentalities are against it,
and it is only Providence that can sustain it.



It has been said in the Introduction to this essay that every
living nation receives from Providence a special work or mission
in the progress of society, to accomplish which is its destiny,
or the end for which it exists; and that the special mission of
the United States is to continue and complete in the political
order the Graeco-Roman civilization.

Of all the states or colonies on this continent, the American
Republic alone has a destiny, or the ability to add any thing to
the civilization of the race.  Canada and the other British
Provinces, Mexico and Central America, Columbia and Brazil, and
the rest of the South American States, might be absorbed in the
United States without being missed by the civilized world.  They
represent no idea, and the work of civilization could go on
without them as well as with them.  If they keep up with the
progress of civilization, it is all that can be expected of them.
France, England, Germany, and Italy might absorb the rest of
Europe, and all Asia and Africa, without withdrawing a single
laborer from the work of advancing the civilization of the race;
and it is doubtful if these nations themselves can severally or
jointly advance it much beyond the point reached by the Roman
Empire, except in abolishing slavery and including in the
political people the whole territorial people.  They can only
develop and give a general application to the fundamental
principles of the Roman constitution.  That indeed is much, but
it adds no new element nor new combination of preexisting
elements.  But nothing of this can be said of the United States.

In the Graeco-Roman civilization is found the state proper, and
the great principle of the territorial constitution of power,
instead of the personal or the genealogical, the patriarchal or
the monarchical; and yet with true civil or political principles
it mixed up nearly all the elements of the barbaric constitution.
The gentile system of Rome recalls the patriarchal, and the
relation that subsisted between the patron and his clients has a
striking resemblance to that which subsists between the feudal
lord and his retainers, and may have had the same origin.  The
three tribes, Ramnes, Quirites, and Luceres, into which the Roman
people were divided before the rise of the plebs, may have been,
as Niebuhr contends, local, not genealogical, in their origin,
but they were not strictly territorial distinctions, and the
division of each tribe into a hundred houses or gentes was not
local, but personal, if not, as the name implies, genealogical.
No doubt the individuals or families composing the house or gens
were not all of kindred blood, for the Oriental custom of
adoption, so frequent with our North American Indians, and with
all people distributed into tribes, septs, or clans, obtained
with the Romans.  The adopted member was considered a child of
the house, and took its name and inherited its goods.  Whether,
as Niebuhr maintains, all the free gentiles of the three tribes
were called patres or patricians or whether the term was
restricted to the heads of houses, it is certain that the head of
the house represented it in the senate, and the vote in the
curies was by houses, not by individuals en masse.  After all,
practically the Roman senate was hardly less an estate than the
English house of lords, for no one could sit in it unless a
landed proprietor and of noble blood.  The plebs, though outside
of the political people proper, as not being included in the
three tribes, when they came to be a power in the republic under
the emperors, and the old distinction of plebs and patricians was
forgotten, were an estate, and not a local or territorial people.

The republican element was in the fact that the land, which gave
the right to participate in political power, was the domain of
the state, and the tenant held it from the state.  The domain was
vested in the state, not in the senator nor the prince, and was
therefore respublica, not private property--the first grand leap
of the human race from barbarism.  In all other respects the
Roman constitution was no more republican than the feudal.
Athens went farther than Rome, and introduced the principle of
territorial democracy.  The division into demes or wards, whence
comes the word democracy, was a real territorial division, not
personal nor genealogical.  And if the equality of all men was
not recognized, all who were included in the political class
stood on the same footing.  Athens and other Greek cities, though
conquered by Rome, exerted after their conquest a powerful
influence on Roman civilization, which became far more democratic
under the emperors than it had been under the patrician senate,
which the assassins of Julius Caesar, and the superannuated
conservative party they represented, tried so hard to preserve.
The senate and the consulship were opened to the representatives
of the great plebeian houses, and the provincials were clothed
with the rights of Roman citizens, and uniform laws were
established throughout the empire.

The grand error, as has already been said, of the Graeco-Roman or
gentile civilization, was in its denial or ignorance of the unity
of the human race, as well as the Unity of God, and in its
including in the state only a particular class of the territorial
people, while it held all the rest as slaves, though in different
degrees of servitude.  It recognized and sustained a privileged
class, a ruling order; and if, as subsequently did the Venetian
aristocracy, it recognized democratic equality within that order,
it held all outside of it to be less than men and without
political rights.  Practically, power was an attribute of birth
and of private wealth.  Suffrage was almost universal among
freemen, but down almost to the Empire, the people voted by
orders, and were counted, not numerically, but by the rank of the
order, and the comitia curiata could always carry the election
over the comitia centuriata, and thus power remained always in
the hands of the rich and noble few.

The Roman Law, as digested by jurists under Justinian in the
sixth Century, indeed, recognizes the unity of the race, asserts
the equality of all men by the natural law, and undertakes to
defend slavery on principles not incompatible with that equality.
It represents it as a commutation of the punishment of death,
which the emperor has the right to inflict on captives taken in
war, to perpetual servitude; and as servitude is less severe than
death, slavery was really a proof of imperial clemency.  But it
has never yet been proved that the emperor has the right under
the natural law to put captives taken even in a just war to
death, and the Roman poet himself bids us "humble the proud, but
spare the submissive."  In a just war the emperor may kill on the
battle-field those in arms against him, but the jus gentium, as
now interpreted by the jurisprudence of every civilized nation,
does not allow him to put them to death after they have ceased
resistance, have thrown down their arms, and surrendered.  But
even if it did, it gives him a right only over the persons
captured, not over their innocent children, and therefore no
right to establish hereditary slavery, for the child is not
punishable for the offences of the parent.  The law, indeed,
assumed that the captive ceased to exist as a person and treated
him as a thing, or mere property of the conqueror, and being
property, he could beget only property, which would accrue only
to his owner.  But there is no power in heaven or earth that can
make a person a thing, a mere piece of merchandise, and it is
only by a clumsy fiction, or rather by a bare-faced lie, that the
law denies the slave his personality and treats him as a thing.
I the unity of all men had been clearly seen and vividly felt,
the law would never have attempted to justify perpetual slavery
on the ground of its penal character, or indeed on any ground
whatever.  All men are born under the law of nature with equal
rights, and the civil law can justly deprive no man of his
liberty, but for a crime, committed by him personally, that
justly forfeits his liberty to society.

These defects of the Graeco-Roman civilization the European
nations have in part remedied, and may completely remedy.  They
can carry out practically the Christian dogma of the unity of the
human race, abolish slavery in every form, make all men equal
before the law, and the political people commensurate with the
territorial people.  Indeed, France has already done it.  She has
abolished slavery, villenage, serfage, political aristocracy,
asserted the equality of all men before the law, vindicated the
sovereignty of the people, and established universal suffrage,
complete social and territorial democracy.  The other nations may
do as much, but hardly can any of them do more or advance
farther.  Yet in France, territorial democracy the most complete
results only in establishing the most complete imperial
centralism, usually called Caesarism.

The imperial constitution of France recognizes that the emperor
reigns "by the grace of God and the will of the nation," and
therefore, that by the grace of God and the will of the nation he
may cease to reign; but while he reigns he is supreme, and his
will is law.  The constitution imposes no real or effective
restraint on his power: while he sits upon the throne he is
practically France, and the ministers are his clerks; the council
of state, the senate, and the legislative body are merely his
agents in governing the nation.  This may, indeed, be changed,
but only to substitute for imperial centralism democratic
centralism, which were no improvement, or to go back to the
system of antagonisms, checks and balances, called
constitutionalism, or parliamentary government, of which Great
Britain is the model, and which were a return toward barbarism,
or mediaeval feudalism.

The human race has its life in God, and tends to realize in all
orders the Divine Word or Logos, which is Ionic itself, and the
principle of all conciliation, of the dialectic union of all
opposites or extremes.  Mankind will be logical; and the worst of
all tyrannies is that which forbids them to draw from their
principles their last logical consequences, or that prohibits
them the free explication and application of the Divine Idea, in
which consists their life, their progress.  Such tyranny strikes
at the very existence of society, and wars against the reality of
things.  It is supremely sophistical, and its success is death;
for the universe in its constitution is supremely logical, and
man, individually and socially, is rational.  God is the author
and type of all created things; and all creatures, each in its
order, imitate or copies the Divine Being, who is intrinsically
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, principle, medium, and end.  The Son
or Word is the medium, which unites the two extremes, whence God
is living God a real, active, living Being--living, concrete, not
abstract or dead unity, like the unity of old Xenophanes,
Plotinus, and Proclus.  In the Holy Trinity is the principle and
prototype of all society, and what is called the solidarity of
the race is only the outward expression, or copy in the external
order, of what theologians term the circumsession of the three
Divine Persons of the Godhead.

Now, human society, when it copies the Divine essence and nature
either in the distinction of persons alone, or in the unity
alone, is sophistical, and wants the principle of all life and
reality.  It sins against God. and must fail of its end.  The
English system, which is based on antagonistic elements, on
opposites, without the middle term that conciliates them, unites
them, and makes them dialectically one, copies the Divine model
in its distinctions alone, which, considered alone, are opposites
or contraries.  It denies, if Englishmen could but see it, the
unity of God.  The French, or imperial system, which excludes the
extremes, instead of uniting them, denies all opposites, instead
of conciliating them--denies the distinctions in the model, and
copies only the unity, which is the supreme sophism called
pantheism.  The English constitution has no middle term, and the
French no extremes, and each in its way denies the Divine
Trinity, the original basis and type of the syllogism.  The human
race can be contented with neither, for neither allows it free
scope for its inherent life and activity.  The English system
tends to pure individualism; the French to pure socialism or
despotism, each endeavoring to suppress an element of the one
living and indissoluble TRUTH.

This is not fancy, is not fine-spun speculation, or cold and
lifeless abstraction, but the highest theological and
philosophical truth, without which there were no reason, no man,
no society; for God is the first principle of all being, all
existence, all science, all life, and it is in Him that we live
and move and have our being.  God is at the beginning, in the
middle, and at the end of all things--the universal principle,
medium, and end; and no truth can be denied without His existence
being directly or indirectly impugned.  In a deeper sense than is
commonly understood is it true that nisi Dominus aedificaverit
domum, in vanum laboraverunt qui aedificant eam.  The English
constitution is composed of contradictory elements, incapable of
reconciliation, and each element is perpetually struggling with
the others for the mastery.  For a long time the king labored,
intrigued, and fought to free himself from the thraldom in which
he was held by the feudal barons; in 1688 the aristocracy and
people united and humbled the crown; and now the people are at
work seeking to sap both the crown and the nobles.  The state is
constituted to nobody's satisfaction; and though all may unite in
boasting its excellences, all are at work trying to alter or
amend it.  The work of constituting the state with the English is
ever beginning, never ending.  Hence the eternal clamor for
parliamentary reform.

Great Britain and other European states may sweep away all that
remains of feudalism, include the whole territorial people with
the equal rights of all in the state or political people, concede
to birth and wealth no political rights, but they will by so
doing only establish either imperial centralism, as has been done
in France, or democratic centralism, clamored for, conspired for,
and fought for by the revolutionists of Europe.  The special
merit of the American system is not in its democracy alone, as
too many at home and abroad imagine; but along with its democracy
in the division of the powers of government, between a General
government and particular State governments, which are not
antagonistic governments, for they act on different matters, and
neither is nor can be subordinated to the other.

Now, this division of power, which decentralizes the government
without creating mutually hostile forces, can hardly be
introduced into any European state.  There may be a union of
states in Great Britain, in Germany, in Italy, perhaps in Spain,
and Austria is laboring hard to effect it in her heterogeneous
empire; but the union possible in any of them is that of a Bund
or confederation, like the Swiss or German Bund, similar to what
the secessionists in the United States so recently attempted and
have so signally failed to establish.  An intelligent Confederate
officer remarked that their Confederacy had not been in operation
three months before it became evident that the principle on
which it was founded, if not rejected, would insure its defeat.
It was that principle of State sovereignty, for which the States
seceded, more than the superior resources and numbers of the
Government, that caused the collapse of the Confederacy.  The
numbers were relatively about equal, and the military resources
of the Confederacy were relatively not much inferior to those of
the Government.  So at least the Confederate leaders thought, and
they knew the material resources of the Government as well as
their own, and had calculated them with as much care and accuracy
as any men could.  Foreign powers also, friendly as well as
unfriendly, felt certain that the secessionists would gain their
independence, and so did a large part of the people even of the
loyal States.  The failure is due to the disintegrating principle
of State sovereignty, the very principle of the Confederacy.  The
war has proved that united states are, other things being equal,
an overmatch for confederated states.

The European states must unite either as equals or as unequals.
As equals, the union can be only a confederacy, a sort of
Zollverein, in which each state retains its individual
sovereignty; if as unequals, then someone among them will aspire
to the hegemony, and you have over again the Athenian
Confederation, formed at the conclusion of the Persian war, and
its fate.  A union like the American cannot be created by a
compact, or by the exercise of supreme power.  The Emperor of the
French cannot erect the several Departments of France into
states, and divide the powers of government between them as
individual and as united states.  They would necessarily hold
from the imperial government, which, though it might exercise a
large part of its functions through them, would remain, as now,
the supreme central government, from which all governmental
powers emanate, as our President is apparently attempting, in his
reconstruction policy, to make the government of the United
States.  The elements of a state constituted like the American do
not exist in any European nation, nor in the constitution of
European society; and the American constitution would have been
impracticable even here had not Providence so ordered it that the
nation was born with it, and has never known any other.

Rome recognized the necessity of the federal principle, and
applied it in the best way she could.  At first it was a single
tribe or people distributed into distinct gentes or houses; after
the Sabine war, a second tribe was added on terms of equality,
and the state was dual, composed of two tribes, the Ramnes and
the Tities or Quirites, and, afterward, in the time of Tullus
Hostilius, were added the Lucertes or Luceres, making the
division into three ruling tribes, each divided into one hundred
houses or gentes.  Each house in each tribe was represented by
its chief or decurion in the senate, making the number of
senators exactly three hundred, at which number the senate was
fixed.  Subsequently was added, by Ancus, the plebs, who remained
without authority or share in the government of the city of Rome
itself, though they might aspire to the first rank in the allied
cities.  The division into tribes, and the division of the tribes
into gentes or houses, and the vote in the state by tribes, and
in the tribes by houses, effectually excluded democratic
centralism; but the division was not a division of the powers of
government between two co-ordinate governments, for the senate
had supreme control, like the British parliament, over all
matters, general and particular.

The establishment, after the secession of the plebs, of the
tribunitial veto, which gave the plebeians a negative power in
the state, there was an incipient division of the powers of
government; but only a division between the positive and negative
powers, not between the general and the particular.  The power
accorded to the plebs, or commons, as Niebuhr calls them--who is,
perhaps, too fond of explaining the early constitution of Rome by
analogies borrowed from feudalism, and especially from the
constitution of his native Ditmarsch--was simply an obstructive
power; and when it, by development, became a positive power, it
absorbed all the powers of government, and created the Empire.

There was, indeed, a nearer approach to the division of powers in
the American system, between imperial Rome and her allied or
confederated municipalities.  These municipalities, modelled
chiefly after that of Rome, were elective, and had the management
of their own local affairs; but their local powers were not
co-ordiinate in their own sphere with those exercised by the
Roman municipality, but subordinate and dependent.  The senate
had the supreme power over them, and they held their rights
subject to its will.  They were formally, or virtually,
subjugated states, to which the Roman senate, and afterward the
Roman emperors, left the form of the state and the mere shadow of
freedom.  Rome owed much to her affecting to treat them as allies
rather than as subjects, and at first these municipal
organizations secured the progress of civilization in the
provinces; but at a later period, under the emperors, they served
only the imperial treasury, and were crushed by the taxes imposed
and the contributions levied on them by the fiscal agents of the
empire.  So heavy were the fiscal burdens imposed on the
burgesses, if the term may be used, that it needed an imperial
edict to compel them to enter the municipal government; and it
became, under the later emperors, no uncommon thing for free
citizens to sell themselves into slavery, to escape the fiscal
burdens imposed.  There are actually imperial edicts extant
forbidden freemen to sell themselves as slaves.  Thus ended the
Roman federative system, and it is difficult to discover in
Europe the elements of a federative system that could have a
more favorable result.

Now, the political destiny or mission of the United States is, in
common with the European nations, to eliminate the barbaric
elements retained by the Roman constitution, and specially to
realize that philosophical division of the powers of government
which distinguish it from both imperial and democratic centralism
on the one hand, and, on the other, from the checks and balances
or organized antagonisms which seek to preserve liberty by
obstructing the exercise of power.  No greater problem in
statesmanship remains to be solved, and no greater contribution
to civilization to be made.  Nowhere else than in this New World,
and in this New World only in the United States, can this problem
be solved, or this contribution be made, and what the
Graeco-Roman republic began be completed.

But the United States have a religious as well as a political
destiny, for religion and politics go together.  Church and
state, as governments, are separate indeed, but the principles on
which the state is founded have their origin and ground in the
spiritual order--in the principles revealed or affirmed by
religion--and are inseparable from them.  There is no state
without God, any more than there is a church without Christ or
the Incarnation.  An atheist may be a politician, but if there
were no God there could be no politics. theological principles
are the basis of political principles.  The created universe is a
dialectic whole, distinct but inseparable from its Creator, and
all its parts cohere and are essential to one another.  All has
its origin and prototype in the Triune God, and throughout
expresses unity in triplicity and triplicity in unity, without
which there is no real being and no actual or possible life.
Every thing has its principle, medium, and end.  Natural society
is initial, civil government is medial, the church is
teleological, but the three are only distinctions in one
indissoluble whole.

Man, as we have seen, lives by communion with God through the
Divine creative act, and is perfected or completed only through
the Incarnation, in Christ, the Word made flesh.  True, he
communes with God through his kind, and through external nature,
society in which he is born and reared, and property through
which he derives sustenance for his body; but these are only
media of his communion with God, the source of life--not either
the beginning or the end of his communion.  They have no life in
themselves, since their being is in God, and, of themselves, can
impart none.  They are in the order of second causes, and second
causes, without the first cause, are nought.  Communion which
stops with them, which takes them as the principle and end,
instead of media, as they are, is the communion of death, not of
life.  As religion includes all that relates to communion with
God, it must in some form be inseparable from every living act of
man, both individually and socially; and, in the long run, men
must conform either their politics to their religion or their
religion to their politics.  Christianity is constantly at work,
moulding political society in its own image and likeness, and
every political system struggles to harmonize Christianity with
itself.  If, then, the United States have a political destiny,
they have a religious destiny inseparable from it.

The political destiny of the United States is to conform the
state to the order of reality, or, so to speak, to the Divine
Idea in creation.  Their religious destiny is to render
practicable and to realize the normal relations between church
and state, religion and politics, as concreted in the life of the

In politics, the United States are not realizing a political
theory of any sort whatever.  They, on the contrary, are
successfully refuting all political theories, making away with
them, and establishing the state--not on a theory, not on an
artificial basis or a foundation laid by human reason or will,
but on reality, the eternal and immutable principles in relation
to which man is created.  They are doing the same in regard to
religious theories.  Religion is not a theory, a subjective view,
an opinion, but is, objectively, at once a principle, a law, and
a fact, and, subjectively, it is, by the aid of God's grace,
practical conformity to what is universally true and real.  The
United States, in fulfilment of their destiny, are making as sad
havoc with religious theories as with political theories, and are
pressing on with irresistible force to the real or the Divine
order which is expressed in the Christian mysteries, which exists
independent of man's understanding and will, and which man can
neither make nor unmake.

The religious destiny of the United States is not to create a new
religion nor to found a new church.  All real religion is
catholic, and is neither new nor old, but is always and
everywhere true.  Even our Lord came neither to found a new
church nor to create a new religion, but to do the things which
had been foretold, and to fulfil in time what had been determined
in eternity.  God has himself founded the church on catholic
principles, or principles always and everywhere real principles.
His church is necessarily catholic, because founded on catholic
dogmas, and the dogmas are catholic, because they are universal
and immutable principles, having their origin and ground in the
Divine Being Himself, or in the creative act by which He produces
and sustains all things.  Founded on universal and immutable
principles, the church can never grow old or obsolete, but is the
church for all times and Places, for all ranks and conditions of
men.  Man cannot change either the church or the dogmas of faith,
for they are founded in the highest reality, which is above him,
over him, and independent of him.  Religion is above and
independent of the state, and the state has nothing to do with
the church or her dogmas, but to accept and conform to them as it
does to any of the facts or principles of science, to a
mathematical truth, or to a physical law.

But while the church, with her essential constitution, and her
dogmas are founded in the Divine order, and are catholic and
unalterable, the relations between the civil and ecclesiastical
authorities may be changed or modified by the changes of time and
place.  These relations have not been always the same, but have
differed in different ages and countries.  During the first three
centuries of our era the church had no legal status, and was
either connived at or persecuted by the state.  Under the
Christian emperors she was recognized by the civil law; her
prelates had exclusive jurisdiction in mixed civil and
ecclesiastical questions, and were made, in some sense, civil
magistrates, and paid as such by the empire.  Under feudalism,
the prelates received investiture as princes and barons, and
formed alone, or in connection with the temporal lords, an estate
in the kingdom.  The Pope became a temporal prince and suzerain,
at one time, of a large part of Europe, and exercised the
arbitratorship in all grave questions between Christian
sovereigns themselves, and between them and their subjects.
Since the downfall of feudalism and the establishment of modern
centralized monarchy, the church has been robbed of the greater
part of her temporal possessions, and deprived, in most
countries, of all civil functions, and treated by the state
either as an enemy or as a slave.

In all the sectarian and schismatic states of the Old World, the
national church is held in strict subjection to the civil
authority, as in Great Britain and Russia, and is the slave of
the state; in the other states of Europe, as France, Austria,
Spain, and Italy, she is treated with distrust by the civil
government, and allowed hardly a shadow of freedom and
independence.  In France, which has the proud title of eldest
daughter of the church, Catholics, as such, are not freer than
they are in Turkey.  All religious are said to be free, and all
are free, except the religion of the majority of Frenchmen.  The
emperor, because nominally a Catholic, takes it upon himself to
concede the church just as much and just as little freedom in the
empire as he judges expedient for his own secular interests.  In
Italy, Spain, Portugal, Mexico, and the Central and South
American states, the policy of the civil authorities is the same,
or worse.  It may be safely asserted that, except in the United
States, the church is either held by the civil power in
subjection, or treated as an enemy.  The relation is not that of
union and harmony, but that of antagonism, to the grave detriment
of both religion and civilization.

It is impossible, even if it were desirable, to restore the
mixture of civil and ecclesiastical governments which obtained in
the Middle Ages; and a total separation of church and state, even
as corporations, would, in the present state of men's minds in
Europe, be construed, if approved by the church, into a sanction
by her of political atheism, or the right of the civil power to
govern according to its own will and pleasure in utter disregard
of the law of God, the moral order, or the immutable distinctions
between right and wrong.  It could only favor the absolutism of
the state, and put the temporal in the place of the spiritual.
Hence, the Holy Father includes the proposition of the entire
separation of church and state in the Syllabus of Errors
condemned in his Encyclical, dated at Rome, December 8, 1864.
Neither the state nor the people, elsewhere than in the United
States, can understand practically such separation in any other
sense than the complete emancipation of our entire secular life
from the law of God, or the Divine order, which is the real
order.  It is not the union of church and state--that is, the
union, or identity rather, of religious and political
principles--that it is desirable to get rid of, but the disunion
or antagonism of church and state.  But this is nowhere possible
out of the United States; for nowhere else is the state organized
on catholic principles, or capable of acting, when acting from
its own constitution, in harmony with a really catholic church,
or the religious order really existing, in relation to which all
things are created and governed.  Nowhere else is it practicable,
at present, to maintain between the two powers their normal

But what is not practicable in the Old World is perfectly
practicable in the New.  The state here being organized in
accordance with catholic principles, there can be no antagonism
between it and the church.  Though operating in different
spheres, both are, in their respective spheres, developing and
applying to practical life the one and the same Divine Idea.  The
church can trust the state, and the state can trust the church.
Both act from the same principle to one and the same end.  Each
by its own constitution co-operates with, aids, and completes the
other.  It is true the church is not formally established as the
civil law of the land, nor is it necessary that she should be;
because there is nothing in the state that conflicts with her
freedom and independence, with her dogmas or her irreformable
canons.  The need of establishing the church by law, and
protecting her by legal pains and penalties, as is still done in
most countries, can exist only in a barbarous or semi-barbarous
state of society, where the state is not organized on catholic
principles, or the civilization is based on false principles, and
in its development tends not to the real or Divine order of
things.  When the state is constituted in harmony with that
order, it is carried onward by the force of its own internal
constitution in a catholic direction, and a church establishment,
or what is called a state religion, would be an anomaly, or a
superfluity.  The true religion is in the heart of the state, as
its informing principle and real interior life.  The external
establishment, by legal enactment of the church, would afford her
no additional protection, add nothing to her power and efficacy,
and effect nothing for faith or piety--neither of which can be
forced, because both must, from their nature, be free-will
offerings to God.

In the United States, false religions are legally as free as the
true religion; but all false religions being one-sided,
sophistical, and uncatholic, are opposed by the principles of the
state, which tend, by their silent but effective workings, to
eliminate them.  The American state recognizes only the catholic
religion.  It eschews all sectarianism, and none of the sects
have been able to get their peculiarities incorporated into its
constitution or its laws.  The state conforms to what each holds
that is catholic, that is always and everywhere religion; and
what ever is not catholic it leaves, as outside of its province,
to live or die, according to its own inherent vitality or want of
vitality.  The state conscience is catholic, not sectarian; hence
it is that the utmost freedom can be allowed to all religions,
the false as well as the true; for the state, being catholic in
its constitution, can never suffer the adherents of the false to
oppress the consciences of the adherents of the true.  The church
being free, and the state harmonizing with her, catholicity has,
in the freedom of both, all the protection it needs, all the
security it can ask, and all the support it can, in the nature of
the case receive from external institutions, or from social and
political organizations.

This freedom may not be universally wise or prudent, for all
nations may not be prepared for it: all may not have attained
their majority.  The church, as well as the state, must deal with
men and nations as they are, not as they are not.  To deal with a
child as with an adult, or with a barbarous nation as with a
civilized nation, would be only acting a lie.  The church cannot
treat men as free men where they are not free men, nor appeal to
reason in those in whom reason is undeveloped.  She must adapt
her discipline to the age, condition, and culture of individuals,
and to the greater or less progress of nations in civilization.
She herself remains always the same in her constitution, her
authority, and her faith; but varies her discipline with the
variations of time and place.  Many of her canons, very proper
and necessary in one age, cease to be so in another, and many
which are needed in the Old World would be out of place in the
New World.  Under the American system, she can deal with the
people as free men, and trust them as freemen, because free men
they are.  The freeman asks, why? and the reason why must be
given him, or his obedience fails to be secured.  The simple
reason that the church commands will rarely satisfy him; he would
know why she commands this or that.  The full-grown free man
revolts at blind obedience, and he regards all obedience as in
some measure blind for which he sees only an extrinsic command.
Blind obedience even to the authority of the church cannot be
expected of the people reared under the American system, not
because they are filled with the spirit of disobedience, but
because they insist that obedience shall be rationabile
obsequium, an act of the understanding, not of the will or the
affections alone.  They are trained to demand a reason for the
command given them, to distinguish between the law and the person
of the magistrate.  They can obey God, but not man, and they must
see that the command given has its reason in the Divine order, or
the intrinsic catholic reason of things, or they will not yield
it a full, entire, and hearty obedience.  The reason that
suffices for the child does not suffice for the adult, and the
reason that suffices for barbarians does not suffice for civilized
men, or that suffices for nations in the infancy of their
civilization does not suffice for them in its maturity.  The
appeal to external authority was much less frequent under the
Roman Empire than in the barbarous ages that followed its
downfall, when the church became mixed up with the state.

This trait of the American character is not uncatholic.  An
intelligent, free, willing obedience, yielded from personal
conviction, after seeing its reasonableness, its justice, its
logic in the Divine order--the obedience of a free man, not of a
slave--is far more consonant to the spirit of the church, and far
more acceptable to God, than simple, blind obedience; and a
people capable of yielding it stand far higher in the scale of
civilization than the people that must be governed as children or
barbarians.  It is possible that the people of the Old World are
not prepared for the regimen of freedom in religion any more than
they are prepared for freedom in politics; for they have been
trained only to obey external authority, and are not accustomed
to look on religion as having its reason in the real order, or in
the reason of things.  They understand no reason for obedience
beyond the external command, and do not believe it possible to
give or to understand the reason why the command itself is given.
They regard the authority of the church as a thing apart, and see
no way by which faith and reason can be harmonized.  They look
upon them as antagonistic forces rather than as integral elements
of one and the same whole.  Concede them the regimen of freedom,
and their religion has no support but in their good-will, their
affections, their associations, their habits, and their
prejudices.  It has no root in their rational convictions, and
when they begin to reason they begin to doubt.  This is not the
state of things that is desirable, but it cannot be remedied
under the political regime established elsewhere than in the
United States.  In every state in the world, except the American,
the civil constitution is sophistical, and violates, more or
less, the logic of things; and, therefore, in no one of them can
the people receive a thoroughly dialectic training, or an
education in strict conformity to the real order.  Hence, in them
all, the church is more or less obstructed in her operations, and
prevented from carrying out in its fulness her own Divine Idea.
She does the best she can in the circumstances and with the
materials with which she is supplied, and exerts herself
continually to bring individuals and nations into harmony with
her Divine law: but still her life in the midst of the nations is
a struggle, a warfare.

The United States being dialectically constituted, and founded on
real catholic, not sectarian or sophistical principles, presents
none of these obstacles, and must, in their progressive
development or realization of their political idea, put an end to
this warfare, in so far as a warfare between church and state,
and leave the church in her normal position in society, in which
she can, without let or hindrance, exert her free spirit, and
teach and govern men by the Divine law as free men.  She may
encounter unbelief, misbelief, ignorance, and indifference in
few, or in many; but these, deriving no support from the state,
which tends constantly to eliminate them, must gradually give way
before her invincible logic, her divine charity, the truth and
reality of things, and the intelligence, activity, and zeal of
her ministers.  The American people are, on the surface,
sectarians or indifferentists; but they are, in reality, less
uncatholic than the people of any other country because they are,
in their intellectual and moral development, nearer to the real
order, or, in the higher and broader sense of the word more truly
civilized.  The multitude of sects that obtain may excite
religious compassion for those who are carried away by them, for
men can be saved or attain to their eternal destiny only by
truth, or conformity to Him who said, "I am the way, the truth,
and the life;" but in relation to the national destiny they need
excite no alarm, no uneasiness, for underlying them all is more
or less of catholic truth, and the vital forces of the national
life repel them, in so far as they are sectarian and not
catholic, as substances that cannot be assimilated to the
national life.  The American state being catholic in its organic
principles, as is all real religion, and the church being free,
whatever is anticatholic, or uncatholic, is without any support
in either, and having none, either in reality or in itself, it
must necessarily fall and gradually disappear.

The sects themselves have a half unavowed conviction that they
cannot subsist forever as sects, if unsupported by the civil
authority.  They are free, but do not feel safe in the United
States.  They know the real church is catholic, and that they
themselves are none of them catholic.  The most daring among them
even pretends to be no more than a "branch" of the catholic
church.  They know that only the catholic church can withstand
the pressure of events and survive the shocks of time, and hence
everywhere their movements to get rid of their sectarianism and
to gain a catholic character.  They hold conventions of delegates
from the whole sectarian world, form "unions," "alliances," and
"associations;" but, unhappily for their success, the catholic
church does not originate in convention, but is founded by the
Word made flesh, and sustained by the indwelling Holy Ghost.  The
most they can do, even with the best dispositions in the world,
is to create a confederation, and confederated sects are
something very different from a church inherently one and
catholic.  It is no more the catholic church than the late
Southern Confederacy was the American state.  The sectarian
combinations may do some harm, may injure many souls, and retard,
for a time, the progress of civilization; but in a state
organized in accordance with catholic principles, and left to
themselves, they are powerless against the national destiny, and
must soon wither and die as branches severed from the vine.

Such being the case, no sensible Catholic can imagine that the
church needs any physical force against the sects, except to
repel actual violence, and protect her in that freedom of speech
and possession which is the right of all before the state.  What
are called religious establishments are needed only where either
the state is barbarous or the religion is sectarian.  Where the
state, in its intrinsic constitution, is in accordance with
catholic principles, as in the United States, the church has all
she needs or can receive.  The state can add nothing more to her
power or her security in her moral and spiritual warfare with
sectarianism, and any attempt to give her more would only weaken
her as against the sects, place her in a false light, partially
justify their hostility to her, render effective their
declamations against her, mix her up unnecessarily with political
changes, interests, and passions, and distract the attention of
her ministers from their proper work as churchmen, and impose on
them the duties of politicians and statesmen.  Where there is
nothing in the state hostile to the church, where she is free to
act according to her own constitution and laws, and exercise her
own discipline on her own spiritual subjects, civil enactments in
her favor or against the sects may embarrass or impede her
operations, but cannot aid her, for she can advance no farther
than she wins the heart and convinces the understanding.  A
spiritual work can, in the nature of things, be effected only by
spiritual means.  The church wants freedom in relation to the
state--nothing more; for all her power comes immediately from
God, without any intervention or mediation of the state.

The United States, constituted in accordance with the real order
of things, and founded on principles which have their origin and
ground in the principles on which the church herself is founded,
can never establish any one of the sects as the religion of the
state, for that would violate their political constitution, and
array all the other sects, as well as the church herself, against
the government.  They cannot be called upon to establish the
church by law, because she is already in their constitution as
far as the state has in itself any relation with religion, and
because to establish her in any other sense would be to make her
one of the civil institutions of the, land, and to bring her
under the control of the state, which were equally against her
interest and her nature.

The religious mission of the United States is not then to
establish the church by external law, or to protect her by legal
disabilities, pains, and penalties against the sects, however
uncatholic they may be; but to maintain catholic freedom, neither
absorbing the state in the church nor the church in the state,
but leaving each to move freely, according to its own nature, in
the sphere assigned it in the eternal order of things.  Their
mission separates church and state as external governing bodies,
but unites them in the interior principles from which each
derives its vitality and force.  Their union is in the intrinsic
unity of principle, and in the fact that, though moving in
different spheres, each obeys one and the same Divine law.  With
this the Catholic, who knows what Catholicity means, is of course
satisfied, for it gives the church all the advantage over the
sects of the real over the unreal; and with this the sects have
no right to be dissatisfied, for it subjects them to no
disadvantage not inherent in sectarianism itself in presence of
Catholicity, and without any support from the civil authority.

The effect of this mission of our country fully realized, would
be to harmonize church and state, religion and politics, not by
absorbing either in the other, or by obliterating the natural
distinction between them, but by conforming both to the real or
Divine order, which is supreme and immutable.  It places the two
powers in their normal relation, which has hitherto never been
done, because hitherto there never has been a state normally
constituted.  The nearest approach made to the realization of the
proper relations of church and state, prior to the birth of the
American Republic, was in the Roman Empire under the Christian
emperors; but the state had been perverted by paganism, and the
emperors, inheriting the old pontifical power, could never be
made to understand their own incompetency in spirituals, and
persisted to the last in treating the church as a civil
institution under their supervision and control, as does the
Emperor of the French in France, even yet.  In the Middle Ages
the state was so barbarously constituted that the church was
obliged to supervise its administration, to mix herself up with
the civil government, in order to infuse some intelligence into
civil matters, and to preserve her own rightful freedom and
independence.  When the states broke away from feudalism, they
revived the Roman constitution, and claimed the authority in
ecclesiastical matters that had been exercised by the Roman
Caesars, and the states that adopted a sectarian religion gave
the sect adopted a civil establishment, and subjected it to the
civil government, to which the sect not unwillingly consented,
on condition that the civil authority excluded the church and all
other sects, and made it the exclusive religion of the state, as
in England, Scotland, Sweden, Denmark, Russia, and the states of
Northern Germany.  Even yet the normal relations of church and
state are nowhere practicable in the Old World; for everywhere
either the state is more or less barbaric in its constitution, or
the religion is sectarian, and the church as well as civilization
is obliged, to struggle with antagonistic forces, for

There are formidable parties all over Europe at work to introduce
what they take to be the American system; but constitutions are
generated, not made--providential, not conventional.  Statesmen
can only develop what is in the existing constitutions of their
respective countries, and no European constitution contains all
the elements of the American.  European Liberals mistake the
American system, and, were they to succeed in their efforts,
would not introduce it, but something more hostile to it than the
governments and institutions they are warring against.  They
start from narrow, sectarian, or infidel premises, and seek not
freedom of worship, but freedom of denial.  They suppress the
freedom of religion as the means of securing what they call
religious liberty--imagine that they secure freedom of thought by
extinguishing the light without which no thought is possible, and
advance civilization by undermining its foundation.  The
condemnation of their views and movements by the Holy Father in
the Encyclical, which has excited so much hostility, may seem to
superficial and unthinking Americans even, as a condemnation of
our American system--indeed, as the condemnation of modern
science, intelligence, and civilization itself; but whoever looks
below the surface, has some insight into the course of events,
understands the propositions and movements censured, and the
sense in which they are censured, is well assured that the Holy
Father has simply exercised his pastoral and teaching authority
to save religion, society, science, and civilization from utter
corruption or destruction.  The opinions, tendencies, and
movements, directly or by implication censured, are the effect of
narrow and superficial thinking, of partial and one-sided views,
and are sectarian, sophistical, and hostile to all real progress,
and tend, as far as they go, to throw society back into the
barbarism from which, after centuries of toil and struggle, it is
just beginning to emerge.  The Holy Father has condemned nothing
that real philosophy, real science does not also condemn;
nothing, in fact, that is not at war with the American system
itself.  For the mass of the people, it were desirable that
fuller explanations should be given of the sense in which the
various propositions censured are condemned, for some of them are
not, in every sense, false; but the explanations needed were
expected by the Holy Father to be given by the bishops and
prelates, to whom, not to the people, save through them, the
Encyclical was addressed.  Little is to be hoped, and much is to
be feared, for liberty, science, and civilization from European
Liberalism, which has no real affinity with American territorial
democracy and real civil and religious freedom.  But God and
reality are present in the Old World as, well as in the New, and
it will never do to restrict their power or freedom.

Whether the American people will prove faithful to their mission,
and realize their destiny, or not, is known only to Him from whom
nothing is hidden.  Providence is free, and leaves always a space
for human free-will.  The American people can fail, and will fail
if they neglect the appointed means and conditions of success;
but there is nothing in their present state or in their past
history to render their failure probable.  They have in their
internal constitution what Rome wanted, and they are in no danger
of being crushed by exterior barbarism.  Their success as feeble
colonies of Great Britain in achieving their national
independence, and especially in maintaining, unaided, and against
the real hostility of Great Britain and France, their national
unity and integrity against a rebellion which, probably, no other
people could have survived, gives reasonable assurance for their
future.  The leaders of the rebellion, than whom none better knew
or more nicely calculated the strength and resources of the
Union, counted with certainty on success, and the ablest, the
most experienced, and best informed statesmen of the Old World
felt sure that the Republic was gone, and spoke of it as the late
United States.  Not a few, even in the loyal States, who had no
sympathy with the rebellion, believed it idle to think of
suppressing it by force, and advised peace on the best terms that
could be obtained.  But Ilium fuit was chanted too soon; the
American people were equal to the emergency, and falsified the
calculations and predictions of their enemies, and surpassed the
expectations of their friends.

The attitude of the real American people during the fearful
struggle affords additional confidence in their destiny.  With
larger armies on foot than Napoleon ever commanded, with their
line of battle stretching from ocean to ocean, across the whole
breadth of the continent, they never, during four long years of
alternate victories and defeats--and both unprecedentedly
bloody--for a moment lost their equanimity, or appeared less
calm, collected, tranquil, than in the ordinary times of peace.
They not for a moment interrupted their ordinary routine of
business or pleasure, or seemed conscious of being engaged in any
serious struggle which required an effort.  There was no hurry,
no bustle, no excitement, no fear, no misgiving.  They seemed to
regard the war as a mere bagatelle, not worth being in earnest
about.  The on-looker was almost angry with their apparent
indifference, apparent insensibility, and doubted if they moved
at all, Yet move they did: guided by an unerring instinct, they
moved quietly on with an elemental force, in spite of a timid and
hesitating administration, in spite of inexperienced,
over-cautious, incompetent, or blundering military commanders,
whom they gently brushed aside, and desisted not till their
object was gained, and they saw the flag of the Union floating
anew in the breeze from the capitol of every State that dared
secede.  No man could contemplate them without feeling that there
was in them a latent power vastly superior to any which they
judged it necessary to put forth.  Their success proves to all
that what, prior to the war, was treated as American arrogance or
self-conceit, was only the outspoken confidence in their destiny
as a Providential people, conscious that to them is reserved the
hegemony of the world.

Count de Maistre predicted early in the century the failure of
the United States, because they have no proper name; but his
prediction assumed what is not the fact.  The United States have
a proper name by which all the world knows and calls them.  The
proper name of the country is America: that of the people is
Americans.  Speak of Americans simply, and nobody understands you
to mean the people of Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Chile,
Paraguay, but everybody understands you to mean the people of the
United States.  The fact is significant, and foretells for the
people of the United States a continental destiny, as is also
foreshadowed in the so-called "Monroe doctrine," which France,
during our domestic troubles, was permitted, on condition of not
intervening in our civil war in favor of the rebellion, to

There was no statesmanship in proclaiming the "Monroe doctrine,"
for the statesman keeps always, as far as possible, his
government free to act according to the exigencies of the case
when it comes up, unembarrassed by previous declarations of
principles.  Yet the doctrine only expresses the destiny of the
American people, and which nothing but their own fault can
prevent them from realizing in its own good time.  Napoleon will
not succeed in his Mexican policy, and Mexico will add some
fifteen or twenty new States to the American Union as soon as it
is clearly for the interests of all parties that it should be
done, and it can be done by mutual consent, without war or
violence.  The Union will fight to maintain the integrity of her
domain and the supremacy of her laws within it, but she can
never, consistently with her principles or her interests, enter
upon a career of war and conquest.  Her system is violated,
endangered, not extended, by subjugating her neighbors, for
subjugation and liberty go not together.  Annexation, when it
takes place, must be on terms of perfect equality and by the free
act of the state annexed.  The Union can admit of no inequality
of rights and franchises between the States of which it is
composed.  The Canadian Provinces and the Mexican and Central
American States, when annexed, must be as free as the original
States of the Union, sharing alike in the power and the
protection of the Republic--alike in its authority, its freedom,
its grandeur, and its glory, as one free, independent,
self-governing people.  They may gain much, but must lose nothing
by annexation.

The Emperor Napoleon and his very respectable protege,
Maximilian, an able man and a liberal-minded prince, can change
nothing in the destiny of the United States, or of Mexico
herself; no imperial government can be permanent beside the
American Republic, no longer liable, since the abolition of
slavery, to be distracted by sectional dissensions.  The States
that seceded will soon, in some way, be restored to their rights
and franchises in the Union, forming not the least patriotic
portion of the American people; the negro question will be
settled, or settle itself, as is most likely, by the melting away
of the negro population before the influx of white laborers; all
traces of the late contest in a very few years will be wiped out,
the national debt paid, or greatly reduced, and the prosperity
and strength of the Republic be greater than ever.  Its moral
force will sweep away every imperial throne on the continent,
without any effort or action on the part of the government.
There can be no stable government in Mexico till every trace of
the ecclesiastical policy established by the Council of the
Indies is obliterated, and the church placed there on the same
footing as in the United States; and that can hardly be done
without annexation.  Maximilian cannot divest the church of her
temporal possessions and place Protestants and Catholics on the
same footing, without offending the present church party and
deeply injuring religion, and that too without winning the
confidence of the republican party.  In all Spanish and
Portuguese America the relations between the church and state are
abnormal, and exceedingly hurtful to both.  Religion is in a
wretched condition, and politics in a worse condition still.
There is no effectual remedy for either but in religious freedom,
now impracticable, and to be rendered practicable by no European
intervention, for that subjects religion to the state, the very
source of the evils that now exist, instead of emancipating it
from the state, and leaving it to act according to its own
constitution and laws, as under the American system.

But the American people need not trouble themselves about their
exterior expansion.  That will come of itself as fast as
desirable.  Let them devote their attention to their internal
destiny, to the realization of their mission within, and they
will gradually see the Whole continent coming under their system,
forming one grand nation, a really catholic nation, great,
glorious, and free.

End of Project Gutenberg Etext The American Republic, by O. A. Brownson


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