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855. The next object is, “to promote the genera welfare." If it should be asked, why this may not be effectually accomplished by the States, it may be answered ; first, that they do not possess the means; and secondly, if they did, they do not possess the powers necessary' to carry the appropriate measures into execution. The means of the several States will rarely be found to exceed their actual domestic wants, and appropriations to domestic improvements. Their resources by internal taxation must necessarily be limited ; and their revenue from imports would, if there were no national government, be small and fluctuating. Their whole system would be defeated by the jealousy, or competitions, or local interests of their neighbors. The want of uniformity of duties in all the States, as well as the facility of smuggling goods, imported into one State, into the territory of another, would render any efficient collection of duties almost impracticable. This is not a matter of mere theory. It was established by our own history and experience under the Confederation. The duties imposed upon the importation of goods by Massachusetts, were completely evaded or nullified by their free admission into the neighboring State of Rhode Island.
§ 56. But, if the means were completely within the reach of the several States, the jurisdiction would still be wanting, completely to carry into effect any great or comprehensive plan for the welfare of the whole. The idea of a permanent and zealous co-operation of all the States in any one scheme for the common welfare, is visionary. No scheme could be devised, which would not bear unequally upon some particular sections of the country; and these inequalities could not be, as they now are, meliorated and corrected under the general government, by other correspondent benefits. Each State would necessarily legislate singly; and it is scarcely possible, that various changes of councils should not take place, before any scheme could receive the sanction of all of them. Infinite delays would intervene, and various modifications of measures would be proposed, to suit particular loca interests, which would again require reconsideration.
After one or two vain attempts to accomplish any great system of improvements, there would be a general abandonment of all efforts to produce a general system for the regulation of our commerce, or agriculture, or manufac. tures ; and each State would be driven to consult its own peculiar convenience and policy only, in despair of any common concert. And even if it were practicable, from any peculiar conjuncture of circumstances, to bring about such a system at one time, it is obvious, that it would be liable to be broken up, without a moment's warning, at the mere caprice, or pleasure, or change of policy, of a single State.
§ 57. The concluding object, stated in the Preamble, is, to secure the blessings of liberty to us, and our posterity.” And surely nothing of mere earthly concern is more worthy of the profound reflection of wise and good men, than to erect structures of government, which shall permanently sustain the interests of civil, political, and religious liberty, on solid foundations. The great problem in human governments has hitherto been, how to combine durability with moderation in powers, energy with equality of rights, responsibility with a sense of independence, steadiness in councils with popular elections, and a lofty spirit of patriotism with the love of personal aggrandizement; in short, how to combine the greatest happiness of the whole with the least practicable restraints, so as to insure permanence in the public institutions, intelligent legislation, and incorruptible private virtue. The Constitution of the United States aims at the attainment of these ends, by the arrangements and distributions of its powers; by the introduction of checks and balances in all its departments ; by making the existence of the State governments an essential part of its own organization ; by leaving with the States the ordinary powers of domestic legislation ; and, at the same time, by drawing to itself those powers only, which are strictly national, or concern the general welfare. Its duties and its powers thus naturally combine to make it the common guardian and friend of all the States ; and in return, the States, while they muy exercise a salutary vigilance for their own self
protect on, are persuasively taught, that the blessings of liberty, secured by the national government, are far more certain, more various, and more extensive, than they would be under their own distinct and independent sovereignties.
§ 58. Let us now enter upon a more close survey of the structure and powers of the national Constitution, that we may see, whether it is as wisely framed as its founders believed ; so as to justify our confidence in its durability, and in its adaptation to our wants, and the great objects proposed in the Preamble. If it be so wisely framed, then, indeed, it will be entitled to our most pro found reverence; and we shall accustom ourselves to re. pel with indignation every attempt to weaken its powers, or obstruct its operations, or diminish its influence, as involving our own degradation, and, ultimately, the ruin of the States themselves.
Tristribution of Powers.-- The Legislative Departmen
§ 59. In surveying the general structure of the Coust tution of the United States, we are naturally led tu : examination of the fundamental principles, on which it .. organized, for the purpose of carrying into effect the or jects disclosed in the Preamble. Every government must include within its scope, at least if it is to possess suitable stability and energy, the exercise of the three great powers, upon which all governments are supposed to rest, viz., the executive, the legislative, and the judicial powers. The manner and extent, in which these powers are to be exercised, and the functionaries, in whom they are to be vested, constitute the great distinctions, which are known in the forms of government. In absolute governments, the whole executive, legislative, and judicial powers are, at least in their final result, exclusively confided to a sin gle individual ; and such a form of government is genomi
nated a Despotism, as the whole sovereignty of the State is vested in him. If the same powers are exclusively confided to a few persons, constituting a permanent sove ceign council, the government may be appropriately denominated an absolute or despotic Aristocracy. If they are exercised by the people at large in their original sovereign assemblies, the government is a pure and absolute Democracy. But it is more common to find these powers divided, and separately exercised by independent functionaries, the executive power by one department, the legislative by another, and the judicial by a third ; and in these cases the government is properly deemed a mixed one ; a mixed monarchy, is the executive power is hereditary in a single person ; a mixed aristocracy, if it is hereditary in several chieftains or families; and a mixed democracy or republic, if it is delegated by election, and is not hereditary. In mixed monarchies and aristocracies, some of the functionaries of the legislative and judicial powers are, or at least may be, hereditary. But in a representative republic, all power emanates from the people, and is exercised by their choice, and never extends beyond the lives of the individuals, to whom it is intrusted. It may be intrusted for any shorter period ; and then it returns to them again, to be again delegated by a new choice.
$ 60. The first thing, that strikes us, upon the slightest survey of the national Constitution, is, that its structure contains a fundamental separation of the three great departments of government, the legislative, the executive, and the judicial. The existence of all these departments has always been found indispensable to due energy and stability in a government. Their separation has always been found equally indispensable, for the preservation of public liberty and private rights. Whenever they are all vested in one person or body of men, the government is in fact a despotism, by whatever name it may be called, whether a monarchy, or an aristocracy, or a democracy. When, therefore, the Convention, which framed the Constitution, determined on a more efficient system than the Confederation, the first resolution adopted by them was,
that " a national government ought to be established, consisting of a supreme legislative, judiciary, and executive."
$ 61. In the establishment of free governments, the division of the three great powers of government, the executive, the legislative, and the judicial, among different functionaries,
has been a favorite policy with patriots and statesmen. It has by many been deemed a maxim of vital importance, that these powers should for ever be kept separate and distinct. And, accordingly, we find it laid down, with emphatic care, in the Bill of Rights of sev eral of the State Constitutions.
$ 62. The general reasoning, by which the maxim is supported, independently of the just weight of the authority in its support, seems entirely satisfactory. What is of far more value than any mere reasoning, experience has demonstrated it to be founded in a just view of the nature of government, and of the safety and liberty of the people. It is no small commendation of the Constitution of the United States, that, instead of adopting a new theory, it has placed this practical truth, at the basis of its organization. It has placed the legislative, executive, and judicial powers in different hands. It has, as we shall presently see, made the term of office and the organization of each department different. For objects of permanent and paramount importance, it has given to the judicial department a tenure of office during good behavior; while it has limited each of the others to a term of years.
§ 63. But when we speak of a separation of the three great departments of government, and maintain, that that separation is indispensable to public liberty, we are to understand this maxim in a limited sense. It is not meant to affirm, that they must be kept wholly and entirely separate and distinct, and have no common link of connection or dependence, the one upon the other, in the slightest degree. The true meaning is, that the whole power of one of these departments should not be exercised by the same hands, which possess the whole power of either of the other departments; ard that such exercise of the