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imposts, and excises—that the people had by the constitution intrusted to congress all these powers; but that so sacred, and so precious, were the characters of libellers, that they reserved to the several states, the exclusive jurisdiction of them; notwithstanding Congress is vested with full power to pass all laws necessary and proper to carry into execution the foregoing delineated powers &c. Such is the argument in detail, upon which the resolutions are supported. The constitution is, as it has been quoted, against it. The plain common sense of mankind, when liberated from party passion, must be against it, also.
But what further says the resolution? It says, that the government of the United States does not contain, the right of final judgment—but that the states being the integral parties to the constitution^ each has the right of judging for itself. Verily, it is difficult to conceive a proposition more pregnant with absurdity. Thu total fallacy of the idea, that the constitution was made by the states, as states, has already been demonstrated, as it is believed: it has been shewn likewise, that the constitution and laws of the United States, &C. "are the supreme laws of the land;" that they are to be respected, and made the rule of decision in the courts of the several states, as well as of those of the United States. In pursuance of which the judicial act of the United States gives an appeal from the decision of the highest court in the state, where such decision is against the constitution, or law of the United States, &C.: thereby establishing in the most exact and ample manner, a refutation of the assertion advanced in the resolution, that the United States have not the right, or the means, of final judgment. Had this been true, the anti-federalists would have found in it an ample justification for their hostility to the constitution. A miserable idiotic, lunatic, paralytic, object, it would have been. With an ostensible competency of organs, it could have done nothing without the approbation of the states. With a head, it could not have moved its limbs—with limbs, it could not have moved its body: in short, it would have been the thing, its enemies wanted it to be, a football, for state demagogues to kick about at pleasure. Suppose it were true, as stated in the resolution, that each state has an equal right, having no common judge, to judge for itself, as well of infractions, as of the mode and measure of redress. A more effectual charter, for anarchy, confusion, or insurrection, can hardly be imagined. There were then fifteen states—there are now, twenty-four; while ti^e number may yet be increased; and these'having extensive intercourse, and a vast variety of discordant interests, affecting union—and yet, each, the final judge of what concerned itself, without a dernier resort, or common umpire! and what must have been the consequence? It will be left with the reader to answer the question—No, it is anticipated; anarchy, and disunion.
It is known, that even in congress, where the affairs of the union are directly discussed, with the most ample means of information, and where all should have in view the good of the whole, that nevertheless, the most important measures are generally decided by small majorities. What then if fifteen or twenty-four, independent uncommunicating states, with different degrees of information, and often opposite views, have the same questions before them; could any thing like a common result take place? He must be a novice in political science that could expect it. On the contrary, contradiction, and confusion would be the consequence; discord and war, would follow.
It is indeed, much to be regretted, that the constitution of the United States, cannot be seen by state politicians, and represented to thepcople, as it really is; a government instituted by and for the whole people of the United States, for the purposes, and objects of the whole; in like manner, as state constitutions, are for state purposes. That hence, those things which concern the whole United States, must necessarily take a higher order; move in a larger circle; a more elevated sphere, than those other matters which concern a state only. And this may be demonstrated, by the application of a circle which would include the largest state in the union, to the union itself; as it would instantly appear, to be less than the union: apply it to the state for which it was formed, and twenty-three, out of the twenty-four stales, would be excluded. These premises, seem
to lay an ample ground work, for the supremacy, established in the constitution, and laws, of the United States, over the particular states; and for giving the right offinal judgment to the general government, in all cases of controversy with a state, about its laws, affecting the constitution or laws of the United States. As well might a county court dispute the supremacy of its state goverment, as a state in the union, dispute the authority of the United States, when once finally settled in the constitutional mode. Let no state demagogue be alarmed—the remedy in the ultimate resort, is with the people, where he affects to place it on state occasions—but then they are the people of the United States, not of a particular state only, to whom the reference is to be made in this case; and they occupy too large a circumference for his comprehension—Ah! there, is the rub! he can manage a part, but not the whole.
As to the acts of congress which gave rise to the resolution which has drawn forth these commentaries—it is asserted as a clear proposition, that the government of the United States, has a full and perfect jurisdiction over free aliens—may forbid their admittance into the United States—and govern them if admitted, in such manner as they please; that their privileges here are by courtesy, not constitutional right; and that hence, the law as to them, in no manner violated the constitution.
The express power given to congress, "to regulate commerce," embraces the subject of men imported, as well as of wine, hardware, or broadcloth; and congress had by the constitution, before 1808, except for the first section of the tenth article of that instrument; and since that time, that section notwithstanding, the right to prohibit the importation of aliens, as well as any of the other articles, of commerce.
It is true, the right to pass uniform laws on the subject of naturalization, implies the admission of free aliens. It certainly does not imply the admission of slaves, who could not become citizens; or else congress, might by law, set them all free.
While it is quite as clear, that the clause of the constitution, to which reference has been made, has relation to those only vol. M. K*
who might be imported as slaves—having no relation to free persons. The words are: "The migration or importation of such persons, as any of the states now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the congress, prior to the year 1808,"&.c. It is supposed, "migration," which means "change of place," and is applicable to removal from one country to another, from one state to another, and from one place to another, in the same state; is nevertheless in the constitution to be taken as the synonyme of "importation," which means removing into, from some exterior point. Since to detach the two words, and give the first a meaning it will bear, it would imply that congress from the year 1803, has had the power, to prohibit the removal of slaves from one state into another. The importation into any state, was then an importation into the United States: while it is obvious, the prohibition' on congress, by the words "now existing," that is, when the constitution was made, never did extend, to any state since admitted into the union, ex-territorial, of the then United States. Upon this view of the constitution, the governor of Kentucky need not to have been so much alarmed, lest the president should stop the migration of aliens who Were admitted into the United States, from coming to Kentucky; as he appears to have been, by his communications to the legislature. To see and read what he said, will afford the best information on the subject. Speaking of the alien law, he said: "Nor can the same law be regarded as any thing less than an artful, though effectual evasion of the provisions of that article of the federal constitution which withholds from congress the power of prohibiting the migration, as well as importation of such persons as the states then existing might think proper to admit; a provision of the highest importance to those states whose population is not full, and who have the strongest interest in welcoming the industrious stranger from every part of the world This language from the governor, to the legislature, and he, one of the most enlightened and liberal men of the party, will afford a ground of infe. ne as to the rest.
Upon what principle, it may be asked, did the president of the United States, in 1812 or '13, order all aliens in the United States, to remove forty miles from the seacoast? This was done without any act of congress. Craftily—for had such an act passed, it would have been an "alien law," by the party too, who so loudly condemned the former. The people might have seen the inconsistency—although indeed there was but little danger; since they could not discern, the greater encroachment on personal liberty, from the president's exercise of despotism, than if his acts of control over aliens, had been authorized by an act of congress, in whom the constitution had vested the directing power of the government, as to them.
It can hardly be considered, a departure from the subject under consideration, and certainly comports with one of the objects of this history, which is to give correct views of the ^constitution of the United States, so often mistaken and perverted, and always interesting to the people, should a brief analysis of the first principles of that instrument, be opposed to the misconceptions of Mr. Breckenridge, his followers, or forerunners.
It is therefore said, that the constitution of the United States, is not only, not a confederation of states—but one formed by the people, in their sovereign character; as essentially and absolutely, as the introductory clause imports. And that it is as much, A Representative Democracy, as the states are, which have been formed by separate portions of the same people. While a single observation, may give to this definition, the evidence of demonstration. The people qualified to elect the members of the most numerous branch of the state legislatures, are also qualified to choose representatives to Congress.
Even the senators of the United States, are chosen by the state legislatures, emanating from the same people: While the president, and vice president, are chosen by electors, or the representatives in congress, each, and all of whom, are chosen by the same people.
Such is the constitution of the United States. It is, to all intents and purposes, "a popular government"—A Republic, in