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finally the want of drawing a clear and direct line between the powers to be exercised by congress and by the states.

§ 147. Many of these objections found their way into the amendments, which, simultaneously with the ratification, were adopted in many of the state conventions. With the view of carrying into effect the popular will, and also of disarming the opponents of the constitution of all reasonable grounds of complaint, congress, at its very first session, took into consideration the amendments so proposed; and by a succession of supplementary articles provided, in substance, a bill of rights, and secured by constitutional declarations most of the other important objects thus suggested. These articles (in all, twelve) were submitted by congress to the states for their ratification; and ten of them were finally ratified by the requisite number of states; and thus became incorporated into the constitution. It is a curious fact, however, that although the necessity of these amendments had been urged by the enemies of the constitution, and denied by its friends, they encountered scarcely any other opposition in the state legislatures, than what was given by the very party, which had raised the objections. The friends of the constitution generally supported them upon the ground of a large public policy, to quiet jealousies, and to disarm resent







§ 148. HAVING thus sketched out a general history of the origin and adoption of the constitution of the United States, and a summary of the principal objections and difficulties, which it had to encounter, we are at length arrived at the point, at which it may be proper to enter upon the consideration of the actual structure, organization, and powers, which belong to it.

§ 149. Before doing this, however, it seems necessary, in the first place, to bestow some attention upon several points, which have attracted a good deal of discussion, and which are preliminary in their own nature; and in the next place to consider, what are the true rules of interpretation belonging to the instrument.

By whom was
By whom, and

Who are to

§ 150. In the first place, what is the true nature and import of the instrument? Is it a treaty, a convention, a league, a contract, or a compact? Who are the parties to it? By whom was it made? it ratified? What are its obligations? in what manner may it be dissolved? determine its validity and construction? Who are to decide upon the supposed infractions and violations of it? These are questions often asked, and often discussed, not merely for the purpose of theoretical speculation; but as matters of practical importance, and of earnest and even of vehement debate. The answers given to them by statesmen and jurists are

often contradictory, and irreconcilable with each other; and the consequences, deduced from the views taken of some of them, go very deep into the foundations of the government itself, and expose it, if not to utter destruction, at least to evils, which threaten its existence, and disturb the just operation of its powers.

§ 151. In what light, then, is the constitution of the United States to be regarded? Is it a mere compact, treaty, or confederation of the states composing the Union, or of the people thereof, whereby each of the several states, and the people thereof, have respectively bound themselves to each other? Or is it a form of government, which, having been ratified by a majority of the people in all the states, is obligatory upon them, as the prescribed rule of conduct of the sovereign pow. er, to the extent of its provisions?

§ 152. Let us consider, in the first place, whether it is to be deemed a compact. By this, we do not mean an act of solemn assent by the people to it, as a form of government, (of which there is no room for doubt ;) but a contract imposing mutual obligations, and contemplating the permanent subsistence of parties having an independent right to construe, control, and judge of its obligations. If in this latter sense it is to be deemed a compact, it must be, either because it contains on its face stipulations to that effect, or because it is necessarily implied from the nature and objects of a frame of government.

§ 153. There is nowhere found upon the face of the constitution any clause, intimating it to be a compact, or in anywise providing for its interpretation, as such. On the contrary, the preamble emphatically speaks of it, as a solemn ordinance and establishment of govern

ment. The language is, "We, the people of the United States, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America." The people do ordain and establish, not contract and stipulate with each other. The people of the United States, not the distinct people of a particular state with the people of the other states. The people ordain and establish a "constitution," not a

confederation." The distinction between a constitution and a confederation is well known, and understood. The latter, or at least a pure confederation, is a mere treaty or league between independent states, and binds no longer, than during the good pleasure of each. It rests forever in articles of compact, where each is, or may be the supreme judge of its own rights and duties. The former is a permanent form of government, where the powers, once given, are irrevocable, and cannot be resumed or withdrawn at pleasure. Whether formed by a single people, or by different societies of people, in their political capacity, a constitution, though originating in consent, becomes, when ratified, obligatory, as a fundamental ordinance or law. The constitution of a confederated republic, that is, of a national republic, formed of several states, is, or at least may be, not less an irrevocable form of government, than the constitutution of a state formed and ratified by the aggregate of the several counties of the state.

§ 154. If it had been the design of the framers of the constitution or of the people, who ratified it, to consider it a mere confederation, resting on treaty stipulations, it is difficult to conceive, that the appropriate terms should not have been found in it. The United States were no strangers to compacts of this nature. They had subsisted to a limited extent before the revolution. The articles of confederation, though in some few respects

national, were mainly of a pure federative character, and were treated as stipulations between states, for many purposes independent and sovereign. And yet, (as has been already seen,) it was deemed a political heresy to maintain, that under it any state had a right to withdraw from it at pleasure, and repeal its operation; and that a party to the compact had a right to revoke that compact.

§ 155. But that, which would seem conclusive on the subject, (as has been already stated,) is the very language of the constitution itself, declaring it to be a supreme fundamental law, and to be of judicial obligation, and recognition in the administration of justice. "This constitution," says the sixth article, "and the laws of the United States, which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties made, or which shall be made under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, any thing in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding." If it is the supreme law, how can the people of any state, either by any form of its own constitution, or laws, or other proceedings, repeal, or abrogate, or suspend it?

§ 156. But if the language of the constitution were less explicit and irresistible, no other inference could be correctly deduced from a view of the nature and objects of the instrument. The design is to establish a form of government. This, of itself, imports legal obligation, permanence, and uncontrollability by any, but the authorities authorized to alter, or abolish it. The object was to secure the blessings of liberty to the people, and to their posterity. The avowed intention was to supercede the old confederation, and substitute

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