For CaptainJamesDavis “A Precious Love”

Who Is The Final Judge or Interpreter in Constitutional Controversies by Joseph Story

Joseph Story 1Who Is The Final Judge or Interpreter in Constitutional Controversies:
JOSEPH STORY was born on September 18, 1779, in Marblehead, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard College in 1798. Story read law in the offices of two Marblehead attorneys and was admitted to the bar in 1801. He established a law practice in Salem, Massachusetts. In 1805, Story served one term in the Massachusetts Legislature, and in 1808 he was elected to the United States House of Representatives. After one term, he returned to the Massachusetts Lower House, and in 1811 he was elected Speaker. On November 18, 1811, President James Madison nominated Story to the Supreme Court of the United States. The Senate confirmed the appointment on February 3, 1812. At the age of thirty-two, Story was the youngest person ever appointed to the Supreme Court. While on the Supreme Court, Story served as a delegate to the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention of 1820 and was a Professor of Law at Harvard, where he wrote a series of nine commentaries on the law, each of which was published in several editions. Story served on the Supreme Court for thirty-three years. He died on September 10, 1845, at the age of sixty-five.

§ 373. THE consideration of the question, whether the constitution has made provision for any common arbiter to construe its powers and obligations, would properly find a place in the analysis of the different clauses of that instrument. But, as it is immediately connected with the subject before us, it seems expedient in this place to give it a deliberate attention.1

§ 374. In order to clear the question of all minor points, which might embarrass us in the discussion, it is necessary to suggest a few preliminary remarks. The constitution, contemplating the grant of limited powers, and distributing them among various functionaries, and the state governments, and their functionaries, being also clothed with limited powers, subordinate to those granted to the general government, whenever any question arises, as to the exercise of any power by any of these functionaries under the state, or federal government, it is of necessity, that such functionaries must, in the first instance, decide upon the constitutionality of the exercise of such power.2 It may arise in the course of the discharge of the functions of any one, or of all, of the great departments of government, the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. The officers of each of these departments are equally bound by their oaths of office to support the constitution of the United States, and are therefore conscientiously bound to abstain from all acts, which are inconsistent with it. Whenever, therefore, they are required to act in a case, not hitherto settled by any proper authority, these functionaries must, in the first instance, decide, each for himself, whether, consistently with the constitution, the act can be done. If, for instance, the president is required to do any act, he is not only authorized, but required, to decide for himself, whether, consistently with his constitutional duties, he can do the act.3 So, if a proposition be before congress, every member of the legislative body is bound to examine, and decide for himself, whether the bill or resolution is within the constitutional reach of the legislative powers confided to congress. And in many cases the decisions of the executive and legislative departments, thus made, become final and conclusive, being from their very nature and character incapable of revision. Thus, in measures exclusively of a political, legislative, or executive character, it is plain, that as the supreme authority, as to these questions, belongs to the legislative and executive departments, they cannot be re-examined elsewhere. Thus, congress having the power to declare war, to levy taxes, to appropriate money, to regulate intercourse and commerce with foreign nations, their mode of executing these powers can never become the subject of reexamination in any other tribunal. So the power to make treaties being confided to the president and senate, when a treaty is properly ratified, it becomes the law of the land, and no other tribunal can gainsay its stipulations. Yet cases may readily be imagined, in which a tax may be laid, or a treaty made, upon motives and grounds wholly beside the intention of the constitution.4 The remedy, however, in such cases is solely by an appeal to the people at the elections; or by the salutary power of amendment, provided by the constitution itself.5

§ 375. But, where the question is of a different nature, and capable of judicial inquiry and decision, there it admits of a very different consideration. The decision then made, whether in favour, or against the constitutionality of the act, by the state, or by the national authority, by the legislature, or by the executive, being capable, in its own nature, of being brought to the test of the constitution, is subject to judicial revision. It is in such cases, as we conceive, that there is a final and common arbiter provided by the constitution itself, to whose decisions all others are subordinate; and that arbiter is the supreme judicial authority of the courts of the Union.6

§ 376. Let us examine the grounds, on which this doctrine is maintained. The constitution declares, (Art. 6,) that “This constitution, and the laws of the United States, which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties, etc. shall be the supreme law of the land.” It also declares, (Art. 3,) that “The judicial power shall extend to all cases in law and equity, arising under this constitution, the laws of the United States and treaties made, and which shall be made under their authority.” It further declares, ( Art. 3,) that the judicial power of the United States “shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts, as the congress may, from time to time, ordain and establish.” Here, then, we have express, and determinate provisions upon the very subject. Nothing is imperfect, and nothing is left to implication. The constitution is the supreme law; the judicial power extends to all cases arising in law and equity under it; and the courts of the United States are, and, in the last resort, the Supreme Court of the United States is, to be vested with this judicial power. No man can doubt or deny, that the power to construe the constitution is a judicial power.7 The power to construe a treaty is clearly so, when the case arises in judgment in a controversy between individuals.8 The like principle must apply, where the meaning of the constitution arises in a judicial controversy; for it is an appropriate function of the judiciary to construe laws.9 If, then, a case under the constitution does arise, if it is capable of judicial examination and decision, we see, that the very tribunal is appointed to make the decision. The only point left open for controversy is, whether such decision, when made, is conclusive and binding upon the states, and the people of the states. The reasons, why it should be so deemed, will now be submitted.

§ 377. In the first place, the judicial power of the United States rightfully extending to all such cases, its judgment becomes ipso facto conclusive between the parties before it, in respect to the points decided, unless some mode be pointed out by the constitution, in which that judgment may be revised. No such mode is pointed out. Congress is vested with ample authority to provide for the exercise by the Supreme Court of appellate jurisdiction from the decisions of all inferior tribunals, whether state or national, in cases within the purview of the judicial power of the United States; but no mode is provided, by which any superior tribunal can re-examine, what the Supreme Court has itself decided. Ours is emphatically a government of laws, and not of men; and judicial decisions of the highest tribunal, by the known course of the common law, are considered, as establishing the true construction of the laws, which are brought into controversy before it. The case is not alone considered as decided and settled; but the principles of the decision are held, as precedents and authority, to bind future cases of the same nature. This is the constant practice under our whole system of jurisprudence. Our ancestors brought it with them, when they first emigrated to this country; and it is, and always has been considered, as the great security of our rights, our liberties, and our property. It is on this account, that our law is justly deemed certain, and founded in permanent principles, and not dependent upon the caprice, or will of particular judges. A more alarming doctrine could not be promulgated by any American court, than that it was at liberty to disregard all former rules and decisions, and to decide for itself, without reference to the settled course of antecedent principles.

§ 378. This known course of proceeding, this settled habit of thinking, this conclusive effect of judicial adjudications, was in the full view of the framers of the constitution. It was required, and enforced in every state in the Union; and a departure from it would have been justly deemed an approach to tyranny and arbitrary power, to the exercise of mete discretion, and to the abandonment of all the just checks upon judicial authority. It would seem impossible, then, to presume, if the people intended to introduce a new rule in respect to the decisions of the Supreme Court, and to limit the nature and operations of their judgments in a manner wholly unknown to the common law, and to our existing jurisprudence, that some indication of that intention should not be apparent on the face of the constitution. We find, (Art. 4,) that the constitution has declared, that full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the judicial proceedings of every other state. But no like provision has been made in respect to the judgments of the courts of the United States, because they were plainly supposed to be of paramount and absolute obligation throughout all the states. If the judgments of the Supreme Court upon constitutional questions are conclusive and binding upon the citizens at large, must they not be equally conclusive upon the states? If the states are parties to that instrument, are not the people of the states also parties?

§ 379. It has been said, “that however true it may be, that the judicial department is, in all questions submitted to it by the forms of the constitution, to decide in the last resort, this resort must necessarily be deemed the last in relation to the other departments of the government, not in relation to the rights of the parties to the constitutional compact, from which the judicial, as well as the other departments hold their delegated trusts. On any other hypothesis, the delegation of judicial power would annul the authority delegating it; and the concurrence of this department with the others in usurped powers might subvert for ever, and beyond the possible reach of any rightful remedy, the very constitution, which all were instituted to preserve.”10 Now, it is certainly possible, that all the departments of a government may conspire to subvert the constitution of that government, by which they are created. But if they should so conspire, there would still remain an adequate remedy to redress the evil. In the first place, the people, by the exercise of the elective franchise, can easily check and remedy any dangerous, palpable, and deliberate infraction of the constitution in two of the great departments of government; and, in the third department, they can remove the judges, by impeachment, for any corrupt conspiracies. Besides these ordinary remedies, there is a still more extensive one, embodied in the form of the constitution, by the power of amending it, which is always in the power of three fourths of the states. It is a supposition not to be endured for a moment, that three fourths of the states would conspire in any deliberate, dangerous, and palpable breach of the constitution. And if the judicial department alone should attempt any usurpation, congress, in its legislative capacity, has full power to abrogate the injurious effects of such a decision. Practically speaking, therefore, there can be very little danger of any such usurpation or deliberate breach.

§ 380. But it is always a doubtful mode of reasoning to argue from the possible abuse of powers, that they do not exist.11 Let us look for a moment at the consequences, which flow from the doctrine on the other side. There are now twenty-four states in the Union, and each has, in its sovereign capacity, a right to decide for itself in the last resort, what is the true construction of the constitution; what are its powers; and what are the obligations founded on it. We may, then, have, in the free exercise of that right, twentyfour honest, but different expositions of every power in that constitution, and of every obligation involved in it. What one state may deny, another may assert; what one may assert at one time, it may deny at another time. This is not mere supposition. It has, in point of fact, taken place. There never has been a single constitutional question agitated, where different states, if they have expressed any opinion, have not expressed different opinions; and there have been, and, from the fluctuating nature of legislative bodies, it may be supposed? that there will continue to be, cases, in which the same state will at different times hold different opinions on the same question. Massachusetts at one time thought the embargo of 1807 unconstitutional; at another a majority, from the change of parties, was as decidedly the other way. Virginia, in 1810, thought that the Supreme Court was the common arbiter; in 1829 she thought differently.12 What, then, is to become of the constitution, if its powers are thus perpetually to be the subject of debate and controversy? What exposition is to be allowed to be of authority? Is the exposition of one state to be of authority there, and the reverse to be of authority in a neighbouring state, entertaining an opposite exposition? Then, there would be at no time in the United States the same constitution in operation over the whole people. Is a power, which is doubted, or denied by a single state, to be suspended either wholly, or in that state? Then, the constitution is practically gone, as a uniform system, or indeed, as any system at all, at the pleasure of any state. If the power to nullify the constitution exists in a single state, it may rightfully exercise it at its pleasure. Would not this be a far more dangerous and mischievous power, than a power granted by all the states to the judiciary to construe the constitution? Would not a tribunal, appointed under the authority of all, be more safe, than twenty-four tribunals acting at their own pleasure, and upon no common principles and cooperation? Suppose congress should declare war; shall one state have power to suspend it? Suppose congress should make peace; shall one state have power to involve the whole country in war? Suppose the president and senate should make a treaty; shall one state declare it a nullity, or subject the whole country to reprisals for refusing to obey it? Yet, if every state may for itself judge of its obligations under the constitution, it may disobey a particular law or treaty, because it may deem it an unconstitutional exercise of power, although every other state shall concur in a contrary opinion. Suppose congress should lay a tax upon imports burthensome to a particular state, or for purposes, which such state deems unconstitutional, and yet all the other states are in its favour; is the law laying the tax to become a nullity? That would be to allow one state to withdraw a power from the Union, which was given by the people of all the states. That would be to make the general government the servant of twenty-four masters, of different wills and different purposes, and yet bound to obey them all.13

§ 381. The argument, therefore, arising from a possibility of an abuse of power, is, to say the least of it, quite as strong the other way. The constitution is in quite as perilous a state from the power of overthrowing it lodged in every state in the Union, as it can be by being lodged in any department of the federal government. There is this difference, however, in the cases, that if there be federal usurpation, it may be checked by the people of all the states in a constitutional way. If there be usurpation by a single state, it is, upon the theory we are considering, irremediable. Other difficulties, however, attend the reasoning we are considering. When it is said, that the decision of the Supreme Court in the last resort is obligatory, and final “in relation to the authorities of the other departments of the government,” is it meant of the federal government only, or of the states also? If of the former only, then the constitution is no longer the supreme law of the land, although all the state functionaries are bound by ah oath to support it. If of the latter also, then it is obligatory upon the state legislatures, executives, and judiciaries. It binds them; and yet it does not bind the people of the states, or the states in their sovereign capacity. The states may maintain one construction of it, and the functionaries of the state are bound by another. If, on the other hand, the state functionaries are to follow the construction of the state, in opposition to the construction of the Supreme Court, then the constitution, as actually administered by the different functionaries, is different; and the duties required of them may be opposite, and in collision with each other. If such a state of things is the just result of the reasoning, may it not justly be suspected, that the reasoning itself is unsound?

§ 382. Again; it is a part of this argument, that the judicial interpretation is not binding “in relation to the rights of the parties to the constitutional compact.” “On any other hypothesis the delegation of judicial power would annul the authority delegating it.” Who then are the parties to this contract? Who did delegate the judicial power? Let the instrument answer for itself. The people of the United States are the parties to the constitution. The people of the United States delegated the judicial rower. It was not a delegation by the people of one state, but by the people of all the states. Why then is not a judicial decision binding in each state, until all, who delegated the power, in some constitutional manner concur in annulling or overruling the decision? Where shall we find the clause, which gives the power to each state to construe the constitution for all; and thus of itself to supersede in its own favour the construction of all the rest? Would not this be justly deemed a delegation of judicial power, which would annul the authority delegating it?14 Since the whole people of the United States have concurred in establishing the constitution, it would seem most consonant with reason to presume, in the absence of all contrary stipulations, that they did not mean, that its obligatory force should depend upon the dictate or opinion of any single state. Even under the confederation, (as has been already stated,) it was unanimously resolved by congress, that “as state legislatures are not competent to the making of such compacts or treaties, [with foreign states,] so neither are they competent in that capacity authoritatively to decide on, or ascertain the construction and sense of them.” And the reasoning, by which this opinion is supported, seems absolutely unanswerable.15

If this was true under such an instrument, and that construction was avowed before the whole American people, and brought home to the knowledge of the state legislatures, how can we avoid the inference, that under the constitution, where an express judicial power in cases arising under the constitution was provided for, the people must have understood and intended, that the states should have no right to question, or control such judicial interpretation?

§ 383. In the next place, as the judicial power extends to all cases arising under the constitution, and that constitution is declared to be the supreme law, that supremacy would naturally he construed to extend, not only over the citizens, but over the states.16 This, however, is not left to implication, for it is declared to be the supreme law of the land, “any thing in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.” The people of any state cannot, then, by any alteration of their state constitution, destroy, or impair that supremacy. How, then, can they do it in any other less direct manner? Now, it is the proper function of the judicial department to interpret laws, and by the very terms of the constitution to interpret the supreme law. Its interpretation, then, becomes obligatory and conclusive upon all the departments of the federal government, and upon the whole people, so far as their rights and duties are derived from, or affected by that constitution. If then all the departments of the national government may rightfully exercise all the powers, which the judicial department has, by its interpretation, declared to be granted by the constitution; and are prohibited from exercising those, which are thus declared not to be granted by it, would it not be a solecism to hold, notwithstanding, that such rightful exercise should not be deemed the supreme law of the land, and such prohibited powers should still be deemed granted? It would seem repugnant to the first notions of justice, that in respect to the same instrument of government, different powers, and duties, and obligations should arise, and different rules should prevail, at the same time among the governed, from a right of interpreting the same words (manifestly used in one sense only) in different, nay, in opposite senses. If there ever was a case, in which uniformity of interpretation might well be deemed a necessary postulate, it would seem to be that of a fundamental law of a government. It might otherwise follow, that the same individual, as a magistrate, might be bound by one rule, and in his private capacity by another, at the very same moment.

§ 384. There would be neither wisdom nor policy in such a doctrine; and it would deliver over the constitution to interminable doubts, founded upon the fluctuating opinions and characters of those, who should, from time to time, be called to administer it. Such a constitution could, in no just sense, be deemed a law, much less a supreme or fundamental law. It would have none of the certainty or universality, which are the proper attributes of such a sovereign rule. It would entail upon us all the miserable servitude, which has been deprecated, as the result of vague and uncertain jurisprudence. Misera est servitus, ubi jus est vagum aut incertum. It would subject us to constant dissensions, and perhaps to civil broils, from the perpetually recurring conflicts upon constitutional questions. On the other hand, the worst, that could happen from a wrong decision of the judicial department, would be, that it might require the interposition of congress, or, in the last resort, of the amendatory power of the states, to redress the grievance.

§ 385. We find the power to construe the constitution expressly confided to the judicial department, without any limitation or qualification, as to its conclusiveness. Who, then, is at liberty, by general implications, not from the terms of the instrument, but from mere theory, and assumed reservations of sovereign right, to insert such a limitation or qualification? We find, that to produce uniformity of interpretation, and to preserve the constitution, as a perpetual bond of union, a supreme arbiter or authority of construing is, if not absolutely indispensable, at least, of the highest possible practical utility and importance. Who, then, is at liberty to reason down the terms of the constitution, so as to exclude their natural force and operation?

§ 386. We find, that it is the known course of the judicial department of the several states to decide in the last resort upon all constitutional questions arising in judgment; and that this has always been maintained as a rightful exercise of authority, and conclusive upon the whole state.17 As such, it has been constantly approved by the people, and never withdrawn from the courts by any amendment of their constitutions, when the people have been called to revise them. We find, that the people of the several states have constantly relied upon this last judicial appeal, as the bulwark of their state rights and liberties; and that it is in perfect consonance with the whole structure of the jurisprudence of the common law. Under such circumstances, is it not most natural to presume, that the same rule was intended to be applied to the constitution of the United States? And when we find, that the judicial department of the United States is actually entrusted with a like power, is it not an irresistible presumption, that it had the same object, and was to have the same universally conclusive effect? Even under the confederation, an instrument framed with infinitely more jealousy and deference for state rights, the judgments of the judicial department appointed to decide controversies between states was declared to be final and conclusive; and the appellate power in other cases was held to overrule all state decisions and state legislation.18

§ 387. If, then, reasoning from the terms of the constitution, and the known principles of our jurisprudence, the appropriate conclusion is, that the judicial department of the United States is, in the last resort, the final expositor of the constitution, as to all questions of a judicial nature; let us see, in the next place, how far this reasoning acquires confirmation from the past history of the constitution, and the practice under it.

§ 388. That this view of the constitution was taken by its framers and friends, and was submitted to the people before its adoption, is positively certain. The Federalist 19 says, “Under the national government, treaties and articles of treaties as well as the law of nations, will always be expounded in one sense, and executed in the same manner; whereas, adjudications on the same points and questions in thirteen states, or three or four confederacies, will not always accord, or be consistent; and that as well from the variety of independent courts and judges appointed by different and independent governments, as from the different local laws, which may affect and influence them. The wisdom of the convention in committing such questions to the jurisdiction and judgment of courts appointed by, and responsible only to, one national government, cannot be too much commended.” Again, referring to the objection taken, that the government was national, and not a confederacy of sovereign states, and after stating, that the jurisdiction of the national government extended to certain enumerated objects only, and left the residue to the several states, it proceeds to say:20 “It is true, that in controversies between the two jurisdictions (state and national) the tribunal, which is ultimately to decide, is to be established under the general government. But this does not change the principle of the case. The decision is to be impartially made according to the rules of the constitution, and all the usual and most effectual precautions are taken to secure this impartiality. Some such tribunal is clearly essential to prevent an appeal to the sword, and a dissolution of the compact. And that it ought to be established under the general, rather than under the local governments, or, to speak more properly, that it could be safely established under the first alone, is a position not likely to be combated.”21

§ 389. The subject is still more elaborately considered in another number,22 which treats of the judicial department in relation to the extent of its powers. It is there said, that there ought always to be a constitutional method of giving efficacy to constitutional provisions; that if there are such things as political axioms, the propriety of the judicial department of a government being coextensive with its legislature, may be ranked among the number;23 that the mere necessity of uniformity in the interpretation of the national law decides the question; that thirteen independent courts of final jurisdiction over the same causes is a hydra of government, from which nothing but contradiction and confusion can proceed; that controversies between the nation and its members can only, be properly referred to the national tribunal; that the peace of the whole ought not to be left at the disposal of a part; and that whatever practices may have a tendency to disturb the harmony of the states, are proper objects of federal superintendence and control.24

§ 390. The same doctrine was constantly avowed in the state conventions, called to ratify the constitution. With some persons it formed a strong objection to the constitution; with others it was deemed vital to its existence and value.25 So, that it is indisputable, that the constitution was adopted under a full knowledge of this exposition of its grant of power to the judicial department.26

§ 391. This is not all. The constitution has now been in full operation more than forty years; and during this period the Supreme Court has constantly exercised this power of final interpretation in relation, not only to the constitution, and laws of the Union, but in relation to state acts and state constitutions and laws, so far as they affected the constitution, and laws, and treaties of the United States.27 Their decisions upon these grave questions have never been repudiated, or impaired by congress.28 No state has ever deliberately or forcibly resisted the execution of the judgments founded upon them; and the highest state tribunals have, with scarcely a single exception, acquiesced in, and, in most instances, assisted in executing them.29 During the same period, eleven states have been admitted into the Union, under a full persuasion, that the same power would be exerted over them. Many of the states have, at different times within the same period, been called upon to consider, and examine the grounds, on which the doctrine has been maintained, at the solicitation of other states which felt, that it operated injuriously, or might operate injuriously upon their interests. A great majority of the states, which have been thus called upon in their legislative capacities to express opinions, have maintained the correctness of the doctrine, and the beneficial effects of the powers, as a bond of union, in terms of the most unequivocal nature.30 Whenever any amendment has been proposed to change the tribunal, and substitute another common umpire or interpreter, it has rarely received the concurrence of more than two or three states, and has been uniformly rejected by a great majority, either silently, or by an express dissent. And instances have occurred, in which the legislature of the same state has, at different times, avowed opposite opinions, approving at one time, what it had denied, or at least questioned at another. So, that it may be asserted with entire confidence, that for forty years three fourths of all the states composing the Union have expressly assented to, or silently approved, this construction of the constitution, and have resisted every effort to restrict, or alter it. A weight of public opinion among the people for such a period, uniformly thrown into one scale so strongly, and so decisively, in the midst of all the extraordinary changes of parties, the events of peace and of war, and the trying conflicts of public policy and state interests, is perhaps unexampled in the history of all other free governments.31 It affords, as satisfactory a testimony in favour of the just and safe operation of the system, as can well be imagined; and, as a commentary upon the constitution itself, it is as absolutely conclusive, as any ever can be, and affords the only escape from the occurrence of civil conflicts, and the delivery over of the subject to interminable disputes.32

§ 392. In this review of the power of the judicial department, upon a question of its supremacy in the interpretation of the constitution, it has not been thought necessary to rely on the deliberate judgments of that department in affirmance of it. But it may be proper to add that the judicial department has not only constantly exercised this right of interpretation in the last resort; but its whole course of reasonings and operation has proceeded upon the ground, that, once made, the interpretation was conclusive, as well upon the states, as the people.33

§ 393. But it may be asked, as it has been asked, what is to be the remedy, if there be any misconstruction of the constitution on the part of the government of the United States, or its functionaries, and any powers exercised by them, not warranted by its true meaning? To this question a general answer may be given in the words of its early expositors: “The same, as if the state legislatures should violate their respective constitutional authorities.” In the first instance, if this should be by congress, “the success of the usurpation will depend on the executive and judiciary departments, which are to expound, and give effect to the legislative acts; and, in the last resort, a remedy must be obtained from the people, who can, by the election of more faithful representatives, annul the acts of the usurpers. The truth is, that this ultimate redress may be more confided in against unconstitutional acts of the federal, than of the state legislatures, for this plain reason, that, as every act of the former will be an invasion of the rights of the latter, these will ever be ready to mark the innovation, to sound the alarm to the people, and to exert their local influence in effecting a change of federal representatives. There being no such intermediate body between the state legislatures and the people, interested in watching the conduct of the former, violations of the state constitution are more likely to remain unnoticed and unredressed.”34

§ 394. In the next place, if the usurpation should be by the president, an adequate check may be generally found, not only in the elective franchise, but also in the controlling power of congress, in its legislative or impeaching capacity, and in an appeal to the judicial department. In the next place, if the usurpation should be by the judiciary, and arise from corrupt motives, the power of impeachment would remove the offenders; and in most other cases the legislative and executive authorities could interpose an efficient barrier. A declaratory or prohibitory law would, in many cases, be a complete remedy. We have, also, so far at least as a conscientious sense of the obligations of duty, sanctioned by an oath of office, and an indissoluble responsibility to the people for the exercise and abuse of power, on the part of different departments of the government, can influence human minds, some additional guards against known and deliberate usurpations; for both are provided for in the constitution itself. “The wisdom and the discretion of congress, (it has been justly observed,) their identity with the people, and the influence, which their constituents possess at elections, are, in this, as in many other instances, as, for example, that of declaring, war; the sole restraints; on this they have relied, to secure them from abuse. They are the restraints, on which the people must often solely rely in all representative governments.”35

§ 395. But in the next place, (and it is that, which would furnish a case of most difficulty and danger, though it may fairly be presumed to be of rare occurrence,) if the legislature, executive, and judicial departments should all concur in a gross usurpation, there is still a peaceable remedy provided by the constitution. It is by the power of amendment, which may always be applied at the will of three fourths of the states. If, therefore, there should be a corrupt cooperation of three fourths of the states for permanent usurpation, (a case not to be supposed, or if supposed, it differs not at all in principle or redress from the case of a majority of a state or nation having the same intent,) the case is certainly irremediable under any known forms of the constitution. The states may now by a constitutional amendment, with few limitations, change the whole structure and powers of the government, and thus legalize any present excess of power. And the general right of a society in other cases to change the government at the will of a majority of the whole people, in any manner, that may suit its pleasure, is undisputed, and seems indisputable. If there be any remedy at all for the minority in such cases, it is a remedy never provided for by human institutions. It is by a resort to the ultimate right of all human beings in extreme cases to resist oppression, and to apply force against ruinous injustice.36

§ 396. As a fit conclusion to this part of these commentaries, we cannot do better than to refer to a confirmatory view, which has been recently presented to the public by one of the framers of the constitution, who is now, it is believed, the only surviving member of the federal convention, and who, by his early as well as his later labours, has entitled himself to the gratitude of his country, as one of its truest patriots, and most enlightened friends. Venerable, as he now is, from age and character, and absolved from all those political connexions, which may influence the judgment, and mislead the mind, he speaks from his retirement in a voice, which cannot be disregarded, when it instructs us by its profound reasoning, or admonishes us of our dangers by its searching appeals. However particular passages may seem open to criticism, the general structure of the argument stands on immovable foundations, and can scarcely perish, but with the constitution, which it seeks to uphold.37

1.    The point was very strongly argued, and much considered, in the case of Cohens v. Virginia, in the Supreme Court in 1821, (6 Wheat. R. 264.) The whole argument, as well as the judgment, deserves an attentive reading. The result, to which the argument against the existence of a common arbiter leads, is presented in a very forcible manner by Mr. Chief Justice Marshall, in pages 376, 377.

“The questions presented to the court by the two first points made at the bar are of great magnitude, and may be truly said vitally to affect the Union. They exclude the inquiry, whether the constitution and laws of the United States have been violated by the judgment, which the plaintiffs in error seek to review; and maintain, that, admitting such violation, it is not in the power of the government to apply a corrective. They maintain, that the nation does not possess a department capable of restraining peaceably, and by authority of law, any attempts, which maybe made by a part against the legitimate powers of the whole; and that the government is reduced to the alternative of submitting to such attempts, or of resisting them by force. They maintain, that the constitution of the United States has provided no tribunal for the final construction of itself, or of the laws or treaties of the nation; but that this power may be exercised in the last resort by the courts of every state in the Union. That the constitution, laws, and treaties, may receive as many constructions, as there are states; and that this is not a mischief, or, if a mischief, is irremediable. These abstract propositions are to be determined; for he, who demands decision without permitting inquiry, affirms, that the decision he asks does not depend on inquiry.

“If such be the constitution, it is the duty of this court to bow with respectful submission to its provisions. If such be not the constitution, it is equally the duty of this court to say so; and to perform that task, which the American people have assigned to the judicial department.”

2.    See the Federalist, No. 33.
3.    Mr. Jefferson carries his doctrine much farther, and holds, that each department of government has an exclusive right, independent of the judiciary, to decide for itself, as to the true construction of the constitution. ” My construction,” says he, ” is very different from that, you quote. It is, that each department of the government is truly independent of the others, and has an equal right to decide for itself, what is the meaning of the constitution in the laws submitted to its action, and especially, when it is to act ultimately and without appeal.” And he proceeds to give examples, in which he disregarded, when president, the decisions of the judiciary, and refers to the alien and sedition laws, and the case of Marbury v. Madison, (1 Cranch, 137.) 4 Jefferson’s Corresp. 316, 317. See also 4 Jefferson’s Corresp. 27; Id. 75; Id. 372, 374.
4.    See 4 Elliot’s Debates, 315 to 320.
5.    The Federalist, No. 44. — Mr. Madison, in the Virginia Report of Jan. 1800, has gone into a consideration of this point, and very properly suggested, that there may be infractions of the constitution not within the reach of the judicial power, or capable of remedial redress through the instrumentality of courts of law. But we cannot agree with him, that in such cases, each state may take the construction of the constitution into its own hands, and decide for itself in the last resort; much less, that in a case of judicial cognizance, the decision is not binding on the states. See Report p. 6, 7, 8, 9.
6.    Dane’s App. §44, 45, p. 52 to 59. — It affords me very sincere gratification to quote the following passage from the learned Commentaries of Mr. Chancellor Kent, than whom very few judges in our country are more profoundly versed in constitutional law. After enumerating the judicial powers in the constitution, he proceeds to observe: “The propriety and fitness of these judicial powers seem to result, as a necessary consequence, from the union of these states in one national government, and they may be considered as requisite to its existence. The judicial power in every government must be co-extensive with the power of legislation. Were there no power to interpret, pronounce, and execute the law, the government would either perish through its own imbecility, as was the case with the old confederation, or other powers must be assumed by the legislative body to the destruction of liberty.” 1 Kent’s Comm. (2d ed. p. 296,) Lect. 14, 277.
7.    4 Dane’s Abridg. ch. 187. art. 20, §15, p. 590; Dane’s App. §42, p. 49, 50; §44, p. 52, 53; 1 Wilson’s Lectures, 461, 462, 463.
8.    See Address of Congress, Feb. 1787; Journals of Congress, p. 33; Rawle on the Constitution, App. 2, p. 316.
9.    Bacon’s Abridgment, Statute. H.
10.    Madison’s Virginia Report, Jan. 1800, p. 8, 9.
11.    See Anderson v. Dunn, 6 Wheaton’s R. 204, 232.
12.    Dane’s App. §44, 45, p. 52 to 59, §54, p. 66; 4 Elliot’s Debates, 338, 339.
13.    Webster’s Speeches, 420; 4 Elliots Debates, 339.
14.    There is vast force in the reasoning Mr. Webster on this subject, in his great Speech on Mr. Foot’s Resolutions in the senate, in 1830, which well deserves the attention of every statesman and jurist. See 4 Elliot’s Debates, 338, 339, 343, 344, and Webster’s Speeches, p. 407, 408, 418, 419, 420; Id. 430, 431, 432.
15.    Journals of Congress, April 13, 1787, p. 32, etc. Rawle on the Constitution, App. 2, p. 316, etc.
16.    The Federalist, No. 33.
17.    2 Elliot’s Debates, 248, 328, 329, 395; Grimke’s Speech in 1828, p. 25, etc.; Dane’s App. § 44, 45, p. 52 to 59; Id. § 48, p. 62.
18.    Dane’s App. §52, p. 65; Penhallow v. Doane, 3 Dall. 54; Journals of Congress, 1779, Vol. 5, p. 86 to 90; 4 Cranch, 2.
19.    The Federalist, No. 3.
20.    The Federalist, No. 39.
21.    See also The Federalist, No. 33.
22.    The Federalist, No. 80.
23.    The same remarks will be found pressed with great force by Mr. Chief Justice Marshall, in delivering the opinion of the court in Cohens v. Virginia, (6 Wheat. 264, 384.)
24.    In The Federalist, No. 78 and 82, the same course of reasoning is pursued, and the final nature of the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is largely insisted on. In the Convention of Connecticut, Mr. Ellsworth (afterwards Chief Justice of the United States) used the following language: “This constitution defines the extent of the powers of the general government. If the general legislature should at any time overleap their limits, the judicial department is the constitutional check. If the United States go beyond their powers; if they make a law, which the constitution does not authorize, it is void; and the judicial power, the national judges, who, to secure their impartiality, are to be made independent, will declare it void. On the other hand, if the states go beyond their limits; if they make a law, which is a usurpation upon the general government, the law is void, and upright and independent judges will declare it. Still, however, if the United States and the individual states will quarrel; if they want to fight, they may do it, and no frame of government can possibly prevent it.” In the debates in the South Carolina legislature, when the subject of calling a convention to ratify or reject the constitution was before them,* Mr. Charles Pinckney (one of the members of the convention) avowed the doctrine in the strongest terms. “That a supreme federal jurisdiction was indispensable,” said he, “cannot be denied. It is equally true, that in order to ensure the administration of justice, it was necessary to give all the powers, original as well as appellate, the constitution has enumerated. Without it we could not expect a due observance of treaties; that the state judiciaries would confine themselves within their proper sphere; or that a general sense of justice would pervade the Union, etc. That to ensure these, extensive authorities were necessary; particularly so, were they in a tribunal, constituted as this is, whose duty it would be, not only to decide all national questions, which should arise within the Union; but to control and keep the state judiciaries within their proper limits, whenever they should attempt to interfere with the power.”
*    Debates in 1788, printed by A. E. Miller, 1831, Charleston, p. 7.
25.    It would occupy too much space to quote the passages at large. Take for an instance, in the Virginia debates, Mr. Madison’s remarks. ” It may be a misfortune, that in organizing any government, the explication of its authority should be left to any of its co-ordinate branches. There is no example in any country, where it is otherwise. There is no new policy in submitting it to the judiciary of the United States.” 2 Elliot’s Debates, 390. See also Id. 380, 383, 395, 400, 404, 418. See also North Carolina Debates, 3 Elliot’s Debates, 125, 127, 128, 130, 133, 134, 139, 141, 142, 143; Pennsylvania Debates, 3 Elliot’s Debates, 280, 313. Mr. Luther Martin, in his letter to the Maryland Convention, said: ” By the third article the judicial power is vested in one Supreme Court, etc. These courts, and these only, will have a right to decide upon the laws of the United States, and all questions arising upon their construction, etc. Whether, therefore, any laws, etc. of congress, or acts of its president, etc. are contrary to, or warranted by the constitution, rests only with the judges, who are appointed by congress to determine; by whose determinations every state is bound.” 3 Elliot’s Debates, 44, 45; Yates’s Minutes, etc. See also The Federalist, No. 78.
26.    See Mr. Pinckney’s Observations cited in Grimke’s Speech in 1828, p. 86, 87.
27.    Dane’s App. §44, p. 53, 54, 55; Grimke’s Speech, 1828, p. 34 to 42.
28.    In the debate in the first congress organized under the constitution, the same doctrine was openly avowed, as indeed it has constantly been by the majority of congress at all subsequent periods. See 1 Lloyd’s Debates, 219 to 599; 2 Lloyd’s Debates, 284 to 327.
29.    Chief Justice M’Kean, in Commonwealth v.Cobbett (3 Dall. 473,) seems to have adopted a modified doctrine, and to have held, that the Supreme Court was not the common arbiter; but if not, the only remedy was, not by a state deciding for itself, as in case of a treaty between independent governments, but by a constitutional amendment by the states. But see, on the other hand, the opinion of Chief Justice Spencer, in Andrews v. Montgomery, 19 Johns. R. 164.
30.    Massachusetts, in her Resolve of February 12, 1799, (p. 57,) in answer to the Resolutions of Virginia of 1798, declared, ” that the decision of all cases in law and equity, arising under the constitution of the United States, and the construction of all laws made in pursuance thereof, are exclusively vested by the people in the judicial courts of the United States;” and ” that the people in that solemn compact, which is declared to be the supreme law of the land, have not constituted the state legislatures the judges of the acts or measures of the federal government, but have confided to them the power of proposing such amendments” etc.; and “that by this construction of the constitution, an amicable and dispassionate remedy is pointed out for any evil, which experience may prove to exist, and the peace and prosperity of the United States may be preserved without interruption.” See also Dane’s App. §44, p. 56; Id. 80. Mr. Webster’s Speech in the Senate, in 1830, contains an admirable exposition of the same doctrines. Webster’s Speeches, 410, 419, 420, 421. In June, 1821. the House of Representatives of NewHampshire passed certain resolutions. (172 yeas to 9 nays,) drawn up (as is understood) by one of her most distinguished statesmen, asserting the same doctrines. Delaware, in January, 1831, and Connecticut and Massachusetts held the same, in May, 1831.
31.    Virginia and Kentucky denied the power in 1793 and 1800; Massachusetts, Delaware, Rhode-Island, New-York, Connecticut, NewHampshire, and Vermont disapproved of the Virginia resolutions, and passed counter resolutions. (North American Review, October, 1830, p. 500.) No other state appears to have approved the Virginia resolutions. (Ibid.) In 1810 Pennsylvania proposed the appointment of another tribunal than the Supreme Court to determine disputes between the general and state governments. Virginia, on that occasion, affirmed, that the Supreme Court was the proper tribunal; and in that opinion New-Hampshire, Vermont, North-Carolina, Maryland, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and New-Jersey concurred; and no one state approved of the amendment (North American Review, October, 1830, p. 507 to 512; Dane’s App. §55, p. 67; 6 Wheat. R. 358, note.) Recently, in March, 1831, Pennsylvania has resolved, that the 25th section of the judiciary act of 1789, ch. 20, which gives the Supreme Court appellate jurisdiction from state courts on constitutional questions, is authorized by the constitution, and sanctioned by experience, and also all other laws empowering the federal judiciary to maintain the supreme laws.
32.    Upon this subject the speech of Mr. Webster in the Senate, in 1830, presents the whole argument in a very condensed and powerful form. The following passage is selected, as peculiarly appropriate:

“The people, then, sir, erected this government. They gave it a constitution, and in that constitution they have enumerated the powers which they bestow on it. They have made it a limited government. They have defined its authority. They have restrained it to the exercise of such powers, as are granted; and all others, they declare, are reserved to the states, or the people. But, sir, they have not stopped here. If they had, they would have accomplished but half their work. No definition can be so clear, as to avoid possibility of doubt; no limitation so precise, as to exclude all uncertainty. Who, then, shall construe this grant of the people? Who shall interpret their will, where it may be supposed they have left it doubtful? With whom do they repose this ultimate right of deciding on the powers of the government? Sir, they have settled all this in the fullest manner. They have left it, with the government itself, in its appropriate branches. Sir, the very chief end, the main design, for which the whole constitution was framed and adopted, was to establish a government, that should not be obliged to act through state agency, or depend on state opinion and state discretion. The people had had quite enough of that kind of government, under the confederacy. Under that system, the legal action – the application of law to individuals, belonged exclusively to the states. Congress could only recommend – their acts were not of binding force, till the states had adopted and sanctioned them. Are we in that condition still? Are we yet at the mercy of state discretion, and state construction? Sir, if we are, then vain will be our attempt to maintain the constitution, under which we sit.

“But, sir, the people have wisely provided, in the constitution itself, a proper, suitable mode and tribunal for settling questions of constitutional law. There are, in the constitution, grants of powers to Congress; and restrictions on these powers. There are, also, prohibitions on the states. Some authority must, therefore, necessarily exist, having the ultimate jurisdiction to fix and ascertain the interpretation of these grants, restrictions, and prohibitions. The constitution has itself pointed out, ordained, and established that authority. How has it accomplished this great and essential end? By declaring, sir, that ‘ the constitution and the law of the United States, made in pursuance thereof, shall be the supreme law of the land, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.’

“This, sir, was the first great step. By this, the supremacy of the constitution and laws of the United States is declared. The people so will it. No state law is to be valid, which comes in conflict with the constitution, or any law of the United States passed in pursuance of it. But who shall decide this question of interference? To whom lies the last appeal? This, sir, the constitution itself decides, also, by declaring, ‘that the judicial power shall extend to all cases arising under the constitution and laws of the United States.’ These two provisions, sir, cover the whole ground. They are, in truth, the keystone of the arch. With these, it is a constitution; without them, it is a confederacy. In pursuance of these clear and express provisions, congress established, at its very first session, in the judicial act, a mode for carrying them into full effect, and for bringing all questions of constitutional power to the final decision of the Supreme Court. It then, sir, became a government. It then had the means of self-protection; and, but for this, it would, in all probability, have been now among things, which are past. Having constituted the government, and declared its powers, the people have further said, that since somebody must decide on the extent of these powers, the government shall itself decide; subject, always, like other popular governments, to its responsibility to the people. And now, sir, I repeat, how is it, that a state legislature acquires any power to interfere? Who, or what, gives them the right to say to the people, ‘ We, who are your agents and servants for one purpose, will undertake to decide, that your other agents and servants, appointed by you for another purpose, have transcended the authority you gave them!’ The reply would be, I think, not impertinent -‘ Who made you a judge over another’s servants? To their own masters they stand or fall.’

“Sir, I deny this power of state legislatures altogether. It cannot stand the test of examination. Gentlemen may say, that in an extreme case, a state government might protect the people from intolerable oppression. Sir, in such a case, the people might protect themselves, without the aid of the state governments. Such a case warrants revolution. It must make, when it comes, a law for itself. A nullifying act of a state legislature cannot alter the case, nor make resistance any more lawful. In maintaining these sentiments, sir, I am but asserting the rights of the people. I state what they have declared, and insist on their right to declare it. They have chosen to repose this power in the general government, and I think it my duty to support it, like other constitutional powers.”

See also 1 Wilson’s Law Lectures, 461, 462. – It is truly surprising, that Mr. Vice-President Calhoun, in his Letter of the 28th of August, 1832, to governor Hamilton, (published while the present work was passing through the press,) should have thought, that a proposition merely offered in the convention, and referred to a committee for their consideration, that ” the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court shall be extended to all controversies between the United States and an individual state, or the United States and the citizens of an individual state,”* should, in connexion with others giving a negative on state laws, establish the conclusion, that the convention, which framed the constitution, was opposed to granting the power to the general government, in any form, to exercise any control whatever over a state by force, veto, or judicial process, or in any other form. This clause for conferring jurisdiction on the Supreme Court in controversies between the United States and the states, must, like the other controversies between states, or between individuals, referred to the judicial power, have been intended to apply exclusively to suits of a civil nature, respecting property, debts contracts, or other claims by the United States against a state; and not to the decision of constitutional questions in the abstract. At a subsequent period of the convention, the judicial power was expressly extended to all cases arising under the constitution, laws, and treaties, of the United States, and to all controversies, to which the United States should be a party,** thus covering the whole ground of a right to decide constitutional questions of a judicial nature. And this, as the Federalist informs us, was the substitute for a negative upon state laws, and the only one, which was deemed safe or efficient. The Federalist No. 80.
*    Journal of Convention, 20th Aug. p. 235.
**    Journal of Convention, 27th Aug. p. 298.
33.    Martin v. Hunter, I Wheat. R. 304, 334, etc. 342 to 348; Cohens v. The State of Virginia,6 Wheat. R. 264, 376, 377 to 392; Id. 413 to 432; Bank of Hamilton v. Dudley, 2 Peters’s R. 524; Ware v. Hylton, 3 Dall. 199; I Cond. R. 99, 112. The language of Mr. Chief Justice Marshall, in delivering the opinion of the court in Cohens v. Virginia, presents the argument in favour of the jurisdiction of the judicial department in a very forcible manner.

“While weighing arguments drawn from the nature of government, and from the general spirit of an instrument, and urged for the purpose of narrowing the construction, which the words of that instrument seem to require, it is proper to place in the opposite scale those principles, drawn from the same sources, which go to sustain the words in their full operation and natural import. One of these, which has been pressed with great force by the counsel for the plaintiffs in error, is, that the judicial power of every well constituted government must be coextensive with the legislative, and must be capable of deciding every judicial question, which grows out of the constitution and laws.

“If any proposition may be considered as a political axiom, this, we think, may be so considered. In reasoning upon it, as an abstract question, there would, probably, exist no contrariety of opinion respecting it. Every argument, proving the necessity of the department, proves also the propriety of giving this extent to it. We do not mean to say, that the jurisdiction of the courts of the Union should be construed to be coextensive with the legislative, merely because it is fit, that it should be so; but we mean to say, that this fitness furnishes an argument in construing the constitution, which ought never to be overlooked, and which is most especially entitled to consideration, when we are inquiring, whether the words of the instrument, which purport to establish this principle, shall be contracted for the purpose of destroying it.

“The mischievous consequences of the construction, contended for on the part of Virginia, are also entitled to great consideration. It would prostrate, it has been said, the government and its laws at the feet of every state in the Union. And would not this be its effect? What power of the government could be executed by its own means, in any state disposed to resist its execution by a course of legislation? The laws must be executed by individuals acting within the several states. If these individuals may be exposed to penalties, and if the courts of the Union cannot correct the judgments, by which these penalties may be enforced, the course of the government may be, at any time, arrested by the will of one of its members. Each member will possess a veto on the will of the whole.

“The answer, which has been given to this argument, does not deny its truth, but insists, that confidence is reposed, and may be safely reposed, in the state institutions; and that, if they shall ever become so insane, or so wicked, as to seek the destruction of the government, they may accomplish their object by refusing to perform the functions assigned to them.

“We readily concur with the counsel for the defendant in the declaration, that the cases, which have been put, of direct legislative resistance for the purpose of oppose the acknowledged powers of the government, are extreme cases, and in the hope, that they will never occur; capacity of the government to protect itself and its laws in such cases, would contribute in no inconsiderable degree to their occurrence.

“Let it be admitted, that the cases, which have been put, are extreme and improbable, yet there are gradations of opposition to the laws, far short of those cases, which might have a baneful influence on the affairs of the nation. Different states may entertain different opinions on the true construction of the constitutional powers of congress. We know, that at one time, the assumption of the debts, contracted by the several states during the war of our revolution, was deemed unconstitutional by some of them. We know, too, that at other times, certain taxes, imposed by congress, have been pronounced unconstitutional. Other laws have been questioned partially, while they were supported by the great majority of the American people. We have no assurance, that we shall be less divided, than we have been. States may legislate in conformity to their opinions, and may enforce those opinions by penalties. It would be hazarding too much to assert, that the judicatures of the states will be exempt from the prejudices, by which the legislatures and people are influenced, and will constitute perfectly impartial tribunal. In many states the judges are dependent for office and for salary on the will of the legislature. The constitution of the United States furnishes no security against the universal adoption of this principle. When we observe the importance, which that constitution attaches to the independence of judges, we are the less inclined to suppose, that it can have intended to leave these constitutional questions to tribunals, where this independence may not exist, in all cases where a state shall prosecute an individual, who claims the protection of an act of congress. These prosecutions may take place, even without a legislative act. A person, making a seizure under an act of congress, may be indicted as a trespasser, if force has been employed, and of this a jury may judge. How extensive may be the mischief, if the first decisions in such cases should be final!

“These collisions may take place in times of no extraordinary commotion. But a constitution is framed for ages to come, and is designed to approach immortality, as nearly as human institutions can approach it. Its course cannot always be tranquil. It is exposed to storms and tempests, and its framers must be unwise statesmen indeed, if they have not provided it, as far as its nature will permit, with the means of self-preservation from the perils it may be destined to encounter. No government ought to be so defective in its organization, as not to contain within itself the means of securing the execution of its own laws against other dangers, than those which occur every day. Courts of justice are the means most usually employed; and it is reasonable to expect, that a government should repose on its own courts, rather than on others. There is certainly nothing in the circumstances, under which our constitution was formed; nothing in the history of the times, which would justify the opinion, that the confidence reposed in the states was so implicit, as to leave in them and their tribunals the power of resisting or defeating, in the form of law, the legitimate measures of the Union. The requisitions of congress, under the confederation, were as constitutionally obligatory, as the laws enacted by the present congress. That they were habitually disregarded, is a fact of universal notoriety. With the knowledge of this fact, and under its full pressure, a convention was assembled to change the system. Is it so improbable, that they should confer on the judicial department the power of construing the constitution and laws of the Union in every case, in the last resort, and of preserving them from all violation from every quarter, so far as judicial decisions can preserve them, that this improbability should essentially affect the construction of the new system? We are told, and we are truly told, that the great change, which is to give efficacy to the present system, is its ability to act on individuals directly, instead of acting through the instrumentality of state governments. But, ought not this ability, in reason and sound policy, to he applied directly to the protection of individuals employed in the execution of the laws, as well as to their coercion? Your laws reach the individual without the aid of any other power; why may they not protect him from punishment for performing his duty in executing them?

“The counsel for Virginia endeavour to obviate the force of these arguments by saying, that the dangers they suggest, if not imaginary, are inevitable; that the constitution can make no provision against them; and that, therefore, in construing that instrument, they ought to be excluded from our consideration. This state of things, they say, cannot arise, until there shall be a disposition so hostile to the present political system, as to produce a determination to destroy it; and, when that determination shall be produced, its effects will not be restrained by parchment stipulations. The fate of the constitution will not then depend on judicial decisions. But, should no appeal be made to force, the states can put an end to the government by refusing to act. They have only not to elect senators, and it expires without a struggle.

“It is very true, that, whenever hostility to the existing system shall become universal, it will be also irresistible. The people made the constitution, and the people can unmake it. It is the creature of their will, and lives only by their will. But this supreme and irresistible power to make, or to unmake, resides only in the whole body of the people; not in any subdivision of them. The attempt of any of the parts to exercise. it is usurpation, and ought to be repelled by those, to whom the people have delegated their power of repelling it.

“The acknowledged inability of the government, then, to sustain itself against the public will, and, by force or otherwise, to control the whole nation, is no sound argument in support of its constitutional inability to preserve itself against a section of the nation acting in opposition to the general will.

“It is true, that if all the states, or a majority of them, refuse to elect senators, the legislative powers of the Union will be suspended. But if any one state shall refuse to elect them, the senate will not, on that account, be the less capable of performing all its functions. The argument founded on this fact would seem rather to prove the subordination of the parts to the whole, than the complete independence of any one of them. The framers of the constitution were, indeed, unable to make any provisions, which should protect that instrument against a general combination of the states, or of the people, for its destruction; and, conscious of this inability, they have not made the attempt. But they were able to provide against the operation of measures adopted in any one state, whose tendency might be to arrest the execution of the laws, and this it was the part of true wisdom to attempt. We think they have attempted it.”

See also M’Culloch v. Maryland, (4 Wheat. 316, 405, 406.) See also the reasoning of Mr. Chief Justice Jay, in Chisholm v. Georgia,(2 Dall. 419, S. C. 2 Peters’s Cond. R. 635, 670 to 675.) Osborn v. Bank of the United States,( 9 Wheat. 738, 818, 819;) and Gibbons v. Ogden,(9 Wheat. 1, 210.)
34.    The Federalist, No. 44; 1 Wilson’s Law Lectures, 461, 462; Dane’s App. §58, p. 68.
35.    Gibbons v. Ogden, 9) Wheat. R. 1, 197. — See also, on the same subject, the observations of Mr. Justice Johnson in delivering the opinion of the court, in Anderson v. Dunn, 6 Wheat. R. 204, 226.
36.    See Webster’s Speeches, p. 408, 409; 1 Black. Comm. 161, 162. See also 1 Tucker’s Black. Comm. App. 73 to 75.
37.    Reference is here made to Mr. Madison’s Letter, dated August, 1830, to Mr. Edward Everett, published in the North American Review for October, 1830. The following extract is taken from p. 537, et seq.

“In order to understand the true character of the constitution of the United States, 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 of 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 capacities.

“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 constitutions.

“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 sovereign 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 of treaties, and other enumerated powers vested in the government of the United States, being of as high and sovereign a character, as any of the powers reserved to the state governments.

“Nor is the government of the United States, created by the constitution, less a government in the strict sense of the term, within the sphere of its powers, than the governments created by the constitutions of the states are, within their several spheres. It is, like them, organized into legislative, executive, and judiciary departments. It operates, like them, directly on persons and things. And, like them, it has at command a physical force for executing the powers committed to it. The concurrent operation in certain cases is one of the features marking the peculiarity of the system.

“Between these different constitutional governments, the one operating in all the states, the others operating separately in each, with the aggregate powers of government divided between them, it could not escape attention, that controversies would arise concerning the boundaries of jurisdiction; and that some provision ought to be made for such occurrences. A political system, that does not provide for a peaceable and authoritative termination of occurring controversies, would not be more than the shadow of a government; the object and end of a real government being, the substitution of law and order for uncertainty, confusion, and violence.

“That to have left a final decision, in such cases, to each of the states, then thirteen, and already twenty-four, could not fail to make the constitution and laws of the United States different in different states, was obvious; and not less obvious, that this diversity of independent decisions must altogether distract the government of the union, and speedily put an end to the union itself. A uniform authority of the laws, is in itself a vital principle. Some of the most important laws could not be partially executed. They must be executed in all the states, or they could be duly executed in none. An impost, or an excise, for example, if not in force in some states, would be defeated in others. It is well known, that this was among the lessons of experience, which had a primary influence in bringing about the existing constitution. A loss of its general authority would moreover revive the exasperating questions between the states holding ports for foreign commerce, and the adjoining states without them; to which are now added, all the inland states, necessarily carrying on their foreign commerce through other states.

“To have made the decisions under the authority of the individual states, coordinate, in all cases, with decisions under the authority of the United States, would unavoidably produce collisions incompatible with the peace of society, and with that regular and efficient administration, which is of the essence of free governments. Scenes could not be avoided, in which a ministerial officer of the United States, and the correspondent officer of an individual state, would have rencounters in executing conflicting decrees; the result of which would depend on the comparative force of the local posses attending them; and that, a casualty depending on the political opinions and party feelings in different states.

“To have referred every clashing decision, under the two authorities, for a final decision, to the states as parties to the constitution, would be attended with delays, with inconveniences, and with expenses, amounting to a prohibition of the expedient; not to mention its tendency to impair the salutary veneration for a system requiring such frequent inter positions, nor the delicate questions, which might present themselves as to the form of stating the appeal, and as to the quorum for deciding it.

“To have trusted to negotiation for adjusting disputes between the government of the United States and the state governments, as between independent and separate sovereignties, would have lost sight altogether of a constitution and government for the Union; and opened a direct road from a failure of that resort, to the ultima ratio between nations wholly independent of, and alien to each other. If the idea had its origin in the process of adjustment between separate branches of the same government, the analogy entirely fails. In the case of disputes between independent parts of the same government, neither part being able to consummate its will, nor the government to proceed without a concurrence of the parts, necessity brings about an accommodation. In disputes between a state government, and the government of the United States, the case is practically, as well as theoretically different; each party possessing all the departments of an organized government, legislative, executive, and judiciary; and having each a physical force to support its pretensions. Although the issue of negotiation might sometimes avoid this extremity, how often would it happen among so many states, that an unaccommodating spirit in some would render that resource unavailing? A contrary supposition would not accord with a knowledge of human nature, or the evidence of our own political history.

“The constitution, not relying on any of the preceding modifications, for its safe and successful operation, has expressly declared, on the one hand, 1, ‘that the constitution, and the laws made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties made under the authority of the United States shall be the supreme law of the land; 2, that the judges of every state shall be bound thereby, any thing in the constitution and laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding; 3, that the judicial power of the United States shall extend to all cases in law and equity arising under the constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made under their authority, etc.’

“On the other hand, as a security of the rights and powers of the states, in their individual capacities, against an undue preponderance of the powers granted to the government over them in their united capacity, the constitution has relied on, (1,) the responsibility of the senators and representatives in the legislature of the United States to the legislatures and people of the states; (2,) the responsibility of the president to the people of the United States; and ( 3,) the liability of the executive and judicial functionaries of the United States to impeachment by the representatives of the people of the states, in one branch of the legislature of the United States, and trial by the representatives of the states, in the other branch: the state functionaries, legislative, executive, and judicial, being, at the same time, in their appointment and responsibility, altogether independent of the agency or authority of the United States.

“How far this structure of the government of the United States is adequate and safe for its objects, time alone can absolutely determine. Experience seems to have shewn, that whatever may grow out of future stages of our national career, there is, as yet, a sufficient control, in the popular will, over the executive and legislative departments of the government. When the alien and sedition laws were passed, in contravention to the opinions and feelings of the community, the first elections, that ensued, put an end to them. And whatever may have been the character of other acts, in the judgment of many of us it is but true, that they have generally accorded with the views of the majority of the states and of the people. At the present day it seems well understood, that the laws, which have created most dissatisfaction, have had a like sanction without doors: and that, whether continued, varied, or repealed, a like proof will be given of the sympathy and responsibility of the representative body to the constituent body. Indeed, the great complaint now is, against the results of this sympathy and responsibility in the legislative policy of the nation.

“With respect to the judicial power of the United States, and the authority of the Supreme Court in relation to the boundary of jurisdiction between the federal and the state governments, I may be permitted to refer to the thirty-ninth number of the Federalist for the light, in which the subject was regarded by its writer at the period, when the constitution was depending; and it is believed, that the same was the prevailing view then taken of it; that the same view has continued to prevail; and that it does so at this time, notwithstanding the eminent exceptions to it.

“But it is perfectly consistent with the concession of this power to the Supreme Court, in cases falling within the course of its functions, to maintain, that the power has not always been rightly exercised. To say nothing of the period, happily a short one, when judges in their seats did not abstain from intemperate and party harangues, equally at variance with their duty and their dignity; there have been occasional decisions from the bench, which have incurred serious and extensive disapprobation. Still it would seem, that, with but few exceptions, the course of the judiciary has been hitherto sustained by the prominent sense of the nation.

“Those who have denied, or doubted the supremacy of the judicial power of the United States, and denounce at the same time a nullifying power in a state, seem not to have sufficiently adverted to the utter inefficiency of a supremacy in a law of the land, without a supremacy in the exposition and execution of the law: nor to the destruction of all equipoise between the federal government and the state governments, if, whilst the functionaries of the federal government are directly or indirectly elected by, and responsible to the states, and the functionaries of the states are in their appointment and responsibility wholly independent of the United States, no constitutional control of any sort belonged to the United States over the states. Under such an organization, it is evident, that it would be in the power of the states, individually, to pass unauthorized laws, and to carry them into complete effect, any thing in the constitution and laws of the United States to the contrary notwithstanding. This would be a nullifying power in its plenary character; and whether it had its final effect, through the legislative, executive, or judiciary organ of the state, would be equally fatal to the constituted relation between the two governments.

“Should the provisions of the constitution as here reviewed, be found not to secure the government and rights of the states, against usurpations and abuses on the part of the United States, the final resort within the purview of the constitution, lies in an amendment of the constitution, according to a process applicable by the states.

“And in the event of a failure of every constitutional resort, and an accumulation of usurpations and abuses, rendering passive obedience and non-resistance a greater evil, than resistance and revolution, there can remain but one resort, the last of all; an appeal from the cancelled obligations of the constitutional compact, to original rights and the law of self-preservation. This is the ultima ratio under all governments, whether consolidated, confederated, or a compound of both; and it cannot be doubted, that a single member of the Union, in the extremity supposed, but in that only, would have a right, as an extra and ultra constitutional right, to make the appeal.

“This brings us to the expedient lately advanced, which claims for a single state a right to appeal against an exercise of power by the government of the United States, decided by the state to be unconstitutional, to the parties to the constitutional compact; the decision of the state to have the effect of nullifying the act of the government of the United States, unless the decision of the state be reversed by three fourths of the parties.

“The distinguished names and high authorities, which appear to have asserted, and given a practical scope to this doctrine, entitle it to a respect, which it might be difficult otherwise to feel for it.

“If the doctrine were to be understood as requiring the three fourths of the states to sustain, instead of that proportion to reverse the decision of the appealing state, the decision to be without effect during the appeal, it would be sufficient to remark, that this extra-constitutional course might well give way to that marked out by the constitution, which authorizes two thirds of the states to institute, and three fourths to effectuate an amendment of the constitution, establishing a permanent rule of the highest authority, in place of an irregular precedent of construction only.

“But it is understood, that the nullifying doctrine imports, that the decision of the state is to be presumed valid, and that it overrules the law of the United States, unless overruled by three fourths of the states.

“Can more be necessary to demonstrate the inadmissibility of such a doctrine, than, that it puts it in the power of the smallest fraction over one fourth of the United States, that is, of seven states out of twentyfour, to give the law, and even the constitution to seventeen states, each of the seventeen having, as parties to the constitution, an equal right with each of the seven, to expound it, and to insist on the exposition? That the seven might, in particular instances be right, and the seventeen wrong, is more than possible. But to establish a positive and permanent rule giving such a power, to such a minority, over such a majority, would overturn the first principle of free government, and in practice necessarily overturn the government itself.

“It is to be recollected, that the constitution was proposed to the people of the states as a whole, and unanimously adopted by the states as a whole, it being a part of the constitution, that not less than three fourths of the states should be competent to make any alteration in what had been unanimously agreed to. So great is the caution on this point, that in two cases where peculiar interests were at stake, a proportion even of three fourths is distrusted, and unanimity required to make an alteration.

“When the constitution was adopted as a whole, it is certain, that there were many parts, which, if separately proposed, would have been promptly rejected. It is far from impossible, that every part of a constitution might be rejected by a majority, and yet taken together as a whole, be unanimously accepted. Free constitutions will rarely, if ever, be formed, without reciprocal concessions; without articles conditioned on, and balancing each other. Is there a constitution of a single state out of the twenty-four, that would bear the experiment of having its component parts submitted to the people, and separately decided on?

“What the fate of the constitution of the United States would be, if a small proportion of the states could expunge parts of it particularly valued by a large majority, can have but one answer.

“The difficulty is not removed by limiting the doctrine to cases of construction. How many cases of that sort, involving cardinal provisions of the constitution, have occurred? How many now exist? How many may hereafter spring up? How many might be ingeniously created, if entitled to the privilege of a decision in the mode proposed?

“Is it certain, that the principle of that mode would not reach further than is contemplated? If a single state can, of right, require three fourths of its co-states to overrule its exposition of the constitution, because that proportion is authorized to amend it, would the plea be less plausible, that, as the constitution was unanimously established, it ought to be unanimously expounded?

“The reply to all such suggestions, seems to be unavoidable and irresistible; that the constitution is a compact; that its text is to be expounded, according to the provisions for expounding it – making a part of the compact; and that none of the parties can rightfully renounce the expounding provision more than any other part. When such a right accrues, as may accrue, it must grow out of abuses of the compact releasing the sufferers from their fealty to it.”

Sources: Commentaries On the Constitution of the United States by Justice Joseph Story published 1833

See also:
Rights of American Citizens Series:
The Importance of Free Speech and The Free Press in America
Rules of Interpreting the Constitution by Justice Joseph Story
The Consequence of Bad Legal Precedent in American Legislation
When Vain & Aspiring Men Possess the Highest Seats in Government by Samuel AdamsPatrick Henry may well be proved a Prophet as well as a Statesman
Preface To Resolutions of Virginia and Kentucky by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson
Constitution of the United States and it’s Governmental Operations (In Plain English)

Rules of Interpreting the Constitution by Justice Joseph Story

Joseph-Story-1779-1845Rules of Interpreting the Constitution:
JOSEPH STORY was born on September 18, 1779, in Marblehead, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard College in 1798. Story read law in the offices of two Marblehead attorneys and was admitted to the bar in 1801. He established a law practice in Salem, Massachusetts. In 1805, Story served one term in the Massachusetts Legislature, and in 1808 he was elected to the United States House of Representatives. After one term, he returned to the Massachusetts Lower House, and in 1811 he was elected Speaker. On November 18, 1811, President James Madison nominated Story to the Supreme Court of the United States. The Senate confirmed the appointment on February 3, 1812. At the age of thirty-two, Story was the youngest person ever appointed to the Supreme Court. While on the Supreme Court, Story served as a delegate to the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention of 1820 and was a Professor of Law at Harvard, where he wrote a series of nine commentaries on the law, each of which was published in several editions. Story served on the Supreme Court for thirty-three years. He died on September 10, 1845, at the age of sixty-five.

Rules of Interpretation: Note, sorry the footnote links aren’t working right yet I am still learning, please bear with me.

§ 397. IN our future commentaries upon the constitution we shall treat it, then, as it is denominated in the instrument itself, as a CONSTITUTION of government, ordained and established by the people of the United States for themselves and their posterity.1 They have declared it the supreme law of the land. They have made it a limited government. They have defined its authority. They have restrained it to the exercise of certain powers, and reserved all others to the states or to the people. It is a popular government. Those who administer it are responsible to the people. It is as popular, and Just as much emanating from the people, as the state governments. It is created for one purpose; the state governments for another. It may be altered, and amended, and abolished at the will of the people. In short, it was made by the people, made for the people, and is responsible to the people.2

§ 398. In this view of the matter, let us now proceed to consider the rules, by which it ought to be interpreted; for, if these rules are correctly laid down, it will save us from many embarrassments in examining and defining its powers. Much of the difficulty, which has arisen in all the public discussions on this subject, has had its origin in the want of some uniform rules of interpretation, expressly or tacitly agreed on by the disputants. Very different doctrines on this point have been adopted by different commentators; and not unfrequently very different language held by the same parties at different periods. In short, the rules of interpretation have often been shifted to suit the emergency; and the passions and prejudices of the day, or the favor and odium of a particular measure, have not unfrequently furnished a mode of argument, which would, on the one hand, leave the constitution crippled and inanimate, or, on other hand, give it an extent and elasticity, subversive of all rational boundaries.

§ 399. Let us, then, endeavor to ascertain, what are the true rules of interpretation applicable to the constitution; so that we may have some fixed standard, by which to measure its powers, and limit its prohibitions, and guard its obligations, and enforce its securities of our rights and liberties.

§ 400. I. The first and fundamental rule in the interpretation of all instruments is, to construe them according to the sense of the terms, and the intention of the parties. Mr. Justice Blackstone has remarked, that the intention of a law is to be gathered from the words, the context, the subject matter, the effects and consequence, or the reason and spirit of the law.3 He goes on to justify the remark by stating, that words are generally to be understood in their usual and most known signification, not so much regarding the propriety of grammar, as their general and popular use; that if words happen to be dubious, their meaning may be established by the context, or by comparing them with other words and sentences in the same instrument; that illustrations may be further derived from the subject matter, with reference to which the expressions are used; that the effect and consequence of a particular construction is to be examined, because, if a literal meaning would involve a manifest absurdity, it ought not to be adopted; and that the reason and spirit of the law, or the causes, which led to its enactment, are often the best exponents of the words, and limit their application.4

§ 401. Where the words are plain and clear, and the sense distinct and perfect arising on them, there is generally no necessity to have recourse to other means of interpretation. It is only, when there is some ambiguity or doubt arising from other sources, that interpretation has its proper office. There may be obscurity, as to the meaning, from the doubtful character of the words used, from other clauses in the same instrument, or from an incongruity or repugnancy between the words, and the apparent intention derived from the whole structure of the instrument, or its avowed object. In all such cases interpretation becomes indispensable.

§ 402. Rutherforth5 has divided interpretation into three kinds, literal, rational, and mixed. The first is, where we collect the intention of the party from his words only, as they lie before us. The second is, where his words do not express that intention perfectly, but exceed it, or fall short of it, and we are to collect it from probable or rational conjectures only. The third is, where the words, though they do express the intention, when they are rightly understood, are themselves of doubtful meaning, and we are bound to have recourse to the like conjectures to find out in what sense they are used. In literal interpretation the rule observed is, to follow that sense in respect both of the words, and of the construction of them, which is agreeable to common use, without attending to etymological fancies or grammatical refinements. In mixed interpretation, which supposes the words to admit of two or more senses, each of which is agreeable to common usage, we are obliged to collect the sense, partly from the words, and partly from conjecture of the intention. The rules then adopted are, to construe the words according to the subject matter, in such a sense as to produce a reasonable effect, and with reference to the circumstances of the particular transaction. Light may also be obtained in such cases from contemporary facts, or expositions, from antecedent mischiefs, from known habits, manners, and institutions, and from other sources almost innumerable, which may justly affect the judgment in drawing a fit conclusion in the particular case.

§ 403. Interpretation also may be strict or large; though we do not always mean the same thing, when we speak of a strict or large interpretation. When common usage has given two senses to the same word, one of which is more confined, or includes fewer particulars than the other, the former is called its strict sense, and the latter, which is more comprehensive or includes more particulars, is called its large sense. If we find such a word in a law, and we take it in its more confined sense, we are said to interpret it strictly. If we take it in its more comprehensive sense, we are said to interpret it largely. But whether we do the one or the other, we still keep to the letter of the law. But strict and large interpretations are frequently opposed to each other in a different sense. The words of a law may sometimes express the meaning of the legislator imperfectly. They may, in their common acceptation, include either more or less than his intention. And as, on the one hand, we call it a strict interpretation, where we contend, that the letter is to be adhered to precisely; so, on the other hand, we call it a large interpretation, where we contend, that the words ought to be taken in such a sense, as common usage will not fully justify; or that the meaning of the legislator is something different from what his words in any usage would import. In this sense a large interpretation is synonymous with what has before been called a rational interpretation. And a strict interpretation, in this sense, includes both literal and mixed interpretation; and may, as contra-distinguished from the former, be called a close, in opposition to a free or liberal interpretation.6

§ 404. These elementary explanations furnish little room for controversy; but they may nevertheless aid us in making a closer practical application, when we arrive at more definite rules.

§ 405. II. In construing the constitution of the United States, we are, in the first instance, to consider, what are its nature and objects, its scope and design, as apparent from the structure of the instrument, viewed as a whole, and also viewed in its component parts. Where its words are plain, clear, and determinate, they require no interpretation; and it should, therefore, be admitted, if at all, with great caution, and only from necessity, either to escape some absurd consequence, or to guard against some fatal evil. Where the words admit of two senses, each of which is conformable to common usage, that sense is to be adopted, which, without departing from the literal import of the words, best harmonizes with the nature and objects, the scope and design of the instrument. Where the words are unambiguous, but the provision may cover more or less ground according to the intention, which is yet subject to conjecture; or where it may include in its general terms more or less, than might seem dictated by the general design, as that may be gathered from other parts of the instrument, there is much more room for controversy; and the argument from inconvenience will probably have different influences upon different minds. Whenever such questions arise, they will probably be settled, each upon its own peculiar grounds; and whenever it is a question of power, it should be approached with infinite caution, and affirmed only upon the most persuasive reasons. In examining the constitution, the antecedent situation of the country, and its institutions, the existence and operations of the state governments, the powers and operations of the confederation, in short all the circumstances, which had a tendency to produce, or to obstruct its formation and ratification, deserve a careful attention. Much, also, may be gathered from contemporary history, and contemporary interpretation, to aid us in just conclusions.7

§ 406. It is obvious; however, that contemporary interpretation must be resorted to with much qualification and reserve. In the first place, the private interpretation of any particular man, or body of men, must manifestly be open to much observation. The constitution was adopted by the people of the United States; and it was submitted to the whole upon a just survey of its provisions, as they stood in the text itself. In different states and in different conventions, different and very opposite objections are known to have prevailed; and might well be presumed to prevail. Opposite interpretations, and different explanations of different provisions, may well be presumed to have been presented in different bodies, to remove local objections, or to win local favor. And there can be no certainty, either that the different state conventions in ratifying the constitution, gave the same uniform interpretation to its language, or that, even in a single state convention, the same reasoning prevailed with a majority, much less with the whole of the supporters of it. In the interpretation of a state statute, no man is insensible of the extreme danger of resorting to the opinions of those, who framed it, or those who passed it. Its terms may have differently impressed different minds. Some may have implied limitations and objects, which others would have rejected. Some may have taken a cursory view of its enactments, and others have studied them with profound attention. Some may have been governed by a temporary interest or excitement, and have acted upon that exposition, which most favored their present views. Others may have seen lurking beneath its text, what commended it to their judgment against even present interests. Some may have interpreted its language strictly and closely; others from a different habit of thinking may have given it a large and liberal meaning. It is not to be presumed, that, even in the convention, which framed the constitution, from the causes above mentioned, and other causes, the clauses were always understood in the same sense, or had precisely the same extent of operation. Every member necessarily judged for himself; and the judgment of no one could, or ought to be, conclusive upon that of others. The known diversity of construction of different parts of it, as well of the mass of its powers, in the different state conventions; the total silence upon many objections, which have since been started; and the strong reliance upon others, which have since been universally abandoned, add weight to these suggestions. Nothing but the text itself was adopted by the people. And it would certainly be a most extravagant doctrine to give to any commentary then made, and, a fortiori, to any commentary since made under a very different posture of feeling and opinion, an authority, which should operate an absolute limit upon the text, or should supersede its natural and just interpretation.

§ 407. Contemporary construction is properly resorted to, to illustrate, and confirm the text, to explain a doubtful phrase, or to expound an obscure clause; and in proportion to the uniformity and universality of that construction, and the known ability and talents of those, by whom it was given, is the credit, to which it is entitled. It can never abrogate the text; it can never fritter away its obvious sense; it can never narrow down its true limitations; it can never enlarge its natural boundaries.8 We shall have abundant reason hereafter to observe, when we enter upon the analysis of the particular clauses of the constitution, how many loose interpretations, and plausible conjectures were hazarded at an early period, which have since silently died away, and are now retained in no living memory, as a topic either of praise or blame, of alarm or of congratulation.

§ 408. And, after all, the most unexceptionable source of collateral interpretation is from the practical exposition of the government itself in its various departments upon particular questions discussed, and settled upon their own single merits. These approach the nearest in their own nature to judicial expositions; and have the same general recommendation, that belongs to the latter. They are decided upon solemn argument, pro re nata, upon a doubt raised, upon a lis mota, upon a deep sense of their importance and difficulty, in the face of the nation, with a view to present action, in the midst of jealous interests, and by men capable of urging, or repelling the grounds of argument, from their exquisite genius, their comprehensive learning, or their deep meditation upon the absorbing topic. How light, compared with these means of instruction, are the private lucubrations of the closet, or the retired speculations of ingenious minds, intent on theory, or general views, and unused to encounter a practical difficulty at every step!

§ 409. But to return to the rules of interpretation arising ex directo from the text of the constitution. And first the rules to be drawn from the nature of the instrument. (1.) It is to be construed, as a frame, or fundamental law of government, established by the PEOPLE of the United States, according to their own free pleasure and sovereign will. In this respect it is in no wise distinguishable from the constitutions of the state governments. Each of them is established by the people for their own purposes, and each is founded on their supreme authority. The powers, which are conferred, the restrictions, which are imposed, the authorities, which are exercised, the organization and distribution thereof, which are provided, are in each case for the same object, the common benefit of the governed, and not for the profit or dignity of the rulers.

§ 410. And yet it has been a very common mode of interpretation to insist upon a diversity of rules in construing the state constitutions, and that of the general government. Thus, in the Commentaries of Mr. Tucker upon Blackstone, we find it laid down, as if it were an incontrovertible doctrine in regard to the constitution of the United States, that “as federal, it is to be construed strictly, in all cases, where the antecedent rights of a state may be drawn in question. As a social compact, it ought likewise “to receive the same strict construction, wherever the right of personal liberty, of personal security, or of private property may become the object of dispute; because every person, whose liberty or property was thereby rendered subject to the new government, was antecedently a member of a civil society, to whose regulations he had submitted himself, and under whose authority and protection he still remains, in all cases not expressly submitted to the new government.”9

§ 411. We here see, that the whole reasoning is founded, not on the notion, that the rights of the people are concerned, but the rights of the states. And by strict construction is obviously meant the most limited sense belonging to the words. And the learned author relies, for the support of his reasoning, upon some rules laid down by Vattel in relation to the interpretation of treaties in relation to odious things. It would seem, then, that the constitution of the United States is to be deemed an odious instrument. And why, it may be asked? Was it not framed for the good of the people, and by the people? One of the sections of Vattel, which is relied on, states this proposition,10 “That whatever tends to change the present state of things, is also to be ranked in the class of odious things.” Is it not most manifest, that this proposition is, or at least may be, in many cases, fundamentally wrong? If a people free themselves from a despotism, is it to be said, that the change of government is odious, and ought to be construed strictly? What, upon such a principle, is to become of the American Revolution; and of our state governments, and state constitutions? Suppose a well-ordered government arises out of a state of disorder and anarchy, is such a government to be considered odious? Another section11 adds, “Since odious things are those, whose restriction tends more certainly to equity than their extension, and since we ought to pursue that line, which is most conformable to equity, when the will of the legislature or of the contracting parties is not exactly known, we should, where there is a question of odious things, interpret the terms in the most limited sense. We may even, to a certain degree, adopt a figurative meaning in order to avert the oppressive consequences of the proper and literal sense, or anything of an odious nature, which it would involve.” Does not this section contain most lax and unsatisfactory ingredients for interpretation? Who is to decide, whether it is most conformable to equity to extend, or to restrict these? Who is to decide, whether the provision is odious? According to this rule, the most opposite interpretations of the same words would be equally correct, according as the interpretator should deem it odious or salutary. Nay, the words are to be deserted, and a figurative sense adopted, whenever he deems it advisable, looking to the odious nature or consequence of the common sense. He, who believes the general government founded in wisdom, and sound policy, and the public safety, may extend the words. He, who deems it odious, or the state governments the truest protection of all our rights, must limit the words to the narrowest meaning.

§ 412. The twelfth amendment to the constitution is also relied on by the same author, which declares, “that the powers not delegated to the United States by the constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” He evidently supposes, that this means “in all cases not expressly submitted to the new government “; yet the word “expressly” is no where found in the amendment. But we are not considering, whether any powers can be implied; the only point now before us is, how the express powers are to be construed. Are they to be construed strictly, that is, in their most limited sense? Or are they to receive a fair and reasonable construction, according to the plain meaning of the terms and the objects, for which they are used?

§ 413. When it is said, that the constitution of the United States should be construed strictly, viewed as a social compact, whenever it touches the rights of property, or of personal security, or liberty, the rule is equally applicable to the state constitutions in the like eases. The principle, upon which this interpretation rests, if it has any foundation, must be, that the people ought not to be presumed to yield up their rights of property or liberty, beyond what is the clear sense of the language and the objects of the constitution. All governments are founded on a surrender of some natural rights, and impose some restrictions. We may not be at liberty to extend the grants of power beyond the fair meaning of the words in any such case; but that is not the question here under discussion. It is, how we are to construe the words as used, whether in the most confined, or in the more liberal sense properly belonging to them. Now, in construing a grant, or surrender of powers by the people to a monarch, for his own benefit or use, it is not only natural, but just, to presume, as in all other cases of grants, that the parties had not in view any large sense of the terms, because the objects were a derogation permanently from their rights and interests. But in construing a constitution of government, framed by the people for their own benefit and protection, for the preservation of their rights, and property, and liberty; where the delegated powers are not, and cannot be used for the benefit of their rulers, who are but their temporary servants and agents; but are intended solely for the benefit of the people, no such presumption of an intention to use the words in the most restricted sense necessariIy arises. The strict, or the more extended sense, both being within the letter, may be fairly held to be within their intention, as either shall best promote the very objects of the people in the grant; as either shall best promote or secure their rights, property, or liberty. The words are not, indeed, to be stretched beyond their fair sense; but within that range, the rule of interpretation must be taken, which best follows out the apparent intention.12 This is the mode (it is believed) universally adopted in construing the state constitutions. It has its origin in common sense. And it never can be a matter of just jealousy; because the rulers can have no permanent interest in a free government, distinct from that of the people, of whom they are a part, and to whom they are responsible. Why the same reasoning should not apply to the government of the United States, it is not very easy to conjecture.

§ 414. But it is said, that the state governments being already in existence, and the people subjected to them, their obedience to the new government may endanger their obedience to the states, or involve them in a conflict of authority, and thus produce inconvenience. In the first place, it is not true, in a just sense, (if we are right in our view of the constitution of the United States,) that such a conflict can ultimately exist. For if the powers of the general government are of paramount and supreme obligation, if they constitute the supreme law of the land, no conflict, as to obedience, can be found. Whenever the question arises, as to whom obedience is due, it is to be judicially settled; and being settled, it regulates, at once, the rights and duties of all the citizens.

§ 415. In the next place, the powers given by the people to the general government are not necessarily carved out of the powers already confided by them to the state governments. They may be such, as they originally reserved to themselves. And, if they are not, the authority of the people, in their sovereign capacity, to withdraw power from their state functionaries, and to confide it to the functionaries of the general government, cannot be doubted or denied.13 If they withdraw the power from the state functionaries, it must be presumed to be, because they deem it more useful for themselves, more for the common benefit, and common protection, than to leave it, where it has been hitherto deposited. Why should a power in the hands of one functionary be differently construed in the hands of another functionary, if, in each case, the same object is in view, the safety of the people. The state governments have no right to assume, that the power is more safe or more useful with them, than with the general government; that they have a higher capacity and a more honest desire to preserve the rights and liberties of the people, than the general government; that there is no danger in trusting them; but that all the peril and all the oppression impend on the other side. The people have not so said, or thought; and they have the exclusive right to judge for themselves on the subject. They avow, that the constitution of the United States was adopted by them, “in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to themselves and their posterity.” It would be a mockery to ask, if these are odious objects. If these require every grant of power, withdrawn from the state governments, to be deemed strictissimi juris, and construed in the most limited sense, even if it should defeat these objects. What peculiar sanctity have the state governments in the eyes of the people beyond these objects? Are they not framed for the same general ends? Was not the very inability of the state governments suitably to provide for our national wants, and national independence, and national protection, the very groundwork of the whole system?

§ 416. If this be the true view of the subject, the constitution of the United States is to receive as favorable a construction, as those of the states. Neither is to be construed alone; but each with a reference to the other. Each belongs to the same system of government; each is limited in its powers; and within the scope of its powers each is supreme. Each, by the theory of our government, is essential to the existence and due preservation of the powers and obligations of the other. The destruction of either would be equally calamitous, since it would involve the ruin of that beautiful fabric of balanced government, which has been reared with so much care and wisdom, and in which the people have reposed their confidence, as the truest safeguard of their civil, religious, and political liberties. The exact limits of the powers confided by the people to each, may not always be capable, from the inherent difficulty of the subject, of being defined, or ascertained in all cases with perfect certainty.14 But the lines are generally marked out with sufficient broadness and clearness; and in the progress of the development of the peculiar functions of each, the part of true wisdom would seem to be, to leave in every practicable direction a wide, if not an unmeasured, distance between the actual exercise of the sovereignty of each. In every complicated machine slight causes may disturb the operations; and it is often more easy to detect the defects, than to apply a safe and adequate remedy.

§ 417. The language of the Supreme Court, in the case of Martin v. Hunter,15 seems peculiarly appropriate to this part of our subject. “The constitution of the United States,” say the court, “was ordained and established, not by the states in their sovereign capacities, but emphatically, as the preamble of the constitution declares, by the people of the United States.16 There can be no doubt, that it was competent to the people to invest the general government with all the powers, which they might deem proper and necessary; to extend or restrain those powers according to their own good pleasure; and to give them a paramount and supreme authority. As little doubt can there be, that the people had a right to prohibit to the states the exercise of any powers, which were in their judgment incompatible with the objects of the general compact; to make the powers of the state governments, in given cases, subordinate to those of the nation; or to reserve to themselves those sovereign authorities, which they might not choose to delegate to either. The constitution was hot, therefore, necessarily carved out of existing state sovereignties, nor a surrender of powers already existing in state institutions. For the powers of the state governments depend upon their own constitutions; and the people of every state had a right to modify or restrain them according to their own views of policy or principle. On the other hand, it is perfectly clear, that the sovereign powers, vested in the state governments by their respective constitutions, remained unaltered and unimpaired, except so far as they were granted to the government of the United States.” These deductions do not rest upon general reason, plain and obvious as they seem to be. They have been positively recognised by one of the articles in amendment of the constitution, which declares, that “the powers not delegated to the United States by the constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”17

” The government, then, of the United States, can claim no powers, which are not granted to it by the constitution; and the powers actually granted must be such, as are expressly given, or given by necessary implication. On the other hand, this instrument, like every other grant, is to have a reasonable construction according to the import of its terms. And where a power is expressly given in general terms, it is not to be restrained to particular cases, unless that construction grows out of the context expressly, or by necessary implication. The words are to be taken in their natural and obvious sense, and not in a sense unreasonably restricted or enlarged.”

§ 418. A still more striking response to the argument for a strict construction of the constitution will be found in the language of the court, in the case of Gibbons v. Ogden, (9 Wheat. 1, &c.) Mr. Chief Justice Marshall, in delivering the opinion of the court, says, “This instrument contains an enumeration of powers expressly granted by the people to their government. It has been said, that these powers ought to be construed strictly. But why ought they to be so construed? Is there one sentence in the constitution, which gives countenance to this rule? In the last of the enumerated powers, that, which grants expressly the means for carrying all others into execution, congress is authorized `to make all laws, which shall be necessary and proper’ for the purpose. But this limitation on the means, which may be used, is not extended to the powers, which are conferred; nor is there one sentence in the constitution, which has been pointed out by the gentlemen of the bar, or which we have been able to discern, that prescribes this rule. We do not, therefore, think ourselves justified in adopting it. What do gentlemen mean by a strict construction? If they contend only against that enlarged construction, which would extend words beyond their natural and obvious import, we might question the application of the terms, but should not controvert the principle. If they contend for that narrow construction, which, in support of some theory not to be found in the constitution, would deny to the government those powers, which the words of the grant, as usually understood, import, and which are consistent with the general views and objects of the instrument; for that narrow construction, which would cripple the government, and render it unequal to the objects, for which it is declared to be instituted, and to which the powers given, as fairly understood, render it competent; then we cannot perceive the propriety of this strict construction, nor adopt it as the rule, by which the constitution is to be expounded. As men, whose intentions require no concealment, generally employ the words, which most directly and aptly express the ideas they intend to convey; the enlightened patriots, who framed our constitution, and the people, who adopted it, must be understood to have employed words in their natural sense, and to have intended, what they have said. If, from the imperfection of human language, there should be serious doubts respecting the extent of any given power, it is a well settled rule, that the objects, for which it was given, especially, when those objects are expressed in the instrument itself, should have great influence in the construction. We know of no reason for excluding this rule from the present case. The grant does not convey power, which might be beneficial to the grantor, if retained by himself, or which can ensure solely to the benefit of the grantee; but is an investment of power for the general advantage, in the hands of agents selected for that purpose; which power can never be exercised by the people themselves, but must be placed in the hands of agents, or lie dormant. We know of no rule for construing the extent of such powers, other than is given by the language of the instrument, which confers them, taken in connection with the purposes, for which they were conferred.”18

§ 419. IV. From the foregoing considerations we deduce the conclusion, that as a frame or fundamental law of government, (2.) The constitution of the United States is to receive a reasonable interpretation of its language, and its powers, keeping in view the objects and purposes, for which those powers were conferred. By a reasonable interpretation, we mean, that in case the words are susceptible of two different senses, the one strict, the other more enlarged, that should be adopted, which is most consonant with the apparent objects and intent of the constitution; that, which will give it efficacy and force, as a government, rather than that, which will impair its operations, and reduce it to a state of imbecility. Of course we do not mean, that the words for this purpose are to be strained beyond their common and natural sense; but keeping within that limit, the exposition is to have a fair and just latitude, so as on the one hand to avoid obvious mischief, and on the other hand to promote the public good.19

§ 420. This consideration is of great importance in construing a frame of government; and a fortiori a frame of government, the free and voluntary institution of the people for their common benefit, security, and happiness. It is wholly unlike the case of a municipal charter, or a private grant, in respect both to its means and its ends. When a person makes a private grant of a particular thing, or of a license to do a thing, or of an easement for the exclusive benefit of the grantee, we naturally confine the terms, however general, to the objects clearly in the view of the parties. But even in such cases, doubtful words, within the scope of those objects, are construed most favorably for the grantee; because, though in derogation of the rights of the grantor, they are promotive of the general rights secured to the grantee. But, where the grant enures, solely and exclusively, for the benefit of the grantor himself, no one would deny the propriety of giving to the words of the grant a benign and liberal interpretation. In cases, however, of private grants, the objects generally are few; they are certain; they are limited; they neither require, nor look to a variety of means or changes, which are to control, or modify either the end, or the means.

§ 421. In regard also to municipal charters, or public grants, similar considerations usually apply. They are generally deemed restrictive of the royal or public prerogative, or of the common rights secured by the actual organization of the government to other individuals, or communities. They are supposed to be procured, not so much for public good, as for private or local convenience. They are supposed to arise from personal solicitation, upon general suggestions, and not ex certâ causâ, or ex mero motu of the king, or government itself. Hence, such charters are often required by the municipal jurisprudence to be construed strictly, because they yield something, which is common, for the benefit of a few. And yet, where it is apparent, that they proceed upon greater or broader motives, a liberal exposition is not only indulged, but is encouraged, if it manifestly promotes the public good.20 So that we see, that even in these cases, common sense often dictates a departure from a narrow and strict construction of the terms, though the ordinary rules of mere municipal law may not have favored it.

§ 422. But a constitution of government, founded by the people for themselves and their posterity, and for objects of the most momentous nature, for perpetual union, for the establishment of justice, for the general welfare, and for a perpetuation of the blessings of liberty, necessarily requires, that every interpretation of its powers should have a constant reference to these objects. No interpretation of the words, in which those powers are granted, can be a sound one, which narrows down their ordinary import, so as to defeat those objects. That would be to destroy the spirit, and to cramp the letter. It has been justly observed, that “the constitution unavoidably deals in general language. It did not suit the purposes of the people, in framing this great charter of our liberties, to provide for minute specification of its powers, or to declare the means, by which those powers should be carried into execution. It was foreseen, that it would be a perilous, and difficult, if not an impracticable task. The instrument was not intended to provide merely for the exigencies of a few years; but was to endure through a long lapse of ages, the events of which were locked up in the inscrutable purposes of Providence. It could not be foreseen, what new changes and modifications of power might be indispensable to effectuate the general objects of the charter; and restrictions and specifications, which at the present might seem salutary, might in the end prove the overthrow of the system itself. Hence its powers are expressed in general terms, leaving the legislature, from time to time, to adopt its own means to effectuate legitimate objects, and to mould and model the exercise of its powers, as its own wisdom and the public interests should require.”21 Language to the same effect will be found in other judgments of the same tribunal.22

§ 423. If, then, we are to give a reasonable construction to this instrument, as a constitution of government established for the common good, we must throw aside all notions of subjecting it to a strict interpretation, as if it were subversive of the great interests of society, or derogated from the inherent sovereignty of the people. And this will naturally lead us to some other rules properly belonging to the subject.

§ 424. V. Where the power is granted in general terms, the power is to be construed, as coextensive with the terms, unless some clear restriction upon it is deducible from the context. We do not mean to assert, that it is necessary, that such restriction should be expressly found in the context. It will be sufficient, if it arise by necessary implication. But it is not sufficient to show, that there was, or might have been, a sound or probable motive to restrict it. A restriction founded on conjecture is wholly inadmissible. The reason is obvious: the text was adopted by the people in its obvious, and general sense. We have no means of knowing, that any particular gloss, short of this sense, was either contemplated, or approved by the people; and such a gloss might, though satisfactory in one state, have been the very ground of objection in another. It might have formed a motive to reject it in one, and to adopt it in another. The sense of a part of the people has no title to be deemed the sense of the whole. Motives of state policy, or state interest, may properly have influence in the question of ratifying it; but the constitution itself must be expounded, as it stands; and not as that policy, or that interest may seem now to dictate. We are to construe, and not to frame the instrument.23

§ 425. VI. A power, given in general terms, is not to be restricted to particular cases, merely because it may be susceptible of abuse, and, if abused, may lead to mischievous consequences. This argument is often used in public debate; and in its common aspect addresses itself so much to popular fears and prejudices, that it insensibly acquires a weight in the public mind, to which it is no wise entitled. The argument ab inconvenienti is sufficiently open to question, from the laxity of application, as well as of opinion, to which it leads. But the argument from a possible abuse of a power against its existence or use, is, in its nature, not only perilous, but, in respect to governments, would shake their very foundation. Every form of government unavoidably includes a grant of some discretionary powers. It would be wholly imbecile without them. It is impossible to foresee all the exigencies, which may arise in the progress of events, connected with the rights, duties, and operations of a government. If they could be foreseen, it would be impossible ab ante to provide for them. The means must be subject to perpetual modification, and change; they must be adapted to the existing manners, habits, and institutions of society, which are never stationary; to the pressure of dangers, or necessities; to the ends in view; to general and permanent operations, as well as to fugitive and extraordinary emergencies. In short, if the whole society is not to be revolutionized at every critical period, and remodeled in every generation, there must be left to those, who administer the government, a very large mass of discretionary powers, capable of greater or less actual expansion according to circumstances, and sufficiently flexible not to involve the nation in utter destruction from the rigid limitations imposed upon it by an improvident jealousy. Every power, however limited, as well as broad, is in its own nature susceptible of abuse. No constitution can provide perfect guards against it. Confidence must be reposed somewhere; and in free governments, the ordinary securities against abuse are found in the responsibility of rulers to the people, and in the just exercise of their elective franchise; and ultimately in the sovereign power of change belonging to them, in cases requiring extraordinary remedies. Few cases are to be supposed, in which a power, however general, will be exerted for the permanent oppression of the people.24 And yet, cases may easily be put, in which a limitation upon such a power might be found in practice to work mischief; to incite foreign aggression; or encourage domestic disorder. The power of taxation, for instance, may be carried to a ruinous excess; and yet, a limitation upon that power might, in a given case, involve the destruction of the independence of the country.

§ 426. VII. On the other hand, a rule of equal importance is, not to enlarge the construction of a given power beyond the fair scope of its terms, merely because the restriction is inconvenient, impolitic, or even mischievous.25 If it be mischievous, the power of redressing the evil lies with the people by an exercise of the power of amendment. If they do not choose to apply the remedy, it may fairly be presumed, that the mischief is less than what would arise from a further extension of the power; or that it is the least of two evils. Nor should it ever be lost sight of, that the government of the United States is one of limited and enumerated powers; and that a departure from the true import and sense of its powers is, pro tanto, the establishment of a new constitution. It is doing for the people, what they have not chosen to do for themselves It is usurping the functions of a legislator, and deserting those of an expounder of the law. Arguments drawn from impolicy or inconvenience ought here to be of no weight. The only sound principle is to declare, ita lex scripta est, to follow, and to obey. Nor, if a principle so just and conclusive could be overlooked, could there well be found a more unsafe guide in practice, than mere policy and convenience Men on such subjects complexionally differ from each other. The same men differ from themselves at different times. Temporary delusions, prejudices, excitements, and objects have irresistible influence in mere questions of policy. And the policy of one age may ill suit the wishes, or the policy of another. The constitution is not to be subject to such fluctuations. It is to have a fixed, uniform, permanent construction. It should be, so far at least as human infirmity will allow, not dependent upon the passions or parties of particular times, but the same yesterday, today, and forever.

§ 427. It has been observed with great correctness, that although the spirit of an instrument, especially of a constitution, is to be respected not less than its letter; yet the spirit is to be collected chiefly from the letter. It would be dangerous in the extreme, to infer from extrinsic circumstances, that a case, for which the words of an instrument expressly provide, shall be exempted from its operation. Where words conflict with each other, where the different clauses of an instrument bear upon each other, and would be inconsistent, unless the natural and common import of words be varied, construction becomes necessary, and a departure from the obvious meaning of words is justifiable. But if, in any case, the plain meaning of a provision, not contradicted by any other provision in the same instrument, is to be disregarded, because we believe the framers of that instrument could not intend what they say, it must be one, where the absurdity and injustice of applying the provision to the case would be so monstrous, that all mankind would, without hesitation, unite in rejecting the application.26 This language has reference to a case where the words of a constitutional provision are sought to be restricted. But it appears with equal force where they are sought to be enlarged.

§ 428. VIII. No construction of a given power is to be allowed, which plainly defeats, or impairs its avowed objects. If, therefore, the words are fairly susceptible of two interpretations, according to their common sense and use, the one of which would defeat one, or all of the objects, for which it was obviously given, and the other of which would preserve and promote all, the former interpretation ought to be rejected, and the latter be held the true interpretation. This rule results from the dictates of mere common sense; for every instrument ought to be so construed, ut magis valeat, quam pereat.27 For instance, the constitution confers on congress the power to declare war. Now the word declare has several senses. It may mean to proclaim, or publish. But no person would imagine, that this was the whole sense, in which the word is used in this connection. It should be interpreted in the sense, in which the phrase is used among nations, when applied to such a subject matter. A power to declare war is a power to make, and carry on war. It is not a mere power to make known an existing thing, but to give life and effect to the thing itself.28 The true doctrine has been expressed by the Supreme Court: “If from the imperfection of human language there should be any serious doubts respecting the extent of any given power, the objects, for which it was given, especially when those objects are expressed in the instrument itself, should have great influence in the construction.”29

§ 429. IX. Where a power is remedial in its nature, there is much reason to contend, that it ought to be construed liberally. That was the doctrine of Mr. Chief Justice Jay, in Chisholm v. Georgia;30 and it is generally adopted in the interpretation of laws.31 But this liberality of exposition is clearly inadmissible, if it extends beyond the just and ordinary sense of the terms.

§ 430. X. In the interpretation of a power, all the ordinary and appropriate means to execute it are to be deemed a part of the power itself. This results from the very nature and design of a constitution. In giving the power, it does not intend to limit it to any one mode of exercising it, exclusive of all others. It must be obvious, (as has been already suggested,) that the means of carrying into effect the objects of a power may, nay, must be varied, in order to adapt themselves to the exigencies of the nation at different times.32 A mode efficacious and useful in one age, or under one posture of circumstances, may be wholly vain, or even mischievous at another time. Government presupposes the existence of a perpetual mutability in its own operations on those, who are its subjects; and a perpetual flexibility in adapting itself to their wants, their interests, their habits, their occupations, and their infirmities.33

§ 431. Besides; if the power only is given, without pointing out the means, how are we to ascertain, that any one means, rather than another, is exclusively within its scope? The same course of reasoning, which would deny a choice of means to execute the power, would reduce the power itself to a nullity. For, as it never could be demonstrated, that any one mode in particular was intended, and to be exclusively employed; and, as it might be demonstrated, that other means might be employed, the question, whether the power were rightfully put into exercise, would forever be subject to doubt and controversy. If one means is adopted to give it effect, and is within its scope, because it is appropriate, how are we to escape from the argument, that another, falling within the same predicament, is equally within its scope? If each is equally appropriate, how is the choice to be made between them? If one is selected, how does that exclude all others? If one is more appropriate at one time, and another at another time, where is the restriction to be found, which allows the one, and denies the other? A power granted in a frame of government is not contemplated to be exhausted in a single exertion of it, or uno flatu. It is intended for free and permanent exercise; and if the discretion of the functionaries, who are to exercise it, is not limited, that discretion, especially, as those functionaries must necessarily change, must be coextensive with the power itself. Take, for instance, the power to make war. In one age, this would authorize the purchase and employment of the weapons then ordinarily used for this purpose. But suppose these weapons are wholly laid aside, and others substituted, more efficient and powerful; is the government prohibited from employing the new modes of offence and defence? Surely not. The invention of gunpowder superseded the old modes of warfare, and may perhaps, by future inventions, be superseded in its turn. No one can seriously doubt, that the new modes would be within the scope of the power to make war, if they were appropriate to the end. It would, indeed, be a most extraordinary mode of interpretation of the constitution, to give such a restrictive meaning to its powers, as should obstruct their fair operation. A power being given, it is the interest of the nation to facilitate its execution. It can never be their interest, and cannot be presumed to be their intention, to clog and embarrass its execution, by withholding the most appropriate means. There can be no reasonable ground for preferring that construction, which would render the operations of the government difficult, hazardous, and expensive; or for imputing to the framers of the constitution a design to impede the exercise of its powers, by withholding a choice of means.

§ 432. In the practical application of government, then, the public functionaries must be left at liberty to exercise the powers, with which the people by the constitution and laws have entrusted them. They must have a wide discretion, as to the choice of means; and the only limitation upon that discretion would seem to be, that the means are appropriate to the end. And this must naturally admit of considerable latitude; for the relation between the action and the end has has been justly remarked) is not always so direct and palpable, as to strike the eye of every observer.34 If the end be legitimate and within the scope of the constitution, all the means, which are appropriate, and which are plainly adapted to that end, and which are not prohibited, may be constitutionally employed to carry it into effect.35 When, then, it is asked, who is to judge of the necessity and propriety of the laws to be passed for executing the powers of the Union, the true answer is, that the national government, like every other, must judge in the first instance of the proper exercise of its powers; and its constituents in the last. If the means are within the reach of the power, no other department can inquire into the policy or convenience of the use of them. If there be an excess by overleaping the just boundary of the power, the judiciary may generally afford the proper relief; and in the last resort the people, by adopting such measures to redress it, as the exigency may suggest, and prudence may dictate.36

§ 433. XI. And this leads us to remark, in the next place, that in the interpretation of the constitution there is no solid objection to implied powers.37 Had the faculties of man been competent to the framing of a system of government, which would leave nothing to implication, it cannot be doubted, that the effort would have been made by the framers of our constitution. The fact, however, is otherwise. There is not in the whole of that admirable instrument a grant of powers, which does not draw after it others, not expressed, but vital to their exercise; not substantive and independent, indeed, but auxiliary and subordinate.38 There is no phrase in it, which, like the articles of confederation,39 excludes incidental and implied powers, and which requires, that everything granted shall be expressly and minutely described. Even the tenth amendment, which was framed for the purpose of quieting the excessive jealousies, which had been excited, omits the word “expressly,” (which was contained in the articles of confederation,) and declares only, that “the powers, not delegated to the United States, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people;” thus leaving the question, whether the particular power, which may become the subject of contest, has been delegated to the one government, or prohibited to the other, to depend upon a fair construction of the whole instrument. The men, who drew and adopted this amendment, had experienced the embarrassments, resulting from the insertion of this word in the articles of confederation, and probably omitted it to avoid those embarrassments. A constitution, to contain an accurate detail of all the subdivisions, of which its great powers will admit, and of all the means, by which these may be carried into execution, would partake of the prolixity of a legal code, and could scarcely be embraced by the human mind. It would probably never be understood by the public. Its nature, therefore, requires, that only its great outlines should be marked, its important objects designated, and the minor ingredient which compose those objects, be deduced from the nature of those objects themselves. That this idea was entertained by the framers of the American constitution, is not only to be inferred from the nature of the instrument, but from the language. Why, else, were some of the limitations, found in the ninth section of the first article, introduced? It is also, in some degree, warranted, by their having omitted to use any restrictive term, which might prevent its receiving a fair and just interpretation. In considering this point, we should never forget, that it is a constitution we are expounding.40

§ 434. The reasoning of the Federalist is to the same effect. Every power, which is the means of carrying into effect a given power, is implied from the very nature of the original grant. It is a necessary and unavoidable implication from the act of constituting a government, and vesting it with certain specified powers. What is a power, but the ability or faculty of doing a thing? What is the ability to do a thing, but the power of employing the means necessary to its execution? What is a legislative power, but a power of making laws? What are the means to execute a legislative power, but laws?41 No axiom, indeed, is more clearly established in law or in reason, than that, where the end is required, the means are authorized. Whenever a general power to do a thing is given, every particular power necessary for doing it is included. In every new application of a general power, the particular power, which are the means of attaining the object of the general power, must always necessarily vary with that object; and be often properly varied, whilst the object remains the same.42 Even under the confederation, where the delegation of authority was confined to express powers, the Federalist remarks, that it would be easy to show, that no important power delegated by the articles of confederation had been, or could be, executed by congress, without recurring more or less to the doctrine of construction or implication!43

§ 435. XII. Another point, in regard to the interpretation of the constitution, requires us to advert to the rules applicable to cases of concurrent and exclusive powers. In what cases are the powers given to the general government exclusive, and in what cases may the states maintain a concurrent exercise? Upon this subject we have an elaborate exposition by the authors of the Federalist;44 and as it involves some of the most delicate questions growing out of the constitution, and those, in which a conflict with the states is most likely to arise, we cannot do better than to quote the reasoning.

§ 436. “An entire consolidation of the states into one complete national sovereignty, would imply an entire subordination of the parts; and whatever powers might remain in them, would be altogether dependent on the general will. But as the plan of the convention aims only at a partial union or consolidation, the state governments would clearly retain all the rights of sovereignty, which they before had, and which were not, by that act, exclusively delegated to the United States. This exclusive delegation, or rather this alienation of state sovereignty, would only exist in three cases: where the constitution in express terms granted an exclusive authority to the Union; where it granted, in one instance, an authority to the Union, and in another, prohibited the states from exercising the like authority; and where it granted an authority to the Union, to which a similar authority in the states would be absolutely and totally contradictory and repugnant. I use these terms to distinguish this last case from another, which might appear to resemble it; but which would, in fact, be essentially different: I mean, where the exercise of a concurrent jurisdiction might be productive of occasional interferences in the policy of any branch of administration, but would not imply any direct contradiction or repugnancy in point of constitutional authority. These three cases of exclusive jurisdiction in the federal government, may be exemplified by the following instances. The last clause but one in the eighth section of the first article, provides expressly, that congress shall exercise ‘exclusive legislation ‘ over the district to be appropriated as the seat of government. This answers to the first case. The first clause of the same section empowers congress ‘to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises; ‘ and the second clause of the tenth section of the same article declares, that ‘no state shall, without the consent of congress, lay any imposts or duties on imports or exports, except for the purpose of executing its inspection laws; Hence would result an exclusive power in the Union to lay duties on imports and exports, with the particular exception mentioned. But this power is abridged by another clause, which declares, that no tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any state; in consequence of which qualification, it now only extends to the duties on imports. This answers to the second case. The third will be found in that clause, which declares, that congress shall have power ‘to establish an uniform rule of naturalization throughout the United States.‘ This must necessarily be exclusive; because, if each state had power to prescribe a distinct rule, there could be no uniform rule.” The correctness of these rules of interpretation has never been controverted; and they have been often recognised by the Supreme Court.45

§ 437. The two first rules are so completely self-evident, that every attempt to illustrate them would be vain, if it had not a tendency to perplex and confuse. The last rule, viz. that which declares, that the power is exclusive in the national government, where an authority is granted to the Union, to which a similar authority in the states would be absolutely and totally contradictory and repugnant, is that alone, which may be thought to require comment. This rule seems, in its own nature, as little susceptible of doubt, as the others in reference to the constitution. For, since the constitution has declared, that the constitution and laws, and treaties in pursuance of it shall be the supreme law of the land; it would be absurd to say, that a state law, repugnant to it, might have concurrent operation and validity; and especially, as it is expressly added, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding. The repugnancy, then, being made out, it follows, that the state law is just as much void, as though it had been expressly declared to be void; or the power in congress had been expressly declared to be exclusive. Every power given to congress is by the constitution necessarily supreme; and if, from its nature, or from the words of the grant, it is apparently intended to be exclusive, it is as much so, as if the states were expressly forbidden to exercise it.46

§ 438. The principal difficulty lies, not so much in the rule, as in its application to particular cases. Here, the field for discussion is wide, and the argument upon construction is susceptible of great modifications, and of very various force. But unless, from the nature of the power, or from the obvious results of its operations, a repugnancy must exist, so as to lead to a necessary conclusion, that the power was intended to be exclusive, the true rule of interpretation is, that the power is merely concurrent. Thus, for instance, an affirmative power in congress to lay taxes, is not necessarily incompatible with a like power in the States. Both may exist without interference; and if any interference should arise in a particular case, the question of supremacy would turn, not upon the nature of the power, but upon supremacy of right in the exercise of the power in that case.47 In our complex system, presenting the rare and difficult scheme of one general government, whose action extends over the whole, but which possesses only enumerated powers, and of numerous state governments, which retain and exercise many powers not delegated to the Union, contests respecting power must arise. Were it even otherwise, the measures taken by the respective governments to execute their acknowledged powers would be often of the same description, and might sometimes interfere. This, however, does not prove, that the one is exercising, or has a right to exercise, the powers of the other.48

§ 439. And this leads us to remark, that in the exercise of concurrent powers, if there be a conflict between the laws of the Union and the laws of the state, the former being supreme, the latter must of course yield. The possibility, nay the probability, of such a conflict was foreseen by the framers of the constitution, and was accordingly expressly provided for. If a state passes a law inconsistent with the constitution of the United States it is a mere nullity. If it passes a law clearly within its own constitutional powers, still if it conflicts with the exercise of a power given to congress, to the extent of the interference its operation is suspended; for, in a conflict of laws, that which is supreme must govern. Therefore, it has often been adjudged, that if a state law is in conflict with a treaty, or an act of congress, it becomes ipso facto inoperative to the extent of the conflict.49

§ 440. From this great rule, that the constitution and laws, made in pursuance thereof, are supreme; and that they control the constitutions and laws of the states, and cannot be controlled by them, from this, which may be deemed an axiom, other auxiliary corollaries may be deduced. In the first place, that, if a power is given to create a thing, it implies a power to preserve it. Secondly, that a power to destroy, if wielded by a different hand, is hostile to and incompatible with this power to create and preserve. Thirdly, that where this repugnancy exists, the authority, which is supreme, must control, and not yield to that, over which it is supreme.50 Consequently, the inferior power becomes a nullity.51

§ 441. But a question of a still more delicate nature may arise; and that is, how far in the exercise of a concurrent power, the actual legislation of congress supersedes the state legislation, or suspends its operation over the subject matter. Are the state laws inoperative only to the extent of the actual conflict; or does the legislation of congress suspend the legislative power of the states over the subject matter? To such an inquiry, probably, no universal answer could be given. It may depend upon the nature of the power, the effect of the actual exercise, and the extent of the subject matter.

§ 442. This may, perhaps, be best illustrated by putting a case, which has been reasoned out by a very learned judge, in his own words:52 “Congress has power,” says he, “to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia; and it is presumable, that the framers of the constitution contemplated a full exercise of all these powers. Nevertheless, if congress had declined to exercise them, it was competent to the state governments to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining their respective militia in such manner, as they might think proper. But congress has provided for these subjects in the way, which that body must have supposed the best calculated to promote the general welfare, and to provide for the national defence. After this, can the state governments enter upon the same ground, provide for the same objects, as they may think proper, and punish, in their own way, violations of the laws they have so enacted? The affirmative of this question is asserted by counsel, etc. who contend, that unless such state laws are in direct contradiction to those of the United States, they are not repugnant to the constitution of the United States. – From this doctrine I must, for one, be permitted to dissent. The two laws may not be in such absolute opposition to each other, as to render the one incapable of execution without violating the injunctions of the other; and yet the will of the one legislature may be in direct collision with that of the other. This will is to be discovered, as well by what the legislature has not declared, as by what they have expressed. Congress, for example, have declared, that the punishment for disobedience of the act of congress shall be a certain fine. If that provided by the state legislature for the same offence be a similar fine with the addition of imprisonment or death, the latter law would not prevent the former from being carried into execution, and may be said, therefore, not to be repugnant to it. But surely the will of Congress is nevertheless thwarted and opposed.”53 He adds, “I consider it a novel and unconstitutional doctrine, that in cases, where the state governments have a concurrent power of legislation with the national government, they may legislate upon any subject, on which congress has acted, provided the two laws are not in terms, or in their operation contradictory and repugnant to each other.”54

§ 443. Another illustration may be drawn from the opinion of the court in another highly important case. One question was, whether the power of congress to establish uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies was exclusive, or concurrent with the states. “It does not appear,” it was then said, “to be a violent construction of the constitution, and is certainly a convenient one, to consider the power of the states as existing over such cases, as the laws of the Union may not reach. Be this as it may, the power of congress may be exercised, or declined, as the wisdom of that body shall decide. If, in the opinion of congress, uniform laws concerning bankruptcies ought not to be established, it does not follow, that partial laws may not exist, or that state legislation on the subject must cease. It is not the mere existence of the power, but its exercise, which is incompatible with the exercise of the same power by the states. It is not the right to establish these uniform laws; but their actual establishment, which is inconsistent with the partial acts of the states. If the right of the states to pass a bankrupt law is not taken away by the mere grant of that power to congress, it cannot be extinguished. It can only be suspended by the enactment of a general bankrupt law. The repeal of that law cannot, it is true, confer the power on the states; but it removes a disability to its exercise, which was created by the act of congress.”55

It is not our intention to comment on these cases; but to offer them as examples of reasoning in favor and against the exclusive power, where a positive repugnancy cannot be predicated.

§ 444. It has been sometimes argued, that when a power is granted to congress to legislate in specific cases, for purposes growing out of the Union, the natural conclusion is, that the power is designed to be exclusive; that the power is to be exercised for the good of the whole by the will of the whole, and consistently with the interests of the whole; and that these objects can nowhere be so clearly seen, or so thoroughly weighed, as in congress, where the whole nation is represented. But the argument proves too much; and pursued to its full extent, it would establish, that all the powers granted to congress are exclusive, unless where concurrent authority is expressly reserved to the states.56 For instance, upon this reasoning the power of taxation in congress would annul the whole power of taxation of the states; and thus operate a virtual dissolution of their sovereignty. Such a pretension has been constantly disclaimed.

§ 445. On the other hand, it has been maintained with great pertinacity, that the states possess concurrent authority with congress in all cases, where the power is not expressly declared to be exclusive, or expressly prohibited to the states; and if, in the exercise of a concurrent power, a conflict arises, there is no reason, why each should not be deemed equally rightful.57 But it is plain, that this reasoning goes to the direct overthrow of the principle of supremacy; and, if admitted, it would enable the subordinate sovereignty to annul the powers of the superior. There is a plain repugnance in conferring on one government a power to control the constitutional measures of another, which other, with respect to these very measures, is declared to be supreme over that, which exerts the control.58 For instance, the states have acknowledgedly a concurrent power of taxation. But it is wholly inadmissible to allow that power to be exerted over any instrument employed by the general government to execute its own powers; for such a power to tax involves a power to destroy; and this power to destroy may defeat, and render useless the power to create.59 Thus a state may not tax the mail, the mint, patent rights, custom-house papers, or judicial process of the courts of the United States.60 And yet there is no clause in the constitution, which prohibits the states from exercising the power; nor any exclusive grant to the United States. The apparent repugnancy creates, by implication, the prohibition. So congress, by the constitution, possess power to provide for governing such part of the militia, as may be employed in the service of the United States. Yet it is not said, that such power of government is exclusive. But it results from the nature of the power. No person would contend, that a state militia, while in the actual service and employment of the United States, might yet be, at the same time, governed and controlled by the laws of the state. The very nature of military operations would, in such case, require unity of command and direction. And the argument from inconvenience would be absolutely irresistible to establish an implied prohibition.61 On the other hand, congress have power to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia; but if congress should make no such provision, there seems no reason, why the states may not organize, arm, and discipline their own militia. No necessary incompatibility would exist in the nature of the power; though, when exercised by congress, the authority of the states must necessarily yield. And, here, the argument from inconvenience would be very persuasive the other way. For the power to organize, arm, and discipline the militia, in the absence of congressional legislation, would seem indispensable for the defence and security of the states.62 Again, congress have power to call forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, to suppress insurrections, and repel invasions. But there does not seem any incompatibility in the states calling out their own militia as auxiliaries for the same purpose.63

§ 446. In considering, then, this subject, it would be impracticable to lay down any universal rule, as to what powers are, by implication, exclusive in the general government, or concurrent in the states; and in relation to the latter, what restrictions either on the power itself, or on the actual exercise of the power, arise by implication. In some cases, as we have seen, there may exist a concurrent power, and yet restrictions upon it must exist in regard to objects. In other cases, the actual operations of the power only are suspended or controlled, when there arises a conflict with the actual operations of the Union. Every question of this sort must be decided by itself upon its own circumstances and reasons. Because the power to regulate commerce, from its nature and objects, is exclusive, it does not follow, that the power to pass bankrupt laws also is exclusive.64

§ 447. We may, however, lay down some few rules, deducible from what has been already said, in respect to cases of implied prohibitions upon the existence or exercise of powers by the states, as guides to aid our inquiries. (1.) Wherever the power given to the general government requires, that, to be efficacious and adequate to its end, it should be exclusive, there arises a just implication for deeming it exclusive. Whether exercised, or not, in such a case makes no difference. (2.) Wherever the power in its own nature is not incompatible with a concurrent power in the states, either in its nature or exercise, there the power belongs to the states. (3.) But in such a case, the concurrency of the power may admit of restrictions or qualifications in its nature, or exercise. In its nature, when it is capable from its general character of being applied to objects or purposes, which would control, defeat, or destroy the powers of the general government. In its exercise, when there arises a conflict in the actual laws and regulations made in pursuance of the power by the general and state governments. In the former case there is a qualification engrafted upon the generality of the power, excluding its application to such objects and purposes. In the latter, there is (at least generally) a qualification, not upon the power itself, but only upon its exercise, to the extent of the actual conflict in the operations of each. (4.) In cases of implied limitations or prohibitions of power, it is not sufficient to show a possible, or potential inconvenience. There must be a plain incompatibility, a direct repugnancy, or an extreme practical inconvenience, leading irresistibly to the same conclusion. (5.) If such incompatibility, repugnancy, or extreme inconvenience would result, it is no answer, that in the actual exercise of the power, each party may, if it chooses, avoid a positive interference with the other. The objection lies to the power itself, and not to the exercise of it. If it exists, it may be applied to the extent of controlling, defeating, or destroying the other. It can never be presumed, that the framers of the constitution, declared to be supreme, could intend to put its powers at hazard upon the good wishes, or good intentions, or discretion of the states in the exercise of their acknowledged powers. (6.) Where no such repugnancy, incompatibility, or extreme inconvenience would result, then the power in the states is restrained, not in its nature, but in its operations, and then only to the extent of the actual interference. In fact, it is obvious, that the same means may often be applied to carry into operation different powers. And a state may use the same means to effectuate an acknowledged power in itself, which congress may apply for another purpose in the acknowledged exercise of a very different power. Congress may make that a regulation of commerce, which a state may employ as a guard for its internal policy, or to preserve the public health or peace, or to promote its own peculiar interests.65 These rules seem clearly deducible from the nature of the instrument; and they are confirmed by the positive injunctions of the tenth amendment of the constitution.

§ 448. XIII. Another rule of interpretation deserves consideration in regard to the constitution. There are certain maxims, which have found their way, not only into judicial discussions, but into the business of common life, as founded in common sense, and common convenience. Thus, it is often said, that in an instrument a specification of particulars is an exclusion of generals; or the expression of one thing is the exclusion of another. Lord Bacon’s remark, “that, as exception strengthens the force of a law in cases not excepted, so enumeration weakens it in cases not enumerated,” has been perpetually referred to, as a fine illustration. These maxims, rightly understood, and rightly applied, undoubtedly furnish safe guides to assist us in the task of exposition. But they are susceptible of being applied, and indeed are often ingeniously applied, to the subversion of the text, and the objects of the instrument. Thus, it has been suggested, that an affirmative provision in a particular case excludes the existence of the like provision in every other case; and a negative provision in a particular case admits the existence of the same thing in every other case.66 Both of these deductions are, or rather may be, unfounded in solid reasoning.67 Thus, it was objected to the constitution, that, having provided for the trial by jury in criminal cases, there was an implied exclusion of it in civil cases. As if there was not an essential difference between silence and abolition, between a positive adoption of it in one class of cases, and a discretionary right (it being clearly within the reach of the judicial powers confided to the Union) to adopt, or reject it in all or any other cases.68 One might with just as much propriety hold, that, because congress has power “to declare war,” but no power is expressly given to make peace, the latter is excluded; or that, because it is declared, that “no bill of attainder, or ex post facto law shall be passed” by congress, therefore congress possess in all other cases the right to pass any laws. The truth is, that in order to ascertain, how far an affirmative or negative provision excludes, or implies others, we must look to the nature of the provision, the subject matter, the objects, and the scope of the instrument. These, and these only, can properly determine the rule of construction. There can be no doubt, that an affirmative grant of powers in many cases will imply an exclusion of all others. As, for instance, the constitution declares, that the powers of congress shall extend to certain enumerated cases. This specification of particulars evidently excludes all pretensions to a general legislative authority. Why? Because an affirmative grant of special powers would be absurd, as well as useless, if a general authority were intended.69 In relation, then, to such a subject as a constitution, the natural and obvious sense of its provisions, apart from any technical or artificial rules, is the true criterion of construction.70

§ 449. XIV. Another rule of interpretation of the constitution, suggested by the foregoing, is, that the natural import of a single clause is not to be narrowed, so as to exclude implied powers resulting from its character, simply because there is another clause, which enumerates certain powers, which might otherwise be deemed implied powers within its scope; for in such cases we are not, as a matter of course, to assume, that the affirmative specification excludes all other implications. This rule has been put in a clear and just light by one of our most distinguished statesmen; and his illustration will be more satisfactory, perhaps, than any other, which can be offered. “The constitution,” says he, “vests in congress, expressly, the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, and the power to regulate trade. That the former power, if not particularly expressed, would have been included in the latter, as one of the objects of a general power to regulate trade, is not necessarily impugned by its being so expressed. Examples of this sort cannot sometimes be easily avoided, and are to be seen elsewhere in the constitution. Thus, the power ‘to define and punish offences against the law of nations’ includes the power, afterwards particularly expressed, ‘to make rules concerning captures,’ etc. from offending neutrals. So, also, a power ‘to coin money’ would, doubtless, include that of ‘ regulating its value,’ had not the latter power been expressly inserted. The term taxes, if standing alone, would certainly have included ‘duties, imposts, and excises.’ In another clause it is said, ‘ no tax or duty shall be laid on exports.’ Here the two terms are used as synonymous. And in another clause, where it is said ‘no state shall lay any imposts or duties,’ etc. the terms imposts and duties are synonymous. Pleonasms, tautologies, and the promiscuous use of terms and phrases, differing in their shades of meaning, (always to be expounded with reference to the context, and under the control of the general character and scope of the instrument, in which they are found,) are to be ascribed, sometimes to the purposes of greater caution, sometimes to the imperfection of language, and sometimes to the imperfection of man himself. In this view of the subject it was quite natural, however certainly the power to regulate trade might include a power to impose duties on it, not to omit it in a clause enumerating the several modes of revenue authorized by the construction. In few cases could the [rule], ex majori cautela, occur with more claim to respect.”71

§ 450. We may close this view of some of the more important rules to be employed in the interpretation of the constitution, by adverting to a few belonging to mere verbal criticism, which are indeed but corollaries from what has been said, and have been already alluded to; but which, at the same time, it may be of some use again distinctly to enunciate.

§ 451. XV. In the first place, then, every word employed in the constitution is to be expounded in its plain, obvious, and common sense, unless the context furnishes some ground to control, qualify, or enlarge it. Constitutions are not designed for metaphysical or logical subtleties, for niceties of expression, for critical propriety, for elaborate shades of meaning, or for the exercise of philosophical acuteness, or judicial research. They are instruments of a practical nature, founded on the common business of human life, adapted to common wants, designed for common use, and fitted for common understandings. The people make them; the people adopt them; the people must be supposed to read them, with the help of common sense; and cannot be presumed to admit in them any recondite meaning, or any extraordinary gloss.

§ 452. XVI. But, in the next place, words, from the necessary imperfection of all human language, acquire different shades of meaning, each of which is equally appropriate, and equally legitimate; each of which recedes in a wider or narrower degree from the others, according to circumstances; and each of which receives from its general use some indefiniteness and obscurity, as to its exact boundary and extent.72 We are, indeed, often driven to multiply commentaries from the vagueness of words in themselves; and perhaps still more often from the different manner, in which different minds are accustomed to employ them. They expand or contract, not only from the conventional modifications introduced by the changes of society; but also from the more loose or more exact uses, to which men of different talents, acquirements, and tastes, from choice or necessity apply them. No person can fail to remark the gradual deflections in the meaning of words from one age to another; and so constantly is this process going on, that the daily language of life in one generation sometimes requires the aid of a glossary in another. It has been justly remarked,73 that no language is so copious, as to supply words and phrases for every complex idea; or so correct, as not to include many, equivocally denoting different ideas. Hence it must happen, that however accurately objects may be discriminated in themselves, and however accurately the discrimination may be considered, the definition of them may be rendered inaccurate by the inaccuracy of the terms, in which it is delivered. We must resort then to the context, and shape the particular meaning, so as to make it fit that of the connecting words, and agree with the subject matter.

§ 453. XVII. In the next place, where technical words are used, the technical meaning is to be applied to them, unless it is repelled by the context.74 But the same word often possesses a technical, and a common sense. In such a case the latter is to be preferred, unless some attendant circumstance points clearly to the former. No one would doubt, when the constitution has declared, that “the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless” under peculiar circumstances, that it referred, not to every sort of writ, which has acquired that name; but to that, which has been emphatically so called, on account of its remedial power to free a party from arbitrary imprisonment.75 So, again, when it declares, that in suits at common law, etc. the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, though the phrase “common law” admits of different meanings, no one can doubt, that it is used in a technical sense. When, again, it declares, that congress shall have power to provide a navy, we readily comprehend, that authority is given to construct, prepare, or in any other manner to obtain a navy. But when congress is further authorized to provide for calling forth the militia, we perceive at once, that the word “provide” is used in a somewhat different sense.

§ 454. XVIII. And this leads us to remark, in the next place, that it is by no means a correct rule of interpretation to construe the same word in the same sense, wherever it occurs in the same instrument. It does not follow, either logically or grammatically, that because a word is found in one connection in the constitution, with a definite sense, therefore the same sense is to be adopted in every other connection, in which it occurs.76 This would be to suppose, that the framers weighed only the force of single words, as philologists or critics, and not whole clauses and objects, as statesmen, and practical reasoners. And yet nothing has been more common, than to subject the constitution to this narrow and mischievous criticism. Men of ingenious and subtle minds, who seek for symmetry and harmony in language, having found in the constitution a word used in some sense, which falls in with their favorite theory of interpreting it, have made that the standard, by which to measure its use in every other part of the instrument. They have thus stretched it, as it were, on the bed of Procrustes, lopping off its meaning, when it seemed too large for their purposes, and extending it, when it seemed too short. They have thus distorted it to the most unnatural shapes, and crippled, where they have sought only to adjust its proportions according to their own opinions. It was very justly observed by Mr. Chief Justice Marshall, in The Cherokee Nation v. The State of Georgia,77 that “it has been said, that the same words have not necessarily the same meaning attached to them, when found in different parts of the same instrument. Their meaning is controlled by the context. This is undoubtedly true. In common language, the same word has various meanings; and the peculiar sense, in which it is used in any sentence, is to be determined by the context.” A very easy example of this sort will be found in the use of the word “establish,” which is found in various places in the constitution. Thus, in the preamble, one object of the constitution is avowed to be “to establish justice,” which seems here to mean to settle firmly, to fix unalterably, or rather, perhaps, as justice, abstractedly considered, must be considered as forever fixed and unalterable, to dispense or administer justice. Again, the constitution declares, that congress shall have power “to establish an uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies,” where it is manifestly used as equivalent to make, or form, and not to fix or settle unalterably and forever. Again, “congress shall have power to establish post-offices and post-roads,” where the appropriate sense would seem to be to create, to found, and to regulate, not so much with a view to permanence of form, as to convenience of action. Again, it is declared, that “congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” which seems to prohibit any laws, which shall recognise, found, confirm, or patronize any particular religion, or form of religion, whether permanent or temporary, whether already existing, or to arise in future. In this clause, establishment seems equivalent in meaning to settlement, recognition, or support. And again, in the preamble, it is said, “We, the people, etc. do ordain and establish this constitution,” etc. where the most appropriate sense seems to be to create, to ratify, and to confirm. So, the word “state” will be found used in the constitution in all the various senses, to which we have before alluded. It sometimes means, the separate sections of territory occupied by the political societies within each; sometimes the particular governments established by these societies; sometimes these societies as organized into these particular governments; and lastly, sometimes the people composing these political societies in their highest sovereign capacity.78

§ 455. XIX. But the most important rule, in cases of this nature, is, that a constitution of government does not, and cannot, from its nature, depend in any great degree upon mere verbal criticism, or upon the import of single words. Such criticism may not be wholly without use; it may sometimes illustrate, or unfold the appropriate sense; but unless it stands well with the context and subject matter, it must yield to the latter. While, then, we may well resort to the meaning of single words to assist our inquiries, we should never forget, that it is an instrument of government we are to construe; and, as has been already stated, that must be the truest exposition, which best harmonizes with its design, its objects, and its general structure.79

§ 456. The remark of Mr. Burke may, with a very slight change of phrase be addressed as an admonition to all those, who are called upon to frame, or to interpret a constitution. Government is a practical thing made for the happiness of mankind, and not to furnish out a spectacle of uniformity to gratify the schemes of visionary politicians. The business of those, who are called to administer it, is to rule, and not to wrangle. It would be a poor compensation, that one had triumphed in a dispute, whilst we had lost an empire;80 that we had frittered down a power, and at the same time had destroyed the republic.

I will continue to add the commentaries as I can get to them and as they become relevant to current conditions in the United States. The Preamble is the next in this series.

Please also see my series on the Rights of American Citizens starting with RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: General Rights; Division One
My series on the non-revisionist history of the world beginning with Non-Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of the World With Biblical References Part 1

The Constitution in Plain English


1.    “The government of the Union,” says Mr. Chief Justice Marshall, in delivering the opinion of the court in McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 316, “is emphatically and truly a government of the people. It emanates from them; its powers are granted by them, and are to be exercised directly on them and for their benefit.” Id. 404, 405; see also Cohens v. Virginia, 6 Wheat. R. 264, 413, 414. “The government of the United States was erected,” says Mr. Chancellor Kent, with equal force and accuracy, “by the free voice and the joint will of the people of America for their common defence and general welfare.” 1 Kent’s Comm. Lect. 10, p. 189.
2.    I have used the expressive words of Mr. Webster, deeming them as exact as any that could be used. See Webster’s Speeches, p, 410, 418, 419; 4 Elliot’s Debates, 338, 343.
3.    1 Black. Comm. 59, 60. See also Ayliffe’s Pandects, B. 1, tit 4, p. 25, &c.; 1 Domat. Prelim. Book, p. 9; Id. Treatise on Laws, ch. 12, p. 74.
4.    Id. See also Woodes. Elem. of Jurisp. p. 36. — Rules of a similar nature will be found laid down in Vattel, B. 2, ch. 17, from §262 to 310, with more ample illustrations and more various qualifications. But not a few of his rules appear to me to want accuracy and soundness. Bacon’s Abridg. title, Statute I. contains an excellent summary of the rules for construing statutes. Domat, also, contains many valuable rule in respect to interpretation. See his Treatise on Laws, c. 12, p. 74 &c. and Preliminary Discourse, tit. 1, §2, p. 6 to 16.
5.    Book 2, ch. 7, §3.
6.    The foregoing remarks are borrowed almost in terms from Rutherforth’s Institutes of Natural Law (B. 2, ch. 7, §4 to 11), which contain a very lucid exposition of the general rules of interpretation. The whole chapter deserves an attentive perusal.
7.    The value of contemporary interpretation is much insisted on by the Supreme Court, in Stuart v. Laird, 2 Cranch, 299, 309, in Martin v. Hunter, 1 Wheat. R. 304, and in Cohens v. Virginia, 6 Wheat. R. 264, 418 to 421. There are several instances, however, in which the contemporary interpretations by some of the most distinguished founders of the constitution have been overruled. One of the most striking is to be found in the decision of the Supreme Court of the suability of a state by any citizen of another state;* and another in the decision by the Executive and the Senate, that the consent of the latter is not necessary to removals from office, although it is for appointments.ϯ
*   Chisholm v. Georgia, 2 Dall. 419.
ϯ   The Federalist, No. 77.
8.    Mr. Jefferson has laid down two rules, which he deems perfect canons for the interpretation of the constitution.* The first is “The capital and lending object of the constitution was, to leave with the states all authorities, which respected their own citizens only, and to transfer to the United States those, which respected citizens of foreign or other states; to make us several as to ourselves, but one as to all others. In the latter case, then, constructions should lean to the general jurisdiction, if the words will bear it; and in favor of the states in the former, if possible, to be so construed.” Now, the very theory, on which this canon is founded, is contradicted by the provisions of the constitution itself. I many instances authorities and powers are given, which respect citizens of the respective states, without reference to foreigners, or the citizens of other states.ϯ But if this general theory were true, it would furnish no just rule of interpretation, since a particular clause might form an exception to it; and, indeed, every clause ought, at all events, to be construed according to its fair intent and objects, as disclosed in its language. What sort of a rule is that, which, without regard to the intent or objects of a particular clause, insists, that it shall, if possible, (not if reasonable) be construed in favor of the states, simply because it respects their citizens? The second canon is, “On every question of construction [we should] carry ourselves back to the time, when the constitution was adopted; recollect the spirit manifested in the debates; and instead of trying, what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one, in which it was passed.” Now, who does not see the utter looseness, and incoherence of this canon. How are we to know, what was thought of particular clauses of the constitution at the time of its adoption? In many cases, no printed debates give any account of any construction; and where any is given, different persons held different doctrines. Whose is to prevail? Besides; of all the state conventions, the debates of five only are preserved, and these very imperfectly. What is to be done, as to the other eight states? What is to be done, as to the eleven new states, which have come into the Union under constructions, which have been established, against what some persons may deem the meaning of the framers of it? How are we to arrive at what is the most probable meaning? Are Mr. Hamilton, and Mr. Madison, and Mr. Jay, the expounders in the Federalist, to be followed. Or are others of a different opinion to guide us? Are we to be governed by the opinions of a few, now dead, who have left them on record? Or by those of a few now living, simply because they were actors in those days, (constituting not one in a thousand of those, who were called to deliberate upon the constitution, and not one in ten thousand of those, who were in favor or against it, among the people)? Or are we to be governed by the opinions of those, who constituted a majority of those, who were called to act on that occasion, either as framers of, or voters upon, the constitution? If by the latter, in what manner can we know those opinions? Are we to be governed by the sense of a majority of a particular state, or of all of the United States? If so, how are we to ascertain, what that sense was? Is the sense of the constitution to be ascertained, not by its own text, but by the “probable meaning” to be gathered by conjectures from scattered documents, from private papers, from the table talk of some statesmen, or the jealous exaggerations of others? Is the constitution of the United States to be the only instrument, which is not to be interpreted by what is written, but by probable guesses, aside from the text? What would be said of interpreting a statute of a state legislature, by endeavoring to find out, from private sources, the objects and opinions of every member; how every one thought; what he wished; how he interpreted it? Suppose different persons had different opinions, what is to be done? Suppose different persons are not agreed, as to “the probable meaning” of the framers or of the people, what interpretation is to be followed? These, and many questions of the same sort, might be asked. It is obvious, that there can be no security to the people in any constitution of government, if they are not to judge of it by the fair meaning of the words of the text; but the words are to be bent and broken by the “probable meaning” of persons, whom they never knew, and whose opinions, and means of information, may be no better than their own? The people adopted the constitution according to the words of the text in their reasonable interpretation, and not according to the private interpretation of any particular men. The opinions of the latter may sometimes aid us in arriving at just results; but they can never be conclusive. The Federalist denied, that the president could remove a public officer without the consent of the senate. The first congress affirmed his right by a mere majority. Which is to be followed?
*    Jefferson’s Corresp. 373; Id. 391, 392; Id. 396.
ϯ    Jefferson’s Corresp. 391, 392, 396.

9.    1 Tucker’s Black. Comm. App. 151.
10.    B. 2, § 305.
11.    § 508.
12.    Rawle on the Constitution, ch. 1, p. 31.
13.    Martin v. Hunter, 1 Wheat. R. 304, 325.
14.    The Federalist, No. 37.
15.    Wheat. R. 304; S. C. 3 Peters’s Cond. R. 575.
16.    This is still more forcibly stated by Mr. Chief Justice Marshall in delivering the opinion of the court in McCulloch v. Maryland, in a passage already cited. 4 Wheat. R. 316, 402 to 405.
17.    See also McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. R. 316, 402 to 406.
18.    See also Id. 222, and Mr. Chief Justice Marshall’s opinion in Ogden v. Saunders, 12 Wheat. R. 332.
It has been remarked by President John Q. Adams, that “it is a circumstance, which will not escape the observation of a philosophical historian, that the constructive powers of the national government have been stretched to their extremest tension by that party when in power, which has been most tenderly scrupulous of the state sovereignty, when uninvested with the authority of the union themselves.” He adds, “Of these inconsistencies, our two great parties can have little to say in reproof of each other.” Without inquiring into the justice of the remark in general, it may be truly stated. that the Embargo of 1807, and the admission of Louisiana into the Union, are very striking illustrations of the application of constructive powers.
19.    See Ogden v. Saunders, 12 Wheat. R. 332, Opinion of Mr. Chief Justice Marshall.
20.    See Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. R. 189.
21.    Hunter v. Martin, 1 Wheat. R. 304, 326, 327; S. C. 3 Peters’s Cond. R. 575, 583.
22.    See Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. R. 1,187, &c. 222, &c.
23.    See Sturgis v. Crowninshield, 4 Wheat. R. 112, 202.
24.    Mr. Justice Johnson, in delivering the opinion of the court in Anderson v. Dunn, (6 Wheat. 204, 226) uses the following expressive language: “The idea is Utopian, that government can exist without leaving the exercise of discretion some where. Public security against the abuse of such discretion must rest on responsibility, and stated appeals to public approbation. Where all power is derived from the people, and public functionaries at short intervals deposit it at the feet of the people, to be resumed again only at their own wills, individual fears may be alarmed by the monsters of imagination, but individual liberty can be in little danger.”
25.    See United States v. Fisher, 2 Cranch, 358; S. C. Peters’s Cond. R. 421.
26.    Sturgis v. Crowninshield, 4 Wheat R 122, 202.
27.    See Bacon’s Abridg. Statute I; Vattel, B. 2, ch. 17, § 277 to 285, 299 to 302.
28.    See Bas v. Tingey 4 Dall. R. 37; S. C. 1 Peters’s Cond. R. 221.
29.    Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. R. 1,188, 189.
30.    2 Dall. R. 419; S. C. 2 Cond. R. 635, 652.
31.    Bacon’s Abridg. Statute 1. 8.
32.    The Federalist, No. 44.
33.    The reasoning of Mr. Chief Justice Marshall on this subject, in McCulloch v. Maryland, (4 Wheat. 316) is so cogent and satisfactory, that we shall venture to cite it at large. After having remarked, that words have various senses, and that what is the true construction of any used in the constitution must depend upon the subject, the context, and the intentions of the people, to he gathered from the instrument, he proceeds thus:

The subject is the execution of those great powers, on which the welfare of a nation essentially depends. It must have been the intention of those, who gave these powers, to insure, as far as human prudence could insure, their beneficial execution. This could not be done by confiding the choice of means to such narrow limits, as not to leave it in the power of congress to adopt any, which might be appropriate, and which were conducive to the end. This provision is made in a constitution intended to endure for ages to come, and, consequently, to be adapted to the various crises of human affairs. To have prescribed the means, by which government should, in all future time, execute its powers, would have been to change entirely the character of the instrument, and give it the properties of a legal code. It would have been an unwise attempt to provide, by immutable rules, for exigencies, which, if foreseen at all, must have been seen dimly, and which can be best provided for, as they occur. To have declared, that the best means shall not be used, but would deny a choice of means to execute the power, would reduce the power itself to a nullity. For, as it never could be demonstrated, that any one mode in particular was intended, and to be exclusively employed; and, as it might be demonstrated, that other means might be employed, the question, whether the power were rightfully put into exercise, would for ever be subject to doubt and controversy. 1 If one means is adopted to give it effect, and is within its scope, because it is appropriate, how are we to escape from the argument, that another, falling within the same predicament, is equally within its scope? If each is equally appropriate, how is the choice to be made between them? If one is selected, how does that exclude all others? If one is more appropriate at one time, and another at another time, where is the restriction to be found, which allows the one, and denies the other? A power granted in a frame of government is not contemplated to be exhausted in a single exertion of it, or uno flatu. It is intended for free and permanent exercise; and if the discretion of the functionaries, who are to exercise it, is not limited, that discretion, especially, as those functionaries must necessarily change, must be coextensive with the power itself. Take, for instance, the power to make war. In one age, this would authorize the purchase and employment of the weapons then ordinarily used for this purpose. But suppose these weapons are wholly laid aside, and others substituted, more efficient and powerful; is the government prohibited from employing the new modes of offence and defence? Surely not. The invention of gunpowder superseded the old modes of warfare, and may perhaps, by future inventions, be superseded in its turn. No one can seriously doubt, that the new modes would be within the scope of the power to make war, if they were appropriate to the end. It would, indeed, be a most extraordinary mode of interpretation of the constitution, to give such a restrictive meaning to its powers, as should obstruct their fair operation. A power being given, it is the interest of the nation to facilitate its execution. It can never be their interest, and cannot be presumed to be their intention, to clog and embarrass its execution, by withholding the most appropriate means. There can be no reasonable ground for preferring that construction, which would render the operations of the government difficult, hazardous, and expensive; or for imputing to the framers of the constitution a design to impede the exercise of its powers, by withholding a choice of means.*So, with respect to the whole penal code of the United States: whence arises the power to punish, in cases not prescribed by the constitution? All admit, that the government may legitimately, punish any violation of its laws; and yet, this is not among the enumerated powers of congress. The right to enforce the observance of law, by punishing its infraction, might be denied with the more plausibility, because it is expressly given in some cases. Congress is empowered ‘to provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States,’ and ‘to define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offences against the law of nations.’ The several powers of congress may exist, in a very imperfect state to be sure, but they may exist, and be carried into execution, although no punishment should be inflicted in cases, where the right to punish is not expressly given.Take, for example, the power ‘to establish post offices and post roads.’ This power is executed by the single act of making the establishment. But, from this has been inferred the power, and duty of carrying the mail along the post road, from one post office to another. And, from this implied power has again been inferred the right to punish those, who steal letters from the post office, or rob the mail. It may be said, with some plausibility, that the right to carry the mail, and to punish those, who rob it, is not indispensably necessary to the establishment of a post office, and post road. This right is indeed essential to the beneficial exercise of the power, but not indispensably necessary to its existence. So, of the punishment of the crimes of stealing or falsifying a record, or process of a court of the United States, or of perjury in such court. To punish these offences is certainly conducive to the due administration of justice. But courts may exist, and may decide the causes brought before them, though such crimes escape punishment.The baneful influence of this narrow construction, on all the operations of the government, and the absolute impracticability of maintaining it without rendering the government incompetent to its great objects, might be illustrated by numerous examples drawn from the constitution, and from our laws. The good sense of the public has pronounced without hesitation, that the power of punishment appertains to sovereignty, and may be exercised, whenever the sovereign has a right to act, as incidental to his constitutional powers. It is a means for carrying into execution all sovereign powers, and may be used, although not indispensably necessary. It is a right incidental to the power, and conducive to its beneficial exercise.ϯ

*   McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. R. 316, 408.
ϯ     See United States v. Fisher, 2 Cranch, 358; S. C. 1 Peters’s Cond. R. 421, 429.
34.    See the remarks of Mr. Justice Johnson, in delivering the opinion of the court in Anderson v. Dunn, 6 Wheat. R. 204, 226; United States v. Fisher, 2 Cranch. 358; S. C. 1 Peters’s Cond. R. 421, 429.
35.    McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. R, 316, 409, 410, 421, 423; United States v. Fisher, 2 Cranch, 358; S. C. 1 Peters’s Cond. R. 421.
36.    The Federalist, No. 33, 44; McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. R. 316, 423.
37.    In the discussions, as to the constitutionality of the Bank of the United States, in the cabinet of President Washington, upon the original establishment of the Bank, there was a large range of argument, pro el contra, in respect to implied powers. The reader will find a summary of the lending views on each side in the fifth volume of Marshall’s Life of Washington, App. p. 3, note 3, &c.; 4 Jefferson’s Corresp. 523 to 526; and in Hamilton’s Argument on Constitutionality of Bank, 1 Hamilton’s Works, 111 to 155.
38.    Anderson v. Dunn, 6 Wheat. 204, 226.
39.    Article 2.
40.    Per Mr. Chief Justice Marshall, in McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat R. 316, 406, 407, 421.
41.    The Federalist, No. 33.
42.    The Federalist, No. 44.
43.    The Federalist, No. 44.
44.    The Federalist, No. 32.
45.    See Huston v. More, 5 Wheat. R. 1, 22, 24, 48; Ogden v. Gibbons, 9 Wheat. R. 1, 198, 210, 228, 235; Sturgis v. Crowninshield, 4 Wheat. R. 122, 192, 193; Ogden v. Saunders, 12 Wheat. 1, 275, 307, 322, 334, 335.
46.    Sturgis v. Crowninshield, 4 Wheat. R. 122, 192, 193; Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. R. 1, 198, &c.
47.    The Federalist, No. 32; Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. R. 1,198, 199 to 205; McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat, R. 316, 425.
48.    Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. R. 1, 205. — Mr. Chancellor Kent has given this whole subject of exclusive and concurrent power a thorough examination; and the result will be found most ably stated in his learned Commentaries, Lecture 18. 1 Kent Comm. 364 to 379, 2d edit. p. 387 to 405.
49.    Ware v. Hylton, 3 Dall. 199, S. C. 1, Conden. R. 99, 112,127, 128, 129; Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. R. 1, 210, 211; McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. R. 316, 405, 406, 425 to 436 Houston v. Moore. 5 Wheat. R. 1, 22, 24, 49, 51, 53, 56; Sturgis v. Crowninshield, 2 Wheat. R. 1, 190,196; Golden v. Prince, 3 Wash. C. C. R. 313, 321; The Federalist, No. 32; Brown v. Maryland, 12 Wheat. R. 419, 419.
50.    McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. R. 316, 426.
51.    Sturgis v. Crowninshield, 4 Wheat. R. 1, 193.
52.    Mr. Justice Washington, Houston v. Moore, 5 Wheat. R. 1, 21, 22.
53.    5 Wheat R. p. 22.
54.    Id. 24. See also Golden v. Prince, 3 Wash. C. C. R. 313, 324, &c.;
55.    Sturgis v. Crowninshield, 4 Wheat. R. 122, 195, 196. See also Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. R. 1, 197, 227, 235, 238; Houston v. Moore, 5 wheat. R. 34, 49, 52, 54, 55. — This opinion, that the power to pass bankrupt laws is not exclusive, has not been unanimously adopted by the Supreme Court. Mr. Justice Washington maintained at all times an opposite opinion; and his opinion is known to have been adopted by at least one other of the judges of the Supreme Court. The reasons, on which Mr. J. Washington’s opinion is founded, will be found at large in the case of Golden v. Prince, 3 Wash. C. C. R. 313, 322, &c. See also Ogden v. Saunders, 12 Wheat. R. 213, 264, 265, and Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. R. 1, 209, 226, 238.
56.    Houston v. Moore, 5 Wheat. R. 1, 49, 55, 56.
57.    See Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. R. 1,197, 210; McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. R. 316, 527.
58.    McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. R. 316, 431.
59.    Ibid.
60.    Id. 432.
61.    Houston v. Moore, 5 Wheat. R. 1, 53.
62.    Houston v Moore, 5 Wheat. R. 50, 51, 52.
63.    Id. 54, 55.
64.    Sturgis v. Crowninshield, 4 Wheat. 122, 195, 197, 199; Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. R. 1,196,197, 209.
65.    See Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. R. 1, 203 to 210.
66.    See The Federalist, No. 83, 84.
67.    Cohens v. Virginia, 6 Wheat. R. 395 to 401.
68.    The Federalist, No. 83.
69.    The Federalist, No. 83. See Vattel, B. 2, ch, 17, §282.
70.    The Federalist, No. 83.
71.    Mr. Madison’s Letter to Mr. Cabell, 18th September, 1828.
72.    See Vattel, B. 2, ch. 17, §262, §299.
73.    The Federalist, No. 37.
74.    See Vattel, B. 2, ch. 17, §276, 277.
75.    Ex parte Bollman & Swartout, 4 Cranch, 75; S. C. 2 Peters’s Cond. R. 33.
76.    Vattel, B. 2, ch. 17, §281.
77.    5 Peters’s Rep. 1, 19.
78.    Mr. Madison’s Virginia Report, 7 January, 1800, p. 5; ante, §208, p. 193.
79.    See Vattel, B. 2, ch. 17, §285, 286.
80.    Burke’s Letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol in 1777.

THE POWER OF HISTORY by Horatio Seymour (1810–1886)

HoriatoSeymourTHE FUTURE OF THE HUMAN RACE, An Oration By Ex-Gov. Horatio Seymour, Delivered At Rome, New York, July 4th, 1876.

The superior man acquaints himself with many sayings of antiquity and many deeds of the past, in order to strengthen his character thereby. ~ John Milton

I Do not come before you merely to take part in a holiday affair, nor to excite a passing interest about the occasion which calls us together. While my theme is the History of the Valley of the Mohawk, in speaking of it the end I have in view is as practical as if I came to talk to you about agriculture, mechanics, commerce or any other business topic.

There is in history a power to lift a people up and make them great and prosperous. The story of a nation’s achievements excites that patriotic pride which is a great element in vigor, boldness and heroism. He who studies with care the jurisprudence of the Old Testament, will see that this feeling of reverence for forefathers and devotion to country is made the subject of positive law in the command that men should honor their fathers and their mothers. But sacred poetry is filled with appeals to these sentiments, and the narratives of the Bible abound with proofs of the great truth, that the days of those who fear them shall be long in the land which God has given them. All history, ancient and modern, proves that national greatness springs in no small degree from pride in their histories, and from the patriotism cherished by their traditions and animated by their examples. This truth shines out in the annals of Greece and Rome. It gives vitality to the power of Britain, France, Germany and other European nations. The instincts of self-preservation led the American people in this centennial year to dwell upon the deeds of their fathers and by their example to excite our people to a purer patriotism, to an unselfish devotion to the public welfare.

The power of history is not confined to civilized races. The traditions of savage tribes have excited them to acts of self sacrifice and heroism, and of bold warfare, which have extorted the admiration of the world. The Valley of the Mohawk gives striking proofs of this. The Iroquois, who lived upon the slopes of the hills which stretch from the Hudson to the shores of Lake Erie, called themselves by a name which asserted that they and their fathers were men excelling all other men. Animated by this faith which grew out of their legends, they became the masters of the vast region stretching from the coast of the Atlantic to the banks of the Mississippi, from north of the great Lakes to the land of the Cherokees.

Unaided by arts, without horses or chariots, or implements of war, save the rudest form of the spear and the arrow, they traversed the solitary forest pathways, and carried their conquests over regions, which in extent have rarely been equaled by civilized nations with all the aids of fleets, or the terrible engines of destruction which science has given to disciplined armies. History gives no other example of such great conquest over so many enemies or difficulties, as were won by the Iroquois, when we take into account their limited numbers. Does any man think that all this would have been true if they had not been stirred up to a savage but noble heroism by the traditions of their tribes?

governorhoratio-seymourThe power of history over our minds and purposes is intensified when we stand amid the scenes of great events. Men cross the ocean and encounter the fatigues, dangers of a journey to the other side of the earth, that they may walk through the streets of Jerusalem, or look out from the hill of Zion, or wander amid sacred places. These scenes bring to* their minds the story of the past in a way that thrills their nerves. Or, if we visit the fields of great battles, the movements of armies, the thunder of artillery, the charge, the repulse, the carnage of war, the ground strewed with dead or dying and slippery with blood, are all presented to our imaginations in a way they can not elsewhere be felt or seen.

If beyond the general interest of history which incites to national patriotism, and in addition to the scenes of events which stir our blood when we move among them, we know that the actors were our fathers whose blood flows in our veins, we then have acting upon us, in its most intense form, the power of the past. Patriotism, and love of the land in which we live; a pious reverence for our fathers, all unite to lift us up upon the highest plane of public and of private virtue.

The men and the women of the valley of the Mohawk meet here to-day not only to celebrate the great events of our country, but to speak more particularly about deeds their ancestors have done on these plains and hillsides, and then to ask themselves if they have been true to their country, to their fathers and themselves by preserving and making known to the dwellers in this valley and to the world at large its grand and varied history. Have they been made household words? Have they shaped the ambitions and virtues of those growing up in the fireside circle? Have they been used to animate all classes in the conduct of public and private affairs?

Just so far as the dwellers in the valley of the Mohawk have failed in these respects, they have cheated and wronged themselves. They have failed to use the most potent influence to elevate their morals, intelligence and virtue. They have not brought themselves within the scope of that promise which religion, reason and experience show, is held out to those who honor their fathers, and incite themselves to acts of patriotism and lives of public and private devotion, by keeping in their minds the conduct of the good and great who have gone before them.

Let the events in this valley during the past three centuries now pass in review before us. Its Indian wars, the missionaries’ efforts, animated by religious zeal, which sought to carry religion into its unbroken forests and wild recesses; the march of the armies of France and England, with their savage allies, which for a hundred years made this valley the scenes of warfare and bloodshed; the struggle of the revolution, which brought with it not only all the horrors ever attendant upon war, added to them the barbarities of the savage ferocity that knows no distinction of age, sex or condition, but with horrible impartiality inflicted upon all alike the tortures of the torch and tomahawk. When these clouds had rolled away through the pathways of this valley, began the march of the peaceful armies of civilization which have filled the interior of our country with population, wealth and power. The world has never elsewhere seen a procession of events more varied, more dramatic, more grand in their influences.

The grounds upon which we stand have been wet with the blood of men who perished in civilized and savage war. Its plains and forests have rung with the war cry of the Iroquois, and have echoed back the thunder of artillery. Its air has been filled with the smoke of burning homes, and lighted up by the flames of the products of industry, kindled by the torch of enemies. Let this scene impress your minds while I try to tell the story of the past. With regard to the savages who lived in this valley, I will repeat the statements which I made on a recent occasion, and the evidence which I then produced in regard to their character.

Power of History1We arc inclined to-day to think meanly of the Indian race, and to charge that the dignity and heroism imputed to them was the work of the novelist rather than the proof of authentic history. A just conception of their character is necessary to enable us to understand the causes which shaped our civilization. But for the influence exerted by the early citizens of this place upon the Iroquois, it is doubtful if the English could have held their ground against the French west of the Alleghenies.

In speaking of them the colonial historian Smith says:

These of all those innumerable tribes of savages which inhabit the northern part of America, are of more importance to us and the French, both on account of their vicinity and warlike disposition.

In the correspondence of the French colonial officials with Louis the Great, it is said:

That no people in the world, perhaps, have higher notions than these Indians of military glory. All the surrounding nations have felt the effects of their prowess, and many not only become their tributaries, but are so subjugated to their power, that without their consent they dare not commence either peace or war.

Colden, in his history, printed in London, in 1747, says:

The Five Nations think themselves by nature superior to the rest of mankind, and call themselves “Onguekonwe,” that is, men surpassing all others.

This opinion, which they take care to cultivate in their children, gives them that courage which has been so terrible to all nations of North America, and they have taken such care to impress the same opinion of their people on all their neighbors, that they on all occasions yield the most submissive obedience to them. He adds; I have been told by old men of New England, who remembered the time when the Mohawks made war on their Indians, that as soon as a single Mohawk was discovered in the country, these Indians raised a cry from hill to hill, A Mohawk! a Mohawk! upon which they all fled like sheep before wolves, without attempting to make the least resistance, whatever odds were on their side. All the nations round them have for many years entirely submitted to them, and pay a yearly tribute to them in wampum.

We have many proofs of their skill in oratory and of the clearness and logic of their addresses. Even now, when their power is gone, and their pride broken down, they have many orators among them. I have heard in my official life speeches made by them, and I have also listened to many of the distinguished men of our own lineage. While the untutored man could not arm himself with all the facts and resources at the command of the educated, yet I can say that I have heard from the chiefs of the Five Nations as clear, strong and dignified addresses as any I have listened to in legislative halls or at the bar of our judicial tribunals. Oratory is too subtle in its nature to be described, or I could give to you some of the finest expressions in Indian addresses.

They did not excel merely in arms and oratory, they were a political people. Monsieur D. La Protiere, a Frenchman and an enemy, says in his history of North America:

When we speak of the Five Nations in France, they are thought, by a common mistake, to be mere barbarians, always thirsting for blood, but their characters are very different. They are indeed the fiercest and most formidable people in North America, and at the same time are as politic and judicious as well can be conceived, and this appears from their management of all affairs which they have not only with the French and English but likewise with almost all the Indians of this vast continent.

As to their civil polity, Colden says in 1747:

Each of these nations is an absolute republic by itself, and every castle in each nation is governed in all public affairs by its own sachems or old men. The authority of these rulers is gained by and consists wholly in the opinion the rest of the nation have of their integrity and wisdom. Their great men, both sachems and captains, are generally poorer than the common people, and they affect to give away and distribute all the presents or plunder they get in their treaties or in wars, so as to leave nothing to themselves. There is not a man in the members of the Five Nations who has gained his office otherwise than by merit. There is not the least salary or any sort of profit annexed to any office to tempt the covetous or sordid, but on the contrary every unworthy action is unavoidably attended with the forfeiture of their commissions, for their authority is only the esteem of the people, and ceases the moment that esteem is lost.

In the history of the world there is no other instance where such vast conquests were achieved with such limited numbers without superiority of arms. More than two hundred years ago, when the New England colonies were engaged in King Phillip’s war, commissioners were sent to Albany to secure the friendship of the Mohawks. Again, in 1684, Lord Howard, Governor of Virginia, met the sachems of the Onondagas and Cayugas in the Town Hall of Albany. These councils by the governors and agents of the colonies became almost annual affairs. The power of Colonel Peter Schuyler with the Iroquois at this day was deemed of the utmost importance by the crown. Perhaps no other man in our history exerted so great an influence over the course of events which shaped the destinies of our country. For he was a great man who lived and acted at a time when it was uncertain if French or English civilization, thoughts and customs would govern this continent. He and the chiefs who went with him to England were received with marks of distinction and unusual honor by Queen Anne.

The Hollanders were the first Europeans who were brought in contact with this people.

Before the Pilgrims had landed at Plymouth Rock, they had made a settlement on the Hudson, where the capital of our State now stands. At that time, the most commercial people of the world, their ships visited every sea, and they were accustomed to deal with all forms of civilized and savage life. In pursuit of the fur trade they pushed their way up the stream of the Mohawk, and by their wisdom and prudence made relationship with the Indians along its banks, which was of the utmost importance in the future history of our country.

The influence which the Hollanders gained while they held the territories embraced in New York and New Jersey was exerted in behalf of the British Government, when the New Netherlands, as they were then called, were transferred to that power. In the long contest, running through a century, known as the French war, the Dutch settlers rendered important service to the British crown. The avenues and rivers which they had discovered penetrating the deep forest which overspread the country now became the routes by which the armies of France and England sought to seize and hold the strongholds of our land. The power which could hold Fort Stanwix, the present site of Rome, the carrying place between the Mohawk and the waters which flowed through Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence, would control the great interior plains of this continent. If France could have gained a foothold in this valley, the whole region drained by the St. Lawrence and the Mississippi reaching from the Alleghenies to the Rocky Mountains, would have been her’s. Our history, usages, government and laws would have been changed.

He who will study European events for a hundred years before our revolution will be struck as to the uncertainties, as to the result. For a century the destinies of this continent vibrated with the uncertainties of the battle-fields of Europe. The crisis of our fate was during the reign of Louis the Great, when that ambitious and powerful monarch sought to extend his dominion over two continents. When Marlborough won victories at Blenheim, Ramilies and Malblaquet, or when Prince Eugene swept the French from Italy and crippled the power of France, they did more than they dreamed of. They fought for the purpose of adjusting the balance of the nations of Europe; they shaped the customs, laws and conditions of a continent. But the war was not confined to the Old World.

Standing upon the spot where we now meet we could have seen a long successien of military expeditions made up of painted warriors, of disciplined soldiers, led by brave, adventurous men, pushing their way through deep forest paths or following, with their light vessels and frail canoes, the current of the Mohawk. But arms were not the only power relied upon to gain control.

The missionaries of France, with a religious zeal which outstripped the traders greed for gold, or the soldiers love for glory, traversed this continent far in advance of war or commerce. Seeking rather than shunning martyrdom; they were bold, untiring in their efforts to bring over the savage tribes to the religion to which they were devoted, and to the government to which they were attached. Many suffered tortures and martyrdom, in the interior of our State, and on the banks of the Mohawk. There are not in the world’s history pages of more dramatic interest than those which tell of the efforts of diplomacy, the zeal of religion, or the heroism in arms of this great contest, waged so many years in the wilds of this country. If I could picture all the events that have happened here, they would invest this valley with unfading interest. Its hillsides, its plains, its streams are instinct with interest to the mind of him who knows the story of the past. It should be familiar in every household. But the grand procession of armies did not stop with the extinction of Indian tribes, or of French claims.

When the revolutionary contest began, the very structure of our country made the State of New York the centre of the struggle, and the valleys of the Hudson and the Mohawk, the great avenues through which war swept in its desolating course. It was most destructive here, for it brought all the horrors of Indian warfare. It is said that there was not one home in all this region which did not suffer from the torch or the tomahawk. Fortunately it was inhabited by a brave, hardy and enduring race, trained to meet and overcome the hardships of life. The homes of their fathers had been destroyed in Europe by the armies of France. The Germans brought here by the British Government during the reign of Queen Anne were placed between the English settlements and the savage tribes, because, among other reasons, it was said that their trials and sufferings had fitted them to cope with all the dangers of border life.

When we have thus had passed in review before us the bands of painted savages, the missionary armed only with religious zeal, and shielded alone with the insignia of his sacred calling; the gallant armies of France and Britain; the hasty array of our Revolutionary fathers as they rallied in defence of their liberties, we have then only seen the forerunners of the greatest movement of the human race.

With our independence and the possession and the mastery of this great continent began a struggle unparalleled in the history of the world. Peaceful in its form, it has dwarfed in comparison the mightiest movements of war. Its influence upon the civilization of the people of the earth, has thrown into insignificance all that modern victories and invasions have done. During the past hundred years there has been a conflict between the nations of Europe on the one hand, and our broad land and political freedom on the other- It has been a contest for men and women—for those who could give us labor skill and strength. We count our captives by millions. Not prisoners of war, but prisoners of peace. Not torn by force, but won by the blessings which the God of nature has enabled us to hold out to them in our fertile hills and valleys and plains. What were the hordes of the Persians? What were the array of the crusaders? What the armies of earth’s greatest conquerors, in comparison with the march of the multitudes of immigrants from the Atlantic, States or from Europe who have moved through the valleys of the Hudson and the Mohawk, the very gateways of our country seeking homes in the interior of our continent? Ours is a double victory, unlike war, which kills or enchains. It draws our opponents to our side, and makes them co-workers in building up our greatness and glory. As the men of every civilized race are pouring through our valley, we see before us the mightiest elements which are shaping the future of the human race.

What are all the problems of European diplomacy compared with these movements passing before us? All their recent wars, in the changes they have made are insignificant in comparison with the power we have gained by immigration alone. That procession of events, beginning with Indian warfare, and stretching through three centuries of battles for the possession, and the wars for the independence of our country, grows in importance and magnitude; and we see no end to its column as we look down into the dim future. The courses of the Mohawk and Hudson will ever be its greatest avenues. For here commerce pours its richest streams, and immigration leads its greatest armies. We are bewildered when we try to trace out the growth of the future. Each rolling year adds more than a million; each passing day more than three thousand; each fleeting hour more than one hundred to our numbers. The tide will swell still higher in the future.

I was once asked by a distinguished Englishman if we did not make a mistake when we severed our relationship from the British people? I told him that we were sometimes sorry that we let them go; that our mere increase in twenty-five years would exceed in numbers the population of Great Britain; that the British Isles would make glorious States of our Union; and that we needed them as outposts on the European shores. I was able to say this under the circumstances without violation of courtesy, and it was pleasantly received by a man whose mind was large enough not to take offense at the remark, which served to place the progress of our country in a strong light,

I have thus hastily sketched the interest which attaches to the whole course of the Mohawk Valley, with the view of throwing light upon the question which I put at the outset. Have we who live amid these scenes been true to ourselves, and true to our forefathers, by making this history an animating influence to promote the public welfare; to instill honorable pride in family circles, or quicken the minds with generous thoughts, which otherwise would have been dull and cold and sordid? The characters of men depend upon the current of thoughts which are passing through their minds. If these are ennobling, the man is constantly lifted up; it matters not what his condition may be in other respects.

If these are debasing, he will constantly sink in the scale of morals and intellect; it matters not what wealth or learning he may have. What men think not only in the hours study, but at all times and places, in the field, in the workshop, in the counting-room, makes their characters, their intelligence and their virtue. Men’s thoughts form and shape them. And those which relate to the past are most ennobling. For they are unstained by prejudice, and unweakened by sentiments which incline to detract from merits of living actors. We instinctively think and speak well of the dead. This of itself makes us better men. We can so learn the, histories of this valley, that its scenes shall recall them as clearly and as vividly as the pictures upon our walls. We can so stamp them upon our minds that its hills and plains and streams will be instinct with the actions of those who have gone before us that man has done himself a wrong who can look down upon the Mohawk; and not see the drifting along its current the savage, the missionary, or the soldier of the past. He who dwells upon its traditions; who can point out where men died in the struggles of war, where men suffered martyrdom for their faith—the spot where some bold stand was taken for the the rights of man and the liberties of country; he who feels the full import of the great movements of commerce and of men passing through this valley, certainly has an education that will always lift him up mentally and morally. You can not imagine a people living here with all these events stamped upon their minds, ever present to give food for thought and reflection, who will not be animated by a zeal for the public welfare, by generous impulses, by a self-sacrificing devotion for honor, for religion, for country. There is no teaching so powerful as that which comes invested with the forms of nature. It is that which reaches and tells upon the young and the old, the learned and the unlearned alike. Imagine two men living in this valley, both familiar with all its features, one well informed and the other ignorant of its events; then tell me if you believe that they can be alike in their moral natures or their value as citizens. In view of what I have thus said we can see why history is so potent. We can now see the wisdom, and the mercy too, of that command which tells us to honor our fathers and our mothers, though for many years and through many generations they have slept in their graves.

There are some reasons why the history of New York is not as well-known to the American people as that of other States. It has not excited the interest which justly attaches to it. The first settlers were Hollanders. When the Dutch made their settlement on this continent they were superior to other European nations, in learning, in arts, in commerce, and in just views of civil and religious liberty. Our country is indebted to them for many of the best principles of our goverment. But their language is no longer spoken here. In-comers from other States and nations exceed their descendants in numbers, and many of the traditions and events of its colonial period have been lost. This is true also of the German settlers in the valley of the Mohawk. The settlers who came into our State after the revolution, brought with them the ideas and sentiments of the places from which they came, and which, for a long time, have been cherished with more zeal than has been shown for the history of the State, where they have made their homes. These things created an indifference to the honor of New York. So far from preserving what relates to its past, in many instances old monuments have been destroyed, and names obliterated, which, if they had been preserved, would have recalled to men’s minds the most important incidents in the progress of our country. Nothing could have been more unfortunate than the acts which changed the name of Fort Stanwix to that of Rome, and that of Fort Schuyler to Utica. The old names would have suggested the circumstances of the French and Revolutionary wars. Of themselves they would have educated our people, and would have turned their attention to facts which they ought to know, but which have been thrown into the shade by terms which mislead. The existing designations, with their absurd and incongruous associations, divert the mind from these honorable memories.

The time has come when the people of New York owe it to themselves and to their country to bring forward their records, to incite a just measure of State pride, and to elevate our standard of public and private virtue by the influence of our grand history.

This should be taught in our schools, discussed, in our journals and made the subject of public lectures and addresses. Monuments should be put up to mark the spots where battles were fought and victories won, which have shaped the destinies of our country. When this is done, our own citizens, and the multitudes who traverse our valley, will see that within its limits all forms of warfare—that of Indian barbarism, disciplined armies, and of naval power have occurred within its boundaries. These prove the truth of the remark of General Scott, “that the confluence of the Mohawk and the Hudson has ever been the strategic point in all the wars in which our country has been engaged with foreign powers.

This work of making the details of our history known and felt by our people should begin in the heart of our State, in the valley of the Mohawk. Associations should be formed to preserve records and traditions that will otherwise be lost. Its old churches, which date back to the existence of our government, should be held sacred. The minor incidents of personal adventure, of individual heroism, should be preserved, for these show the character of the men and times in which they occur.

In no other quarter were the rights of the people asserted against the crown more clearly, or at an earlier day. It is not certain if the blood shed in the Revolution commenced at the battle of Lexington, or when the sturdy Germans were beaten down and wounded while defending their liberty pole against Sir John Johnson and his party.

I have refrained from want of time from presenting many facts and incidents which would give more interest to my address than the general statements I have made. Mr. Simms, to whom we are deeply indebted for long-continued and zealous researches into the history of this valley, has frequently given to the public sketches and narratives of great value. I trust the time has come when he and others who have labored in the same direction, will receive the sympathy and applause to which they are entitled.

Shall this centennial year be made the occasion for organizing societies in this valley, with a view, among other things, to the erection of monuments at different points along the Mohawk? I do not urge this as a mere matter of sentiment, but because I believe they will promote material welfare as well as mental activity and moral elevation. For these are ever found in close relationship. This whole region is marked for its fertility. It abounds with the material for varied industry, and is filled with streams with abundant power to drive all forms of machinery. It is in the heart of a great State, close by the leading markets of our country, and with cheap transportation to those of the world. Many millions in search of homes and for places to pursue their varied industry have passed by all these. I believe if we had shown the same pride in our State that has been exhibited elsewhere; if the minds of our people had been quickened, and their patriotism kept bright and burning by the examples of our fathers, that the Mohawk valley today would show a larger measure of power and prosperity than now blesses it. These things make a system of education, in some respects more active and pervading than that of books and schools. Subtle in their influences, they are not easily described, but they are felt and seen in all the aspects of society. Many years ago Congress made a grant to put up a monument over the grave of Herkimer. Attempts have been made to have the Legislature of our own State to mark in some suitable way the battle field of Oriskany. At the last session of the Legislature, the senator from Otsego and other members of that body made efforts to have something done in these directions. For one, I am grateful to them for their patriotism and the interest they have shown in these subjects. They did their duty when we neglected ours. And yet I rejoice in their failure. This pious work should be done by the people of this valley. They should not wait for strangers to come in to honor their fathers. There would be little value in monuments put up by mere legislative action, and at the cost of the State or national treasury. We want on the part of the people the patriotism which prompts, the intelligence which directs, the liberality which constructs such memorials. We want the inspiring influence which springs from the very efforts to honor the characters of those who have gone before us.

We want that which will not only remind us of the glorious acts of the past, but which will incite them in the future. Will the descendants of the Hollanders in the county of Schenectady be indifferent to this subject? Are the men of German descent, living in Montgomery and Herkimer, willing to have the services and sacrifices of their fathers pass into oblivion? Does no honorable pride move them to let our countrymen know that their homes suffered beyond all others, through the Indian wars and revolutionary struggles? Will they not try to keep alive in the minds of their countrymen the fact that the battle of Oriskany, which was the first check given to the British power in the campaign of Burgoyne, was fought by their ancestors and that its shouts and war-cries were uttered in the German language? Have they less public spirit than the Germans who have lately come to our country, and who have put up a monument to Baron Steuben? By doing so they honored one whose relationships to them were comparatively remote. Is it not true that men born in the valley of the Mohawk neglect the graves of their fathers, and forget the battle fields which have been made wet with the blood of those of their own lineage? The county of Oneida bears the name of one of the conquering tribes of the Iroquois. Upon the banks of the upper Mohawk, which flows through its territory, stood Fort Stanwix and Fort Schuyler. The former was for a hundred years during the wars between France and England, and at the time of our national independence, one of the most important military positions in our country. Near by was fought the battle of Oriskany, which was a part of the contest at Saratoga which won our national independence.

It was my purpose to give more value to this address, and to fortify its positions by presenting many incidents of a nature to interest and convince. But my health has not allowed me to refer to the proper books and documents for this purpose. I have therefore been compelled to speak more in general terms than I intended . What I have said is also weakened by the fact that I have not been able to take up and follow out my subject continuously and with clearness.

In particular, I wished to speak at some length of Fort Stanwix, Fort Dayton and Fort Herkimer, but I am unable to do so. Much also could be said about the old church at German Flats. Built before the revolution, for the Germans of the Palatinates, it has associations with the great political and religious struggles of Europe and America. Standing upon the site of a fort still more ancient, for it was built at an early period of the French war, it was for a long time the outpost of the British power on this continent. It has been the scene of Indian warfare; of sudden and secret attack by stealthy savages; of sudden forays which swept away the crops and cattle of feeble settlements; of assaults by the French; of personal conflicts which mark contests on the outskirts of civilization. It was the stronghold of our fathers during the revolution. The missionary and the fur trader more than three hundred years ago floated by its position in bark canoes, and in these later days millions of men and women from our own country and from foreign lands, on canals or railroads, have passed by on their way to build up great cities and States in the hear t of our continent. There is no spot where the historian can place himself with more advantage when he wishes to review in his mind the progress of our country to greatness, than the Old Church at German Flats. Looking from this point his perspectives will be just; all facts will take their due proportions; local prejudices will not discolor his views, and he will be less liable here than elsewhere in falling into the common error of giving undue prominence to some events, while overlooking the full significance of others more important. I hope the subjects of local histories will be taken up by our fellow citizens of this region, and the facts relating to them brought out and made familiar to us all.

I said at the outset that I did not come here to-day merely to appeal to your imaginations, or only to take part in a holiday affair. I come to speak upon subjects which I deem of practical importance to my hearers. If I have succeeded in making myself understood, I am sure, if you will look into these subjects you will find that all history, all jurisprudence, all just reasonings, force us to the conclusion that not only does a Divine command, but that reason and justice call upon us to honor our ancestors, and that there is a great practical truth which concerns the welfare, the prosperity, and the power of all communities in the words, “Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

See also: 
The History and Events that Led to the Founding of the United States by Courtlandt Parker 1876
Non-Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of America from the Ancient Authors Part 1
RISE OF CONSTITUTIONAL LIBERTY by Dr. Richard Salter Storrs July 4 1876
OUR NOBLE HERITAGE by Hon. George W. Curtis (1824 –1892)
AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP! by Colonel Henry A. Gildersleve July 4th 1876 NYC
The Wisdom and Love of God as Shown by His Creation by Noah Webster
Non-Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of the World With Biblical References Part 1
POLITICAL CONSTITUTIONS by Johannes Von Muller (1832)

OUR FLAG by Rev Henry H. Birkins July 4th 1876

betsy_ross_flag1OUR FLAG by Rev Henry H. Birkins 1834-1899.  Delivered At The Centennial Celebration, Washington Heights, New York City, July 4, 1876.

Mr. Chairman:—One of the most conspicuous and pleasing objects in our broad land to-day, is the starry emblem of freedom—our dear old flag. We see it, a centennial spectacle, floating everywhere, as we never saw it before, and as we never shall see it again. It is unfurled along our highways, it adorns our public and private dwellings, it floats over our temples of worship, our halls of learning and courts of justice, and waves as grandly and gracefully over the lowest cottage in the land, as over the proud dome of the capital itself. It is our flag, with sweet centennial memories clinging to every fold, our flag along whose stripes we may trace the triumphant march of one hundred years, and from whose stars we see the light of hope and liberty still flashing upon the nations.

AFBetsyross1776The origin of our flag is, to some extent, involved in mystery and controversy. It has been claimed by some that its stars and stripes were first taken from the shield of the Washington family, which was distinguished by colored lines and stars; and if this be so, it is not at all improbable, though by no means certain, that Washington himself may have suggested the peculiar form of the flag. The first distinctively American flag was unfurled to the breeze on the first day of January, 1776. It consisted of “seven white and seven red stripes,” and bore upon its front the “red and white crosses of St. George and St. Andrew,” and was called “The Great Union Flag.” This flag quickly displaced all other military devices, and became the battle-banner of the American Army. In 1777, however, it was greatly changed. The crosses were omitted and thirteen red and white stripes were used to denote the thirteen States, and thirteen stars were used to represent the union of those States. And our flag still retains its stars occasionally adding one to the number, and, as traitors know to their sorrow, it also still retains its stripes, well laid on. We have never found it necessary to ask true American citizens to respect and honor our flag. When Gen. Dix, on the 29th of January, 1861, penned those terse memorable words: “If any one attempts to haul down the American flag shoot him on the spot;” the loyal people of the nation said, “Amen. So let it be.

We do not wonder that our people, and especially our soldiers love the flag. It is to them both a history and a prophecy. No wonder that brave soldier as he fell on the field of battle said, “Boys, don’t wait for me; just open the folds of the old flag and let me see it once more before I die.

bald_eagle_head_and_american_flag1No wonder that Massachusetts soldier boy, dying in the gory streets of Baltimore, lifted up his glazing eyes to the flag and shouted, “All hail, the stars and the stripes!!!” Our flag is a power everywhere. One has justly said, “It is known, respected and feared round the entire globe. Wherever it goes, it is the recognized symbol of intelligence, equality, freedom and Christian civilization. Wherever it goes the immense power of this great Republic goes with it, and the hand that touches the honor of the flag, touches the honor of the Republic itself. On Spanish soil, a man entitled to the protection of our government was arrested and condemned to die. The American consul interceded for his life, but was told that the man must suffer death. The hour appointed for the execution came, and Spanish guns, gleaming in the sunlight, were ready for the work of death. At that critical moment the American consul took our flag, and folded its stars and stripes around the person of the doomed man, and then turning to the soldiers, said: “Men, remember that a single shot through that flag will be avenged by the entire power of the American Republic.” That shot was never fired. And that man, around whom the shadows of death were gathering, was saved by the stars and the stripes. Dear old flag! Thou art a power at home and abroad. Our fathers loved thee in thine infancy, one hundred years ago; our heroic dead loved thee, and we loved thee, and fondly clasp thee to our hearts today. All thy stars gleam like gems of beauty on thy brow, and all thy stripes beam upon the eye like bows of promise to the nation.

Wave on, thou peerless, matchless banner of the free! Wave on, over the army and the navy, over the land and the sea, over the cottage and the palace, over the school and the church, over the living and the dead; wave ever more, “O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

See also: 
Founders on the 2nd Amendment
THE AMERICAN FLAG! A Poem By Joseph Rodman Drake May 29, 1819
NO SLAVE BENEATH THE FLAG by George Lansing Taylor 1835-1903
OUR FLAG-THE PROUD EMBLEM OF THE REPUBLIC. by Gen. Ferdinand Claiborne Latrobe July 4th 1876
Once a Marine, always a Marine! Salute! Semper Fidelis!

Advice to Young People from Noah Webster Father of American Education
Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God
Why our Forefathers firmly believed that Freedom and Liberty came from God
SONG OF THE SOLDIERS! A Poem By Charles G. Halpine 1861-1865
THE OATH! By Thomas Buchanan Read 1822-1872
THE RISING, 1776! By Thomas Buchanan Read 1822-1872
THE BEACON FIRES OF LIBERTY by Hon. George Lear July 4, 1876
We The People Never Forget September 11, 2001

A PRAYER FOR THE NATION by Rev. William Bacon Stevens July 4, 1876

William Bacon StevensPRAYER, by the Rev. William Bacon Stevens, D.D., L.L.D., (July 13, 1815 – June 11, 1887) Fourth Episcopal Bishop Of Pennsylvania.

Used at the Grand Centennial Celebration In Philadelphia, July 4, 1876.

O Almighty and Eternal God, we come before Thee to praise Thy glorious name, and to give Thee most humble and hearty thanks, for the inestimable blessings which as a Nation we this day enjoy.

We devoutly recognize Thy Fatherly hand in the planting and nurturing of these colonies, in carrying them through the perils and trials of war; in establishing them in peace; and permitting us to celebrate this hundredth birthday of our Independence. We thank Thee, O God, that Thou didst inspire the hearts of Thy servants to lay here the foundations of peace and liberty; to proclaim here those principles which have wrought out for us such civil and religious blessings; and to set up here a Government which Thou hast crowned by Thy blessing, and guarded by Thy hand to this day.

The whole praise and glory of these great mercies we ascribe, 0 God, to Thee! “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name be all the glory, “for by Thee only, have we been led to take our present position among the nations of the earth. As Thou wast our Father’s God, in times past, we beseech Thee to be our God, in all time to come. Thou hast safely brought us to the beginning of another century of national life, defend and bless us in the same, O God, with Thy mighty power. Give peace and prosperity in all our borders, unity and charity among all classes, and a true and hearty love of country to all our people. Keep far from us all things hurtful to the welfare of the nation, and give to us all things necessary for our true growth and progress.

Bless O Thou Mighty Ruler of the Universe Thy servants to whom are committed the Executive, the Legislative and Judicial government of this land; that Thou wouldst be pleased to direct and prosper all their consultations to the advancement of Thy glory, the good of Thy Church, the safety, honor and welfare of Thy people; that all things may be so ordered and settled by their endeavors, upon the best and surest foundations, that peace and happiness, truth and justice, religion and true liberty may be established among us for all generations. Make us to know, therefore, that on this day of our Nation’s festivity, and to consider it in our hearts, that Thou art God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath, and that there is no God else beside Thee.

Enable us to keep Thy statutes and Thy judgments which Thou hast commanded, that it may go well with us and with our children; that we and they may fear Thy name and obey Thy law, and that Thou mayest prolong the days of this nation through all coming time.

Establish Thy kingdom in the midst of this land. Make it “Emmanuel’s land,” a “mountain of holiness and a dwelling place of righteousness.”

Inspire Thy Church with the spirit of truth, unity and concord, and grant that every member of the same in his vocation and ministry may serve Thee faithfully. Bless the rulers of this city and commonwealth, and grant that they may truly and impartially administer justice to the punishment of wickedness and vice, and to the maintenance of Thy true religion and virtue.

Pour out Thy Fatherly blessing upon our whole country, upon all our lawful pursuits and industries, upon all our households and institutions of learning and benevolence, that rejoicing in Thy smile, and strengthened by Thy might, this nation may go on through all the years of this new century a praise and a joy of the whole earth, so that all who look upon it may be able to say, “Truly God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved.” These things and whatsoever else we need for our national preservation and perpetuity, we humbly ask, in the name and through the mediation of Thy dear Son, to whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be ascribed all might, majesty, dominion and power, world without end.

See also: Advice to Young People from Noah Webster Father of American Education

The Wisdom and Love of God as Shown by His Creation by Noah Webster
Founders on the 2nd Amendment
PATRIOT SONS OF PATRIOT SIRES by Rev. Samuel Francis Smith 1808-1895
Joseph Baldwin: Address 1892, to National Teachers Association in New York
Constitution of the United States and it’s Governmental Operations (In Plain English) ,
POLITICAL CONSTITUTIONS by Johannes Von Muller (1832),
Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God
Why our Forefathers firmly believed that Freedom and Liberty came from God

SCORN TO BE SLAVES by Dr. Joseph Warren 1741-1775

General Joseph WarrenGeneral Joseph Warren, physician, soldier, statesman, and patriot, fell in the Battle of Bunker Hill, June 17th, 1775.

His appeal to the people after the ” Boston Massacre ” deserves perpetual remembrance. After the excitement of the tragedy abated, resentment against the soldiers gave place to a more decided arraignment of the British government for that arbitrary policy which precipitated the collision.

General Joseph Warren Concerning the Blessings of Liberty; Oration in Boston March 5, 1772

I am confident that you never will betray the least want of spirit when called upon to guard your freedom. None but they who set a just value upon the blessings of liberty are worthy to enjoy her—your illustrious fathers were her zealous votaries (votaries=A devoted follower)—when the blasting frowns of tyranny drove her from public view, they clasped her in their arms, they cherished her in their generous bosoms, they brought her safe over the rough ocean, and fixed her seat in this then dreary wilderness; they nursed her infant age with the most tender care; for her sake they patiently bore the severest hardships; for her support, they underwent the most rugged toils; in her defence they boldly encountered the most alarming dangers: neither the ravenous beasts that ranged the woods for prey, nor the more furious savages of the wilderness, could damp their ardor!— Whilst with one hand they broke the stubborn glebe (glebe=1. a plot of cultivated land. 2. land belonging or yielding revenue to a parish church), with the other they grasped their weapons, ever ready to protect her from danger. No sacrifice, not even their own blood, was esteemed too rich a libation for her altar! God prospered their valor; they preserved her brilliancy unsullied; they enjoyed her whilst they lived, and dying, bequeathed the dear inheritance to your care. And as they left you this glorious legacy, they have undoubtedly transmitted to you some portion of their noble spirit, to inspire you with virtue to merit her, and courage to preserve her: you surely cannot, with such examples before your eyes, as every page of the history of this country affords, suffer your liberties to be ravished from you by lawless force, or cajoled away by flattery and fraud.

The voice of your father’s blood calls from the ground: “My sons, cease to be slaves! In vain we met the frowns of tyrants; in vain we crossed the boisterous ocean, found a new world, and prepared it for the happy residence of Liberty; in vain we fought; in vain we toiled; we bled in vain, if you, our offspring, want valor to repel the assaults of her invaders.”

Stain not the glory of your worthy ancestors; but, like them, resolve never to part with your birthright! Be wise in your deliberations, and determined in your exertions for the preservation of your liberty! Follow not the dictates of passion, but enlist yourselves under the sacred banner of reason. Use every method in your power to secure your rights! At least, prevent the curses of posterity from being heaped upon your memories.

If you, with united zeal and fortitude, oppose the torrent of oppression; if you feel the true fire of patriotism burning in your breasts; if you, from your souls, despise the most gaudy dress that slavery can wear; if you really prefer the lonely cottage (whilst blest with liberty) to gilded palaces, surrounded with the ensigns of slavery, you may have the fullest assurance that tyranny, with her whole accursed train, will hide their hideous heads in confusion, shame, and despair—if you perform your part, you must have the strongest confidence that the same Almighty Being who protected your pious and venerable forefathers—who enabled them to turn a barren wilderness into a fruitful field, who so often made bare his arm for their salvation, will still be mindful of you, their offspring.

May this Almighty Being graciously preside in all our councils. May he direct us to such measures as he himself shall approve, and be pleased to bless. May we ever be a people favored of God. May our land be a land of liberty, the seat of virtue, the asylum of the oppressed, a name and a praise in the whole earth, until the last shock of time shall bury the empires of the world in one common undistinguished ruin!

See also:
NO SLAVE BENEATH THE FLAG by George Lansing Taylor 1835-1903
Corruption In Politics and Society: Corrupters Of America! by John Hancock 1770
THE OATH! By Thomas Buchanan Read 1822-1872
SONG OF THE SOLDIERS! A Poem By Charles G. Halpine 1861-1865
Why our Forefathers firmly believed that Freedom and Liberty came from God 
The Greatest Speech in American History (Give me Liberty or Give me Death)
Christianity and the Founding of the United States the Simple Truth
Constitution of the United States and it’s Governmental Operations (In Plain English)
Founders & forefathers pledged their Sacred Honor, what did they mean?

Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God

When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle. It is not enough in a situation of trust in the commonwealth, that a man means well to his country; it is not enough that in his single person he never did an evil act, but always voted according to his conscience, and even harangued against every design which he apprehended to be prejudicial to the interests of his country. This innoxious and ineffectual character, that seems formed upon a plan of apology and disculpation, falls miserably short of the mark of public duty. That duty demands and requires, that what is right should not only be made known, but made prevalent; that what is evil should not only be detected, but defeated. ~ Edmund Burke

Speaking in 1750 on the anniversary of the death and execution by Cromwell’s Parliament for Constitutional treason of Charles I. Rev. Jonathan Mayhew, a Church of England minister; at Boston’s West Church, affirmed the right of people to resist a tyrannical government. He speaks here to the duty of individual citizens to preserve their rights in the face of despotic rulers. “It is universally better to obey God than Man when the laws of God and Man clash and interfere with one another,” he said in an earlier sermon.

[Excerpt: CHAPTER IV: The New England Historical Conscience – Trevor Colbourn, The Lamp of Experience 1965] Mayhew was probably the most outstanding of New England’s politically minded clerics. A “transcendent genius” according to John Adams, Jonathan Mayhew was an early advocate of “the principles and feelings” for which the Revolution was undertaken. The problems of religion and life were one and the same to Mayhew. At Harvard he wrote in his notebooks that he was determined to discover “the Affairs, Actions and Thoughts of the Living and the Dead, in the most remote Ages and the most distant Nations.” He carefully studied “the Characters and Reign etc of King Charles I” for a better understanding of the origins of the Puritan migration. To this end he studied Whitelocke’s Memorials (“an exquisite scholar”) and read the Memoirs of “honest Ludlow” the regicide. He admired Milton’s account of the English Commonwealth and noted that the rebellion came because “Charles the first had sinned flagrantly and repeatedly” against “the ancient form of Government” in England.

The use to which Mayhew put such studies is best seen in his controversial Discourse Concerning Unlimited Submission, (referred to above) a sermon delivered on the occasion of the centennial anniversary of the execution of Charles I on January 30, 1649/50. Taking vigorous issue with recent Anglican efforts to portray Charles as a martyred monarch, Mayhew began his refutation with some remarks on the antiquity of English liberties. The English constitution, he asserted, “is originally and essentially free.” Roman sources, such as the reliable Tacitus, made it clear that “the ancient Britains … were extremely jealous of their liberties.” England’s monarchs originally held title to their throne “solely by grant of parliament,” which meant the ancient English kings ruled “by the voluntary consent of the people.”

If Mayhew’s history showed him a familiar pre-Norman political utopia in England, it also proved the right of all men “to vindicate their natural and legal rights.” On this principle Tarquin was expelled from ancient Rome; on this principle the conquering and tyrannical Julius Caesar was “cut off in the senate house”; and on this principle Charles I “was beheaded before his own banqueting house,” and James II had to flee from the country “which he aim’d at enslaving.” All men had rights; but Englishmen had a record for maintaining theirs despite the tyrannical efforts of misguided kings like Charles I.

The vigor of Mayhew’s presentation established his political reputation. His sermon was published not only in Boston, but in London as well—in 1752 and again in 1767.  In Boston, John Adams remembered long afterward, Mayhew’s sermon “was read by everybody. Among others who joined the newspaper controversy over Charles I were Mayhew supporters who wrote to the Boston Evening-Post citing Burnet: Charles I “had a high Notion of Regal Power, and thought that every Opposition to it was Rebellion.” The same newspaper also published a definition of a good king: such a monarch “has imprison’d none against the law, granted no Monopolies to the Injury of Trade, collected no Ship-Money, rob’d none of their Religious Liberties … all which … were flagrant in the Tyrannical Reigns of the Steward-Family,” so well known for their “violent Attachment to Popery and Arbitrary Power.”

Mayhew had indeed (as John Adams noted) revived Puritan “animosities against tyranny.” In his Election Sermon before Governor William Shirley in 1754, Mayhew returned to his theme that “loyalty and slavery are not synonymous.” “Monarchical government,” he declared, “has no better foundation in the oracles of God, than any other.” In 1765, with the provocation of the Stamp Act to consider, Mayhew delivered another moving discourse on the virtues of liberty and the iniquity of tyranny. The essence of slavery, he announced, consists in subjection to others—“whether many, few, or but one, it matters not.”

Mayhew’s case against England was essentially conservative. He wanted to preserve the constitutional rights belonging to all Englishmen. During the decade preceding his untimely death in 1766, Mayhew read widely on the legal rights of Englishmen in America. His happy correspondence with Thomas Hollis of Lincoln’s Inn brought a steady stream of handsome history books to his Boston home. Hollis also arranged for his literary friends to send Mayhew their productions. Catherine Macaulay supplied Mayhew with volumes of her History of England; Mayhew read her treatment of the Stuarts “with great pleasure.” As Mayhew exclaimed to Hollis, Mrs. Macaulay wrote “with a Spirit of Liberty, which might shame many great Men (so called) in these days of degeneracy, and tyrannysm and oppression.”

Although this sermon came more than a decade before relations between the colonies and England started to deteriorate in earnest, the principles he describes foretell the basis of the American revolution. His sermon from The Pillars of Priestcraft and Orthodoxy Shaken by Richard Baron, part of the sermon based upon Romans 13 follows…….


[begin excerpt quote] I will add the entire book chapter including all of the sermon when I have the time.

A DISCOURSE CONCERNING UNLIMITED SUBMISSION AND NON-RESISTANCE TO THE HIGHER POWERS: With some Reflections on the Resistance made to King CHARLES I. And On The Anniversary of his Death: In which the Mysterious Doctrine of that Prince’s Saintship and Martyrdom is Unriddled:

The Substance of which was delivered in a Sermon preached in the West Meeting-house in Boston the Lord’s Day after the 30th of January, 1749-50. Published at the Request of the Hearers. By Jonathan Mayhew D. D. Pastor of the West Church in Boston.

Fear GOD, honor the King, ~ Saint Paul

He that ruleth over Men, must be just, ruling in the Fear of GOD. ~ The Prophet Samuel,

I have said ye are Gods.—but ye shall die like Men, and fall like one of the PRINCES.” King David.

Quid memorem infandas caedes, quid facta tyranni effera? di capiti ipsius generique reseruent!  Nec non Threicius longa cum veste sacerdos
Obliquitur— Rom. Vat. Prin

First Printed in Boston, New England in 1750

T’HE ensuing discourse is the last of three upon the same subject, with some little alterations and additions. It is hoped that but few will think the subject of it an improper one to be discoursed on in the pulpit, under a notion that, that is preaching politics, instead of CHRIST. However, to remove all prejudices of this sort, I beg it may be remembered, that “all scripture is profitable for doctrine; for reproof, for CORRECTION, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16) Why, then should not those parts of scripture, which relate to civil government, be examined and explained from the desk, as well as others? Obedience to the civil magistrate, is a christian duty: and if so, why should not the nature, grounds and extent of it be considered in a christian assembly? Besides, if it be said, that it is out of character for a christian minister to meddle with such a subject, this censure will at last fall upon the holy apostles. They write upon it in their epistles to christian churches: and surely it cannot be deemed either criminal or impertinent, to attempt on explanation of their doctrine.

It was the near approach of the Thirtieth of January, that turned my thoughts to this subject: on which solemnity the slavish doctrine of passive obedience and non-resistance, is often warmly asserted, and the dissenters from the established church, represented, net only as schismatics, (with more of triumph than of truth, and of choler than Christianity) but also as persons of seditious, traitorous and rebellious principles—GOD be thanked one. may, in any part of the British dominions, speak freely (if a decent regard be paid to those in authority) both of government and religion; and even give some broad hints, that he is engaged on the side of liberty, the BIBLE and common sense in opposition to tyranny, PRIEST-CRAFT and non-sense, without being in danger either of the Bastile or the Inquisition :—though there will always be some interested politicians, controlled bigots, and hypocritical “zealots for a party, to take offence at such freedoms. Their censure is praise: “Their praise is infamy—A spirit of domination is always to be guarded against both in church and state, even in times of the greatest security; such as the present is amongst US; at least as to the latter. Those nations who are now groaning under the iron scepter of tyranny, were once free. So they might, probably, have remained, by a seasonable precaution against despotic measures. Civil tyranny is usually small in its beginning, like “the drop of a bucket,” (Isaiah 40:15) till at length, like a mighty torrent, or the mighty raging of the sea, it bears down all before it, and deluges whole countries and empires. Thus it is as to ecclesiastical [religious] tyranny also,—the most cruel, intolerable and impious, of any. From small beginnings, “it exalts itself above all that is called GOD and that is worshipped.” (2 Thessalonians 2:4) People have no security against being unmercifully priest-ridden, but by keeping all imperious BISHOPS, and other CLERGYMEN who love to “lord it over God’s heritage” from getting their foot into the stirrup at all. Let them be once fairly mounted, and their “beasts, the laity,” (Mr. Leslie) may prance and flounce about to no purpose; and they “will, at length, be so jaded and hacked by these reverend jockeys, that they will not even have spirits enough to complain, that their backs are galled; or, like Balaam’s ass, to “rebuke the madness of the prophet.” (2 Peter 2:16)

“The mystery of iniquity began to work” (2 Thessalonians 2:7) even in the days of some of the apostles. But the kingdom of Antichrist was then, in one respect, like the kingdom of heaven, however different in all others.—It was “as a grain of mustard seed.” (Matthew 17:20) This grain was sown in Italy, that fruitful field: And tho’ it were “least of all seeds,” it soon became a mighty tree. It has long since overspread and darkened the greatest part of Christendom, so that we may apply to it what is said of the tree which Nebuchadnezzar saw in his vision—”The “heighth thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof the end of all the earth—And THE BEASTS OF THE FIELD have shadow under it.” Tyranny brings ignorance and brutality along with it. It degrades men from their just rank, into the class of brutes. It damps their spirits. It suppresses arts. It extinguishes every spark of noble ardor and generosity in the breasts of those who are enslaved by it. It makes naturally strong and great minds, feeble and little; and triumphs over the ruins of virtue and humanity. This is true of tyranny in every shape, There can be nothing great and good, where its influence reaches. For which reason it becomes every friend to truth and human kind; every lover of God and the christian religion, to bear a part in opposing this hateful monster. It was a desire to contribute a mite towards carrying on a war against this common enemy, that produced the following discourse. And if it serve, in any measure, to keep up a spirit of civil and religious liberty amongst us, my end is answered. There are virtuous and candid men in all sects; all such are to be esteemed: There are also vicious men and bigots in all sects; and all such ought to be despised.

To virtue only, and her friends, a friend;
The world beside may murmur or commend.
Know, all the distant din that world can keep
Rolls o’er my grotto, and but soothes my sleep.” (Pope)

Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.

Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

IT is evident that the affair of civil government may properly fall under a moral and religious consideration, at least so far forth as it relates to the general nature and end of magistracy, and to the grounds and extent of that submission, which persons of a private character ought to yield to those who are vested with authority. This must be allowed by all who acknowledge the divine original of Christianity. For although there be a sense, and a very plain and important sense, in which Christ’s kingdom is not of this world; (John 18:36) his inspired apostles have, nevertheless, laid down some general principles concerning the office of civil rulers, and the duty of subjects, together with the reason and obligation of that duty. And from hence it follows, that it is proper for all who acknowledge the authority of Jesus Christ, and the inspiration of his apostles, to endeavor to understand what is in fact the doctrine which they have delivered concerning this matter. It is the duty of christian magistrates to inform themselves what it is which their religion teaches concerning the nature and design of their office. And it is equally the duty of all christian people to inform themselves what it is which their religion teaches concerning that subjection which they owe to the higher powers. It is for these reasons that I have attempted to examine into the scripture account of this matter, in order to lay it before you with the same freedom which I constantly use with relation to other doctrines and precepts of Christianity; not doubting but you will judge upon every thing offered to your consideration, with the same spirit of wisdom and liberty with which it is spoken.

The passage read, is the most full and express of any in the new-testament, relating to rulers and subjects: and therefore I thought it proper to ground upon it, what I had to propose to you with reference to the authority of the civil magistrate, and the subjection which is due to him. But before I enter upon an explanation of the several parts of this passage, it will be proper to observe one thing, which may serve as a key to the whole of it.

It is to be observed, then, that there were some persons amongst the christians of the apostolic age, and particularly those at Rome, to whom St. Paul is here writing, who seditiously disclaimed all subjection to civil authority; refusing to pay taxes, and the duties laid upon their traffic and merchandize; and who scrupled not to speak of their rulers, without any due regard to their office and character.. Some of these turbulent christians were converts from Judaism, and others from pagonism. The Jews in general had, long before this time, taken up a strange conceit, that being the peculiar and elect people of God, they were therefore exempted from the jurisdiction of any heathen princes or governors. Upon this ground it was, that some of them, during the public ministry of our blessed Savior, came to him with that question—Is it lawful to give tribute unto Cæsar or not? (Matthew 22:17) And this notion many of them retained after they were proselyted to the christian faith. As to the gentile converts,, some of them grossly mistook the nature of that liberty which the gospel promised; and thought that by virtue of their subjection to Christ, the only king and head of his church, they were wholly freed from subjection to any other prince; as though Christ’s kingdom had been of this world, in such a sense as to interfere with the civil powers of the earth, and to deliver their subjects from that allegiance and duty, which they before owed to them. Of these visionary Christians in general, who disowned subjection to the civil powers in being where they respectively lived, there is mention made in several places in the new testament: The Apostle Peter in particular, characterizes them in this manner—them that—despise government— presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. (2 Peter 2:10) Now it is with reference to these doting Christians, that the apostle speaks in the passage before us. And I shall now give you the sense of it in a  paraphrase upon each verse in its order, desiring you to keep in mind the character of the persons for whom it is designed, that so, as I go along, you may see how just and natural this address is; and how well suited to the circumstances of those against whom it is levelled.

The apostle’s doctrine, in the passage thus explained, concerning the office of civil rulers, and the duty of subjects, may be summed up. in the following observations.

That the end of magistracy is the good of civil society, as such:

That civil rulers, as such, are the ordinances and ministers of God; it being by his permission and providence that any bear rule; and agreeable to his will, that there should become persons vested with authority in society, for the well-being of it:

Rulers have no authority from God to do mischief…. It is blasphemy to call tyrants and oppressors God’s minister’s. They are more properly “the messengers of Satan to buffet us.” No rulers are properly God’s ministers but such as are “just, ruling in the fear of God.” When once magistrates act contrary to their office, and the end of their institution–when they rob and ruin the public, instead of being guardians of its peace and welfare–they immediately cease to be the ordinance and ministers of God, and no more deserve that glorious character than common pirates and highwaymen.

If magistrates are unrighteous,…the main end of civil government will be frustrated. And what reason is there for submitting to that government which does by no means answer the design of government? “Wherefore, ye must needs be subject not only for wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.” Here the apostle[Paul] argues the duty of a cheerful and conscientious submission to civil government from the nature and end of magistracy, as he had before laid it down; i.e., as the design of it was to punish devil-doers, and to support and encourage such as do well;…if the motive and argument for submission to government be taken from the apparent usefulness of civil authority–it follows, that when no such good end can be answered by submission, there remains no argument or motive to enforce it;…And therefore, in such cases, a regard to the public welfare ought to make us withhold from our rulers that obedience and submission which it would otherwise be our duty to render to them. If it be our duty, for example, to obey our king merely for this reason, that he rules for the public welfare (which is the only argument the apostle makes use of), it follows, by a parity of reason, that when he turns tyrant, and makes his subjects his prey to devour and destroy, instead of his charge to defend and cherish, we are bound to throw off our allegiance to him, and to resist; and that according to the tenor of the apostle’s argument in this passage. Not to discontinue our allegiance in this case would be to join with the sovereign in promoting the slavery and misery of the society, the welfare of which we ourselves, as well as our sovereign, are indispensably obliged to secure and promote, as far as in us lies. It is true the apostle puts no case of such a tyrannical prince; but, by his grounding his argument for submission wholly upon the good of civil society, it is plain he implicitly authorizes, and even requires us to make resistance, whenever this shall be necessary to the public safety and happiness….

[Objection]: But, then, if unlimited submission and passive obedience to the higher powers, in all possible cases, be not a duty, it will be asked, “How far are we obliged to submit? If we may innocently disobey and resist in some cases, why not in all? Where shall we stop? What is the measure of our duty? This doctrine tends to the total dissolution of civil government, and to introduce such scenes of wild anarchy and confusion as are more fatal to society than the worst of tyranny.”

[Answer]: But…similar difficulties may be raised with respect to almost every duty of natural and revealed religion. To instance only in tow, both of which are near akin, and indeed exactly parallel to the case before us: It is unquestionably the duty of children to submit to their parents, an of servant to their master; but no one asserts that it is their duty to obey and submit to them in all supposable cases, or universally a sin to resist them. Now, does this tend to subvert the just authority of parents and masters, or to introduce confusion and anarchy into private families? No. How, then, does the same principle tend to unhinge the government of that larger family the body politic?…Now, there is at least as much difficulty in stating the measure of duty in these two cases as in the case of rulers and subjects; so that this is really no objection–at least, no reasonable one against resistance to the higher powers. Or, if it is one, it will hold equally against resistance in the other cases mentioned.

We may very safely assert these two things in general, without undermining government: One is, that no civil rulers are to be obeyed when they enjoin things that are inconsistent with the commands of God. All such disobedience is lawful and glorious;…All commands running counter to the declared will of the Supreme Legislator of heaven and earth are null and void, and therefore disobedience to duty, not a crime. Another thing that may be asserted with equal truth and safety is, that no law is to be submitted to, at the expense of; which is the sole end of all government–the good and safety of society….

[Qualifications:] Now, as all men are fallible, it cannot be supposed affairs of any state should be always in the best manner possible, even by greatest wisdom and integrity. Nor is it sufficient to legitimate disobedience to the higher powers that they are not so administered, or that they are in some instances very ill-managed; for, upon this principle, it is scarcely supposable than any government at all could be supported, or subsist. Such a principle manifestly tends to the dissolution of government, and to throw all things into confusion, and anarchy. But is equally evidenced, that those in authority may abuse their power to such a degree, that neither the law of reason, nor of religion requires that any obedience or submission should be paid to them; but, on the contrary, that they should be totally discarded, the authority which they were before vested transferred to others, who may exercise it to those good purposes for which it is given. Nor is this principle, that resistance to the higher power is in some extraordinary cases justifiable, so liable to abuse as many persons seem to apprehend it…. Mankind in general have a disposition to be as submissive and passive and tame under government as they ought to be…. ‘While those who govern do it with any tolerable degree of moderation and justice, and in any good measure act up to their office and character by being public benefactors, the people will generally be easy and peaceable, and be rather inclined to flatter and adore than to insult and resisting People know for what end they set up and maintain their governors, and they are the proper judges when the execute their trust as they ought to do it…. Till people find themselves greatly abused and oppressed by their governors, they are not apt to complain; and whenever they do, in fact, find themselves thus abused and oppressed, they must be stupid not to complain. To say that subjects in general are not the proper judges when their governors oppress them and play the tyrant, and when the defend their rights, administer justice impartially, and promote the public welfare, is as great treason as ever man uttered. It is treason, not against one single man, but the state against the whole body politic; it is treason against mankind, it is treason against common sense, it is treason against God….

[End Quote]

“There is a day coming when proud tyrants will be punished, not only for the cruelties they have been guilty of, but for employing those about them in their cruelties, and so exposing them to the judgments of God.”
Rev. Matthew Henry

Advice to Young People from Noah Webster Father of American Education


See also The Wisdom and Love of God as Shown by His Creation by Noah Webster
Constitution of the United States and it’s Governmental Operations (In Plain English anyone can understand)

1. My young friends, the first years of your life are to be employed in learning those things which are to make you good citizens, useful members of society, and candidates for a happy state in another world. Among the first things you are to learn are your duties to your parents. These duties are commanded by God, and are necessary to your happiness in this life. The commands of God. are, “Honor thy father and thy mother.”—”Children, obey your parents in all things.” These commands are binding on all children; they cannot be neglected without sin. Whatever God has commanded us to do, we must perform, without calling in question the propriety of the command. ,

2. But the reasonableness of this command to obey parents is clear and easily understood by children, even when quite young. Parents are the natural guardians of their children. It is their duty to feed, clothe,protect, and educate them; and for these purposes it is proper and necessary that parents should have authority to direct their actions. Parents’ therefore are bound by duty and by right to govern their children; but the exercise of this right is to be regulated by affection. Parents have implanted in them a tender love for their offspring, which induces them to exercise authority over them with kindness.

3. It is proper that parents should be intrusted with the instruction of children, because children have every thing to learn, and parents are older, and have gained a knowledge of what their children want to know. Parents have learned what is right, and what is wrong; what is duty, and what is sin; what is useful, and what is hurtful to children and to men. And as children pass the first years of their life with their parents, they may be continually learning from their parents what is necessary or useful in the concerns of life.

4. It is not only proper that children should obey their parents, but their obedience should be prompt and cheerful. A slow, reluctant obedience, and that which is accompanied with murmurings,is not acceptable to parents, nor to God. A sense of duty should make a child free and ready to comply with a parent’s command; and this will always be the case where the child entertains a due respect for his parents. Love and respect render obedience easy and cheerful, and a willing obedience increases the confidence of parents in their children, and strengthens their attachment to them. But a cold and unwilling obedience, with a murmuring disposition, alienates affection, and inclines the parent to rigor and severity in the exercise of his authority.

5. Hence it is a primary duty of children, and as much their interest as it is their duty to”Honor their father and their mother.” This honor not only forbids the child to disobey his parents, but it forbids all rudeness and ill manners towards them. Children should manifest their respect for their parents in all their actions. They should be modest and respectful in their company, never interrupting them in conversation, nor boldly contradicting them: they should address them as superiors, and yield to their opinions and admonitions. This subordination of children to their parents, is the foundation of peace in families; contributes to foster those kindly dispositions, both in parents and children, which are the sources of domestic happiness, and which extend their influence to all social relations in subsequent periods of life.

6. Among the first and most important truths which you are to learn, are those which relate to God and religion. As soon as your minds become capable of reasoning, or excited by curiosity to know the causes of things, you will naturally inquire who made the world, who made you, and why were you made? You will understand, by a moment’s thought, that the things around you cannot have made themselves. You will be convinced that a stone or a mass of earth cannot have made itself, as it has no power in itself to act or move; it must then have had a creator, some being that had power to act or move, and to bring the stone into existence.

7. You observe that plants and trees grow, but they do not grow in winter, when it is cold; some degree of heat is necessary to their growth. You conclude then that wood and vegetable matter in itself has not the power of growth or increase. You see various animals, as dogs, and horses, but you know that they cannot create themselves; the first animal of every kind must then have had a creator, distinct from the animal himself. You see houses, and barns, and ships, but you know that they did not make themselves; you know they are made by men. You know also that you did not create yourselves; you began to exist at a time which you cannot remember, and in a manner of which you have no knowledge.

8. From such familiar observations and reflections, children may be convinced, with absolute certainty, that there must be a being who has been the creator of all the things which they see. Now when you think that of all the substances about you, not one can have been its own creator, and when you see the vast multitude of things, their variety, their size, their curious forms and structures, you will at once conclude that the Being who could make such things must possess immense power, altogether superior to the power of any being that you see on the earth. You will then be led to inquire who is this Being, and where is he.

9. Here not only children, but the wisest philosophers are brought to a stand. We are compelled to believe that there is a Being of vast and unlimited power, who has created whatever we see; but who he is, or where he is, we cannot know by our own observation or reason. As we cannot see this Being, we cannot, by the help of reason, know anything of his manner of existence, or of his power, except what we learn from his works, or from revelation. If we had been left to gather all our knowledge of the creator from his works, our knowledge of him must have been very imperfect. But the creator has not left mankind in ignorance on this subject. He has graciously revealed his character to man; and his revelations are recorded in a book, which by way of eminence, is called the Bible.

10. From the Bible we learn that God is a Spirit; hence we cannot see him. Spirit is not visible to human eyes. Yet we need not wonder that a substance which is invisible should possess amazing power. We cannot see the air or wind; yet we know by observation, that this fine, subtil fluid is a substance that supports our life, and when in rapid motion, it has immense force. We conclude then that a Being, consisting of pure spirit, may possess all the power necessary to the formation of the sun, moon, and stars, and every thing that we can see or feel. This great Being, in our language, is called God. He is a spirit that extends through the universe.

11. The scriptures inform us that God is not only all-powerful, but all-wise: and his wisdom is displayed in the admirable structure of whatever he has made; in the adaptation of every thing to its proper uses; in the exact order and beautiful arrangement and harmony of all parts of creation. The scriptures inform us also that God is a benevolent Being. “God is love,” and we have abundant evidence of this truth in the works of creation. God has not only made men and animals to inhabit the earth, but he has furnished the earth with every thing that is necessary for their support and welfare. The earth is stocked with plants, which are food for animals of various kinds, as well as for man; and plants and animals furnish man with food and clothing and shelter from the inclemency of the weather. The sea and rivers and lakes are also stocked with animals that supply food and other conveniences for man. The earth contains inexhaustible stores for supplying the wants and desires of living creatures.

12. We learn also from the Bible that God is a holy Being; that is, he is perfectly free from any sinful attributes or dispositions. If God was a wicked or malevolent Being, he would have contrived and formed every thing on earth to make his creatures miserable. Instead of this, we know from observation as well as experience, he has made every thing for their comfort and happiness. Having learned from the scriptures and from the works of creation, the character of God, and that he is your creator; the next inquiry is, in what relation do you stand to your maker, and what is his will respecting your conduct.

13. The first and most important point to be decided in your minds is that God is your Supreme or Sovereign Ruler. On this point, there can be no room for doubt; for nothing can be more evident than that the Being who creates another, has a perfect, indisputable right to govern him. God has then a complete right to direct all the actions of the beings he has made. To the lower animals God has given certain propensities, called instincts, which lead them to the means of their own subsistence and safety.

14. Man is a being of a higher order; he is furnished with understanding or intellect, and with powers of reason, by which he is able to understand what God requires of him, and to judge of what is right and wrong. These faculties are the attributes of the soul, or spiritual part of man, which constitutes him a moral being, and exalts him; to a rank in creation much superior to that of any other creature on earth.

15. Being satisfied that God is your creator and rightful governor, the next inquiry is, what is his will concerning you; for what purpose did he make you and endow you with reason? A wise being would not have made you without a wise purpose. It is very certain then that God requires you to perform some duties, and fill some useful station among other beings.

16. The next inquiry then is, what you are to do and what you are to forbear, in order to act the part which your maker has assigned to you in the world. This you cannot know with certainty without the help of revelation. But here you are not left without the means of knowledge; for God has revealed his will, and has given commands for the regulation of your conduct.

17. The Bible contains the commands of God; that book is full of rules to direct your conduct on earth; and from that book you may obtain all you want to know, respecting your relation to God, and to your fellow men, and respecting the duties which these relations require you to perform. Your duties are comprised in two classes; one including such as are to be performed directly to God himself; the other, those which are to be performed directly to your fellow men.

18. The first and great command is, to love the Lord your God with all the heart and soul and mind and strength. This supreme love to God is the first, the great, the indispensable duty of every rational being. Without this no person can yield acceptable obedience to his maker. The reasonableness of this command is obvious. God is a Being of perfect excellence, and the only being of which we have any knowledge, who possesses this character. Goodness or holiness is the only source of real happiness; it is therefore necessary to be holy in order to be happy. As the character of God is the only perfect model of holiness, it follows that all God’s creatures who are intended to be happy, must have the like character. But men will not aim to possess the character of holiness, unless they love it as the chief good. Hence the necessity of loving God with supreme affection.

19. Sin is the source of all evil. If sin was admitted into heaven, it would disturb the happiness of the celestial abode. Hence God has determined that no sinner shall be admitted into heaven. Before men can be received there, they must be purified from sin and sinful propensities. As this world is a state in which men are prepared for heaven, if prepared at all, it is indispensable that while they are in this world, they must be purified in heart, their evil affections must be subdued, and their prevailing dispositions must be holy. Thus when they are sanctified, and supreme love to God rules in their heart, they become qualified for the enjoyment of bliss with God and other holy beings.

20. It is true that, in this world, men do not become perfectly holy; but God has provided a Redeemer whose example on earth was a perfect model of holy obedience to God’s law, which example men are to imitate as far as they are able; and God accepts the penitent sinner’s cordial faith in Christ, accompanied with sincere repentance, and humble submission and obedience to his commands, in the place of perfect holiness of character.

21. The duties which you owe directly to God are entire, unwavering faith in his promises, reverence of his character, and frequent prayer and worship. Unbelief is a great sin, and so is profaneness, irreverence, contempt of his character and laws, neglect of prayer and of worship, public and private. All worship of images and saints, is an abomination to God; it is idolatry, which is strictly forbidden in the Bible; and all undue attachment to the pleasures, the amusements, and honors of the world, is a species of idolatry.

22. The second class of duties comprehends all such as you are bound to perform to your fellow men. These duties are very numerous, and require to be studied with care. The general law on this subject is prescribed by Christ in these words, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” You are bound to do that to others which you desire them to do to you. This law includes all the duties of respect to superiors, and of justice and kindness to all men.

23. It has already been stated to you, that you are to obey your parents; and although obedience to other superiors may not always be required of you, yet you are bound to yield them due honor and respect in all the concerns of life. Nothing can be more improper than a neglect or violation of this respect. It is a beautiful anecdote, recorded of the Spartan youth, that in a public meeting, young persons rose from their seats when a venerable old man entered the assembly. It makes no difference whether the aged man is an acquaintance or a stranger; whoever he may be, always give him the precedence. In public places, and at public tables, it is extreme rudeness and ill manners for the young to thrust themselves into the highest and best seats.

24. The law of kindness extends also to the treatment of equals. Civility requires that to them all persons should give a preference; and if they do not accept it, the offer always manifests good breeding, and wins affection. Never claim too much; modesty will usually gain more than is demanded; but arrogance will gain less. Modest unassuming manners conciliate esteem; bold obtrusive manners excite resentment or disgust.

25. As mankind are all one family, the rule of loving our neighbor as ourselves extends to the performance of all duties of kindness to persons of all nations and all conditions of men. Persons of all nations, of all ranks and conditions, high and low, rich and poor, and of all sects or denominations, are our brethren, and our neighbors in the sense which Christ intended to use the word in his precept. This comprehensive rule of duty cannot be limited by any acts of our own. Any private association of men for the purpose of contracting the rule, and confining our benevolence to such associations, is a violation of the divine commands. Christ healed the sick and the lame, without any regard to the nation or sect to which they belonged.

26. One of the most important rules of social conduct is justice. This consists positively in rendering to every person what is due to him, and negatively, in avoiding every thing that may impair his rights. Justice embraces the rights of property, the rights of personal liberty and safety, and the rights of character.

27. In regard to property, you are to pay punctually all your just debts. When a debt becomes payable to another, you cannot withhold or delay payment without a violation of his right. By failure or delay of payment, you keep that which belongs to another. But the rule of justice extends to every act which can affect the property of another. If you borrow any article of your neighbor, you are to use it with care and not injure the value of it. If you borrow a book or any utensil, and injure it, you take a portion of your neighbor’s property. Yet heedless people who would not steal twenty-five cents from another, often think nothing of injuring a borrowed utensil, to twice or five times that amount.

28. In like manner, one who takes a lease of a house or land, is bound to use it in such a manner as to injure it as little as possible. Yet how often do the lessees of real estate strive to gain as much as possible from the use of it, while they suffer the buildings and fences to go to ruin, to the great injury of the owner! This is one of the most common species of immorality. But all needless waste, and all diminution of the value of property in the hands of a lessee, proceeding from negligence, amounts to the same thing as the taking of so much of the owner’s property without right. It is not considered as stealing, but it is a species of fraud that is as really immoral as stealing.

29. The command of God,”Thou shalt not steal,” is very comprehensive, extending to the prohibition of every species of fraud. Stealing is the taking of something from the possession of another clandestinely for one’s own use. This may be done by entering the house of another at night, and taking his property; or by taking goods from a shop secretly, or by entering upon another’s land and taking his horse or his sheep. These customary modes of stealing are punishable by law.

30. But there are many other ways of taking other men’s property secretly, which are not so liable to be detected. If a stone is put into a bag of cotton intended for a distant market, it increases the weight, and the purchaser of that bag who pays for it at its weight, buys a stone instead of its weight in cotton. In this case, the man who first sells the bag, knowing it to contain a stone, takes from the purchaser by fraud as much money as the weight of the stone produces, that is, as much as the same weight of cotton is worth. This is as criminal as it would be to enter his house and steal so much money.

31. If butter or lard is put up for a foreign or distant market, it should be put up in a good state, and the real quality should be such as it appears to be. If any deception is practiced, by covering that which is bad by that which is good, or by other means, all the price of the article which it brings beyond the real worth, is so much money taken from the purchaser by fraud, which falls within the criminality of stealing. If a buyer of the article in Europe or the West Indies is thus defrauded, he may never be able to know who has done the wrong; but God knows, and will punish the wrong doer. It is as immoral to cheat a foreigner as to cheat a neighbor.

32. Not only property in money and goods is to be respected; but the property in fruit growing in orchards and gardens. A man’s apples, pears, peaches, and melons, are as entirely his own, as his goods or his coin. Every person who climbs over a fence, or enters by a gate into another’s inclosure without permission, is a trespasser; and if he takes fruit secretly, he is a thief. It makes no difference that a pear or an apple or a melon is of small value; a man has as exclusive a right to a cent or a melon as he has to a dollar,a dime or an eagle.

33. If in a country where apples are abundant, men do not notice the taking of a few apples to eat, yet this indulgence is not to be considered as giving a right to take them. Where the injury is trifling, men in neighborhoods may do such things by consent. But there are many species of fruit so rare as to be cultivated with much labor and protected with care. Such fruit is often valued even more than money. The stealing of such fruit is one of the most common crimes, and as disgraceful to a civilized and Christian people as it is common. Let every man or boy who enters another’s inclosure and steals fruit, be assured he is as guilty as one who enters another’s house and takes the same value in money.

34. If in making payment or counting money, a mistake occurs by which a sum falls into your hands, which belongs to another person, you are as much bound by moral duty to correct the mistake and restore the money to the rightful owner, as you would be not to take it by theft. If persons suppose that because this money falls into their hands by mistake, and the mistake may never be known to the person who has a right to the money; this makes no difference in the point of morality; the concealment of the mistake and the keeping of the money are dishonest, and fall within the command “Thou shall not steal.”

35. When a man is hired to work for another by the day, the week, or the month, he is bound to perform what he undertakes; and if no particular amount of labor is promised, he is bound to do the work which is ordinarily done in such cases. If a man hired to do a day’s work spends half the day in idleness, he defrauds his employer of a part of his due; that is, of one half the value of a day’s labor. If the price of labor is one dollar for the day, then to waste half the day in idleness is to defraud the employer of half a dollar; this is as dishonest as to take half a dollar from his chest.

36. When a mechanic contracts to build a house or a ship, he is bound to perform the work in the manner which is promised. If he performs the work slightly, and with workmanship inferior to that which is promised and understood at the time of contracting, he defrauds his employer. Neglect of duty, in such a case, is as essentially immoral as the positive act of taking property from another without his consent.

37. The adulteration of liquors and drugs is extremely criminal. By adulteration, the value of a thing is diminished; and if an adulterated liquor or drug is sold for that which is genuine, a fraud is committed on the purchaser. The adulteration of wines is one of the most common and flagrant immoralities in commercial countries. The adulteration of drugs may be even more iniquitous, for then the physician cannot rely on their effects in healing the sick. All classes of people, but especially the common people, are continually subjected to frauds by such adulterations. A glass of genuine unadulterated wine is scarcely to be found, and foul mixtures are often used as medicines, for no pure wine is to be had in the neighborhood.

33. Tho modes used to defraud men in the kind or in the quantity or quality of commodities offered for sale, are almost innumerable. They extend to almost every thing in which fraud is not easily detected. This is a melancholy picture of the state of society; exhibiting unequivocal evidence of the depravity of men. It shows that the love of money is the root of all evil—a principle so powerful in the human heart as to overcome all regard to truth, morality, and reputation.

39. In all your dealings with men, let a strict regard to veracity and justice govern all your actions. Uprightness in dealings secures confidence, and the confidence of our fellow men is the basis of reputation, and often a source of prosperity. Men are always ready to assist those whom they can trust; and a good character in men of business often raises them to wealth and distinction. On the other hand, hypocrisy, trickishness, and want of punctuality and of fairness in trade, often sink men into meanness and poverty. Hence we see that the divine commands, which require men to be just, are adapted to advance their temporal as well as their spiritual interest.

40. Not only are theft and fraud of all kinds forbidden by the laws of God and man, but all kinds of injury or annoyance of the peace, security, rights, and prosperity of men. The practice of boys and of men, who do mischief for sport, is as wrong in morality as it is degrading to the character. To pull down or deface a sign-board; to break or deface a mile-stone; to cut and disfigure benches or tables, in a school house, court house, or church; to place obstacles in the highway; to pull down or injure fences; to tarmsli the walls of houses or the boards of a fence, and similar tricks that injure property or disturb the peace of society, are not only mean but immoral. Why will rational beings indulge in such feats of mischief and folly? Men are not made to injure and annoy one another, but to assist them; not to do harm, but to do good; not to lessen, but to increase the prosperity and enjoyments of their fellow men.

41. But you are required to be just not only to the property, but to the reputation of others. A man’s reputation is dearer to him than his property, and he that detracts from the good name of another is as criminal as the thief who takes his property. Say nothing of your neighbor maliciously, nor spread reports about him to lessen his reputation. On the other hand, vindicate his conduct in all cases when you can do it with a clear conscience. If you cannot defend it, remain silent.

42. Nor are you to be less careful of the rights of others, than of their reputation and property. By the laws of creation, and by our civil constitution, all men have equal rights to protection, to liberty, and to the free enjoyment of all the benefits and privileges of government. All secret attempts, by associations, or otherwise, to give to one set of men or one party advantages over another, are mean, dishonorable, and immoral. All secret combinations of men to gain for themselves or their party advantages in preferments to office, are trespasses upon the rights of others.

43. In every condition of life, and in forming your opinions on every subject, let it be an established principle in regulating your conduct, that nothing can be honorable which is morally wrong. Men who disregard or disbelieve revelation often err from the true standard of honor, by substituting public opinion or false maxims for the divine laws. The character of God, his holy attributes, and perfect law, constitute the only models and rules of excellence and true honor. Whatever deviates from these models and rules must be wrong, and dishonorable. Crime and vice are therefore not only repugnant to duty, and to human happiness; but are always derogatory to reputation. All vice implies defect and meanness in human character.

44. In whatever laudable occupation you are destined to labor, be steady in an industrious application of time. Time is given to you for employment, not for waste. Most men are obliged to labor for subsistence; and this is a happy arrangement of things by divine appointment; as labor is one of the best preservatives both of health and of moral habits. But if you are not under the necessity of laboring for subsistence, let your time be occupied in something which shall do good to yourselves and your fellow men. Idleness tends to lead men into vicious pleasures; and to waste time is to abuse the gifts of God.

45. With most persons, the gaining of property is a primary object, and one which demands wisdom in planning business, and assiduous care, attention, and industry in conducting it. But it is perhaps more difficult to keep property than to gain it; as men while acquiring property are more economical and make more careful calculations of profit and loss, than when they hold large possessions. Men who inherit large possessions are particularly liable to waste their property, and fall into poverty. The greatest hereditary estates in this country are usually dissipated by the second or third generation. The sons and grandsons of the richest men are often hewers of wood and drawers of water to the sons and grandsons of their father’s and grandfather’s servants.

46. As a general rule in the expenditure of money, it is safest to earn money before you spend it, and to spend every year less than you earn. By this means, you will secure a comfortable subsistence, and be enabled to establish your children in some honest calling; at the same time, this practice will furnish the means of contributing to the wants of the poor, and to the promotion of institutions for civilizing and Christianizing heathen nations. This is a great and indispensable duty. ..

47. In your mode of living, be not ambitious of adopting every extravagant fashion. Many fashions are not only inconvenient and expensive, but inconsistent with good taste. The love of finery is of savage origin; the rude inhabitant of the forest delights to deck his person with pieces of shining metal, with painted feathers, and with some appendage dangling from the ears or nose. The same love of finery infects civilized men and women, more or less in every country, and the body is adorned with brilliant gems and gaudy attire. But true taste demands great simplicity of dress. A well made person is one of the most beautiful of all God’s works, and a simple, neat dress, displays this person to the best advantage.

48. In all sensual indulgences be temperate. God has given to men all good things for use and enjoyment; but enjoyment consists in using food and drink only for the nourishment and sustenance of the body, and all amusements and indulgences should be in moderation. Excess never affords enjoyment; but always brings inconvenience, pain, or disease. In selecting food and drink, take such as best support the healthy functions of the body, avoid as much as possible the stimulus of high-seasoned food; and reject the use of ardent spirits, as the most injurious and most fatal poison.

49. When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers, just men who will rule in the fear of God. The preservation of a republican government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty; if the citizens neglect their duty, and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good, so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizens will be violated or disregarded. If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws. Intriguing men can never be safely trusted.

50. To young men I would recommend that their treatment of females should be always characterized by kindness, delicacy and respect. The tender sex look to men for protection and support. Females when properly educated and devoted to their appropriate duties, are qualified to add greatly to the happiness of society, and of domestic life. Endowed with finer sensibilities than men, they are quick to learn and to practice the civilities and courtesies of life; their reputation requires the nice observance of the rules of decorum; and their presence and example impose most salutary restraints on the ruder passions and less polished manners of the other sex. In the circle of domestic duties, they are cheerful companions of their husbands; they give grace and joy to prosperity; consolation and support to adversity. When we see an affectionate wife devoted to her domestic duties, cheering her husband with smiles, and as a mother, carefully tending and anxiously guarding her children and forming their minds to virtue and to piety; or watching with conjugal or maternal tenderness over the bed of sickness; we cannot fail to number among the chief temporal advantages of Christianity, the elevation of the female character. Let justice then be done to their merits; guard their purity; defend their honor; treat them with tenderness and respect.

51. For a knowledge of the human heart, and the characters of men, it is customary to resort to the writings of Shakspeare, and of other dramatic authors, and to biography, novels, tales, and fictitious narratives. But whatever amusement may be derived from such writings, they are not the best authorities for a knowledge of mankind. The most perfect maxims and examples for regulating your social conduct and domestic economy, as well as the best rules of morality and religion, are to be found in the Bible. The history of the Jews presents the true character of man in all its forms. All the traits of human character, good and bad; all the passions of the human heart; all the principles which guide and misguide men in society, are depicted in that short history, with an artless simplicity that has no parallel in modern writings. As to maxims of wisdom or prudence, the Proverbs of Solomon furnish a complete system, and sufficient, if carefully observed, to make any man wise, prosperous, and happy. The observation, that “a soft answer turneth away wrath,” if strictly observed by men, would prevent half the broils and contentions that inflict wretchedness on society and families.

52. Let your first care through life, be directed to support and extend the influence of the Christian religion, and the observance of the sabbath. This is the only system of religion which has ever been offered to the consideration and acceptance of men, which has even probable evidence of a divine original; it is the only religion that honors the character and moral government of the Supreme Being; it is the only religion which gives even a probable account of the origin of the world, and of the dispensations of God towards mankind; it is the only religion which teaches the character and laws of God, with our relations and our duties to him; it is the only religion which assures us of an immortal existence; which offers the means of everlasting salvation, and consoles mankind under the inevitable calamities of the present life.

53. But were we assured that there is to be no future life, and that men are to perish at death like the beasts of the field; the moral principles and precepts contained in the scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. These principles and precepts have truth, immutable truth, for their foundation; and they are adapted to the wants of men in every condition of life. They are the best principles and precepts, because they are exactly adapted to secure the practice of universal justice and kindness among men; and of course to prevent crimes, war, and disorders in society. No human laws dictated by different principles from those in the gospel, can ever secure these objects. All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.

54. As the means of temporal happiness, then, the Christian religion ought to be received, and maintained with firm and cordial support. It is the real source of all genuine republican principles. It teaches the equality of men as to rights and duties; and while it forbids all oppression, it commands due subordination to law and rulers. It requires the young to yield obedience to their parents, and enjoins upon men the duty of selecting their rulers from their fellow citizens of mature age, sound wisdom, and real religion—”men who fear God and hate covetousness.” The ecclesiastical establishments of Europe, which serve to support tyrannical governments, are not the Christian religion, but abuses and corruptions of it. The religion of Christ and his apostles, in its primitive simplicity and purity, unencumbered with the trappings of power and the pomp of ceremonies, is the surest basis of a republican government.

55. Never cease then to give to religion, to its institutions, and to its ministers, your strenuous support. The clergy in this country are not possessed of rank and wealth; they depend for their influence on their talents and learning, on their private virtues and public service. They are the firm supporters of law and good order, the friends of peace, the expounders and teachers of Christian doctrines, the instructors of youth, the promoters of benevolence, of charity, and of all useful improvements. During the war of the revolution, the clergy were generally friendly to the cause of the country. The present generation can hardly have a tolerable idea of the influence of the New England clergy, in sustaining the patriotic exertions of the people,under the appalling discouragements of the war. The writer remembers their good offices with gratitude. Those men therefore who attempt to impair the influence of that respectable order, in this country, attempt to undermine the best supports of religion; and those who destroy the influence and authority of the christian religion, sap the foundations of public order, of liberty and of republican government.

56. For instruction then in social, religious, and civil duties, resort to the scriptures for the best precepts and most excellent examples for imitation. The example of unhesitating faith and obedience in Abraham, when he promptly prepared to offer his son Isaac, as a burnt offering, at the command of God, is a perfect model of that trust in God which becomes dependent beings. The history of Joseph furnishes one of the most charming examples of fraternal affection, and of filial duty and respect for a venerable father, ever exhibited in human life. Christ and his apostles presented, in their lives, the most perfect example of disinterested benevolence, unaffected kindness, humility, patience in adversity, forgiveness of injuries, love to God and to all mankind. If men would universally cultivate these religious affections and virtuous dispositions, with as much diligence as they cultivate human science and refinement of manners, the world would soon become a terrestrial paradise.

See other articles on history:

The Failure of Marxism and Socialism

The Doctrine of Fascism, Fascism Defined by Benito Mussolini

Non Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of Jesus Christ by Johannes von Müller

Non-Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of the World With Biblical References Part 1

Christianity and the Founding of the United States

History of the Battle of King’s Mountain and it’s Heroes: Part I 1765 to May, 1780

American Statesman: Tribute to President George Washington Part 1

Constitution of the United States and it’s Governmental Operations (In Plain English)

Constitution of the United States and the operations of the government. by Noah Webster 1832 in his History of the United States (In plain English anyone can understand, even Barack Obama and Members of Congress)



558. Different forms of Government. In Asia the governments are all despotic; whole nations being subject to the arbitrary will of one man, under the denomination of Emperor, Sultan, King, Nabob or other title. In Europe, some nations are governed by the absolute sway of Emperors or kings; some are subject to a body of nobles; others are subjects of forms of government of a mixed character, consisting of a King, of nobles and representatives of the people. When the sole power of making laws is in the hands of one person, the government is called a monarchy, or an empire; the chief is called a monarch, emperor or autocrat; and the government is arbitrary or despotic. When the powers of government all center in a body of nobles, it is called an aristocracy, or oligarchy. The government of England is a mixed form, consisting of a King, lords and commons.

559. Republican Government. These United States present the first example, in modern times, of a government founded on its legitimate principles. By the laws of nature, reason, and religion, all men are born with equal rights. Every person is equally entitled to the protection of his person, his liberty, and his property; and of course is entitled to have a voice in forming the government by which this protection is to be secured. In this country, the people all enjoy these inestimable rights and privileges; and the constitution of the United States, formed by the delegates of the people, and ratified by the people represented in conventions, guaranties to them the enjoyment of their rights. This constitution is truly republican, and forms a splendid era in the history of man.

560. Distribution of the powers of government. In the constitution of the United States, as in most of those of the several states, the government is divided into three branches, a House of Representatives, a Senate, and a President, or executive power. The House of Representatives and the Senate form the legislative power, or power of enacting laws. The president is the chief magistrate, in whom is vested the power of executing the laws; that is, the power of enforcing them, or carrying them into effect. The reasons why the legislative power is vested in two branches or houses, are, that there may be a more full discussion of bills or proposed laws, for the purpose of ample deliberation, and a clear understanding of their nature and tendency; and also that one house may check, if necessary, any hasty or partial measures proposed by the other. The two houses are called the Congress of the United States.

561. Article I. The House of Representatives is composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states. The citizens who have the right of choosing, are called electors; and to be electors, they must have the qualifications which entitle citizens to vote for representatives in the several states; such as suitable age and character, and in some states, property. A representative in Congress must be twenty-five years of age, and have been seven years a citizen of the United States; and at his election, must be a citizen of the state in which he is chosen. The reasons are obvious. The age of twenty-five years is necessary to prevent young men, not mature in judgment, from being elected to one of the most important offices in government: and a man cannot represent a state, unless he is an inhabitant.

562. Apportionment of Representatives. The number of representatives in each state is according to the number of its free persons, and three fifths of all other persons, Indians not taxed being excluded. For the purpose of ascertaining the number of persons, a census or enumeration of inhabitants is taken every ten years; and Congress by law determine the number of inhabitants which entitles to a representative. This number is enlarged every ten years, to prevent the House of Representatives from being too numerous. The house establishes rules of proceeding in conducting debates, and elects a speaker, who presides for keeping order, and enforcing the rules.

563. Senate. The Senate of the United States is composed of two senators from each state, chosen by its legislature for six years, and each senator has one vote. The senators are divided into three classes, and one class or third go out of office every two years, and the vacancies are supplied by new appointments. A senator must be thirty years of age and an inhabitant of the state, and he must have been a citizen of the United States nine years, at the time of his appointment. The Vice President of the United States is president of the Senate, and has no vote, except when the votes of the Senate are equally divided. The smallest states have two senators, and the largest have no more; the senators being considered as representatives of the states, rather than of the people.

564. Distinct powers of the two houses. The House of Representatives has the sole right of impeachment, that is, the right or power to accuse officers of the government for maladministration, or for crimes, offenses, or neglect of duty in their offices. The Senate has the sole right and power to try offenders impeached. Each House is the judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its own members; each determines the rules of its proceedings, and punishes or expels its own members for disorderly conduct. Senators and representatives receive a compensation for their services which is ascertained by law. They are privileged from arrest, except for treason, felony, or breach of the peace, during their attendance in the session, and in going to and returning from the same. Officers of government cannot hold a seat in either house.

565. Money Bills. All bills for raising a revenue must originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments to such bills, as in other cases. This restriction in regard to the raising of money, is founded on the principle that the House of Representatives is strictly the representation of the people, and is intended to prevent undue appropriation of money, which might be made by a house less dependent on the people. In Great Britain the right of originating money-bills is solely in the House of Commons; but for stronger reasons, as the House of Lords is a body wholly independent of the people, by hereditary right or royal grant of title.

566. Mode of passing bills. Bills, when presented to either house, must be read three times. On the first reading, no debate is had, but a vote is taken for a second reading; and on this reading, the bill, if opposed, is discussed, and then by vote is passed to a third reading, or rejected. Three readings,and regularly on different days, are required, and then, if not rejected, the bill passes to be engrossed. It is then engrossed on parchment, and passed to be enacted. The bill is then presented to the President of the United States, whose signature completes the act, and the bill becomes a law. But if the President objects to it, he returns the bill to the house in which it originated, with his objections in writing; and the bill is reconsidered. If on reconsideration, two thirds of the members are in favor of it, it becomes a law; if not, it dies.

567. Powers of Congress. The powers of Congress are specified in the constitution. They extend to the general concerns of the United States; leaving to the several states the right of making laws respecting their own local interests. The Congress can lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, pay the debts, and provide for the defense and welfare of the United States; but all such duties must be uniform throughout the United States. Congress can borrow money, regulate commerce, coin money, establish post-offices and post roads, institute courts, declare war, raise and support armies, provide a navy, organize the militia, secure to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their writings and discoveries for a limited time, and punish crimes or a violation of their laws.

568. Restrictions of power. Congress cannot pass any ex post facto law, that is, they cannot pass a law to punish a crime after it has been committed; they cannot lay a direct tax, unless in proportion to the census or number of inhabitants; they cannot lay any tax or duty on exports, nor give any advantage to one state over another in commercial regulations; no money can be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of an appropriation by law; no title of nobility can be granted, nor can any officer of the government accept any present, emolument, office or title, from any King, prince or foreign state. No state can enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation; grant letters of marque and reprisal, coin money, emit bills of credit, make any thing except gold and silver a tender in payment of debts, or pass any law impairing the obligation of contracts; nor can it lay any imposts or duties on exports or imports, without the consent of Congress.

569. Article II. The executive power is vested in a President, who, with the Vice-President, is elected for the term of four years. These officers are chosen by electors appointed by the states in such manner as the legislatures prescribe. The number of electors in each state is equal to the joint number of senators and representatives in that state. By an amendment to the constitution, the electors meet on the same day, in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom must not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves. They must name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots, the person voted for as Vice-President. They make a certified list of all persons voted for,and transmit the same to the President of the Senate, who opens the certificates, in the presence of both houses of Congress, and the votes are counted. The person who has a majority of all the votes is declared President; or if no person has a majority, then from the persons having the highest number of votes, not exceeding three, the House of Representatives elect a President by ballot. In this case the votes are taken by states, each state having one vote. If no person has a majority of votes for Vice-President, then from the two highest on the list, the Senate elect one to be Vice-President.

570. Qualifications of the President. The President must be a natural born citizen of the United States, or a citizen at the time the constitution was adopted: and no person is eligible to that office unless he is thirty years of age and has been fourteen years a resident of the United States. In case of the removal of the President from office, or of his death, resignation, or inability to discharge the duties of the office, the powers of the President devolve on the Vice-President. The President receives a compensation ascertained by law. He takes an oath to execute his office with fidelity, and to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution, to the best of his ability.

571. Powers and duties of the President. The President is commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United States, and of the militia of the states, when called into actual service of the United States. With the advice and consent of the Senate, he has power to make treaties; he nominates, and with the advice and consent of the Senate he appoints ambassadors and other public ministers, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers whose appointments are not otherwise provided for by law. He fills vacancies in offices, which happen during the recess of the Senate, but their commissions expire at the end of the next session. He has power to convene Congress on extraordinary occasions, and it is his duty to give information to Congress of the state of the Union, to recommend measures to their consideration, and in general to take care that the laws are faithfully executed.

572. Article III. Judiciary. The judicial power is that which consists in courts of law appointed to try and determine causes between individual persons and corporations. The constitution vests this power in one Supreme Court, and such inferior courts as the Congress shall ordain and establish. The judges of these courts hold their offices during good behavior. Their powers extend to all cases in law and equity, arising under the constitution and laws of the United States, and to treaties made under their authority; to cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls; all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction; to controversies to which the United States are a party; to controversies between 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 its citizens and foreign states, citizens or subjects. Trials of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, must be by jury.

573. Crimes, and rights of citizens. Treason against the United States consists only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. Citizens of each state are entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens of the several states. A person charged with a crime, fleeing from justice, and found in another state, must, on demand of the executive of the state from which he fled, be delivered up to be returned to that state, which has jurisdiction of the crime.

Congress may admit new states into the union; and the United States guaranty to every state in the Union, a republican form of government. The constitution and laws of the United States, made in pursuance of it, and all treaties made under the authority of the United States, are the supreme law of the land. Congress cannot make any law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise of it; nor can they abridge the freedom of speech and of the press.

In comparison to other forms of government:

574. Advantages and evils of Monarchy. The advantages claimed for a government by a single person are secrecy and promptness in decision, and energy in action. A single man makes a law or decree without obstacles or delays, from opposing wills or opinions, and without liability to a disclosure of his designs. Hence in war monarchs have sometimes an advantage over republics; and in cases of extreme danger republics have sometimes created a dictator with unlimited powers for a time, to call into action the forces of the state. This was the fact in Rome, and during the war of the revolution Congress invested Gen. Washington with absolute command. But the danger of monarchy, is, that the monarch will, as he always can, oppress his subjects with arbitrary and unreasonable taxes, or violations of their rights. It has been found that few monarchs have exercised a paternal care over their subjects—Most of them have been tyrants, or have wasted the revenue of their kingdoms in luxury and vice and war.

575. Advantages and evils of Aristocracy. When the nobles of a state have the whole government in their hands, and have no dependence on the people for the possession of their power, they are often disposed, like monarchs, to oppress the people by taxes and unjust laws. In addition to this evil, their councils are often distracted with party spirit, by means of the jealousy, selfishness, and ambition of the different members of the government, by which such states are often kept in agitation, and the public interest is sacrificed. To counterbalance these evils, aristocracy may embody much wisdom; as nobles may have the advantage of a good education.

576. Advantages and evils of a Republic. The great benefit of a republican form of government is, that the people, being the source of all authority, elect their own rulers, who, after a limited time, for which they are elected, return to the condition of private citizens. In this case the rulers and ruled have a common interest. If the representatives of the people enact unjust or oppressive laws, the people have a remedy, in the power of electing different men for representatives at a subsequent election, who may repeal such laws. The evils of this form of government are, that ambitious and unprincipled men, in their strife for office, may and often do deceive and mislead the people, or corrupt them by offers of money and offices. In this case, the government often falls into the hands of wicked and profligate men.

577. Success of the Constitution of the United States. As soon as the constitution of the United States was ratified, and organized, the Congress took effectual measures to give it due effect. They passed laws distributing the powers of the government into several departments. They established a department of state, to carry on a correspondence with foreign powers,—a department of the treasury, to manage all the concerns of the revenue,—a department of war, to superintend the affairs of the army,—and a department of the post-office, to conduct the concerns of the public mails. They afterwards established the department of the navy. At the head of each department was placed a head or chief officer. They also passed a law for collecting revenue by duties or imposts on foreign goods imported. They funded the debt of the United States, by appropriating money to pay the interest. They assumed a part of the debts of the states, contracted during the war of the revolution, and provided for the payment of the interest. They established courts for the decision of causes; one in each state, called a district court; and a supreme court, with jurisdiction over the United States. These measures revived public credit, put in motion the enterprise and industry of our citizens, and gave these states rank and honor among the powers of the earth. From that time commenced the prosperity of the United States, which, with little interruption, has continued to this day.

The Origins of Civil Liberty:

578. Origin of Civil Liberty. Almost all the civil liberty now enjoyed in the world owes its origin to the principles of the Christian religion. Men began to understand their natural rights, as soon as the reformation from popery began to dawn in the sixteenth century; and civil liberty has been gradually advancing and improving, as genuine Christianity has prevailed. By the principles of the christian religion we are not to understand the decisions of ecclesiastical councils, for these are the opinions of mere men; nor are we to suppose that religion to be any particular church established by law, with numerous dignitaries, living in stately palaces, arrayed in gorgeous attire, and rioting in luxury and wealth, squeezed from the scanty earnings of the laboring poor; nor is it a religion which consists in a round of forms, and in pompous rites and ceremonies. No; the religion which has introduced civil liberty, is the religion of Christ and his apostles, which enjoins humility, piety, and benevolence; which acknowledges in every person a brother, or a sister, and a citizen with equal rights. This is genuine Christianity, and to this we owe our free constitutions of government.

579. Character of the Puritans. For the progress and enjoyment of civil and religious liberty, in modern times, the world is more indebted to the Puritans in Great Britain and America, than to any other body of men, or to any other cause. They were not without their failings and errors. Emerging from the darkness of despotism, they did not at once see the full light of Christian liberty; their notions of civil and religious rights were narrow and confined, and their principles and behavior were too rigid. These were the errors of the age. But they were pious and devout; they endeavored to model their conduct by the principles of the Bible and by the example of Christ and his apostles. They avoided all crimes, vices, and corrupting amusements; they read the scriptures with care, observed the sabbath, and attended public and private worship. They rejected all ostentatious forms and rites; they were industrious in their callings, and plain in their apparel. They rejected all distinctions among men, which are not warranted by the scriptures, or which are created by power or policy, to exalt one class of men over another, in rights or property.

580. Institutions of the Puritans in America. The Puritans who planted the first colonies in New England, established institutions on republican principles. They admitted no superiority in ecclesiastical orders, but formed churches on the plan of the independence of each church. They distributed the land among all persons, in free hold, by which every man, lord of his own soil, enjoyed independence of opinion and of rights. They founded governments on the principle that the people are the sources of power; the representatives being elected annually, and of course responsible to their constituents. And especially they made early, provision for schools for diffusing knowledge among all the members of their communities, that the people might learn their rights and their duties. Their liberal and wise institutions, which were then novelties in the world, have been the foundation of our republican governments.

581. Effects of the principles and institutions of the Puritans. The principles of the Puritans fortified them to resist all invasions of their rights; and prepared them to vindicate their independence in the war of the revolution. That war ended in the establishment of the independence of the United States. The manifestos, or public addresses of the first American congress, and the act declaring independence, proclaimed to all the world the principles of free governments. These papers circulated extensively in foreign countries. The French officers who assisted in the defense of American rights, became acquainted in this country with the principles of our statesmen, and the blessings of our free institutions; and this circumstance was the germ of a revolution in France. The constitution of the United States is made the model of the new governments in South America; and it is not without its influence in Greece, and in Liberia in Africa. It is thus that the principles of free government, borrowed from the Puritans, have been conveyed to foreign countries, and are gradually undermining arbitrary governments, with all their oppressive institutions, civil and ecclesiastical.

See other articles on history:

The Failure of Marxism and Socialism

The Doctrine of Fascism, Fascism Defined by Benito Mussolini

Non Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of Jesus Christ by Johannes von Müller

Non-Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of the World With Biblical References Part 1

Christianity and the Founding of the United States

History of the Battle of King’s Mountain and it’s Heroes: Part I 1765 to May, 1780

American Statesman: Tribute to President George Washington Part 1

POLITICAL CONSTITUTIONS by Johannes Von Muller (1832)

As part of the Non-Revisionist Politically History of the World series. Contained here, is such a collection of eloquent words and common sense, I had to post it, by itself, alone.

All parts of the universe hold a mutual relation to each other; and in the whole empire of finite nature, nothing exists for itself alone. The universe stands in such a relation to its first cause, that it could not subsist a moment by itself. It belongs to us to study the mutual relations of beings, which are not our works, but the productions of Nature; and the result of this study constitutes our law. The knowledge of this informs us, how we may be able to turn everything which exists to our advantage. In nothing indeed is man more distinguished from the brutes, than in the faculty of acquiring this knowledge; he possesses no other claim to the dominion of the world, but by his superior intellect alone he holds it in subjection. Moreover, as man alone is endowed with the power of elevating himself to communion with the Author of all things, he stands, with respect to all subordinate beings, in the situation of those, (if we may venture to use the expression) who in monarchical governments have the exclusive privilege of entering into the presence of the sovereign.


The Law of Nature is the result of our relations to the visible world, and especially to all beings endowed with feeling. The generality of men have comprehended indeed under this term, (fancying that they are under no obligations of duty, except towards their equals,) only that which, after abstracting all personal and local connections, every man owes to his fellow-creatures; but this part of the natural law does not embrace its whole extent, although it is obviously the most interesting to us.

Since all men possess not the faculties and industry needful for sifting to the bottom these first principles, and since it cannot be expected, from the violence of human passions, that among the various points of view in which each affair may be contemplated, men will always adopt the most generally beneficial result, as the rule of their conduct, positive regulations were required, in order to support the natural law with a sufficient power, and from time to time with effective measures, against the encroachments of ignorance and self-interest. An endless variety of circumstances soon diversified these regulations, and greatly multiplied them, by giving rise to an infinite diversity of relations. Moreover violent changes took place, which quickly gave to human society a new form, different from its primitive and simple state, and from the spirit and design of its first institutions: this was a source of more complex relations, which required new prescripts.

The increasing number of these obtained, according to the objects with which they were conversant, the designation of civil, political, public, and ecclesiastical law. The minutest affairs were regulated by positive laws, since human passions extend to all, and require in every conjuncture a prescript and distinct limitation. Yet the innumerable multitudes of ordinances are capable of being reduced to a few general principles; it is only necessary to point out the particular applications, in order to confute the sophistry of those who will not embrace the universal scheme.

In some instances the laws have either been proposed, or at least ratified, in popular assemblies; in others, the nation has submitted silently to the commands which one or more individuals, who by virtue or power have raised themselves to be rulers or lords, have issued under the character of representatives, or protectors of the people. One man or a body of men have also administered the executive power. The variations thus produced, constitute great diversities in the forms of government.

Monarchy is that government in which a single person rules, but is subject to limitations by the laws, over which a middle power presides, and watches for their conservation. The authority of the latter may flow from the splendor of a long succession of dignified ancestors, or from their destination to the defense of their country, or from their qualifications as possessors of land; they are termed accordingly the nobles, the patrician order, or the parliament, in other instances, superior knowledge in divine and human affairs imparts the privilege, as among the ancient Gauls to the Druids, and for a long period to the tribe of Levi among the Hebrews. Despotism, which knows no law, but the arbitrary will of one man, is a corruption or disorganization of monarchy.

Aristocracy, is the government of ancient families, and of those who are chosen by them into the senate. This assembly either consists, as at Venice, of the whole body to whom their birth-right gives a share in the government, or it is a select number chosen out of them, as at Berne. One branch of this form of administration is Timocracy or that constitution, in which the laws define a certain property, the possessors of which, alone, are capable of holding offices. This system, and aristocracy in general, degenerate into Oligarchy, that is, into a form of government in which the chief power, by the laws, or by descent, or accident, is confined to a very small number of men. Democracy denotes, according to the old signification of the word, that system of government, in which all the citizens, assembled, partake in the supreme power. When all the landholders, though not citizens, join with the latter in the exercise of their high privileges, Ochlocracy prevails. This name is also given to that condition of the democratic form, in which, in consequence of bad laws or of violent commotions, the power which properly belonged to the people, has been transferred to the populace.

The best form of government is that which, avoiding the above-mentioned excesses, combines the decisive vigor of monarchy with the mature wisdom of a senate, and with the animating impression of democracy. But it is rarely that circumstances allow, rarely that the sagacity of a lawgiver has conferred on his nation this good fortune; and when it has happened to be obtained, violence and intrigue have seldom conceded to it a long duration in a state of purity. Sparta, Rome, and some later republics, but particularly England, have sought more or less to attain this ideal standard of perfection, but governments of the simple form have always been more numerous and more permanent.*

At the same time, it very seldom happens, that we find a form of government wholly unmixed. Religion and prevailing opinions impose salutary restraints upon despotism: in monarchies, it is not easy for the ruler, without one of these resources, to govern the nobles according to his wishes. An aristocracy is generally indulgent to the people: it sometimes allows them a participation in the most important conclusions, as at Lucerne; or in the election to certain high offices of state, as at Freyburg: in like manner democratic governments are, for the most part, held in check by the influence of a perpetual council, which prepares affairs for the deliberation of the popular assembly.

By far the most common form of government is the oligarchical. How can the sovereign exercise his power, let him be as anxious as he may to govern for himself, without confiding on many occasions in the information and proposals of his ministers? A few party-leaders govern  the senate and the popular assembly. The ablest, the most eloquent, or the richest, will everywhere take the lead.

The essential difference between the forms of government consists in the various pursuits to which a man must direct his endeavors in order to become powerful in each. Another, important consideration relates to the greater or more limited sphere in which the ruler can exert his arbitrary will.

With respect to the former circumstance, there are scarcely any governments in which the ambition of men is directed altogether as it ought to be; under a wise prince, those obtain power who deserve it; under a sovereign of an opposite character, those are successful who possess the greatest skill in the arts of a court. Family influence decides for the most part in aristocracies. With the multitude, eloquence and corruption often obtain the victory over real merit.

The natural desire of self-preservation does not prevent the abuse of power; human passions, full of resources, provide for all contingencies: kings have surrounded themselves with standing armies, against whose accurate tactics, when no conjuncture of circumstances rouses whole nations to the contest, nothing can prevail. The party-leaders know how to put their private wishes into the mouths of the people, and thus to avoid all responsibility; moreover the depraved crowd who receive bribes, and do anything for the permission of licentiousness, would sufficiently protect them. An aristocracy is extremely vigilant over the first and scarcely discernible movements: it leaves everything else to its fate, and is willing to impede even the prosperity of a multitude which is formidable to it.

With all this, it appears wonderful, that the forms of human society could be maintained in the midst of such various corruptions. But the greater number of men are neither firmly bent on good nor on evil. There are few who pursue only one of the two, and that one with all their might; and these moreover must be favored by circumstances in order to carry their endeavors into effect. Certain attempts are only practicable in particular times, and this forms the distinguishing character of ages, the regulation of which depends on a higher power.

It is fortunate that even imperfect modes of government have always a certain tendency to order; their founders have surrounded them with a multitude of forms, which always serve as a barrier against great calamities, and which impart to the course of affairs a certain regularity for which the multitude acquire a sort of veneration. The more forms there are, the fewer commotions happen. So great is their authority, that the conquerors of Rome and of China have been obliged to adopt the laws of the conquered countries.

Herein consist also the advantages of the oriental and other ancient lawgivers: they considered as much the nature of men, as the circumstances of their particular subjects; our laws, for the most past, only concern themselves with public affairs. That simplicity of manners, temperance, industry, constancy, those military virtues, which among us each individual must enjoin to himself, became among the ancients matter of prescriptive obligation.

In fact, it is only through the influence of manners that society can be maintained: the laws may form them, but men must give assistance to the laws by their own endeavors. Everything will go well when men shall declaim less on their share m the supreme power, and each individual shall seek to acquire so much the more authority over himself. Let everyone aim at attaining a correct estimate of things; for by this means his desires will be very much moderated. Let alterations in the forms of government be left to the operation of time, which gives to every people the constitution of which it is susceptible at each particular period, and a different one when it becomes mature for the change.

I propose in the following discourses to describe the origin, growth, and alteration of many forms of government, and the fate of nations. Nothing will contribute more to afford that true estimate, which is so highly necessary, of the present condition of the European states, than a correct view of their establishment and original spirit. We shall come at length to a multitude of treaties, which, during the last century and a half, have been concluded by the most, sagacious statesmen, and again annihilated by the greatest generals: we shall moreover witness the consequences which have arisen to the prince and people, and the dangerous situation into which all states are thus brought. Examples for imitation and warning, great weaknesses and urgent necessities, conjunctures which call for temperance, and such as require a diligent investigation, will often occur to us, and will suffer us, for the future, to be led into fewer illusions by a specious exterior and finely sounding words.

*This history being brought down only to the close of the American war, the author appears not to have made the constitution and political institutions of the United States the subject of his particular attention. A great part of the work was written before the date above mentioned. This may account for our system of government not being here particularly alluded to. E,

Obama’s Nazi Youth Campaign Slogan “Forward”

Obama’s Nazi Youth Campaign Slogan “Forward”! Something every average American should know Obama’s 2012 campaign “Forward” slogan has long ties to Nazi Socialism and European Marxism.

Just as you do when the democrats talk about the Middle-Class in America, you must understand what they mean by the terms they use.

Vorwärts! Vorwärts! schmettern die hellen Fanfaren (Forward! Forward! blare the bright fanfares) was a marching song of the Hitler Youth, which was also known as their banner song.

The marching song was first performed in the 1933 propaganda film Hitlerjunge Quex. Motifs from the song are used throughout the film, underlying representations of the Hitler Youth, in contrast to The Internationale and jazz motifs underlying scenes from the socialist “commune”

During the Second World War the refrain of the song was integrated into the march of the SS-Panzer Division Hitler Youth. After WWII the song was banned in Germany and Austria.

The name Forward carries a special meaning in socialist political terminology. It has been frequently used as a name for socialist, communist and other left-wing newspapers and publications. The slogan “Forward!” reflected the conviction of European Marxists and radicals that their movements reflected the march of history, which would move forward past capitalism and into socialism and communism.

The Obama campaign first used his new campaign slogan in a 7-minute video. The title card has simply the word “Forward” with the “O” having the familiar Obama logo from 2008. He played it at rallies at the beginning of his 2012 campaign,There have been at least two radical-left publications named “Vorwaerts” (the German word for “Forward”). One was the daily newspaper of the Social Democratic Party of Germany whose writers included Friedrich Engels and Leon Trotsky. It still publishes as the organ of Germany’s SDP, though that party has changed considerably since World War II. Another was the 1844 biweekly reader of the Communist League. Karl Marx, Engels and Mikhail Bakunin are among the names associated with that publication.East Germany named its Army soccer club ASK Vorwaerts Berlin (later FC Vorwaerts Frankfort).

Vladimir Lenin founded the publication “Vpered” (the Russian word for “forward”) in 1905. Soviet propaganda film-maker Dziga Vertov made a documentary Forward Soviet! (Shagai Soviet!) was a movie about Socialist Realism and the Communist Revolution! In a book published in 1999, Forward Soviet!: History and Non-Fiction Film in the USSR  By Graham Roberts he tells all about the film.

The film first released on the last day of 1926. The film is all about Socialism and features the words TRUTH, and FORWARD quite frequently. Chapter 3 Titled; Esfir Shub and the Great Way Forward quotes Esfir Shub who talks about how “the Great October Revolution had brought,,A new life was beginning. New people were building this life., another October, Forward, innovators, seekers of the new roads.“As the film plays subtitles say things like “The Soviet Helps The Peasant”, this caption is followed by a handshake and the title “Unity” The countryside is being transformed by construction: bridges, roads, and a reading room are shown. Fields and hillsides are cultivated by teams of “volunteers“. It says the new dam and the new bridge were possible through credit. Credit is the method and is also due to the Soviet. It then captions “The Soviet Meets The Needs Of The Sick And Disabled.

In reel two one of the captions “And You Who Overthrew The Capitalists In October Who Discovered The Path To A New Life” It then cites all of the natural resources, government, and various industries using the word “Yours” as it lists each one. It then captions “They Build Socialism Together”. In the film Stalin is shown speaking as shot after shot of smoking chimneys are shown it is captioned: “Factories,,,and still more factories“. Stalin in a very reverent manner “In our country we are building a completely Socialist state.” The final shots of the film show a piston and wheel and the captions “Into The Current Of The Common Socialist Economy”

One of the captions reads “Stand Firm! Stand Together! Advance Boldly To Meet The Foe! We Shall Triumph! The Landlords And Capitalists, Destroyed In Russia, Will Be Defeated Throughout The World!”

Advance boldly to meet the foe! Could that be where Obama got his inspiration for his Vote for Revenge comment?

To underline the central image of women, the film features interviews with a female “shock worker” who explains her role in “overfulfilling the factory plan” and the female chairman of the “Lenin Collective Farm” saying “women are the real force on the Collective Farms,,,you cannot hold us back“. Too bad for the feminists, they were fooled, the new Family Law of June 1936 made family and motherhood central to the communist, socialist agenda.

In reel two a caption reads: “Along The Leninist Way, Forward To Socialism

On of the newspapers at the time praised the film saying “All Stride,, it is Necessary to Stride Forward.”

Communist China party policy documents from the 1950’s frequently mentioned “The Great Leap Forward

Obama and the democrats are always talking about the “failed policies of the past.” It seems the failed policies of the past are all the democrats ever offer.

See also The Doctrine of Fascism, Fascism Defined by Benito Mussolini

and The Failure of Marxism and Socialism

The Failure of Marxism and Socialism

The Failure of Marxism: by John Dos Passos

Just a few notes from Classical Liberalism blog

When we hear about fascism, naturally many first start to think about nationalism, militarism and antisemitism of Hitler’s National Socialist Germany or perhaps similar things about Italy’s Fascist Mussolini. Once you peel the top layers back, one will see that fascism is socialism in disguise.

Keynes’ most important book, The General Theory of Employment Interest and Money, was first published in 1936 and was immediately hailed by Socialists everywhere. It is important to stress that Mrs. Joan Robinson, an internationally recognized Marxist, was one of the main economic experts who collaborated with Keynes on his project. Another leading Socialist economic expert, R. F. Kahn, contributed so much that “his share in the historic achievement cannot have fallen very far short of co-authorship.”

Mrs. Joan Robinson was highly regarded by Keynes, who in The General Theory generously praises her for her contribution to his work. It is therefore important to note carefully Mrs. Robinson’s statement that the differences between Marx and Keynes are only verbal. Writing in the Communist journal, Science and Society, winter, 1947, p. 61, Mrs. Robinson said:  “‘The time, therefore, seems ripe to bridge the verbal gulf.” The only real difference between the Marxians and the Fabians is one of degree and tactics.

As an economic system, fascism is SOCIALISM with a capitalist veneer. In its day fascism was seen as the happy medium between liberal (Free market) capitalism and revolutionary MARXISM. Fascism substituted the particularity of nationalism and racialism—“blood and soil”—for the internationalism of both classical liberalism and Marxism.

Where socialism sought totalitarian control of a society’s economic processes through direct state operation of the means of production, fascism sought that control indirectly, through domination of nominally private owners. Where socialism nationalized property explicitly, fascism did so implicitly, by requiring owners to use their property in the “national interest”—that is, as the autocratic authority conceived it. (Nevertheless, a few industries were operated by the state.) Where socialism abolished all market relations outright, fascism left the appearance of market relations while planning all economic activities. Where socialism abolished money and prices, fascism controlled the monetary system and set all prices and wages politically. In doing all this, fascism denatured the marketplace. ENTREPRENEURSHIP was abolished. State ministries, rather than consumers, determined what was produced and under what conditions. 

Source: Concise Encyclopedia of Economics-Fascism
 Here we can see that fascism gives the illusion that “private property” exists so long as it is used for the “greater good”, “national good”, “public good”, and so on.

Communism and socialism are more honest about what they claim to be: they admit that no one has a private life any longer, and that all goods, services, and human beings are the property of the state. One may argue, as I do, that this is evil, but it is also honest.

Fascism, however, is both dishonest and evil. The fascists claim that there is such a thing as private property, with all the responsibilities of ownership, and the facade of ownership — yet, the state controls the “owner’s” every decision on penalty of fine or imprisonment (or both).

In the ultimate analysis, there is no real difference between any of these systems. The divergences in specifics of ideology are debatable in academia but not to the regular individual being oppressed by the State. All hold human beings as right-less. Individuals cannot act freely provided that they respect the rights of others; they can only act with permission from the state.

John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos1896-1970

Both socialism and communism, as they actually work out, betray the hopes for the better life that they once inspired.

“Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.” – Thomas Sowell

Socialist Utopia2

Picture: Beguiled by Utopian visions, many wishful thinkers refuse to recognize the facts of socialism as it has worked out in practice. This drawing by Abner Dean, shows bewildered men and women, including two who are gagged and so can ask questions only with their eyes, watching a self-deluded, “wooly-headed” artist happily at work.

Not long ago I found myself talking to a pleasant and well-informed woman reporter in a newspaper office in a prosperous city in the Middle western corn belt. Although the region is usually chalked up as “black Republican” in politics, the paper she worked for wore a “liberal” complexion. I was trying to explain to her that socialism as I had seen it working last summer in Great Britain was not necessarily a force for progress. “But I thought you were a liberal,” she kept saying almost tearfully, “and now you have turned reactionary.” “The socialists are the conservatives now,” I told her, “and the communists are the real reactionaries.” But she remained unconvinced. The reason our conversation was so fruitless was that she decided that certain words like “liberal,” “labor” and “rationing” had a virtuous connotation and there was no way of getting her to look directly at the events that lay behind the words.

It was just this sort of wall of incomprehension you used to meet years ago when you argued the right of working people to form unions and to strike for improved working condition, or tried to explain that we ought to show a sympathetic interest in the social experiments that were going on in the Soviet Union. Then it was the capitalist slogans that were holding the fort; but during the past 20 years a new set of words has gradually become charged with a virtuous aura in the public mind. Now public ownership, planned economy, controls and socialized, have become words heavy with virtue, while profits, free enterprise, investment and even dividends have taken on an evil context that needs to be explained away.

Socialist Utopia

Picture: Work reproducing on canvas the scene which is spread before him. Where there is starvation he smugly paints a land flowing with milk and honey, where there is ugliness he is charmed by beauty, where there is slavery he finds a life of gracious ease, where there is graceless, violent death he sees only a graceful swan placidly swimming in its pond.

The public mind in America that 20 years ago dismissed unheard anything that smacked of a socialistic notion is now receptive to socialistic notions. Partly this comes from a reasoned change of attitude brought about by the success of some of the socialistic measures of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, but partly it comes from the unthinking acceptance of the vocabulary of “liberal” propaganda that spread out in ripples from New Deal Washington, becoming vaguer and more confused and more destructive of clear thinking as the ideas that engendered it lost their vitality at the source. It is in this confused region of the popular mind that the communists have been able to carry on their most successful propaganda operations. Thus it comes to pass that the “liberals” who think a man is defeated in argument when they call him a “reactionary” show very little curiosity about the actual functioning of socialistic-going concerns that have come into being in the last 20 years. The “liberal” vocabulary that had some meaning in the 1920’s has now become a definite hindrance to understanding events in the world of the ‘40s.

Exactly 100 years have passed since Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels issued the Communist Manifesto, which became the first document in the formulation of modern socialism. Nineteen years later the bible of Marxism, Dos Kapital, was published, giving immense documentation to Marx’s theories that the collapse of capitalism was imminent; that it would inevitably be followed by a socialist utopia.

In the 1920’s there were a number of us in the U.S. who were convinced that this doctrine was valid. Those of us who were willing to be called socialists had some definite things in mind we thought would be achieved if ownership of industry were taken out of the hands of the finance capitalists and vested in the community.

We thought public service could be substituted for money profit as the driving motive of human behavior. We thought that with the ascendancy of an anti-militarist working class throughout the world war, and the threat of war would be replaced by peaceful cooperation in the international affairs. Of course it must be admitted that we were caught by the illusory belief that revolution would instill utopia. We were carried away by the blind enthusiasm for a new dispensation at hand that was sweeping the masses of the Western World. The revolutions have happened and regimes and empires have crashed in the mud, but the old problem of how to control man’s domination by man remains unsolved.

Enough socialized systems and institutions have been going concerns over a long enough period of time for us at least to begin to get some idea of how they are working out. It’s a most curious comment on the blindness induced by dogmatically held beliefs that in all the avalanches of print for and against socialism and free enterprise there’s so little comparative examination of capitalist and socialist organizations; there’s so little effort to try to discover how they work out for the men and women directly involved.

First let me give an example of a socialized institution that seems to me to have been a success. Rural electrification was one of the New Deal’s pet projects. It encouraged the establishment of local committees that gave a much needed impetus to local self-government in a very important field. Not only did it furnish increased electric service all over the country but by its brisk competition it shook the private companies out of their lethargy, so they greatly increased their service too.

At the other end of the scale in the experience of the average American come the Army and the Navy. We are not accustomed to thinking of the Army and the Navy as socialized institutions but that is exactly what they are. We all admit that in the time of ruin and rapine in which we live we can’t do without these vast engines for waste and destruction, but I’ve yet to meet a veteran of wither of these services who thinks that the Army way or the Navy way or even the Air Force way is the best way of running human affairs. About the best face we can put on our military establishment is to say that in spite of its cumbrous bungling it so far has managed to defeat our enemies in battle, and that up to now our civilian setup for production has been so monstrously efficient that we’ve been able to afford the waste of materials and the frustration of individual effort that the military system implies.

As citizens of a self-governing community it is our first duty continually to be asking ourselves what it is we want from our institutions.

At home in America we have seen enough of the working of socialized enterprises, successful and unsuccessful, to begin to understand the basic problem. We must realize that from the point of view of the well-being of men and women the contradiction is not between “capitalism” and “socialism” but between the sort of organization that stimulates growth and the sort that fastens on society the dead hand of bureaucratic routine or the suckers of sterile vested interests. We should by now have learned that the road must be kept open for experiment. We should have begun to learn that no society is stronger than its weakest members. By our habit of government we are committed to trying to keep a rough balance between the demands of different sections of the population. We haven’t solved the problem of defending every man’s freedom against domination by other men, but we have made a little bit of a beginning.

The museum of socialist failures

The rest of the world is becoming a museum of socialist failures. Our first problem now is to understand clearly the needs of our society and its relationship to the shaky socialized regimes of Europe and to the regime of the law of the club that centers in the Soviet Union. To do this we must free our minds of the stale and rotting verbiage left over from the noble aspirations of oldtime socialist theory.

Parents of British Socialism

It was failure to see the world clearly on the part of Franklin Roosevelt and his advisers that deprived us of the fruits of our wartime victory to the point that the things Americans hold most dear are in greater peril today than on the dreadful afternoon of Pearl Harbor. The responsibility for this loss of the peace lies not only in  the small group of political leaders in Washington but the whole body of thinking Americans whose thinking had just not caught up with the times.

The basic reason for this national failure was that as a nation we had forgotten that our sort of self-governing community can survive only in a world where new avenues for men’s ingenuity and enterprise are constantly opening up and where the areas of individual liberty are expanding. We had forgotten that liberty, like peace, is indivisible. We had forgotten that the only sensible foreign policy for the U.S. was to encourage liberty and oppose oppression.

While not forgetting our own shortcomings, if we are to catch up with the times and to see clearly the hideous world of growing servitude—a world of slavery like chattel slavery in the old South and the slavery of ancient times—which we have helped produce, we must understand the workings of the enemies of liberty and peace. The chief of these, in power and efficacy, is the government of the Soviet Union.

Wilson and Lenin

When the communist revolution exploded in Russia in the fall of 1917 the first World War had settled down to a stalemate along the trenches in northern France. The stubborn resistance the French were putting up to the equally stubborn German invasion was bleeding Europe to death. Among the rank and file of all the armies the feeling of mutiny against the senselessness of the butchery was rising to desperation. At that time two separate flares of hope appeared on the eastern and western horizons. In Washington Woodrow Wilson announced his Fourteen Points and in Petrograd Lenin and Trotsky fired the hungry and disorganized Russian mobs with the belief that communism would bring them peace, land and food. No one who was in Europe in 1917 and 18 can ever forget the surge of crazy confidence in the future that swept the Continent when Armistice Day came and the fighting stopped.

The people’s trust in the American way faded as Wilson let himself be trapped into the stale committee rooms of the old men or councils. To many of us at the time these soviets  seemed to be a new organ for self-government. For a moment it looked as if the working class under the Marxist leadership would succeed in renovating Europe.

It was not to be so easy. The old vested interests of Europe banded together for their own protection; by backing the reactionaries in the Russian civil war they ruined the hopes of free development for the new social system. The Communist party hardened fast into a military caste. The soviets and trade unions in the Soviet Union, instead of developing into organs of self-government, developed into machines run by tightly organized and fanatically dogmatic Marxist minority for the domination and exploitation of the masses. Lenin threw overboard the humanitarian baggage of Western socialism, and act symbolized in the transfer of the capital from European Petrograd to Asiatic Moscow. The civil war became a struggle for order, any kind of order. The only order the Russians knew was despotism. From the czarist autocracy the Communist government inherited the secret police. Individual liberty had hardly a breathing spell before it was stamped out again, first in the unorganized mass of people and then, as Stalin struggled for power against Trotsky, within the communist minority itself.

By the early ‘30s the social organization of the Soviet Union resembled much more the slave-run military autocracy of the Ottoman Turks than it did any of the European blueprints for a socialist utopia. This reaction to methods of government that had gradually been losing favor among civilized men for 500 years was accompanied by the building up of one of the most extraordinary propaganda facades in history. A constitution was promulgated on the Western model. The entire vocabulary of Western self-government was borrowed and applied to the machinery of despotism.

Utopia—with secret police

By killing off the old European trained Communists and exiling Trotsky, Stalin cleared out of the old Kremlin the last traces of Western humanitarianism. The organization of a free self-governing socialist community, which had been the first aim of the Russian revolutionists, was pushed forward in the future, when the millennium should come. Through the pull of this millennial dream Stalin’s regime managed to retain its grip over the aspirations of a large part of European working class. The Communist party, appealing through this basic utopian dogma to the emotions of confused and tortured people, backed and kept in line by the ruthless and skillfully exercised authority of the secret police, managed to create one of the most efficient machines for dominating and exploiting of mankind the world has ever seen.

It seems likely, from what we hear faintly through the screen of lies that hems in the Soviet Union, that there the illusions have lost their power in the face of the regime’s failure to produce even the rudiments of decent living for its subjects, and that the Kremlin now rules a depraved and exhausted people by brute force. Outside the Soviet Union, however, the utopian illusions of Communism still dominate many men’s hopes and dreams. Even some Americans opposed to the communists still talk as if it were an excess of progressiveness and idealism that caused Russian socialism to fail. We find Frenchmen and Americans and Canadians, in all other respects apparently capable of sane and normal thinking, who are willing to turn their backs on the traditions they were brought up in and to give their allegiance to the Kremlin, even to the point of committing treason. The success of the aggressions by the Soviet state in the last few years rests in great part on the Kremlin’s command over the adherents and sympathizers in the outside world. Largely because the rest of the world has not understood it the Russian socialized state has been allowed to develop into a military force for pillage and conquest. Still the faith of many of our “liberals” in the Kremlin’s idealistic aims has not faltered.

Those of us who believed in socialism in the ‘20s hoped it would promote self-government, expand individual liberty and make for a wider distribution of the good things of life. It is obvious even to Mr. Henry Wallace that the Soviet Union is not the place to look for these things. Not even the American communists really claim any of these achievements; what they say among themselves is that present miseries will be atoned for by the regime of justice and bliss that will be established once communism has completed its conquest of the world.

The Russians are barbarians, the Western socialists will tell you; in England it will be different.

Father of American Socialism

How different is it? If you go around Great Britain asking questions of as many different kinds of people as possible, as I did last summer, you sense that in its ultimate implications British socialism is turning out to be not so very different from the Russian brand. Of course there’s not the gory police terror of Stalin nor the Hitlerian pomp and parade through which the Kremlin daily expresses its power over the bodies and minds of men. There’s not the proselytizing enthusiasm of a quasi-religious dogma that accompanies the agents and armies of expanding Russia. There’s not the daily and visible and universal servitude; but neither has the socialism brought any broadening of personal liberty. On the contrary: personal liberty in Great Britain has been contracted.

The very humane and well-intentioned people who are running the Labor government are the first to deplore the losses of liberty you bring to their attention. They reassure you with pious hopes that the “direction of labor” measure, which limits the individual’s right to work where or when he likes, will be only a passing phase. Listening to the pious hopes, I couldn’t help remembering similar reassurances from equally humane and well-intentioned Russian communists who used to tell me, in the early days, that military communism was a passing phase which would disappear as soon as reactionary opposition was crushed. Thirty years have gone by, and military communism marches on to fresh massacres. A man has a right to ask the British Labor party whether 30 years from now direction of labor won’t be the cornerstone of a new system of exploitation of the productive workers by a new ruling class.

If there is one thing that mankind should have learned from the agonies of the last four decades it is that it’s never safe to do evil that good may come of it. The good gets lost and the evil goes on.

Distribution of poverty

Of course we must admit that the present situation of the people of Great Britain would be difficult enough if a choir of archangels, superhuman in brains and in self-abnegation, had assumed the government. The island’s economy was built up as the processing and financing center of an empire, which has irrevocably gone. The class that had ruled that economy through control of government, ownership of the land and domination of centralized finance and industry had become overweening rich and powerful. In their wealth and self-satisfaction the owners of Britain neglected to keep their industries tooled up to date or to protect the standard of living of their working people or to conserve their natural resources. When the Labor government came in after the war it inherited a concern that had long been bankrupt.

Government control of virtually the entire economy had already been instituted during the war. About all the Labor government has done is to amplify the wartime apparatus of bureaucratic management. The living standards of the working people who were Labor’s chief constituents had improved during the war, and the Labor government has continued that improvement, particularly for the lowest-paid third. Because there isn’t enough to go around anyway, this has been done at the expense of the middle class, traditionally the nursery of British brains and initiative. Virtually everybody has been reduced by high taxes and high prices to the same bare level of subsistence. Incentive for effort and innovation has tended to disappear. A man is better off if he soldiers along in the shop and spends his Saturdays betting on the races than if he works himself sick trying to rise in the world. The more his income rises the more taxation will take his earnings away from him and the more he’ll feel the dead weight of the bureaucratic tangle hampering his every move.

Bernard Baruch’s remark that socialism might not succeed in distributing wealth, but would certainly distribute poverty, has never been better exemplified. Up to now socialism in Great Britain has accomplished very little more than to freeze the bankrupt capitalist economy at its point of collapse. Its bureaucratic machinery, operating along the lines of the machinery of bankrupt capitalism, has not been able to stimulate the sort of revolutionary initiative thoroughgoing reorganization of the economy that might give the British people a chance to escape from their dilemma. Socialism has acted as a brake instead of as a stimulus to enterprise.

Man does not live by bread alone, the socialists will tell you. The answer is that as strong as the urge to eat, is the urge to exercise power over other men. In the past British institutions have done a moderately good job in curbing this deadliest of insticts. But in spite of political democracy British capitalism too often gave too much power to people whose only social gift was the knack of accumulating money. Now British socialism gives too much power to people whose only knack is getting themselves elected to offices in trade unions. At the same time the liberty movement and the freedom of action that allowed people to escape from under the heel of the capitalist have been seriously weakened.

The wrong leaders

England has a new ruling class. Added to such remnants of the old ruling class as have remained in office through holding administrative jobs in government, industry and the civil service, is an infusion of new blood from the trade-union leadership, leavened by an occasional intellectual who has talked or written his way into office. Now, the main training of trade-union officials is in hamstringing production for the purpose of wringing concessions from the owners for the workers. Neither idealistic intellectuals nor civil service employees have any training in industrial production. The result is that at the very moment when the British people need to throw all their energy into discovering new ways of production and training from doing anything effective to stimulate production. In recent months there has developed a tendency to give technicians an increasingly bigger share in policy-making, but on the whole Britain’s new ruling class tends to be so blinded by the utopian glamour of the word “socialism” that it has found it difficult to envisage the problem which confronts the nation.

Well if the government can’t help them, why can’t they help themselves? The British people, in my opinion, represent in themselves at this moment just about the highest development of Western civilized man. In the middle and upper classes you find a higher level of education than we have reached in America. The level of individual skill and craftsmanship in most trades is higher than ours. In the professionally trained part of the population, though there may be some flagging of creative spirit, there’s still a great reservoir of first-rate brains. The British people proved themselves to be still a great people by the dignity and discipline with which they fought off the German air attacks during the war. This great highly trained, highly disciplined and civilized nation is in danger of dying of inanition because in all the elaborate structure of the state there are so few cracks left where individual initiative can take hold.

The British will tell you that they are “quite free, quite.” But we don’t need to believe them. When a man can’t change his job without permission from someone sitting at an office desk, when he can’t perform any of the normal operations of buying and selling necessary to carrying on a business without a complicated correspondence to secure licenses from the Board of Trade, when he can’t appeal to the courts from administrative decisions, when he can be sentenced to jail for refusing to work in the mines, he’s no longer a free agent. The Briton still has his secret ballot in parliamentary and municipal elections. He’s free because he can vote, he’ll tell you. Unfortunately the record of history tends to prove that it’s very doubtful whether the vote alone, without economic and personal liberty of action, has ever protected any people against the exercise of arbitrary power.

A sinister footnote to the loss of concern for individual liberty that seems inevitably to follow the socialization of enterprise appears in the growing toleration of new forms of slavery. We are growing used to the stories of the vast slave camps in the Soviet Union and its satellite countries, but it comes somewhat as a shock to find the humane British tolerating the use of gangs of German prisoners to do agricultural labor. In all my conversation with farmers in England last summer I found only one man who disapproved of the practice. The farmers paid the prisoners nothing more than pocket money. The farmers found that they got more work out of prisoners if they fed them a hot meal in the middle of the day, but they didn’t seem to feel that the working of prisoners of war in this way constituted a backsliding in civilization; most of them regretted that the prisoners would soon be sent home. The wages of agricultural workers in England have been much improved in recent years and the socialists take justifiable pride in this achievement. The question they didn’t ask themselves when they tolerated the enslavement of the defeated Germans was how long a highly paid plowman or tractor operator would be able to compete with slave labor.

This brings us squarely up against the dilemma of our time. Under the cover of the dazzle of socialist illusions, and just at the moment when our technology is opening up the certainty of really widespread well-being in material things, the masses of mankind are being plunged back into a regime of misery and servitude such as has not existed in the West since the days of serfdom. We can’t  go on forever blaming on war damage a situation that results from the fact that socialized economics, instead of opening up new aspects of self-government and broader reaches of liberty for the individual, have backslid with dizzy speed into aboriginal oppressions. In the Soviet Union, failure to solve the problems of production at home has thrown Russian communism into a dangerous habit of aggression upon the rest of the world. As for Great Britain, we can hope they will find a way to combine socialism with liberty, or at least that the failure of socialized economy to provide its people with a decent life at home will produce a new explosion of British migration and colonization that will transmit to the future world of the West the valuable heritages from English culture. In America what we don’t want to forget is that we won’t have any Western world fit for a free man to live in unless we keep the avenues open for freedom and growth of individual man in the constantly proliferating hierarchical structure of modern industry.

Enemy of Socialism

Socialism is not the answer, we’ve got to do better than that.

This article was published in  magazine Jan 19, 1948. With Barack Obama and the modern democrat party we see history repeating itself, why do we want to establish in America which has been the greatest engine for the promotion of man and his ambitions with a failed concept that has been tried again and again with the same history of utter failure. You can see the results of socialism more pronounced now than at any other time in history, you need only to look at what is happening in Greece, France, Spain, etc.  It is apparent throughout the world socialism, marxism, communism, fascism, leninism, etc., are truly the “failed policies of the past.” All the democrats ever put forth are the “failed policies of the past” or while they do not offer solutions themselves, they simply demonize republican solutions, then blame the republicans for being obstructionists. Ridiculous!

See also:

The Marxist Roots of Black Liberation Theology, The Doctrine of Victimolgy

Victimology 101

The Doctrine of Fascism, Fascism Defined by Benito Mussolini

Fascism is absolute government control over private business; socialism is absolute government control over nationalized business. Both are huge-government liberalism, and no where near a conservative, capitalist society. Just as the left in America have tried to define and redefine moral and immoral behavior to suit their own agenda, so too, do the fascist, their agenda being that of the State.

The establishment GOP and the Democrat party have made U.S.A. a fascist nation, Political Correctness, Climate Change & Islam are the state endorsed religions. In doing so they have completely subverted, undermined and made the Constitution ineffective and void. A federal judge recently ruled that prayers before a state House of Representatives could be to Allah but not to Jesus.

I say they have made it Fascist, granted it may not be completely so at this point, but we are fast getting completely there. Fascism is absolute government control over private business, they do not have absolute control yet, although it could be argued they really do have it indeed. They control business by burdensome regulations, laws, corporate cronyism, using the power of government to limit competition, using it to force companies to act in the manner in which the federal government decides they should, there are many aspects to this in the federal and state governments.

In very broad strokes, socialism is an economic system in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy. While the word socialism is sometimes used interchangeably with communism, the two aren’t technically the same, communism is simply a more extreme form of socialism.

Communism advocates the “collective ownership of property and the organization of labor for the common advantage of all members.” While communism is first and foremost an economic system, it’s also a political ideology that rejects religion. And just as communism is a form of socialism, Marxism, Maoism, and Leninism are branches of communism.

Like socialism and communism, fascism uses a central authority to maintain control, but terror and censorship are common. It results from economic failure in democratic political systems. They are all based on government control over the individual and the denial of the individual in favor of the “whole”. However as with all of them, the “whole” ends up consisting only of those who are in power positions and in government.

Keynesian economics, fascism and socialism;

Mussolini personally set his approval and signature over a book which proclaims:

“Fascism entirely agrees with Mr. Maynard Keynes, despite the latter’s prominent position as a [so called] Liberal. In fact, Mr. Keynes’ excellent little book, The End of Laissez-Faire (l926) might, so far as it goes, serve as a useful introduction to fascist economics. There is scarcely anything to object to in it and there is much to applaud..”

Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power. – Mussolini

Keynes himself admired the Nazi economic program, writing in the foreword to the German edition to the General Theory (1936): “[T]he theory of output as a whole, which is what the following book purports to provide, is much more easily adapted to the conditions of a totalitarian state, than is the theory of production and distribution of a given output produced under the conditions of free competition and a large measure of laissez-faire.” – John Maynard Keynes

Hitler was named “Man of the Year” in 1938 by Time Magazine. They noted Hitler’s anti-capitalistic economic policies.
“Most cruel joke of all, however, has been played by Hitler & Co. on those German capitalists and small businessmen who once backed National Socialism as a means of saving Germany’s bourgeois economic structure from radicalism. The Nazi credo that the individual belongs to the state also applies to business. Some businesses have been confiscated outright, on other what amounts to a capital tax has been levied. Profits have been strictly controlled. Some idea of the increasing Governmental control and interference in business could be deduced from the fact that 80% of all building and 50% of all industrial orders in Germany originated last year with the Government. Hard-pressed for food- stuffs as well as funds, the Nazi regime has taken over large estates and in many instances collectivized agriculture, a procedure fundamentally similar to Russian Communism.” (Source: Time Magazine; Jaunuary 2, 1939.)

Keynesian economics facilitates government intervention and regulation of the market. That’s why it appeals to socialists, fascists, communists, statists, i.e. leftists.

The chief Nazi newspaper, Volkischer Beobachter, repeatedly praised “Roosevelt’s adoption of National Socialist strains of thought in his economic and social policies” and “the development toward an authoritarian state” based on the “demand that collective good be put before individual self-interest.”

Mussolini saw the connection of FDR and himself: In a laudatory review of Roosevelt’s 1933 book Looking Forward, Mussolini wrote, “Reminiscent of Fascism is the principle that the state no longer leaves the economy to its own devices. … Without question, the mood accompanying this sea change resembles that of Fascism.”

Fascism is the religion of Statism: “The Doctrine of Fascism” 1932 Author: Mussolini, Benito.

In the Fascist conception of history, man is man only by virtue of the spiritual process to which he contributes as a member of the family, the social group, the nation, and in function of history to which all nations bring their contribution. Hence the great value of tradition in records, in language, in customs, in the rules of social life. Outside history man is a nonentity. Fascism is therefore opposed to all individualistic abstractions based on eighteenth century materialism; and it is opposed to all Jacobinistic Utopias and innovations. It does not believe in the possibility of “happiness” on earth as conceived by the economistic literature of the XVIIIth century, and it therefore rejects the theological notion that at some future time the human family will secure a final settlement of all its difficulties. This notion runs counter to experience which teaches that life is in continual flux and in process of evolution. In politics Fascism aims at realism; in practice it desires to deal only with those problems which are the spontaneous product of historic conditions and which find or suggest their own solutions. Only by entering in to the process of reality and taking possession of the forces at work within it, can man act on man and on nature.

Anti-individualistic, the Fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with those of the State, which stands for the conscience and the universal, will of man as a historic entity. It is opposed to classical liberalism which arose as a reaction to absolutism and exhausted its historical function when the State became the expression of the conscience and will of the people. Liberalism denied the State in the name of the individual; Fascism reasserts the rights of the State as expressing the real essence of the individual. And if liberty is to be the attribute of living men and not of abstract dummies invented by individualistic liberalism, then Fascism stands for liberty, and for the only liberty worth having, the liberty of the State and of the individual within the State. The Fascist conception of the State is all embracing; outside of it no human or spiritual values can exist, much less have value. Thus understood, Fascism, is totalitarian, and the Fascist State – a synthesis and a unit inclusive of all values – interprets, develops, and potentates the whole life of a people.

No individuals or groups (political parties, cultural associations, economic unions, social classes) outside the State. Fascism is therefore opposed to Socialism to which unity within the State (which amalgamates classes into a single economic and ethical reality) is unknown, and which sees in history nothing but the class struggle. Fascism is likewise opposed to trade unionism as a class weapon. But when brought within the orbit of the State, Fascism recognizes the real needs which gave rise to socialism and trade unionism, giving them due weight in the guild or corporative system in which divergent interests are coordinated and harmonized in the unity of the State.


Notice the arrogant stance and look on the face of all dictators. See pic at bottom of the post

Just as the modern democrat party is made up of various minority groups, including unions, who have joined together with the State to eliminate the individual in America and bring about centralized State control. Mussolini was a union boss and activist who was expelled from Trentino by the Austrians for his union activities. In Italy under the Fascists, Mussolini was Chairman of the “National Council of Corporations”. Formed in 1924, it established 22 “corporations” overseen by representatives of workers and owners. Strikes were forbidden, as were lockouts. Contrary to current leftist rhetoric, Mussolini loved unions, he used them and they him just as the modern unions and democrat party do in the U.S. today.

Grouped according to their several interests, individuals form classes; they form trade-unions when organized according to their several economic activities; but first and foremost they form the State, which is no mere matter of numbers, the sums of the individuals forming the majority. Fascism is therefore opposed to that form of democracy which equates a nation to the majority, lowering it to the level of the largest number; but it is the purest form of democracy if the nation be considered as it should be from the point of view of quality rather than quantity, as an idea, the mightiest because the most ethical, the most coherent, the truest, expressing itself in a people as the conscience and will of the few, if not, indeed, of one, and ending to express itself in the conscience and the will of the mass, of the whole group ethnically molded by natural and historical conditions into a nation, advancing, as one conscience and one will, along the self same line of development and spiritual formation. Not a race, nor a geographically defined region, but a people, historically perpetuating itself; a multitude unified by an idea and imbued with the will to live, the will to power, self-consciousness, personality.

In so far as it is embodied in a State, this higher personality becomes a nation. It is not the nation which generates the State; that is an antiquated naturalistic concept which afforded a basis for 19th century publicity in favor of national governments. Rather is it the State which creates the nation, conferring volition and therefore real life on a people made aware of their moral unity.

The right to national independence does not arise from any merely literary and idealistic form of self-consciousness; still less from a more or less passive and unconscious de facto situation, but from an active, self-conscious, political will expressing itself in action and ready to prove its rights. It arises, in short, from the existence, at least in fieri, of a State. Indeed, it is the State which, as the expression of a universal ethical will, creates the right to national independence.

Mussolini Time mag

Time Magazine 1936

A nation, as expressed in the State, is a living, ethical entity only in so far as it is progressive. Inactivity is death. Therefore the State is not only Authority which governs and confers legal form and spiritual value on individual wills, but it is also Power which makes its will felt and respected beyond its own frontiers, thus affording practical proof of the universal character of the decisions necessary to ensure its development. This implies organization and expansion, potential if not actual. Thus the State equates itself to the will of man, whose development cannot he checked by obstacles and which, by achieving self-expression, demonstrates its infinity.

[Fascism is:] A party governing a nation “totalitarianly” is a new departure in history. There are no points of reference or of comparison. From beneath the ruins of liberal, socialist, and democratic doctrines, Fascism extracts those elements which are still vital. It preserves what may be described as “the acquired facts” of history; it rejects all else. That is to say, it rejects the idea of a doctrine suited to all times and to all people. Granted that the 19th century was the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy, this does not mean that the 20th century must also be the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy. Political doctrines pass; nations remain. We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the “right”, a Fascist century. If the 19th century was the century of the individual (liberalism implies individualism) we are free to believe that this is the “collective” century and therefore the century of the State. It is quite logical for a new doctrine to make use of the still vital elements of other doctrines. No doctrine was ever born quite new and bright and unheard of. No doctrine can boast absolute originality. It is always connected, it only historically, with those which preceded it and those which will follow it. Thus the scientific socialism of Marx links up to the Utopian socialism of the Fouriers, the Owens, the Saint-Simons ; thus the liberalism of the 19th century traces its origin back to the illuministic movement of the 18th, and the doctrines of democracy to those of the Encyclopaedists. All doctrines aim at directing the activities of men towards a given objective; but these activities in their turn react on the doctrine, modifying and adjusting it to new needs, or outstripping it. A doctrine must therefore be a vital act and not a verbal display. Hence the pragmatic strain in Fascism, its will to power, its will to live, its attitude toward violence, and its value.

The keystone of the Fascist doctrine is its conception of the State, of its essence, its functions, and its aims. For Fascism the State is absolute, individuals and groups relative. Individuals and groups are admissible in so far as they come within the State. Instead of directing the game and guiding the material and moral progress of the community, the liberal State restricts its activities to recording results. The Fascist State is wide awake and has a will of its own. For this reason it can be described as “ethical”.

At the first quinquennial assembly of the regime, in 1929, I [Mussolini] said “The Fascist State is not a night watchman, solicitous only of the personal safety of the citizens; nor is it organized exclusively for the purpose of guarantying a certain degree of material prosperity and relatively peaceful conditions of life, a board of directors would do as much. Neither is it exclusively political, divorced from practical realities and holding itself aloof from the multifarious activities of the citizens and the nation. The State, as conceived and realized by Fascism, is a spiritual and ethical entity for securing the political, juridical, and economic organization of the nation, an organization which in its origin and growth is a manifestation of the spirit. The State guarantees the internal and external safety of the country, but it also safeguards and transmits the spirit of the people, elaborated down the ages in its language, its customs, its faith. The State is not only the present; it is also the past and above all the future. Transcending the individual’s brief spell of life, the State stands for the immanent conscience of the nation. The forms in which it finds expression change, but the need for it remains. The State educates the citizens to civism, makes them aware of their mission, urges them to unity; its justice harmonizes their divergent interests; it transmits to future generations the conquests of the mind in the fields of science, art, law, human solidarity; it leads men up from primitive tribal life to that highest manifestation of human power, imperial rule. The State hands down to future generations the memory of those who laid down their lives to ensure its safety or to obey its laws; it sets up as examples and records for future ages the names of the captains who enlarged its territory and of the men of genius who have made it famous. Whenever respect for the State declines and the disintegrating and centrifugal tendencies of individuals and groups prevail, nations are headed for decay”.


The following statement is embedded in a speech delivered by Mussolini at Naples, October 24, 1912:

WE HAVE created our myth. The myth is a faith, it is passion. It is not necessary that it shall be a reality. It is a reality by the fact that it is a good, a hope, a faith, that it is courage. Our myth is the Nation, our myth is the greatness of the Nation! And to this myth, to this grandeur, that we wish to translate into a complete reality, we subordinate all the rest.

From Michael J. Oakeshott:
The Social and Political Doctrines of Contemporary Europe, pp. 164-8.
Copyright 1939 by Cambridge University Press.

Benito Mussolini (1883-1945), Duce of fascist Italy from 1922 to 1945, needs no introduction. The following selections are from his article entitled “The Doctrine of Fascism” which appeared in the Italian Encyclopedia of 1932.

THERE IS no concept of the State which is not fundamentally a concept of life: philosophy or intuition, a system of ideas which develops logically or is gathered up into a vision or into a faith, but which is always, at least virtually, an organic conception of the world.

1. Thus fascism could not be understood in many of its practical manifestations as a party organization, as a system of education, as a discipline, if it were not always looked at in the light of its whole way of conceiving life, a spiritualized way. The world seen through Fascism is not this material world which appears on the surface, in which man is an individual separated from all others and standing by himself, and in which he is governed by a natural law that makes him instinctively live a life of selfish and momentary pleasure. The man of Fascism is an individual who is nation and fatherland, which is a moral law, binding together individuals and the generations into a tradition and a mission, suppressing the instinct for a life enclosed within the brief round of pleasure in order to restore within duty a higher life free from the limits of time and space: a life in which the individual, through the denial of himself, through the sacrifice of his own private interests, through death itself, realizes that completely spiritual existence in which his value as a man lies.

3. Therefore it is a spiritualized conception, itself the result of the general reaction of modem times against the flabby materialistic positivism of the nineteenth century. Anti-positivistic, but positive: not skeptical, nor agnostic, nor pessimistic, nor passively optimistic, as arc, in general, the doctrines (all negative) that put the centric of life outside man, who with his free will can and must create his own world. Fascism desires an active man, one engaged in activity with all his energies: it desires a man virilely conscious of the difficulties that exist in action and ready to face them. It conceives of life as a struggle, considering that it behooves man to conquer for himself that life truly worthy of him, creating first of all in himself the instrument (physical, moral, intellectual) in order to construct it. Thus for the single individual, thus for the nation, thus for humanity. Hence the high value of culture in all its forms (art, religion, science), and the enormous importance of education. Hence also the essential value of work, with which man conquers nature and creates the human world (economic, political, moral, intellectual).

4. This positive conception of life is clearly an ethical conception. It covers the whole of reality, not merely the human activity which controls it. No action can be divorced from moral judgment; there is nothing in the world which can be deprived of the value which belongs to everything in its relation to moral ends. Life, therefore, as conceived by the Fascist, is serious, austere, religious: the whole of it is poised in a world supported by the moral and responsible forces of the spirit. The Fascist disdains the “comfortable” life.

5. Fascism is a religious conception in which man is seen in his immanent relationship with a superior law and with an objective Will that transcends the particular individual and raises him to conscious membership of a spiritual society. Whoever has seen in the religious politics of the Fascist regime nothing but mere opportunism has not understood that Fascism besides being a system of government is also, and above all, a system of thought.

6. Fascism is an historical conception in which man is what he is only in so far as he works with the spiritual process in which he finds himself, in the family or social group, in the nation and in the history in which all nations collaborate. From this follows the great value of tradition, in memories, in language, in customs, in the standards of social life. Outside history man is nothing. consequently Fascism is opposed to all the individualistic abstractions of a materialistic nature like those of the eighteenth century; and it is opposed to all Jacobin utopias and innovations. It does not consider that “happiness” is possible upon earth, as it appeared to be in the desire of the economic literature of the eighteenth century, and hence it rejects all teleological theories according to which mankind would reach a definitive stabilized condition at a certain period in history. This implies putting oneself outside history and life, which is a continual change and coming to be. Politically, Fascism wishes to be a realistic doctrine; practically, it aspires to solve only the problems which arise historically of themselves and that of themselves find or suggest their own solution. To act among men, as to act in the natural world, it is necessary to enter into the process of reality and to master the already operating forces.

7. Against individualism, the Fascist conception is for the State; and it is for the individual in so far as he coincides with the State, which is the conscience and universal will of man in his historical existence. It is opposed to classical Liberalism, which arose from the necessity of reacting against absolutism, and which brought its historical purpose to an end when the State was transformed into the conscience and will of the people. Liberalism denied the State in the interests of the particular individual; Fascism reaffirms the State as the true reality of the individual. And if liberty is to be the attribute of the real man, and not of that abstract puppet envisaged by individualistic Liberalism, Fascism is for liberty. And for the only liberty which can be a real thing, the liberty of the State and of the individual within the State. Therefore, for the Fascist, everything is in the State, and nothing human or spiritual exists, much less has value,-outside the State. In this sense Fascism is totalitarian, and the Fascist State, the synthesis and unity of all values, interprets, develops and gives strength to the whole life of the people.

8. Outside the State there can be neither individuals nor groups (political parties, associations, syndicates, classes). Therefore Fascism is opposed to Socialism, which confines the movement of history within the class struggle and ignores the unity of classes established in one economic and moral reality in the State; . . .

9. Individuals form classes according to the similarity of their interests, they form syndicates according to differentiated economic activities within these interests; but they form first, and above all, the State, which is not to be thought of numerically as the sum-total of individuals forming the majority of a nation. And consequently Fascism is opposed to Democracy, which equates the nation to the majority, lowering it to the level of that majority; nevertheless it is the purest form of democracy if the nation is conceived, as it should be, qualitatively and not quantitatively, as the most powerful idea (most powerful because most moral, most coherent, most true) which acts within the nation as the conscience and the will of a few, even of One, which ideal tends to become active within the conscience and the will of all — that is to say, of all those who rightly constitute a nation by reason of nature, history or race, and have set out upon the same line of development and spiritual formation as one conscience and one sole will. Not a race, nor a geographically determined region, but as a community historically perpetuating itself a multitude unified by a single idea, which is the will to existence and to power: consciousness of itself, personality.

10. This higher personality is truly the nation in so far as it is the State. It k not the nation that generates the State, as according to the old naturalistic concept which served as the basis of the political theories of the national States of the nineteenth century. Rather the nation is created by the State, which gives to the people, conscious of its own moral unity, a will and therefore an effective existence. The right of a nation to independence derives not from a literary and ideal consciousness of its own being, still less from a more or less unconscious and inert acceptance of a de facto situation, but from an active consciousness, from a political will in action and ready to demonstrate its own rights: that is to say, from a state already coming into being. The State, in fact, as the universal ethical will, is the creator of right.

1 l. The nation as the State is an ethical reality which exists and lives in so far as it develops. To arrest its development is to kill it. Therefore the State is not only the authority which governs and gives the form of laws and the value of spiritual life to the wills of individuals, but it is also a power that makes its will felt abroad, making it known and respected, in other words demonstrating the fact of its universality in all the necessary directions of its development. It is consequently organization and expansion, at least virtually. Thus it can be likened to the human will which knows no limits to its development and realizes itself in testing its own limitlessness.

12. The Fascist State, the highest and most powerful form of personality, is a force, but a spiritual force, which takes over all the forms of the moral and intellectual life of man. It cannot therefore confine itself simply to the functions of order and supervision as Liberalism desired. It is not simply a mechanism which limits the sphere of the supposed liberties of the individual. It is the form, the inner standard and the discipline of the whole person; it saturates the will as well as the intelligence. Its principle, the central inspiration of the human personality living in the civil community, pierces into the depths and makes its home in the heart of the man of action as well as of the thinker, of the artist as well as of the scientist: it is the soul of the soul.

13. Fascism, in short, is not only the giver of laws and the founder of institutions, but the educator and promoter of spiritual life. It wants to remake, not the forms of human life, but its content, man, character, faith. And to this end it requires discipline and authority that can enter into the spirits of men and there govern unopposed. Its sign, therefore, is the Lictors’ rods, the symbol of unity, of strength and justice.

Do you REALLY think Obama cares more about your family than he does his own?

Obama’s brother lives in extreme poverty in Africa. The President must know of his brother’s condition, the rest of the world does.

George Obama in front of his hut in Africa

Barack Obama’s Brother Turns to Dinesh D’Souza in Time of Need

D’Souza Sends Money to President Obama’s Brother for Sick Child

Who is Obama’s “brother’s keeper”? HINT: Not Barack

Obama like all other Liberals or Progressives, only believe in charity when it is your money they are being charitable with!

“Whether you are a white executive living out in the suburbs who doesn’t want to pay taxes to inner city children for them to go to school, or you are an inner city child who doesn’t want to take responsibility for keeping your streets safe and clean.” – Barack Obama

Obama’s Kenyan Aunt Seeks Asylum Again, Awaits Ruling on Deportation

Obama’s ‘Auntie Zeituni’ pens memoir: ‘Tears of Abuse’

Obama’s auntie still free loading

Obama once again as liberals and progressives do, is letting the tax payer foot the bill for his aunt. Living on the tax payers dime must run in the family!

Obama’s Aunt Update: ‘The System Took Advantage of Me’

Who is Barack Hussein Obama?

Who Obama is, his family and associates will tell you!

Hope remains for the “Obama Generation”

Thought you would be encouraged to know there remains HOPE, for the ‘Obama GENERATION!’

This is the best thing to come out of Knoxville since Peyton Manning. University of Tennessee students made this one minute video.

Every person, young and old, in America needs to see this video. I hope there is one produced on every college campus in America!

Can the State of California tell us anything about the future of the United States?

Subject: The REAL picture — in charts, very sobering!

If nothing else, please read the last item supposedly from the LA Times

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NOW for the final exam:

1. Why is California so broke?
California is just One State, this is only one State…..If this doesn’t open your eyes nothing will!

From the L. A. Times

1. 40% of all workers in L. A. County ( L. A. County has 10.2 million people) are working for cash and not paying taxes. This is because they are predominantly illegal aliens
working without a green card.

2. 95% of warrants for murder in Los Angeles are for illegal aliens.

3. 75% of people on the most-wanted list in Los Angeles are illegal aliens.

4. Over 2/3 of all births in Los Angeles County are to illegal alien Mexicans on Medi-Cal, whose births were paid for by taxpayers.

5. Nearly 35% of all inmates in California detention centers are Mexican nationals here illegally.

6. Over 300,000 illegal aliens in Los Angeles County are living in garages.

7. The FBI reports half of all gang members in Los Angeles are most likely illegal aliens from south of the border.

8. Nearly 60% of all occupants of HUD properties are illegal.

9. 21 radio stations in L. A. Are Spanish speaking.

10. In L. A. County 5.1 million people speak English, 4.9 million speak Spanish. (There are 10.2 million people in L. A. County .)

(All 10 of the above statements are from the Los Angeles Times)

Less than 2% of illegal aliens are picking our crops, but 29% are on welfare.
Over 70% of the United States’ annual population growth (and over 90% of California , Florida, and New York ) results from immigration.
29% of inmates in federal prisons are illegal aliens.

This is only one State.   The Nancy Pelosi crowd wants them all to become voters!

Patrick Henry greatest American Statesman

Patrick Henry “Lion of Liberty” addresses House of Burgesses in 1765 about the Stamp Act

“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great
nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on
religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ! For this very reason
peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and
freedom of worship here.” -Patrick Henry

Delivered before the Faculty and Students of Randolph-Macon College 

December 9th, 1901 

Hon. James Alston Cabell, of Richmond Virginia. 


That generous and public-spirited gentleman, who is too 
modest to have his name made known, and too disinterested 
and unselfish to receive any public praise for his noble and 
patriotic act, has permitted me to say that this portrait of Patrick 
Henry, which he has given, and I have the honor of presenting, 
has been placed in your college halls in order that your young 
men. on the threshold of life, some of whom, doubtless, are to 
play a conspicuous part in the arena of life, and, may be for 
good or evil, influence the course and destiny of this land, may 
have continually before them the face of this great American as 
an example of pure and exalted manhood, of devotion to country, 
and consecration to duty. The habit of recalling examples will 
soon produce the habit of imitating them. We are told that 
the citizens of Rome placed the images of their ancestors in the 
vestibules of their houses, so that whenever they went in or out, 
those venerable statues met their eyes and recalled the glorious 
actions of the dead, to fire the living, to excite them to imitate 
and even to emulate their great forefathers. The success, says 
Bolingbroke, answered the design. The virtue of one generation 
was transmitted by the magic of example, into several ; and a 
spirit of heroism was maintained through many ages of that 

Unequal as I am to the duty assigned me, if what I have to say 
tonight shall help to lead the young,- men of this college to a 
higher appreciation of the simple grandeur, the rugged beauty, 
and the unaffected nobility of the character of Patrick Henry, and
some may be excited by the magic of his example, to imitate or 
even emulate the great patriot, I shall have accomplished a great 

All men have two ways of improvement — one arising from 
their own experience, and one from the experience of others. In 
following the course of great men remember while you may not 
rise to the full measure of their greatness, yet you must determine 
not to fall below their standard of duty and obligation. Mr. 
Henry's career may be studied as a guide for private life as well 
as public station. We have no need to throw the mantle of 
charity over personal defects which might otherwise mar the 
brilliancy of his fame. His private life was as pure as his public 
achievements were, brilliant and illustrious. 

Patrick Henry was born in this grand old county of Hanover, 
at Studley. His youth gave no presage of his future greatness. 
Indeed, the few advantages his parents were able to offer him 
were sadly neglected. At an early age his father set him up in 
a little mercantile business, and he promptly made a failure of 
it. A year after, when he was only 18 years of age, and out of 
employment, he married a girl as impecunious as himself. 

By the joint assistance of their parents, however, the young 
couple were settled on a small farm, where Henry proceeded to 
demonstrate as positively and as rapidly as possible, that he was 
no farmer, and, by the method of reduction, that his talents, if 
he had any, must lie in some other direction. For a second 
time he went into merchandise. This experiment was still more 
unfortunate than the first, and in a few years it left him a 
bankrupt. "Every atom of his property was now gone," is the 
description we have of his condition ; "his friends were unable to 
assist him any further; he had tried every means of support, of 
which he could suppose himself capable, and every one had 
failed ; ruin was behind him ; poverty, debt, want, and famine 
before ; and, as if his cup of misery were not already full enough, 
here were a suffering wife and children to make it overflow." 
The pressure of such overwhelming misfortune would have 
crushed the life and spirit out of any but the strongest character. 
It was under such trials that Henry showed what great 
native firmness of character he possessed. "He was not one of 
those," as Dr. Johnson had said of Swift, "who, having lost one 
part of life in idleness are tempted to throw away the remainder 
in despair." The manliness of his character not only kept his 
mind from being clouded by despondency, but even gave him 
a cheerfulness of spirit under the most severe reverses of fortune, 
and showed that he was fitted to endure the buffetings of the 
rudest storms. As a last effort, we are told, after he had failed 
at everything else, he determined to make a trial of the law. 
Nothing but failure, dire and certain failure, was predicted ; but 
having passed as a lawyer, Henry was a conspicuous success from 
the first, and he was ready when opportunity came to him. 
It came in the shape of what is known as the famous "Parsons 
Cause." You all know, or ought to know, about that celebrated 
controversy. It is a part of the history of Virginia, and was 
fought out here in this old county. The power and the intelligence 
of the Colony, as well as law and justice and right, were 
on the side of the Parsons. It seemed a desperate — a hopeless —  
measure for any one to undertake ; even the most learned and 
skillful advocate. The case had been virtually decided in favor 
of the Parsons, and at that time, it appeared to be only a ques- 
tion of arithmetic to determine how much was due them. The 
distinguished counsel for the defendants withdrew from the case, 
saying he could do nothing more, and the case was hopeless. 
In this situation they turned, with their desperate case, 
to the plucky young lawyer who never lost hope and never despaired. 
There were a combination of circumstances surrounding the case 
which appealed to the selfish passions of the people. 
Could these passions be fanned into a storm, all considerations of 
law and equity would be swept out of sight. Henry saw his 
opportunity. "The man and the hour had met." The description 
of that day's triumph reads as if it were from the pen of some 
poet. The young attorney, through the beginning of his speech, 
faltered and stammered, but by degrees his attitude became erect 
and lofty; the spirit of genius began to awake in all his features; 
his countenance shone with a nobleness and grandeur which it 
never before exhibited; his action became graceful, bold, and 
commanding, and the tones of his voice exercised a magical 
charm, which baffles the description of narrators. They can only 
say "that it struck upon the ear and upon the heart in a manner 
which language cannot tell." In short, "now was first witnessed 
that mysterious and almost supernatural transformation of 
appearance, which the fire of his own eloquence never failed to 
work in him." 

When the verdict came in. the old court-house at Hanover 
witnessed a sight forever memorable in its history. The excited 
multitude, in defiance of the Court and the resistance of the 
officers, seized their hero, bore him aloft out of the court-house, 
and around the court green with shouts of triumphant joy. 

Never was success at the bar more sudden or more complete, 
and he at once took a place at the head of his profession. But 
Mr. Henry was destined for greater work and more exalted ser- 
vice. King George and the British ^Ministry did not intend to let 
him expend his transcendent eloquence on law cases in Hanover 
and Louisa. The great political arena was to be the field of his 
glory, and there was the dazzling brilliance of his genius to be 
displayed. Henry entered the House of Burgesses about the 
time that the British Ministry sent them a copy of the Stamp Act, 
as the only reply to their petitions and remonstrances against 
such a high-handed violation of the ancient constitutional rights 
of the Colonies. The question of the hour was, what was to be 
done about it. It was now the law of the land, and was soon to 
go into effect. The time for remonstrance had passed. To submit 
to it quietly would be to reduce the colony to a state of 
slavery, but those who had guided the course of Virginia, when 
the}' considered her weak and defenseless condition, were unwilling 
to think of resistance. It was at such a time that Patrick 
Henry, a new member and an almost unknown man, introduced 
his ever-memorable resolutions, and dictated the policy of Virginia.
Mr. Jefferson says that by these resolutions Mr. Henry took 
the lead out of the hands of those who had hitherto guided the 
proceedings of the House, and after the debate, which he says 
was "bloody," there was no longer a question among' the body 
of the people as to Mr. Henry's being the first statesman and 
orator of Virginia. Indeed, from that time he became the idol 
of the people. 

Mr. Henry, who was more indifferent to the preservation of the 
records and credentials of his career than any of our public men, 
in the final survey of his career, regarded the introduction of 
these resolutions as the one most important thing he ever did. 
Along with his will was found a copy of these resolutions, sealed 
up, and directed to his executors. He seemed to care for the 
preservation of no other evidence of his public service. After de- 
scribing the circumstances of their preservation and adoption, 
and stating that they established the point of resistance to British 
taxation and brought on the war which established American 
independence, he added these memorable words, which cannot 
be too often recalled by every American citizen: Whether this 
will prove a blessing or a curse, will depend upon the use our 
people make of the blessings which a gracious God hath bestowed 
on us. If they are wise, they will be great and happy. If 
they are of a contrary character, they will be miserable. 
Righteousness alone can exalt them as a nation. Reader! whoever 
thou art, remember this, and in thy sphere practice virtue thy- 
self and encourage it in others." 

A Northern historian, Moses Coit Tyler, speaking of these 
resolutions and their consequences, says : "Meanwhile, on the 
wings of the wind, and on the eager tongues of men, had been 
borne past recall, far northward and far southward, the fiery 
unchastised words of nearly the entire series to kindle in all the 
colonies a great flame of dauntless purpose." And after setting 
forth the effects produced by them, continues : "All these facts, 
and many more that might be produced, seem to point to the 
Virginia resolutions of 1765 as having come at a crisis of the 
Revolution — and as having then uttered, with trumpet voice, the 
very word that was fitted to the hour and that gave to men's 
minds clearness of vision and to their hearts a settled purpose." 

On the 24th of May, 1774, the House of Burgesses received 
the alarming news of the passage of the Boston port bill. They 
designated the day on which it was to take effect — June 1st — as 
a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer, devoutly implored the 
Divine interposition for averting the heavy calamity which 
threatened destruction to their civil rights and the evils of civil 
war, to give them one heart and one mind firmly to oppose, by 
all just and proper means every injury to American rights, etc. 
Lord Dunmore was so incensed at their action that he immediately 
dissolved the House. The members, however, met at the Raleigh 
Tavern, passed resolutions, and set on foot plans for the 
establishment of an annual Congress of all the colonies. During 
the conferences held at this period we are told "Patrick Henry 
was the leader." George Mason wrote of him at the time: "He 
is by far the most powerful speaker I ever heard. *** But 
his eloquence is the smallest part of his merit. He is, in my 
opinion, the first man upon this Continent, as well in abilities as 
public virtues." 

In the Continental Congress which assembled at Philadelphia 
on the 5th of September, 1774, Mr. Henry at once sprang to the 
front as a leader. "Even those who had heard him in all his 
glory in the House of Burgesses of Virginia, were astonished at 
the manner in which his talents seemed to swell and expand them- 
selves to fill the vaster theatre in which he was now placed, and 
as he had been before proclaimed the greatest orator in Virginia, 
he was now on every hand admitted to be the first orator in 
America." It was not as an orator alone that Mr. Henry made a 
reputation in that distinguished body. After more than seven 
weeks spent in the closest intellectual intimacy with fifty of the
ablest men in America, his fame spread throughout the colonies, 
and his distinguished associates were impressed not only with his 
eloquence, but also with his intelligence, integrity, and power. 

But the most brilliant act in his wonderful career was yet to 

When the Virginia delegates assembled in convention on 
March the 20th, 1775, in the Old Church in Richmond, the 
sentiments which still influenced many of the leading members 
were strongly loyal. They recited with great feeling the series of 
grievances under which the colonies had labored, and insisted 
with great firmness on their constitutional rights, but they were 
most explicit in pledging their faith and allegiance to King 
George III., and avowing their determination to support him 
with their lives and fortunes in the legal exercise of all his just 
rights and prerogatives. They sincerely wished for a return of 
friendly intercourse with Great Britain and were averse to any 
means of violence. It was not so with Patrick Henry. He had 
long since read the true character of the British Court, and saw 
that no alternative remained, but abject submission or heroic 
resistance. The convention, which was dominated by the delegates 
from the lower counties, opened very mildly, and bid fair 
to be a session of earnest remonstrance and humble supplication 
but the delegates from the upper country were fired with quite 
a different spirit, and they found a leader in Henry around which 
they could rally. Like a thunderbolt he hurled his ringing 
resolutions into the convention. He was, indeed, infused with the 
bold spirit of the patriotic representatives of the upper country 
The time for supplication and remonstrance had passed. A militia 
must be established, said the resolutions, for the protection and 
defense of the country, and to secure our inestimable rights and 
liberties from the further violations with which they have been 
threatened. The Colony must be immediately put into a state of 
defense and a committee appointed to prepare a plan for 
embodying, arming, and disciplining such a number of men, as 
would be sufficient for the purpose. 

The men who had been all powerful and had hitherto shaped 
the course of the colony were dumbfounded, the wealthy land- 
owners on the seaboard were filled with alarm and consternation, 
and even men of such well-known patriotism as Richard 
Bland, Benjamin Harrison, and Robert C. Nicholas violently 
opposed the resolutions. They insisted that filial respect demanded 
the exercise of patience. Urged the conciliatory temper 
that had lately been professed by the King and his Ministers, 
the endearing character of the ties that had hitherto connected 
Virginia with the Mother Country, the strength and lustre we 
derived from our connection with her, the utter hopelessness of 
a contest, and that it would be time enough to resort to measures 
of despair when hope had entirely vanished. 

Mr. Wirt says of Patrick Henry: "His was a spirit fitted to 
raise the whirlwind, as well as to ride in and direct it." If his 
resolutions had startled the convention by their daring and 
defiant tone, the wonderful speech with which he supported them 
was able to lift his hearers to the heights from which he viewed 
the situation and fire their souls for action. He rose with a 
majesty unusual to him in an exordium, and with all that self- 
possession by which he was so invariably distinguished. But 
with him it was no time for ceremony. The question before the 
House was one of awful moment to the country. It was nothing 
less than a question of freedom or slavery. He wished the people 
to know the whole truth — to know the worst and to provide for 
it. He pointed to the warlike preparations of Great Britain, 
which could be intended only to bind and rivet upon the colonies 
those chains which the British Ministry had been so long forging. 
Entreaty and humble supplication had been exhausted. It was 
vain to indulge in the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. 
Unless they meant basely to abandon the noble struggle in which 
they had been so long engaged, "We must fight!" he exclaimed 
with all the power of his impassioned eloquence. "I repeat it, 
sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts 
is all that is left us!" But I need not repeat here how he met the
arguments of the peace party, nor attempt to recite his flaming 
words, that rang like a trumpet call-to-arms swept the convention 
like a whirlwind, gaining in strength and power as its tones 
vibrated beyond the borders of Virginia, until they thrilled every 
heart in the remotest part of the Colonies. "Is life so dear, or 
peace so sweet," he ended, "as to be purchased at the price of 
chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what 
course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give 
me death!"

He took his seat, said Wirt. No murmur of applause was 
heard. The effect was too deep. After the trance of a moment, 
several members started from their seats. The cry, "To arms!" 
seemed to quiver on every lip, and gleam from every eye! His 
supernatural voice still sounded in their ears, and shivered along 
their arteries. They heard in every pause the cry of liberty or 
death. They became impatient of speech — their souls were on 
fire for action. 

Henry was not the man to content himself with urging a resort 
to arms and then leave it to others to carry on the conflict, or to 
shrink from dangers to which he deemed it necessary to expose 
his fellow-countrymen. He at once threw himself, heart and 
soul, into the movement he had set on foot by his eloquence. 
"We find him assuming the character of a military leader," says 
Everett, "and discharging its duties with a spirit and efficiency 
which seemed to show that, if circumstances of a wholly accidental 
nature had not checked his progress, his energies would 
probably have taken this direction, and given him as high a 
rank among the warriors of his country as he has in fact obtained 
among her orators and statesmen." 

The first overt act of war in Virginia, as Jefferson testifies, 
was committed by Patrick Henry. The first armed resistance 
to a Royal Governor was made in Virginia under his direction 
and inspiration almost as early as that made by the "embattled 
farmers" at Lexington and Concord. In the first organization 
of the Revolutionary army in Virginia the chief command was 
given to him. Why he did not retain this command involves a 
discussion we cannot go into here. It is sufficient to say that 
no blame or discredit ever attached to him. Instead, however, of 
showing discontent and resentment at the treatment he received, 
he used all his influence with his troops to repress their contem- 
plated demonstrations in his favor and to make them, as he said 
to them himself, the glorious instruments of saving their country. 
He showed then, as at all times in his career, his exalted 
character and his unselfish devotion to his country. 

For any passing mortification he may have been occasioned, 
he soon received ample satisfaction from his grateful fellow- 
countrymen. As a signal-mark of public favor he was designated 
as the first Chief Executive of Virginia, an office which he three 
times filled. In fact, there was no office or post of honor that 
could be conferred by his people that was not at his disposal. As 
Governor, as a member of the Conventions, as a member of Congress, 
in every position in which he was placed, and at all times and 
under all circumstances, he was. as he, indeed, said he considered 
himself to be, in his speech before the Convention of 
1788, "the servant of the people of this Commonwealth; as a 
sentinel over their rights, liberty, and happiness." 

What he might have achieved as a soldier, had he continued 
in the service, we can never know; but as Mr. Grigsby said: 
"That he would not have made a better fighter than Jay, or 
Livingston, or the Adamses; that he might not have made as dashing 
a partisan as Tarleton or Simcoe. his friends might readily afford 
to concede; but that he evinced what neither Jay, nor Livingston, 
nor the Adamses did evince — a determined resolution to 
stake his reputation and his life on the issue of arms — and that 
he resigned his commission when the post of imminent danger 
was refused him, exhibited a lucid proof that, whatever may have 
been his ultimate fortune, he was not deficient in two grand 
elements of military success — personal enterprise and unques- 
tioned courage." 

When George Rogers Clark, "the Hannibal of the West." laid 
his plans before Mr. Henry, then Governor, his sagacious mind 
at once grasped the vast benefit it would be to the future of the 
country, if the campaign should prove successful, and the assistance 
he rendered Clark must always be remembered in connection 
with the conquest of the Northwestern Territory by the gallant 
young Virginian.

It was Patrick Henry, indeed, who lit the fires of the Revolution, 
and called armies up from the valleys and down from the 
mountains' heights to battle for the birthrights of man. Such 
was the spirit of the times, and such the very atmosphere itself, 
that no true man could live without being infused with an ardent 
love of liberty and a high conception of duty and responsibility. 
But with Henry the love of liberty was a passion. It was to him 
what "alone gives the flower of fleeting life its lustre and per- 
fume." His high spirit "could endure chains nowhere patiently; 
and chains at home where he was free by birthright, not at all." 

It is well with any land when her great men are sincere in 
their faith, devoted and unselfish in their love of country, and 
pure in their lives. It is said of Patrick Henry: "His morals 
were strict. As a husband, a father, a master, he had no superior. 
He was kind and hospitable to the stranger and most friendly 
and accommodating to his neighbors. In his dealings with the 
world, he was faithful to his promises, and punctual in his con- 
tracts to the utmost of his power." "Keep justice, keep truth,'' 
was his injunction to John Randolph. "Righteousness alone can 
exalt them as a nation," was his declared belief. "virtue, 
morality, and religion alone renders us invincible," he wrote to a 
friend. Well might Virginia point with pride to such a son 
and say, "Imitate my Henry." 

His last act was in response to a call from his great chief, and, 
as he believed, from his country. 

The one great passionate love of Richelieu was France. In a 
dramatic part of the play that bears his name, the old Cardinal 
is on the stage - dying. In a few moments death will bring rest 
and quiet to the tired, wearied, old man, whose life has been one 
long scene of strife and warfare, and peace at last is settling 
upon him. Alarming news suddenly arrives ; the helpless Prince 
rushes to the death-bed of the great man and begs him to live 
for the sake of France! At that name he arouses himself and 
struggles with death, as did Hercules over the body of Alcestis, 
and comes out the victor. In Mr. Henry's old age, long after 
he had retired from the active pursuits of life, and but one week 
after he had written Mr. Blair that he was too old and infirm ever 
again to undertake public concerns, he received an earnest appeal 
begging him to come forward as a candidate for the next General 
Assembly, where he would have to face a stupendous task. The 
appeal was from General Washington, who believed the country 
was in great danger. He at once declared himself a candidate 
for the Legislature, old and infirm as he was. He was elected, 
but death claimed him before he took his seat. 

"Thus lived, and thus died, the celebrated Patrick Henry, of 
Virginia — a man who justly deserves to be ranked among the 
highest ornaments and noblest benefactors of his country. Had 
his lot been cast in the republics of Greece or Rome, his name 
would have been enrolled by some immortal pen among the expellers 
of tyrants and the champions of liberty; the proudest 
monuments of national gratitude would have arisen in his honor, 
and handed down his memory to future generations."

Fellowship of the Unashamed

I am part of the “Fellowship of the Unashamed.”
The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line.
The decision has been made. I am a disciple of
Jesus Christ. I won’t look back, let up, slow down,
back away, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present
makes sense, and my future is secure.
I am finished and done with low living, sight walking,
small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams,
chintzy giving, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position,
promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I now live by
presence, lean by faith, love by patience,
lift by prayer, and labor by power. My pace
is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven, my
road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few,
my Guide reliable, my mission clear. I cannot be bought,
compromised, deterred, lured away, turned back,
diluted, or delayed.

I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the
presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy,
ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander
in the maze of mediocrity.

I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I must go until
Heaven returns, give until I drop, preach until all know,
and work until He comes. And when He comes to get
His own, He will have no problem recognizing me.
My colors will be clear.

Romans: 1;6 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

The Author of this work is in dispute.
Some say Anonymous, others claim it is by Dr. Bob Moorehead
Others claim it cannot be Dr. Bob Moorehead.

No Clergy for 9/11 Memorial

From my Patriot Sister Sharon Dwyer

We are three weeks away from the 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Now, you will not believe what has happened. It is Orwellian. The good guys are the bad guys now and the bad guys are perfectly welcome.

What is going on?

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has decreed there will be no clergy at the 9/11 memorial.

You heard that right. No Clergy!

Let’s start with the basics. Bloomberg is simply nuts. At the same time he is saying no clergy at the 9/11 memorial service, he is also saying that he has no problem with the 9/11 victory mosque being built two blocks away.

Islamists attacked America on 9/11 based on their religious hatred of America. All types of Americans died on that day. Many were religious people. One of the fatalities that day was Father Mychal Judge, a chaplain with the NYFD who went into the towers with the fire fighters and perished with them.

While Michael Bloomberg lobbies for taxpayer funds to help build the 9/11 victory mosque, there is another casualty of 9/11 that everyone seems to have forgotten about.

Little St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church had stood since 1916. It had been a refuge for New Yorkers and others seeking escape and a brief peaceful interlude during their hectic days in the New York business world. It was the spiritual home to many of the Greek Orthodox faithful of New York. The Sons of St. Nicholas served in World War 1, World War 2, Korea, Vietnam and even up to Desert Storm.

When the towers were destroyed, St. Nicholas was destroyed. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese has asked, discussed, begged, pleaded, cajoled and done everything in its power to get little St. Nicholas rebuilt. All to no avail. The Archdiocese has now had to file suit.

Mean while Bloomberg, who truly meets Lenin’s definition of a useful idiot, is doing everything he can to make certain a victory mosque is built as close to the site of the 9/11 attacks as possible.

George Bush used to say that Islam had been hijacked. No, what we saw on 9/11 was pretty consistent with Islam since its creation. What we are seeing is 9/11 being hijacked.

Instead of a proper memorial for the worst attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor, we are instead fed a line of politically correct bovine scatology.


9/11 was a national trauma. We all remember where we were when we first heard about the attack. The tenth anniversary activities are a national disgrace.

My suggestion is this. Our government refuses to identify our enemies as our enemies, treats our citizens as enemies and refuses to take meaningful steps to protect us or protect liberty. 9/11 falls on a Sunday this year. Let’s go to our churches on 9/11 (or synagogues on 9/10) and let real Americans remember the attacks. Let’s have remembrances at our local Tea Party events and Liberty events. Let’s do a memorial at our local Republican Party meetings or out our local Boy Scout meetings.

We cannot make these fools go away by ignoring them, but by holding our own services, where the clergy are welcome; they will have a much harder time pouring salt in our wounds. ~ Judson Phillips of Tea Party Nation

America!! You better Wake Up to where our Freedoms come from. You deny Jesus! You deny God! They will deny you! It is that simple, it really is! See my posts 

Why our Forefathers firmly believed that Freedom and Liberty came from God

Who are the Nazis in America?

So you think you want to know me? No. 1

History of the Cross in America

The Truth about the current political parties in America and their origins by Thomas Jefferson and others

We may no agree on everything but you know, even Paul said in Philippians 1:

15: Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:

16: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds

17: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.

18: What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

He knew as I also do that no matter how it is done, just the fact that the gospel of Christ is/was preached that it is all good in bringing people to Christ and for the general good of society as a whole!

Celtic Woman – A New Journey – The Prayer

Tea Party Hobbit and American Patriot, Robert Davis 2011