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(in substance) as the tenth amendment to the Constitution, which was intended to take the place of the second Article of Confederation, as an emphatic assertion of the continued freedom, sovereignty, and independence of the states. This will be considered more particularly hereafter. In terms substantially identical with those employed by the other states, Massachusetts thus announced her ratification: In convention of the delegates of the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1788. The Convention having impartially discussed and fully considered the Constitution for the United States of America, reported [etc.], . . . do, in the name and in behalf of the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, assent to and ratify the said Constitution for the United States of America. This was accomplished on February 7, 1788. Maryland followed on April 28, and South Carolina on May 23, in equivalent expressions, the ratification of the former being made by the delegates
h other to form themselves into a free, sovereign, and independent body politic, or State, by the name of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts. New Hampshire, in her constitution, as revised in 1792, had identically the same declaration, except as regards the name of the state and the word state instead of commonwealth. Madison, one of the most distinguished of the men of that day and of the advocates of the Constitution, in a speech already once referred to, in the Virginia convention of 1788, explained that We, the people, who were to establish the Constitution, were the people of thirteen sovereignties. Elliott's Debates, Vol. III, p. 114, edition of 1836. In the Federalist he repeatedly employs the term—as, for example, when he says: Do they [the fundamental principles of the Confederation] require that, in the establishment of the Constitution, the States should be regarded as distinct and independent sovereigns? They are so regarded by the Constitution proposed. Fede
ople of States. When Webster says that in the Constitution it is the people who speak, and not the States, he says what is untenable. The states are the people. The people do not speak, never have spoken, and never can speak, in their sovereign capacity (without a subversion of our whole system), otherwise than as the people of states. There are but two modes of expressing their sovereign will known to the people of this country. One is by direct vote—the mode adopted by Rhode Island in 1788, when she rejected the Constitution. The other is the method, more generally pursued, of acting by means of conventions of delegates elected expressly as representatives of the sovereignty of the people. Now, it is not a matter of opinion or theory of speculation, but a plain, undeniable, historical fact, that there never has been any act or expression of sovereignty in either of these modes by that imaginary community, the people of the United States in the aggregate. Usurpations of power
and seriously on the consequences. June 28, 1788, he wrote to General Pinckney that New Hampshire had acceded to the new Confederacy, and, in reference to North Carolina, I should be astonished if that State should withdraw from the Union. I shall add but two other citations. They are from speeches of John Marshall, afterward the most distinguished Chief Justice of the United States—who has certainly never been regarded as holding high views of state rights—in the Virginia convention of 1788. In the first case, he was speaking of the power of the states over the militia, and is thus reported: The State governments did not derive their powers from the General Government; but each government derived its powers from the people, and each was to act according to the powers given it. Would any gentleman deny this? . . . Could any man say that this power was not retained by the States, as they had not given it away? For (says he) does not a power remain till it is given away? Th
ernment may be reassumed by the people whensoever it shall become necessary to their happiness; that every power, jurisdiction, and right which is not by the said Constitution clearly delegated to the Congress of the United States, or the departments of the Government thereof, remain to the people of the several States, or to their respective State governments to which they may have granted the same. North Carolina, with the Scotch caution which subsequent events have so well justified, in 1788 passed this resolution: Resolved, That a declaration of rights, asserting and securing from encroachments the great principles of civil and religious liberty, and the unalienable rights of the people, together with amendments to the most ambiguous and exceptionable parts of the said Constitution of Government, ought to be laid before Congress and the convention of the States that shall or may be called for the purpose of amending the said Constitution, for their consideration, previous to