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Rebellion Record: Introduction., Volume 1. (ed. Frank Moore), Introduction. (search)
onfederation. Much has been said against coercion, that is, the employment of force to compel obedience to the laws of the United States, when they are resisted under the assumed authority of a State; but even the old Confederation, with all its weakness, in the opinion of the most eminent contemporary statesmen possessed this power. Great stress is laid by politicians of the Secession School on the fact, that in a project for amending the articles of Confederation brought forward by Judge Paterson in the Federal Convention, it was proposed to clothe the Government with this power and the proposal was not adopted. This is a very inaccurate statement of the facts of the case. The proposal formed part of a project which was rejected in toto. The reason why this power of State coercion was not granted eo nomine, in the new Constitution, is that it was wholly superfluous and inconsistent with the fundamental principle of the Government. Within the sphere of its delegated powers, the