VIII. State rights—Nullification.
So long as the people of any State withheld their assent from the Federal Constitution, it was represented and reprobated by its adversaries as a scheme of absolute and undisguised consolidation. They pointed to its sweeping provisions, whereby all power with regard to war, to treaties, and to diplomatic or commercial intercourse with foreign nations, to the currency, to naturalization, to the support of armies, etc., etc., was expressly withdrawn from the States and concentrated in the Federal Government,1 as proof irresistible of the correctness of their position. The express inhibition of any alliance, compact, or treaty between two or more of the States, was even more conclusive on this head. They pointed to the fact, that the very preamble to this instrument proclaimed it the work of “the people of the United States,” and not a mere alliance or pact between the States themselves in their capacity of separate and sovereign political communities. Patrick Henry urged this latter objection with much force in the Virginia ratifying Convention.2 These cavilers were answered, frankly and firmly: “It is the work of ‘the people of the United States,’ as distinguished from the States in their primary and sovereign capacity; and why should not the fact be truly stated?” General Washington did not hesitate to assert, in his plain, earnest, practical way, that the end sought by the new framework was the “consolidation of ”