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[201] It is no league of States, no compact between different peoples, no treaty between rival powers, but a voluntary, complete, and permanent coalescence of the several parts of one people, for their common defence, and to secure to themselves and their posterity the blessings of freedom and self-government. When I call to your earnest remembrance, that this Union was formed without any express or formal stipulation; that it rested in the outset solely upon the good faith of the people towards each other; that it was consummated before their Independence was declared, and in advance of any written form of General Government; that it was the free — will offering of the heart of the struggling Nation upon the altar of liberty; and that it was upheld and consolidated by sacrifices such as only a people truly united in heart would make for each other; you will, I am sure, join with me in ascribing to it a sacredness that should forever protect it against the parricidal blow. State pride — poor, narrow, vain, and short-sighted State pride!--rejects this broad and glorious view of the nature of the Union; but it is the only one consistent with history, the only one that can stand the test of truth, the only one which makes our double system of governments consistent throughout, the only one which satisfies the patriotic heart, the only one which can secure a happy future to this nation, or give stability to American liberty.

You will not, I am sure, complain of the time I have devoted to the exhibition of the true character of the Union, as the leading topic of this day's discussion. The views I have expressed are, in my judgment, entwined, as nothing else is, with the very heart-strings of our whole system of free institutions. It is therefore vital that the true nature of the Union should be impressed broadly and deeply upon the American mind. Error on many other points may exist, and be widely diffused, without serious injury; but error on this point is fatal. It is poisoning the minds of multitudes in Missouri, as it has already poisoned those of millions in the insurgent States. I believe it to be undeniably true, that not one of those States would have put on the livery of treason, had not a large portion of their people first been seduced from their fidelity to the Union, by the heresies that lurk under the glittering guise of State rights. As it is necessary in the prosecution of the argument, that I should assail those heresies, let me say here that I am as firm a defender of the constitutional rights of the States as any other man, and would as resolutely resist, by all constitutional means, any unauthorized infringement of them by the National Government. But I stand. By the Constitution; and in that position it is my duty equally to resist any attempt by any State to disturb the equilibrium of our system, by arrogating to itself powers and privileges not belonging to it. That the insurgent States assert doctrines, and claim rights and attributes, which are without a semblance of warrant, in or out of the Constitution, and are at deadly variance with the principles on which the Union was formed, and on which its existence depends, is as apparent to me as my own being; and I am not without hope of making it apparent to you.

State sovereignty.

Revolting though it be to State pride, I hold that no greater or more destroying error has ever been promulgated in regard to our noble system of government, than the claim of State Sovereignty, as advanced in the States which have ordained secession from the Union; and yet upon that claim is based the unprecedented rebellion that convulses this land this day. Viewed in any light, there is neither consistency, logic, nor truth in it. To believe in it, history must be forgotten, the simplest axioms of government ignored, the acts and testimony of the fathers of the country disregarded, and the plainest language distorted or contemned; all which, I need not add, has been done in those States, as I will endeavor to prove.

“Sovereignty is the highest power. For a State or nation to be sovereign, it must govern itself, without any dependence upon another power. It must have no superiors. If a State makes a part of another community or State, and is represented with foreign powers by that community or State of which it is a part, it is not sovereign.” These are the simplest principles of constitutional and international law, affirmed by the greatest jurists, and recognized and acted upon by all civilized nations. Tested by them, no State in the American Union, except Texas, ever was sovereign, in any but a limited sense, and that, only within its own boundaries and over its own local affairs.

As to foreign nations, what act of sovereignty has any single State in the Union ever performed, from the Declaration of Independence, when the original thirteen announced themselves States, to the present time? Not one; nor could any of them ever have done such an act, without violating its obligations to the Nation of which it was a part. By the National Constitution, to which the people of every State irrevocably bound themselves, every attribute of external sovereignty is denied to the individual States, either in express terms, or by being vested in the United States. No State can make treaties with foreign powers, regulate commerce with other nations, declare war, or be represented by an ambassador, or other diplomatic agent, with any government on earth. For any purpose of sovereignty, one of the United States is no more recognized abroad, than the city of St. Louis is recognized in the State of Oregon, as a sovereign city.

Nor is it otherwise as between the States themselves. No State can, without the consent of Congress, enter into any agreement or compact

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