government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
Thus it will be seen that civil and political sovereignty was held to be implanted by our Creator in the individual, and no human government has any original, inherent, just sovereignty whatever, and no acquired sovereignty either, beyond that which may be granted to it by the individuals as ‘most likely to effect their safety and happiness.’
‘Deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,’ says the Declaration of Independence
. All other powers than those thus derived are not ‘just powers.’
Any government exercising powers ‘not just’ has no right to survive.
‘It is the right of the people to alter or abolish it,’ says the Declaration of Independence
, ‘and to institute a new government.’
Who, then, had a right to ‘institute’ a republican government for Louisiana
No human beings whatever but the people of Louisiana
; not the strangers, not the slaves, but the manhood that knew its rights and dared to maintain them.
Under what principles, then, could a citizen of Massachusetts
, whether clothed in regimental or a civilian's dress, come into Louisiana
and attempt to set up a state government?
Under no principles, but only by the power of the invader and the usurper.
If the true principles of a republican government had prevailed and could have been enforced when Major General Butler
appeared at New Orleans, he would have been hanged on the first lamppost, and his successor, Major General Banks
, would have been hanged on the second.
Under what principles, then, could the government of the United States
appear in Louisiana
and attempt to institute a state government?
As has been said above, it was the act of an invader and a usurper.
Yet it proposed to ‘institute’ a republican state government.
The absurdity of such intention is too manifest to need argument.
How could an invader attempt to ‘institute’ a republican state government—an act which can be done only by the free and unconstrained action of the people themselves?
It has been charged that this and every similar act of the President
of the Unitd States
was in violation of his duty to maintain and observe the requiremens and restrictions of the Constitution
, and to uphold in each state a republican form of government.
To specify, the following is offered as an example.
proclaim, declare, and make known— that, whenever any number of persons, not less than one tenth of the number of voters at the last Presidential election, shall reestablish a State government,