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[145] though he believed in the right, approved the act of Mississippi after it had been taken, felt himself bound by his State allegiance whether he approved or no, and then, like all his Southern countrymen, did his best to make it good. Remember that the Federal Constitution was silent as to secession; that the question was one of inference only, and that implications radiated from its various provisions in all directions.

If one argued that the very institute of government implied perpetuity, as Lincoln did in his first inaugural address, another answered that reservations to the States of powers not delegated rebutted the implication; another that the government and the Constitution had come into being in that free atmosphere which breathed the declaration that they must rest upon the consent of the government; and yet another answered, in Lincoln's own language, that any people anywhere had the right to shake off government, and that this was the right that ‘would liberate the world.’

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Abraham Lincoln (2)
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