From this time onward came thick and fast, occasions for the opposition of the States to the acts of the general government, the assertion of what they conceived to be their rights and their construction of the Constitution
When the Louisiana territory
was acquired from France
in 1803, not only was the purchase denounced by the New England
States, but threats of a withdrawal from the Union
were heard on every hand.
The Constitution was appealed to, to show that the United States
had no right to the acquisition of foreign territory either by purchase, by treaty, or by conquest.
Surely ‘a most lame and impotent conclusion,’ to bind the strong limbs of the young giant of the West
by the narrow territorial limits of the old colonial days.
A conclusion which would have barred the entrance to the fairest portion of our present national domain—Louisiana territory
, the gateway of the Mississippi
, an empire in itself, and California
, whose streams ‘roll down their golden sands’ to the shores of the peaceful ocean, and unites them by a chain of mighty States to the cliffs of the rude Atlantic