with halters around their necks, would have been the last to prescribe.
Could any assertion be less credible than that they proceeded to institute another supreme government which it would be treason to resist?
This confusion of ideas pervades the treatment of the whole subject of sovereignty.
Webster has said, and very justly so far as these United States are concerned: The sovereignty of government is an idea belonging to the other side of the Atlantic.
No such thing is known in North America.
Our governments are all limited.
In Europe sovereignty is of feudal origin, and imports no more than the state of the sovereign.
It comprises his rights, duties, exemptions, prerogatives, and powers.
But with us all power is with the people.
They alone are sovereign, and they erect what governments they please, and confer on them such powers as they please.
None of these governments are sovereign, in the European sense of the word, all being restrained by written constitutons.
struction of which was so eminently adapted to indefinite expansion of the confederacy as to embrace every variety of production and consequent diversity of pursuit.
Carried out in the spirit in which it was devised, there was in this system no element of disintegration, but every facility for an enlargement of the circle of the family of states (or nations), so that it scarcely seemed unreasonable to look forward to a fulfillment of the aspiration of Hamilton, that it might extend over North America, perhaps over the whole continent.
Not at all incompatible with these views and purposes was the recognition of the right of the states to reassume, if occasion should require it, the powers which they had delegated.
On the contrary, the maintenance of this right was the surest guarantee of the perpetuity of the Union, and the denial of it sounded the first serious note of its dissolution.
The conservative efficiency of state interposition for maintenance of the essential principles