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fense and general welfare" guaranties must be stricken out of the Constitution. And while they retained the great landmarks, and almost the identical language, the idea of national internal improvements and protective tariffs was forbidden; slavery was attempted to be perpetuated ; and our “Rights in the Territories" were so clearly defined, that the people thereof could not protect themselves by their own wholesome legislation. But a single year of war found the anti-internal improvement States-Rights Government making railroads, and in possession of all the railroads and other means of transportation in the States, enforcing general conscription, impressments, martial law, and almost subsidizing the States which had confederated themselves. And as to “new States," Kentucky and Missouri were represented at Richmond, while the governments thereof were firm to the Union. In a word, the plea of NECESSITY afforded an excuse for every exercise of
power. So, in the efforts to put down the rebellion, the military power was pushed far beyond the most ulterior centralizing ideas, and every obstacle which stood in the way of preserving the life of the nation was easily removed. West Virginia was admitted as a State of the Union, upon the same principle that Ken tucky and Missouri were admitted as States of “the Confederate States of America ;" that is, because the minority, who acknowledged their allegiance to the central Government, were recognized as the lawful State governments. It has thus become established,
that the powers to suppress insurrection and to crush rebellion, and the obligation to guarantee a republican form of government, carry along the right to recognize none but the State government in harmony with the Union as a lawfully existing State. Such is the clear theory of President Johnson's proclamations, setting aside State governments and appointing new magistracies; such the theory of Congress in passing the reconstruction laws; and such were the precedents in Richmond, which are binding upon the “ engineers hoist by their own petards."
Therefore, the doctrines of “States Rights" seem to be narrowed down to the practical theory, that when all State officials cease to acknowledge the Constitution of the United States, and the laws and treaties made in pursuance thereof, as the “supreme law of the land," and the great mass of the people sustain them in rebellion, they so far lose their positions as States, as to leave the means of restoration to the law-making power of the Union, after amendments forming conditions of security shall have been superadded. Such are always the fruits of unsuccessful revolution.
These things are said in the interest of no partisan view. I would only exhort all men, and all children, to consider the Constitution of the United States as perpetual ; to carefully study its every word and phrase, and the spirit and intention of every clause. And, above all, never to engage in its discussion without a clear comprehension of every word employed in
regard to it; and to trust no man nor journalist as an expounder who misquotes its language, and shows a real or willful ignorance of its provisions. Such teachers are the blind leading the blind.
The Constitution has created no authoritative expounder. Every exposition has, at last, to come to the test of popular opinion. How important, then, that the public judgment shall be enlightened. As the war has stricken human slavery out of the Constitution, we all, in some sort, stand upon a new era in regard to the protective principles and the guaranties of liberty which it contains. And yet it is the order of the human mind, under all dispensations, to consult precedents; to allow them always to be persuasive, and generally controlling. In this light every citation in this little book has its value.
The Editor does not claim perfection even in references, or the extent of research. And as it is intended to keep the work up as long as new editions are demanded, he would be very thankful for any sugges. tion of errors or omissions. The effort is an experiment. All who will weigh the great problem of liberty, will acknowledge the importance of educating every mind in the true principles of our government. This can only be done by precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little and there a little. If the zeal and anxiety of the Editor is great, let his apology be, that he has suffered keenly from the intolerance growing out of ignorance of the true principles of constitutional liberty, and the reckless depravity in regard to their preservation. His moral duty, in the direction of enlightenment, is therefore great.