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powers not warranted by its true meaning; I answer the same as if they should misconstrue or enlarge any other power vested in them; as if the general power bad been reduced to particulars, and any one of these were to be violated; the same in short, as if the state legislatures should violate their respective consti. tutional authorities. In the first instance, the success of the usurpation will depend on the executive and judiciary departmonts, which are to expound and give effect to the logislative acts; and in the last resort, a remedy must be obtained from the people, who can, by the election of more faithful representatives, annul the acts of the usurpers. The truth is, that this ultimate redress may be more confided in against unconstitutional acts of the federal, than of the state legislatures, for this plain reason, that as overy such act of the former, will be an invasion of the rights of the latter, these will be ever ready to mark the innovation, to sound the alarm to the people, and to exert their local influence in effecting a change of federal reprosentatives. There being no such intermediate body between the state legislatures and the people, interested in watching the conduct of the former, violations of the state constitutions are more likely to remain unnoticed and unredressed.
2. “ This constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land, and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, any thing iħ the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding."
The indiscreet zoal of the adversaries to the constitution, bas betrayed them into an attack on this part of it also, without which it would have been evidently and radically defective. To be fully sensible of this, we neod only suppose for a moment, that the supremacy of the state constitutions had been left complote, by a saving clause in their favour.
In the first place, as these constitutions invest the state legislatures with absolute sovereignty, in all cases not excepted by the existing articles of confederation, all the authorities con
tained in the proposed constitution, so far as they exceed those enumerated in the confederation, would have been annulled, and the new congress would bave been reduced to the same impotent condition with their predecessors.
In the next place, as the constitutions of some of the states do not even expressly and fully recognise the existing powers of the confederacy, an express saving of the supremacy of the former would, in such states, bave brought into question every power contained in the proposed constitution.
In the third place, as the constitutions of the states differ much from each other, it might happen that a treaty or national law of great and equal importance to the states, would interfere with some, and not with other constitutions, and would consequently be valid in some of the states, at the same time that it would have no effect in others.
In fine, the world would have seen for the first time, a system of government founded on an inversion of the fundamental prin. ciples of all government; it would have seen the authority of the whole society everywhere subordinate to the authority of the parts; it would have seen a monster, in which the head was under the direction of the members.
3. “The senators and representatives, and the members of the several state legislatures; and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this constitution.”
It has been asked, why it was thought necessary, that the state magistracy should be bound to support the federal constitution, and unnecessary that a like oath should be imposed on the officers of the United States, in favour of the stato constitutions ?
Several reasons might be assigned for the distinctions. I content myself with ono, which is obvious and conclusivo. The members of the federal government will have no agoncy in carrying the state constitutions into effect. The members and officers of the state governments, on the contrary, will have an essential agency in giving effect to the federal constitution. The
election of the president and senate will depend, in all cases, on the legislatures of the several states. And the election of the house of representatives will equally depend on the same author. ity in the first instance; and will, probably, for ever be conducted by the officers, and according to the laws of the states.
4. Among the provisions for giving efficacy to the federal powers, might be added those which belong to the executive and judiciary departments : but as these are reseryed for particular examination in another place, I pass them over in this.
We have now reviewed, in detail, all the articles composing the sum or quantity of power, delegated by the proposed constitution to the federal government; and are brought to this undeniable conclusion, that no part of the power is unnecessary or improper, for accomplishing the necessary objects of the union. The question therefore, whether this amount of power shall be granted or not, resolves itself into another question, whether or not a government commensurate to the exigencies of the union, shall be established; or, in other words, whether the union itself shall be preserved.
NEW YORK, JANUARY 29, 1788.
A FURTHER DISCUSSION OF THE SUPPOSED DANGER FROM THE
POWERS OF THE UNION, TO THE STATE GOVERNMENTS.
Having shown, that no one of the powers transferred to the federal government is unnecessary or improper, the next question to be considered is, whether the whole mass of them will be dangerous to the portion of authority left in the several states
The adversaries to the plan of the convention, instead of considering in the first place, what degree of power was absolutely necessary for the purposes of the federal government, havo exhaustod themselves in a secondary inquiry into the possiblo consequences of the proposed degree of power to the governments of the particular states. But if the union, as has been shown, be essential to the security of the people of America against foreign danger; if it be essential to their security against contentions and wars among the different states; if it be essential to guard them against those violent and oppressive factions, which im bitter the blessings of liberty, and against those military establishments which must gradually poison its very fountain; if, in a word, the union be essential to the happiness of the people of America, is it not preposterous, to urge as an objection to a government, without which the objects of tho union cannot be attained, tbai such
a government may derogate from the importance of the govern. ments of the individual states? Was then the American revolu. tion effected, was the American confederacy formed, was the precious blood of thousands spilt, and the hard-earned substance of millions lavished, not that the people of America sbould enjoy peace, liberty, and safety; but that the govornments of the indi. vidual states, that particular municipal establishments, might enjoy a certain extent of power, and be arrayed with certain dignities and attributes of sovereignty? We have heard of the impious doctrine in the old world, that the people were made for kings, not kings for the people. Is the same doctrine to be revived in the new, in another shape, that the solid happiness of the people is to be sacrificed to the views of political institutions of a different form? It is too early for politicians to presume on our forgetting that the public good, the real welfare of the great body of the people, is the supreme object to be pursued; and that no form of government whatever has any other value, than as it may be fitted for the attainment of this object. Were the plan of the convention adverse to the public happiness, my voice would be, Reject the plan. Were the union itself incon. sistent with the public happiness, it would be, Abolish the union. In like manner, as far as the sovereignty of the states cannot be reconciled to the happiness of the people, the voice of overy good citizen must be, Let the former be sacrificed to the latter. How far the sacrifice is necessary, has been shown. How far the unsacrificed residue will be ondangerod, is the question before us.
Several important considerations bave been touched in the course of these papers, which discountenance the supposition, that the operation of the federal government will by degrees prove fatal to the state governments. The more I revolve the subject, the more fully I am persuaded, that the balance is much more likely to be disturbed by the preponderancy of the last than of the first scale.
We have seen, in all the examples of ancient and modern confederacies, the strongest tendency continually betraying