indeed, is it not of all events in modern times the most pregnant with consequences for every people of the earth? Te convention which prepared it brought to their work the experience of the Confederation, of their several States, and of other republican governments, old and new; but they needed and they obtained a wisdom superior to experience. And when, for its validity, it required the approval of a people that occupied a large part of a continent and acted separately in many distinct conventions, what is more wonderful than that after earnest contention and long discussion all feelings and all opinions were ultimately drawn in one way to its support? The Constitution to which life was thus imparted contains within itself ample resources for its own preservation. It has power to enforce the laws, punish treason, and insure domestic tranquillity. In case of the usurpation of the government of a State by one man, or an oligarchy, it becomes a duty of the United States to make good the guaranty to that State of a republican form of government, and so to maintain the homogeneousness of all. Does the lapse of time reveal defects? A simple mode of amendment is provided in the Constitution itself, so that its conditions can always be made to conform to the requirements of advancing civilization. No room is allowed even for the thought of a possibility of its coming to an end. And these powers of self-preservation have always been asserted in their complete integrity by every patriotic Chief Magistrate - by Jefferson and Jackson, not less than by Washington and Madison. The parting advice of the Father of his Country, while yet President, to the people of the United States, was that "the free Constitution, which was the work of their hands, might be sacredly maintained;" and the inaugural words of President Jefferson held up "the preservation of the General government in its constitutional vigor as the sheet anchor of our peace at home and safety abroad." The Constitution is the work of "the people of the United States," and it should be as indestructible as the people.
It is not strange that the framers of the Constitution, which had no model in the past, should not have fully comprehended the excellence of their own work. Fresh from a struggle against arbitrary power, many patriots suffered from harassing fears of an absorption of the State governments by the General Government, and many from a dread that the States would break away from their orbits. But the very greatness of our country should allay the apprehension of encroachments by the General Government. The subject that come unquestionably within its jurisdiction are so numerous that it must ever naturally refuse to be embarrassed by questions that lie beyond it. Were it otherwise the Executive would sink beneath the burden, the channels of justice would be choked, legislation would be obstructed by excess, so that there is a greater temptation to exercise some of the functions of the General Government through the States than to trespass on their rightful sphere. "The absolute acquiescence in the decisions of the majority" was at the beginning of the century enforced by Jefferson "as the vital principle of republics," and the events of the last four years have established, we will hope forever, that there lies no appeal to force.
The maintenance of the Union brings with it "the support of the State governments in all their rights;" but it is not one of the rights of any State government to renounce its own place in the Union or to nu largest liberty is to be maintained in the discussion of the acts of the Federal Government; but