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Essay on the question of sovereignty!!! Lets discuss!

When I started out writing I had every intention of this being a small premier on the almost forgotten, yet extremely important, issue of “State Sovereignty”. However, once I finally got the ball rolling it began to pick up mass rather than speed. I am cautious not to disregard this girth though, for it may hold some valuable information for all of us. That being said, after careful consideration I’ve decided that the best way to issue this article would be to do so in smaller installments as opposed to larger ones. I hope that my efforts are not in vain and that this information, though thick with historical truths –most not taught in public education, will prove interesting and useful to you all.

“For my part...I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.”
Patrick Henry

For many Americans the idea of “one nation” or “one people” is an understood law. After all, references to it can be found almost anywhere, for instance: textbooks, documentaries, movies, news, etc. It’s practically a part of who we are, and why not, most of us have recited it in the Pledge of Allegiance (which incidentally was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy who was a Christian Socialist) somewhere around 2,136 times by the moment we reach graduation (and that’s not counting special events). But what if I were to tell you that we are wrong? What if I were to say that America is not “one nation”, “one people”, or “indivisible” nor was it ever intended to be by our Founding Fathers? Prove it? Okay, I will.
In most interesting tales the author opts to insert a villain—this serves to entice emotion from his/her audience and bind their attention to the story. Now I don’t pretend to be a good author, just a seeker of truth and this is not fiction. So, any binding that will be done will stem from your own thirst for knowledge rather than clever manipulation on my part. However, it does so happen that villains in historical truth are not absent, and our story has two in particular which I would like to thoroughly discuss—Justice Joseph Story and Senator Daniel Webster.
The concept of the Constitution being a compact between sovereign states is not a modern fabrication but a provable fact! Believe it or not, the idea that the Constitution created “one nation” which was “indivisible” was not publically uttered until 45 years after ratification. In 1833 Joseph Story published Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States; in it he perpetuated ideas which were in direct contradiction to the works of earlier constitutional scholars such as St. George Tucker’s Analysis of the federal constitution published in 1803, William Rawle’s A View of the Constitution of the United States of America published in 1825, or James Kent’s Commentaries on American Law, published in 1826—all which had previously been used as textbooks within our institutions of higher learning (we will look at some of this material in my 2nd installment). Story viciously opposed the idea of state sovereignty. Why? He was an ardent supporter government expansion. He knew that until sovereignty was removed from the states, the central government would forever be limited to only its delegated powers. Therefore, he set out to paint a new picture of American government—the contract signed by the citizens of the sovereign states be damned. In blatant opposition to state sovereignty Story issued that, “The obvious deductions which may be, and, indeed, have been, drawn from considering the Constitution a compact between States, are that it operates as a mere treaty or convention between them, and has an obligatory force upon each State no longer, than suits its pleasure or its consent continues. . . and that each retains the power to withdraw from the Confederacy and to dissolve the connection, when such shall be its choice.”
To Story’s credit he did acknowledge that his opinion was an extreme contrast to those whom had come before him. He referenced St. George Tucker’s view of state’s rights, which had been the accepted opinion since founding, as “representing . . . the opinions of a large body of statesman and jurists in different parts of the Union, avowed and acted upon in former times.” So, Story is implying to us that these are old views from “former times”. He would also have us believe, judging from the content of his book that these “opinions” are no longer applicable in modern times. Why does that argument sound so familiar?
The question we must ask ourselves is: “If Story’s constitutional view is not what the sovereign states, representing their citizens, agreed to ratify—as is suggested by the writings of those who founded our country-- then wouldn’t the act of imposing such a view be a breach of agreement?”
So was the Constitution a compact between sovereign states? Not according to Senator Daniel Webster from Massachusetts . He was actually so adamant about this fact that he practically breathed fire when addressing Senator John C. Calhoun’s use of it. “[Calhoun] introduces a new word of his own, viz., ‘compact’. . . and degrades the Constitution into an insignificant idle epithet attached to compact.” In his opinion, “The man is almost untrue to his country who calls the Constitution a compact.” So according to Webster, who was only six years old when our Constitution was ratified, the answer is unequivocally that it is not a compact born out of sovereign states. One would also surmise from Webster’s statement that Calhoun’s reference to a “compact” was an idea born out of political conjuring— but was it?
Those who refute the idea of the Constitution being a compact between sovereign states usually invoke the wording of the Constitution’s Preamble: “We the People.” They do this to show that the American citizens are of one body, rather than citizens of independent sovereign states. Albert T. Bledsoe’s, in his 1879 book Is Davis a Traitor?, points out that "[this] is the great stronghold, if it has one, of the Northern theory of the Constitution. The argument from these words appears in every speech, book, pamphlet, and discussion by every advocate of the North. It was wielded by Mr. Webster in his great debate with Mr. Calhoun, in 1833, . . . “
So, we have Story and Webster who are sorely opposed to the notion of “compact”. Webster even went so far as to say it was historically inaccurate or new language to call “the Constitution a compact“. But I’d like for us to consult some other experts before making a decision.

• James Madison in the 1798 Virginia Resolve, wrote that “the Federal Government as resulting from the compact, to which the States are parties.”

• Madison in a letter to Edward Everett, in 1830 said that the Constitution was “a compact among the States in their highest sovereign capacity.” Elsewhere in this same letter he refers to the states as “the parties to the Constitutional compact.”

• Gouverneur Morris of Pennsylvania, though a notable advocate for strong national government said at the assembly of 1787 that he “came here to form a compact for the good of America. He was ready to do so with all the States. He hoped and believed that all would enter into such a compact. . . . But as the compact was to be voluntary, it is in vain for the Eastern States to insist on what the Southern States will never agree to.”

• The first chief justice of the Supreme Court, John Jay, who believed in the expansion of federal power, in the case of Chisholm v. State of Georgia, “expressly declares that the Constitution of the United States is a compact.”

• The sixth president of the United States, John Quincy Adams, stated “Our Constitution of the United States and all our State Constitutions, have been voluntary compacts.”

• Thomas Jefferson once explained that “[t]he states entered into a compact which is called the Constitution of the United States.”

• In the Federalist No. 85, Hamilton referred to the Constitution as “[t]he compacts which are to embrace thirteen distinct States in a common bond of amity and Union.” He also explained that, if it were to be altered in any way, those changes “must undergo a new decision of each State.”

• The representative of Massachusetts, Elbert Gerry, said, “If nine out of thirteen[states] can dissolve the compact six out of nine will be just as able to dissolve the new one hereafter.”

• Edmund Pendleton, who was president of the 1778 Virginia ratifying convention, in calling for support of the new Constitution, stated, “This is the only Government founded in real compact.”

• Massachusetts, home state of none other than Senator Daniel Webster, at its own ratification convention, issued that the citizens of Massachusetts were “entering into an explicit and solemn compact. . . .”

If that was not enough to convince you that Story and Webster were misguided, or lying, let me issue another quote; this one spewed forth from Webster’s own lips just three years before his tirade on Calhoun, while debating Senator Henry S. Foote’s resolution he referred to “accusations which impute to us a disposition to evade the Constitutional compact.” It’s strange what just three years of age can do to a mind!
Alright, so now we’ve established that Webster was wrong (we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt)-- what about their coveted argument using the Preamble to the Constitution? Their coup de grâce , “We the People”? Well, let’s take that question to the man who was head of the committee on attending to the diction, or wording of the Constitution, Gouverneur Morris of Pennsylvania.
Morris, in his book The Life and Writings of, wrote that the meaning behind the phrase “We the people” which he authored, and the actual Constitution itself was a compact not between individuals, but between political societies, the people, not to America, but of the United States, each enjoying sovereign power and of course equal rights.
Also worth pointing out is that throughout the whole of The Madison Papers --over 900 pages covering 1787 Constitutional Convention proceedings and the debates which took place within-- there is not one discussion to be found regarding citizens being one people outside their individual states.

Hopefully someone made it down this far. I'm shooting to post another one by Tuesday. It will most definitely have a good bit of material quoted straight from some of the earliest textbooks of constitutional theory-- specifically one which was used at West Point just after the start of the 1800's. It should prove interesting, as well as educational. I wish each and everyone of you the best, and encourage you to school your representatives on the issues we discuss. After all, they have been forced illogical and dubious history the whole of their lives as well!
Benjamin Alan Rush

P.S. If you would like to see the footnotes email me and I'll pass my pdf version along to you. I did not realize it would wipe my original formatting when I posted here. :-p

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Well it's real simple...

as our government stands it's really a hemroid. That is to say that it is inverted from it's natural state. That's what makes it painful. In the end, the people are the sphincter, the states are the intestine, and the federal government is the poo. As sphincters, the people are in charge of how much poo is to be let out. The states work in concert to breakdown the federal government and separate nutrition from waste, and as the situation stands right now, the Fed is an outsider force feeding the entire system.

I say that we shut the mouth, turn around and unleash all that poo against the culprit and greedy. Then after a short stint of fiber we, the people will be clean as a whistle and the bankers, well, poo on you!

Assert Your Authority

Assert Your Authority

Forgive me for not posting

Forgive me for not posting my followup as promised-- I've had a really rough past two weeks with my girlfriend. She literally hates politics and recently voiced complaints that I have too much passion in that regard. It's a strange relationship when something that should be every day discussion, is relegated to the area of taboo in conversation. Anyway, I will post the piece which I promised on Saturday. Thanks for being patient.

Republicae's picture

The following was my comment

The following was my comment to the article "The States Rights Myth", it seems that it also fits here to a degree:

It appears that there is a great deal of misconceptions when discerning the differences between the Rights of Individuals and the rights of States, or States Rights. The two are of two entirely different types and rests upon two different, but a connected legal basis.

First, the Rights of Individuals are based solely upon what is called Natural Rights, inalienable in nature and not granted by any authority. States rights, on the other hand, are granted rights based upon the Rights of Individuals who make up the citizenship of the Several States. This principle was readily recognized by the Founders and they also understood the differences when speaking of the two types of rights, based upon distinct principles.

Let us look at the distinctions between the two and the interconnectivity that must, by principle, empower each of those two types of rights and how they interact and function within a Constitutional Republic. One without the other is impotent.

In the 9th Amendment we read: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

In the 10th Amendment we read: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

In the 9th Amendment we have the declaration that just because certain Rights were not enumerated within the Constitution itself does not mean that there are not other Rights retained by the People themselves and that just because they were not enumerated doesn’t mean that those Rights can be either denied or disparaged by any government, either local, State or federal.

Now in the 10th Amendment there is a continuation of the thoughts that were found in the 9th Amendment, but instead of Rights, the declaration concerns Powers. These powers, not delegated to the federal government, which was created as an agency of the Several States, nor prohibited by it [Constitution] to the States, are RESERVED to the States respectively, or to the PEOPLE.

Now, it is evident that from the context that something very interesting and important is being said in both Amendments. There are definitely certain powers that, while reserved to the People, can only be executed by the States or the federal government, yet the execution of those powers do not strip that power from the People. As agents of the People, both the States and the federal government, are delegated the ability to execute those powers on behalf of the People.

Now, when the Founders spoke of Sovereignty, they spoke of it in the same manner as they did with both Powers and Rights. Based on the writings of the Founders, all Sovereignty rests within the People and yet, we also find the Founders speaking of the Several States as Sovereign, Free and Independent; all of those attributes are also used to describe the People themselves. How can this be, well, in order to understand these principles, similar to the principles of States Rights, we must understand the underlying foundations upon which they were built.

In the minds of the Founders, the Several States were the direct arm of the People themselves; as such the States are not simply considered government entities, but extensions of the People themselves. Remember, it is very important to understand that in the minds of the Founders, the People were the government, there was no separation, as such the governments were imbued with certain attributes that would also be associated with the People themselves. This becomes apparent when reading the Articles of Confederation:

“Each State retains its Sovereignty, Freedom, and Independence, and every Power, Jurisdiction, and Right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.”

Again, we can see attributes given to the States that we normally associate with Individuals in this section of the Articles of Confederation: “The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of Friendship with each other, for Their common defense, the security of Their Liberties, and Their Mutual and General Welfare, binding Themselves to assist Each Other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon Them, or any of Them, on account of Religion, Sovereignty, trade, or any other pretence whatsoever.”

What were the Founders speaking of when they penned those words that would normally be used in reference to the People themselves? Are such things “mythical”? Certainly not, but what is the basis of the foundation for Sovereignty, Freedom, Independence, Power, Jurisdiction and Rights? It is the People themselves and without which the States would neither be able to function upon those principle attributes or claim any ability to act as agencies of the People.

Governor Morris, who penned the original preamble, stated that: “The Constitution was a compact, not between individuals, but between political societies, the People, not of America, but of the United States, each enjoying Sovereign Power and of course Equal Rights.”

As we can see by the above statement, the idea that the States had both Sovereign Power and Equal Rights, two attributes that we would associate with individuals, was not some foreign concept or “myth” but an integral part of the entire scope of principles upon which this country was founded.

We have become so accustom to the total disconnect between the State governments, and federal government that we now cannot understand these most fundamental principles therefore, as we see, we relegate such attributes to “myth”, when in fact they are essential principles that are extensions of the Sovereignty, the Freedom, the Independence, the Power, the Jurisdiction and the Rights of the People themselves.

If States Rights are “mythical” then so are the rest of the attributes that emanate from the People. It is a mistaken concept to separate these attributes from the States, because in doing so, we will only expand the gulf between the connection of the People and the States, from which our Power and Sovereignty is expressed through concurrent consent. The Founders saw the States as natural extensions of the People and the most direct line of communication of their Will, governed by the Consent of the People to perform, as Servants of the People.

Don’t confuse, as the author of this article appears to do, the legal and functional differences between the Rights of States and the Rights of Individuals, they are different, but they are connected in ways that are essential if we are ever to Restore the Republic.

This country was founded as a Republic of Republics, not a nation-state, but individual, Sovereign, Free, Independent State Republics that were direct extensions of the People themselves operating in their very distinct nature and the final authority over the States that represent them and their Will.

Indeed, we can find the expression of this in one of the first drafts of the Preamble of the Constitution on August 6, 1787, frankly I wish they had kept this version:

We, the People of the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, do ordain, declare, and establish, the following Constitution for the government of ourselves and our posterity.”

Now, Madison appeared to understand that the parties of this Constitution were not simply State governments, but the People. “Who are the parties to it? The People-but not the People composing one great body-but the People as composing thirteen Sovereignties” Madison also understood the nature of the system of government being ordained when he said the “In its foundation it is federal, not national”.

This is one reason why I refuse to give oath to pledge allegiance to the flag, for in that oath it contains the following words that are totally contrary to the ideals laid forth in the Constitution: “ONE NATION INDIVISIBLE”, when that is not the case at all.

It is simply important to know the differences between the Rights of Individuals and the Rights of States. It would be impossible for any State to have any Right, Power, Sovereignty, Jurisdiction, Freedom, Independence or anything else without the foundation of the Natural and Inalienable Rights of Individuals. Essentially, all of these, including States rights, were delegated attributes, not Natural Rights, to the States as direct expressions of the People in order to accomplish the goals set by the Consent and Will of the People. In a very similar manner, just as no government could grant or deny the Natural and Inalienable Rights of the People, whether enumerated or not, so too, the federal government would have no ability to grant or deny any of the Rights, the Sovereignty, the Freedom, the Independence, the Jurisdiction of the States. It is a similar principle with connected attributes that all stem from the People themselves. The Contradistinction is in the foundation of the two different set of attributes.

Thanks for the article, by the way...


"Don't worry, we've thrown out the Weimar Republicans and elected the Zimbabwe Democrats." Billy Joe Allen


"We are not a nation, but a union, a confederacy of equal and sovereign States" John C. Calhoun


"Don’t confuse, as the author of this article appears to do, the legal and functional differences between the Rights of States and the Rights of Individuals, they are different, but they are connected in ways that are essential if we are ever to Restore the Republic."

As I am in total agreement with what you have stated-- and would have been before reading your response-- may ask what led you to conclude the above quote? I ask because maybe I worded something poorly and would hate to give the wrong idea about my stance. Thanks for your post.

I retract my above comment.

I admit that I quickly read down your post-- I was at work and somehow in my haste neglected to realize that it was a copied piece from another of your posts. I apologize for my lack of scrutiny. :-D
My boss has a quick eye for my long gazing at political posts. Lol. I get the work done but his argument is that I could be much faster if it weren't for me constantly reading news on the Daily Paul!! HAHAHA.
As I said before I liked your post and was in total agreement with it!

I may also have a movie up on youtube covering sovereignty....

I may also have a movie up on youtube covering sovereignty next week.

I wasn't talking about personal sovereignty

I respect your opinion but your video is basically an attack on the stupidity of legally trying to defend oneself under a shield of individual sovereignty (I'm assuming both state and federal)-- that is a sight different than a state reasserting sovereignty through its state legislatures. No doubt it is much easier to oppress an individual, than to pin down a large mass in uprising. However I'm sure you will stand in disagreement to anything I say regarding this issue. To each his own I guess.

That was really a pleasure to read!

I can't thank you enough. Great research. These finer points are what provide the insight needed to gain a better or more thorough understanding of these exquisite principles that frame this awe-inspiring form of government we were given.

It 's to bad that things have become so dysfunctional and corrupted from the original intent that we find ourselves almost fully bound and gagged by our deceitful and loathsome federal officials.

I almost forgot to add, I think you are right in breaking this down into several segments, to long of an article and I might have put it off until later and might not have got back to it, looking forward to the next segment.

Your welcome. I appreciate your compliments.

Your welcome. I appreciate your compliments. I'm glad you made it through the length! Hopefully most people will see that there wasn't a lot of fat in that paper, so I basically had to leave as is.

Captain Beyond says: "It 's to bad that things have become so dysfunctional and corrupted from the original intent. . . ."

Your exactly right! I sometimes wonder how anyone can expect a return of responsible and honest government (within reason) without addressing the fact that we functioning drastically outside the original model. It is like trying to run a large and cumbersome vehicle with too small of a motor. Sure it may eventually get you to where your going-- but it was not designed for that amount of stress. Thus overtime it will grind itself away into it no longer functions. Thanks again!

Well written essay, indeed!

I'll await your next installment. Thank you very much for your great effort to teach us.


Thanks. I'm shooting to post another one by Tuesday. It will most definitely have a good bit of material quoted straight from some of the earliest constitutional theory textbooks-- specifically one which was used at West Point just after the start of the 1800's. Thanks again!

You should include some

You should include some research of the historical meaning of "The People". It dates back to Roman Law.

People: 6. The citizens of a political unit, such as a nation or state; the electorate. Used with "the". American Heritage Dictionary

Electorate: 1. A body of qualified voters. 2. The dignity or territory of an elector of the Holy Roman Empire. American Heritage Dictionary

If one takes the time to read the Constitution proir to the 14th Amendment, it is discovered that the Citizens of the States had no privilege to vote given them by the US Constitution. IF they did have the privilege to vote, it was given them by their State Constituion. Therefore, under the US Constitution, the State Citizen was not recognized as being part of the Electorate. The State Citizen was NOT part of "The People". The State Citizen was a independent soveriegn, independent of the Constitution.

"The People" has historically, when used politically, referred to a Legislative Body, the Electorate. It can refer to persons, or it can refer to Legislatures. Patrick Henry as well as others agrued against the Preamble being worded "We the People" instead of "We the States", as it was understood to be a pact between the States NOT the persons of the States. These individuals knew that it would likely become Double Speak later in time. The 10 Amendments are States Rights, not indidvidual Rights. The Rights of the Individual were, at the time, undeniable unalienable and far to numerous to inumerate. It was well understood by the persons that anything the Government gives, it can take away. Therefore one would be a fool to look to the Constitution for their Rights, as those would be Rights given by the Government, therefore susceptible to confiscation. "The People" refers to the States' Legislatures, the Electorate. The State Legislatures gave THEIR consent to be governed by the constitution, but they had no authority to give consent on behalf of the individuals of the State. And therefore the States are governed by the Constitution, but not the persons of the States.

"Ehhh, What's ups Doc?" Bugs Bunny
"Scwewy Wabbit!" Elmer Fudd

"Ehhh, What's ups Doc?" B.Bunny "Scwewy Wabbit!"E. Fudd
People's Awareness Coalition: Deprogramming Sequence

You made some very good points.

You made some very good points. I may incorporate some references to that in my next post-- probably sometime around Tuesday.

Excellent Essay!

I appreciate you taking the time to write this essay. We all need to educate ourselves more fully about our founders and their intentions in order to better understand the way our government should work. We get so little real education in the public schools that it behooves each of us to enlighten ourselves, our families and each other.
I look forward to your next post.

I agree completely.

I agree completely. I practically debated my way through public school. Lol. Thanks for commenting.

“Our authors and scholars are generally men of business, and make their literary pursuits subservient to their interests.”
Benjamin Rush

Great essay!

keep them coming


I'm glad to see that at least one person was willing to take the time to read it! I wanted to make it shorter but when I reviewed it, nothing struck me as wasted space. Anyway, thanks for reading!


Thank you for the essay Bump