At this day it cannot but strike us as extraordinary, that it does not appear to have occurred to any one member of that assembly, which had laid down in terms so clear, so explicit, so unequivocal, the foundation of all just government, in the imprescriptible rights of man, and the transcendent sovereignty of the people, and who in those principles had set forth their only personal vindication from the charges of rebellion against their king, and of treason to their country, that their last crowning act was still to be performed upon the same principles.
That of the latter was the sovereignty of organized power, and the independence of the separate or dis-united States.
Where, then, did each State get the sovereignty, freedom, and independence, which the Articles of Confederation declare it retains?
A substitution of separate State sovereignties, in the place of the constituent sovereignty of the people, was the basis of the Confederate Union.
It is well, when nobles are not too great for sovereignty
nor for justice; and yet maintained in that height, as the insolency of inferiors may be broken upon them, before it come on too fast upon the majesty of kings.
The Dolphin replied, "Nay, my friend, blame not me, but Nature, which, while giving me the sovereignty
of the sea, has quite denied me the power of living upon the land.
He who obtains sovereignty
by the assistance of the nobles maintains himself with more difficulty than he who comes to it by the aid of the people, because the former finds himself with many around him who consider themselves his equals, and because of this he can neither rule nor manage them to his liking.
Perhaps it may be that my mind is wrought To a fever* by the moonbeam that hangs o'er, But I will half believe that wild light fraught With more of sovereignty
than ancient lore Hath ever told-or is it of a thought The unembodied essence, and no more That with a quickening spell doth o'er us pass As dew of the night-time, o'er the summer grass?
THE King of Wideout having been offered the sovereignty
of Wayoff, sent for the Three Persons who had made the offer, and said to them:
The state may be destroyed on one side, and not on the other; the confederacy may be dissolved, and the confederates preserve their sovereignty.
The proposed Constitution, so far from implying an abolition of the State governments, makes them constituent parts of the national sovereignty, by allowing them a direct representation in the Senate, and leaves in their possession certain exclusive and very important portions of sovereign power.
This is not the only case in which the articles of Confederation have inconsiderately endeavored to accomplish impossibilities; to reconcile a partial sovereignty
in the Union, with complete sovereignty
in the States; to subvert a mathematical axiom, by taking away a part, and letting the whole remain.