Page:Federalist, Dawson edition, 1863.djvu/408
is supposed to consist in this, that in the former, the powers operate on the political bodies composing the Confederacy, in their political capacities; in the latter, on the individual citizens composing the Nation, in their individual capacities. On trying the Constitution by this criterion, it falls under the National, not the Fœderal character; though perhaps not so completely as has been understood. In several cases, and particularly in the trial of controversies to which States may be parties, they must be viewed and proceeded against in their collective and political capacities only. So far the National countenance of the Government on this side seems to be disfigured by a few Fœderal features. But this blemish is perhaps unavoidable in any plan; and the operation of the Government on the People, in their individual capacities, in its ordinary and most essential proceedings, may, on the whole, designate it, in this relation, a National Government.
But if the Government be National with regard to the operation of its powers, it changes its aspect again when we contemplate it in relation to the extent of its powers. The idea of a National Government involves in it, not only an authority over the individual citizens, but an indefinite supremacy over all persons and things, so far as they are objects of lawful Government. Among a People consolidated into one Nation, this supremacy is completely vested in the National Legislature. Among communities united for particular purposes, it is vested partly in the general, and partly in the municipal Legislatures. In the former case, all local authorities are subordinate to the supreme; and may be controlled, directed, or abolished by it at pleasure. In the latter, the local or municipal authorities form distinct and independent portions of the supremacy, no more subject, within their respective spheres, to the general authority, than the general authority is subject to them, within