Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 35.djvu/181
The Right oj Secession. 167
fails to bring out the full force of the opposing arguments. It, however, presents many of such arguments, pro and con, in a new and forceful way, and no student of the subject should lose the benefit of the reasoning and of the historic research dis- played in this work.
PREAMBLE TO THE CONSTITUTION.
The history of the authorship of the initial clause of our Federal Constitution, "We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union ... do ordain and es- tablish this Constitution for the United States of America" ; and of the writing of it by Gouverneur Morris, the draftsman of the "committee on style" ; and of its adoption by the whole con- vention in absolute silence, is peculiarly instructive and inter- esting reading.
In this connection will be remembered Mr. Calhoun's sugges- tion, in his debate with Mr. Webster in 1833, that this phrase- ology "We, the people," etc. was used as expressing only the condition of the people under the old Confederacy and before the adoption of the Federal Constitution, as it speaks gf a time before such adoption, and was not intended to express the con- dition in which the people would exist after the adoption of such Constitution. The historical explanation of the use of this lan- guage, disclosed by the work under review, is much more satisfactory.
The reasoning of the author, based on the Federalist, the Madison papers, the debates of the convention and on what was at the time of such convention know of the history, compacts between, and confederations of, sovereign States, seems con- clusive of the proposition that the Federal Constitution was formed by a compact between the original acceding States, in their capacity as sovereign States, acting for themselves and for the people of the several States, respectively; and that such Constitution was not formed by the people of the United States as a whole, acting individually and nationally, with respect to the nationel powers delegated.
It will be remembered that Mr. Calhoun brought all the weight of his great character and fervid eloquence to maintain