Page:State Documents on Federal Relations.djvu/13
In making the collection I was soon confronted by the fact that some of the most valuable illustrative material could only be secured with great difficulty, owing to the inaccessibility or scarcity of the volumes containing the desired documents, or the record of legislative action. Indeed I early learned that nothing approaching a complete collection of the legislative documents of the several States was in existence, although the authorities of the Congressional Library and the New York Public Library were endeavoring to secure such. As a result of this experience I have been deeply impressed with the importance of more attention being paid to the collection and systematic study of this class of State documents, for I believe that only in the light of these records can we realize the full significance of our national development.
The following collection of documents on the relations of the States to the Federal Government, 1789–1861, comprises typical papers covering the official action of various states in different sections of the country, relative to the chief political and constitutional issues in our history. The documents have been selected especially with a view to illustrate the development of the doctrines of broad and strict construction, the prevalence of the "compact theory" of the Constitution and the doctrine of "State Rights," State opposition to the Federal Judiciary, and the different phases of the slavery controversy, culminating in the secession movement. The truth of the statement of Alexander Johnston, that "Almost every State in the Union in turn declared its own sovereignity and denounced as almost treasonable similar declarations in other cases by other States," is fully sustained by the following documents.