of his fellow men who may be suffering any kind of injustice—how do many millions of such men come to be a nation, in the first place? How is it that each of them comes to be stripped of all his natural, God-given rights, and to be incorporated, compressed, compacted, and consolidated into a mass with other men, whom he never saw; with whom he has no contract; and towards many of whom he has no sentiments but fear, hatred, or contempt? How does he become subjected to the control of men like himself, who, by nature, had no authority over him; but who command him to do this, and forbid him to do that, as if they were his sovereigns, and he their subject; and as if their wills and their interests were the only standards of his duties and his rights; and who compel him to submission under peril of confiscation, imprisonment, and death?
Clearly all this is the work of force, or fraud, or both.
By what right, then, did we become "a nation?" By what right do we continue to be "a nation?" And by what right do either the strongest, or the most numerous, party, now existing within the territorial limits, called "The United States," claim that there really is such "a nation" as the United States? Certainly they are bound to show the rightful existence of "a nation," before they can claim, on that ground, that they themselves have a right to control it; to seize, for their purposes, so much of every man's property within it, as they may choose; and, at their discretion, to compel any man to risk his own life, or take the lives of other men, for the maintenance of their power.
To speak of either their numbers, or their strength, is not to the purpose. The question is by what right does the nation exist? And by what right are so many atrocities committed by its authority? or for its preservation?
The answer to this question must certainly be, that at least such a nation exists by no right whatever.
We are, therefore, driven to the acknowledgment that nations and governments, if they can rightfully exist at all, can exist only by consent.