The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 19, July 1915 - April, 1916 Page: 6
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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Union." It is difficult to convey the idea of indissoluble unity
more clearly than by these words. What can be indissoluble if a
perpetual Union, made more perfect, is not?
Such was the Union created by the Fathers. Although the Union
was made perpetual by the Articles of Confederation and more
perfect under the Constitution, it had not operated to submerge
under it the identity and separate existence of the constituent
members, the States. In declaring such to be the conclusion of
the court, the Chief Justice gave expression to the most eloquent
passage in the opinion,-a passage which is an adornment to legal
But the perpetuity and indissolubility of the Union, by no means,
implies the loss of distinct and individual existence, or of the
right of self-government by the States. Under the Articles of
Confederation each State retained its sovereignty, freedom and
independence, and every power, jurisdiction and right not ex-
pressly delegated to the United States. Under the Constitution,
though the powers of the States were much restricted, still, all
powers not delegated to the United States, nor prohibited to the
States, are reserved to, the States respectively, or to the people.
And we have already had occasion to remark at this term that
. . . "without the States in union, there could be no such
political body as the United States."" Not only, therefore, can
there be no loss of separate and independent autonomy to the
States, through their union under the Constitution, but it may
not be unreasonably said that the preservation of the States, and
the maintenance of their governments are as much within the
design and care of the Constitution as the preservation of the
Union and the maintenance of the National Government. The
Constitution, in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible
Union, composed of indestructible States.
In this passage, the court announced its allegiance to the federal
system of government. The statement, indeed, came dangerously
near an open espousal of the doctrines and philosophy of the ante
bellum advocates of State rights, There is, however, a great and
fundamental distinction between the theory of State rights here
defended and the doctrine of State sovereignty which the court
repudiated. Thus far, therefore, the court held that the -war had
not destroyed the identity, the individuality, or the constitutional
rights and powers of the States. The judicial department, con-
'County of Lane v. State of Oregon, 7 Wallace, 76.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 19, July 1915 - April, 1916, periodical, 1916; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101067/m1/14/: accessed October 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.