The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 19, July 1915 - April, 1916 Page: 8
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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
greater political unit, which the Constitution designates as the
United States." The grand result is: An indestructible Union
composed of indestructible States.
In the excerpts here quoted, there is embodied, in general terms,
what appears to be the Supreme Court's theory of the location of
sovereignty in the United States. There is, in them, of course,
no speculation concerning the nature of sovereignty, but only a
statement of its exact location according to the opinion of the
court. There are also the ex cathedra ideas of the court as to the
changes, if any, which were effected in this location by the late
war. It is the design of this section of the paper to comment
briefly upon this theory.
Just what the war actually accomplished in determining the
location of sovereignty in the Union has caused considerable dif-
ference of opinion. This result was possibly the inevitable con-
sequence of the complex purpose for which the great war was
fought. The Supreme Court, in the opinion of the writer, enun-
ciated in the case of Texas v. White its theory of the location of
sovereignty under the Constitution, and of the effect of the war
This theory was opposed, in many respects, to those which found
widest acceptance before the war. According to the opinion in
this case, sovereignty, under the Constitution, resides neither in
the people en masse nor in the individual States. On the con-
trary, it is organized and reposed in the political peoples of the
several States in Union. Both the federalistic idea that the peo-
ple as a whole, irrespective of State lines, are sovereign and that
of Calhoun that the particular State is sovereign are renounced.
Instead, the court declared that the rights claimed by the South
for the individual State were possessed by all the States as a col-
lective unit. When this theory is applied to the words of the
preamble of the Constitution, "We, the people of the United
States of America," they mean the peoples of each State as they
form the political community under the written constitutions of
those States. Under this conception, the term "United States"
becomes surcharged with meaning and significance. It is in these
States united that sovereignty resides," in an indestructible Union
8Brownson, American Republic, 220 et seq. In reference to such a
theory, he argues, "We the people of the United States,"-Who are this
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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/m1/16/: accessed July 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.