The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 19, July 1915 - April, 1916 Page: 9
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Texas v. White
of indestructible States. There was a revolution, therefore, in
1861-18'65 in political theory, but not in law; for the above inter-
pretation of the Constitutional system, it is to be presumed, was
held by the court to have been the proper one from the date of the
foundation of the government. Such is the theory, as I see it,
that was advanced by the Supreme Court.
The following rules may be adopted as a guide in the search
for the location of sovereignty: In the first place, sovereignty, in
orderly states, resides in the political corporation which actually
establishes and ordains the organic law and which, in accordance
with the means and methods provided by that law, possesses the
power to amend, supersede, or abolish it on occasion; secondly, in
revolutionary societies, it resides in the group, however organized,
which assumes and, by whatever means, exercises such creative,
amendatory or destructive powers. Let us now see if the
theory is historically consistent with our constitutional experience.
There is probably no fact in American history more firmly and
incontrovertibly established than that the Constitution was rati-
fied and the general government set up by virtue of the acts
of eleven States. These States meeting in separate conven-
tions debated the Constitution and, impelled by various motives
and reasons, ratified it.1o These States and two others had
people? How are they constituted and what are the modes and condi-
tions of their existence? . . Are they the people of the States sev-
erally? No; for they are called the people of the United States. Are
they a national people really existing outside and independently of their
organization into distinct and mutually independent States? No; for
they define themselves to be the people of the United States. If they had
considered themselves as States only, they would have said, "We, the
States"; and, if independently of State organization, they would have
said, "We, the people do ordain," etc.
The key to the mystery is precisely in this appellation, United States,
which is not the name of the country, for its distinctive name is America,
but a name expressive of its political organization. In it there are no
sovereign people without States, and no States without Union, or that are
not united States. The term united is not part of a proper name, but is
simply an adjective qualifying States, and has its full and proper sense.
Hence, while the sovereignty is and must be in the States, it is in the
States united, not in the States severally, precisely as we have found the
sovereignty of the people is in the people collectively, or as society, not
in the people individually. For another statement of the theory, see Hurd,
Theory of our National Existence. For the history of the phrase "We,
the people, etc.," see the journal of the Constitutional Convention and
Hunt (editor), Madison's Works, III, 23-25; IV, 92 et seq.; Crall6
(editor), Calhoun's Works, I, 133.
"Madison held that the States in convention assembled represented the
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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/m1/17/: accessed March 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.