The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 19, July 1915 - April, 1916 Page: 15
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Texas v. White
usurpation of power justly having that effect. It will hardly be
contended that there is anything in the compact authorizing a
party to dissolve it at pleasure.14
Madison argued that the attempt by one party to expound or
annul the compact gave the others the option of accepting the
annulment or insisting, peaceably or forcibly, upon the fulfillment
of obligations by the recalcitrant member. Immediately, how-
ever, he said that such an enforcement would be disastrous and
"fatal to the hopes of liberty and humanity; and presents a
catastrophe at which all ought to shudder."'"
The same idea was echoed in the public utterances and procla-
mations of President Jackson during the nullification period. It
was also popular among those who opposed secession and nullifi-
cation on grounds other than those which controlled the action of
Jackson. The questions and issues were political in nature, to a
large extent, and, as there would inevitably be a division of senti-
ment, it was not likely that consent should ever be secured for a
dissolution of the Union; so the theory was employed later by the
most ultra-radical unionists. The argument of the various parties
which adopted this theory was very similar to that of Madison.
In fact, the administration leaders in the Jackson period, like
Senator Benton, of Missouri, employed' the actual words of Madi-
son as authoritative refutation of the extreme State rights posi-
tion of those who favored nullification. The attitude of the
President was made clear in the famous proclamation to South
Carolina, in which, after some vacillation and hesitation, the com-
pact theory is accepted, with the results which Madison had de-
scribed. In this connection he said,
Because the Union was formed by compact, it is said that the
parties to that compact may, when they feel themselves aggrieved,
depart from it: but it is prescisely because it is a compact that
they cannot. A compact is an agreement or binding obligation.
"Hunt (editor), Madison's Works, IX, 355-356.
15Ibid., 357. The theory of contract above presented was frequently re-
peated by Madison. Its reaffirmation is found in the assertions: "Were
this a mere league, each of the parties would have an equal right to ex-
pound it; and of course, there would be as much right in one to insist on
the bargain, as in another to renounce it" (IX, 347); "The former (a
particular State) as only one of the parties, owes fidelity to it, till re-
leased by consent, or absolved by an intolerable abuse of the power
created" (IX, 490).
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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/m1/23/: accessed August 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.