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that these simple thoughts were so often to be forgotten, if indeed they were fully understood, by combative statesmen of the future. But stranger still was the clear vision, the power of sober thought, which enabled the leaders of the convention to learn so well the teaching of the eleven distracted years since America had declared her independence. For these principles of political activity were new in the world's history, and these men were engaged in solving a problem of imperial organization in the presence of which the statesmen of England had shown neither comprehension nor insight.

This notion of the relationship of government to the individual was so clearly worked out that the delegates began to see that if the principle were fully applied there was no need of the coercion of states. Each of the three plans presented had in one form or another proposed coercion of delinquent states. But the notion of using force against a state became more and more objectionable, and it was seen that there was no need of coercing states if individuals could be reached directly.

Soon after the convention adjourned, Madison, in writing to Jefferson, gave the reason for omitting from the Constitution a provision authorizing the central government to call forth the force of the Union against a delinquent state: it was omitted because a much more reasonable and efficacious plan was devised. “It was generally agreed," he wrote, “that the objects of the Union could not be secured by any system founded on the principle of a confederation of Sovereign States. A voluntary observance of the federal law by all the members could never be hoped for. A compulsive one could evidently never be reduced to practice, and if it could, involved equal calamities to the innocent and the guilty, the necessity of a military force, both obnoxious and dangerous, and, in general, a scene resembling much more a civil war than the administration of a regular Government. Hence was embraced the alternative of a Government which, instead of operating on the States, should operate without their intervention on the individuals composing them; and hence the change in the principle and proportion of representation."1 In other words, to coerce states is to make war-justifiable under an agreement between sovereign states, but out of place when a government is acting on its citizens. A government enforces law. Of course, in the enforcement of law, troops may be needed, and the Constitution therefore gave authority for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasion.

1 Madison, Writings (Hunt's ed.), III., 19, 170; A. C. McLaughlin, “Sketch of Pinckney's Plan for a Constitution," in Amer. Hist. Review, IX., 746.

Both the Virginia and the Pinckney plans' proposed that the central authority should have the right to negative state laws, and, as we have already seen, this principle was at first adopted by the convention in committee of the whole. Many of the members felt that only by granting such a power to the central authority could there be any assurance that the states would do their duty and play their part in the new order. But this, like the right to coerce, was abandoned. The whole principle of the veto was contradictory to the theory, the underlying notion of the Constitution, as it took form and meaning in the minds of its makers; there could logically be no law—that is, no state act really legal--if it contravened the Constitution and if the Constitution itself be law. Sherman saw this most surely. “Such a power,” he said, referring to the veto in the hands of the national authorities, "involves a wrong principle, to wit, that a law of a State contrary to the articles of the Union would if not negatived, be valid, and operative.” 1

1 Madison, Letters (ed. of 1865), I., 344. : Amer. Hist. Review, IX., 744.

We have seen that the rejected New Jersey plan contained a provision concerning the binding effect of the laws of the Union. After the resolution for granting the right to veto had been voted down, Luther Martin brought forward the old proposition of the New Jersey plan, and it was unanimously adopted. On the basis of this proposition was built up the central clause of the Constitution, which was to enable the new system to work smoothly and

1 Madison, Writings (Hunt's ed.), III., 449; see also 447.

; Ibid., 449.

without administrative friction, was to provide a restraint upon the states, to maintain the dignity of the central government, and to preserve a complicated and delicate political system by peaceful and judicial processes. In its finished form, as it stands in the Constitution, this clause reads: “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding."

This clause may be called the central clause of the Constitution, because without it the whole system would be unwieldy, if not impracticable. Draw out this particular bolt, and the machinery falls to pieces. In these words the Constitution is plainly made not merely a declaration, a manifesto, dependent for its life and usefulness on the passing will of statesmen or of people, but a fundamental law, enforceable like any other law in courts. For the first time in history, courts are called upon by the simple processes of administering justice, in cases where private right or personal injury is involved, to uphold the structure of the body politic and the principles of the Constitution. In this clause, moreover, the salient and characteristic fact of the whole American constitutional system was made manifest, the fact that, in accordance with the theory of organization, the people make the law, and all acts of legislation must be in conformity with this law. For the most telling word is not supreme" but "law.” And thus the men at Philadelphia were, in theory, completing the historical process that had been working out in English history since the meeting of the barons with John Lackland at Runnymede. The long effort to establish a government of law and not of men was reaching its logical conclusion in an effort to make the government itself dependent on fundamental law.

We should notice chiefly that this principle was of especial value in solving the perplexing problem of the time. If the states had voluntarily and with good-humor lived up to their obligations under the old system, all might have gone well. But they would not. Under the Constitution, therefore, the new government was to act by its own laws on its own citizens; and in addition the states were to be placed in a distinctly legal relationship, and were to be bound to recognize their duties as legal duties; the Constitution was to be the law of the land, enforceable in state courts, to be applied by state judges, to be appealed to by state citizens asking their own judges for justice. The states were not to be ordered by the central government to erase acts from their statute-books, or directed to do this or not to do that; they might pass illegal acts, but their own judges in the quiet of their own court-rooms, at the instance of private suitors asking for their rights,

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