Daniel Webster


Photo by: National Statuary Hall


5-22-10 -  DREAM - My husband and I were on vacation near Dundee, WI, and it was the end of the season, and dead brown leaves were all over the road as we tried to hurry home before the snow fell and the roads closed.


As we drove, dead leaves were blowing along the road ahead of us, and it was dangerous, and we almost slid off the edge of the road a time or two.


We came around a corner, and it seemed that our vehicle had lawn mower cutter blades under it, and we ran over a skinny little tree that was growing up in the roadway, and when we stopped the car, I could see that the tree had been run over or hit before and had black electrical tape holding it together about a foot off the ground already.


The woman who lived there, came running up the hill all hysterical about her tree being hit again, and her husband ran up the hill to the road right behind her, and identified himself as working for the state and mentioned the name Madison.


He knew that the tree probably couldn't be saved this time, and he said it was a rare species of tree - that started with the letter S or C... which I couldn't remember as soon as he said it.


I started writing down his name on a scrap of paper - it was Daniel Webster. I knew where we were but not the exact address and I asked him for the zip code and he said he was never told what it was.


Then he handed me a spike of what looked like a whittled dead stick about a foot high, but he called it a stone, and asked me if I would do him a favor and stick the stone in the ground in my yard in memory of him and the tree.


I agreed we would do that.  I was going to ask him for his phone number so I could call him and ask about the welfare of the tree, but I woke up before I could do that.


NOTE:  Thomas Jefferson said that "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants." ...


We also know that sometimes dreams have a double meaning and this one could also be about the Bible verse about the "Cut and Banded Tree" 



Daniel 4: speaks of a great tree which, by Divine decree, is cut down and banded till seven times pass over it. This tree represents governmental authority ...  http://www.greatdreams.com/cut_and_banded_tree.htm


And when the scattering of the band of the holy people shall be accomplished, all these things shall be finished. 8 And I heard, and understood not. ... 




Daniel Webster


Daniel Webster was born on January 18, 1782 in Salisbury New Hampshire. The son of Ebenezer Webster (Bartlett 14), a former Captain in the American Revolution, and Abigail Eastman Webster, Ebenezer's second wife, Daniel was the youngest of ten children. Ebenezer owned a farm and was a member of the state Legislature, a man of modest means.

Born in Salisbury (now Franklin), New Hampshire, 18 January, 1782; died in Marshfield, Massachusetts, 24 October, 1852, was the second son of Ebenezer Webster by his second wife, Abigail Eastman. He seemed so puny and sickly as an infant that it was thought; he would not live to grow up. He was considered too delicate for hard work on the farm, and was allowed a great deal of time for play. Much of this leisure he spent in fishing and hunting, or in roaming about the woods, the rest in reading. In later life he could not remember when he learned to read. As a child his thirst for knowledge was insatiable; he read every book that came within reach, and conned his favorite authors until their sentences were in great part stored in his memory. In May, 1796, he was sent to Exeter academy, where he made rapid progress with his studies, but was so overcome by shyness that he found it impossible to stand up and "speak pieces" before his school-mates. In spite of this timidity, some of his natural gifts as an orator had already begun to show themselves His great, lustrous eyes and rich voice, with its musical intonations, had already exerted a fascination upon those who came within their range; passing teamsters would stop, and farmers pause, sickle in hand, to hear him recite verses of poetry or passages from the Bible.

In February, 1797, his father sent him to Boscawen, where he continued his studies under the tuition of the Reverend Samuel Wood. Although Ebenezer Webster found it difficult, by unremitting labor and strictest economy, to support his numerous family, he still saw such signs of promise in Daniel as to convince him that it was worth while, at whatever sacrifice, to send him to college. In view of this decision, he took him from school, to hasten his preparation under a private tutor, and on the journey to Boscawen he informed Daniel of his plans. The warm-hearted boy, who had hardly dared hope for such good fortune, and keenly felt the sacrifice it involved, laid his head upon his father's shoulder and burst into tears.

After six months with his tutor he had learned enough to fulfill the slender requirements of those days for admission to Dartmouth, where he was duly graduated in 1801. At college, although industrious and punctual in attendance and soon found to be very quick at learning, he was not regarded as a thorough scholar. He had not, indeed, the scholarly temperament--that rare combination of profound insight, sustained attention, microscopic accuracy, iron tenacity, and disinterested pursuit of truth--which characterizes the great scientific discoverer or the great historian. But, while he had not these qualities in perfect combination--and no one knew this better than Mr. Webster himself--there was much about him that made him more interesting and remarkable, even at that early age, than if he had been consummate in scholarship. He was capable of great industry, he seized an idea with astonishing quickness, his memory was prodigious, and for power of lucid and convincing statement he was unrivalled.


With these rare gifts he possessed that supreme poetic quality that defies analysis, but is at once recognized as genius. He was naturally, therefore, considered by tutors and fellow-students the most remarkable man in the college, and the position of superiority thus early gained was easily maintained by him through life and wherever he was placed. While at college he conquered or outgrew his boyish shyness, so as to take pleasure in public speaking, and his eloquence soon attracted so much notice that in 1800 the townspeople of Hanover selected this undergraduate to deliver the Fourth-of-July oration. It has been well pointed out by Henry Cabot Lodge that "the enduring work which Mr. Webster did in the world, and his meaning and influence in American history, are all summed up in the principles enunciated in that boyish speech at Hanover," which "preached love of country, the grandeur of American nationality, fidelity to the constitution as the bulwark of nationality, and the necessity and the nobility of the union of the states."

After leaving college, Mr. Webster began studying law in the office of Thomas W. Thompson, of Salisbury, who was afterward United States senator. Some time before this he had made up his mind to help his elder brother, Ezekiel, to go through college, and for this purpose he soon found it necessary to earn money by teaching school. After some months of teaching at Fryeburg, Maine, he returned to Mr. Thompson's office. In July, 1804, he went to Boston in search of employment in some office where he might complete his studies. He there found favor with Christopher Gore, who took him into his office as student and clerk. In March, 1805, Mr. Webster was admitted to the bar, and presently he began practising his profession at Boscawen. In 1807, having acquired a fairly good business, he turned it over to his brother, Ezekiel, and removed to Portsmouth, where his reputation grew rapidly, so that he was soon considered a worthy antagonist to Jeremiah Mason, one of the ablest lawyers this country has ever produced. In June, 1808, he married Miss Grace Fletcher, of Hopkinton, New Hampshire.

His first important political pamphlet, published that year, was a criticism on the embargo. In 1812, in a speech before the Washington benevolent society at Portsmouth, he summarized the objections of the New England people to the war just declared against Great Britain. He was immediately afterward chosen delegate to a convention of the people of Rockingham county, and drew up the so-called "'Rockingham Memorial," addressed to President Madison, which contained a formal protest against the war. In the following autumn he was elected to congress, and on taking his seat, in May, 1813, he was placed on the committee on foreign relations, His first step in congress was the introduction of a series of resolutions aimed at the president, and calling for a statement of the time and manner in which Napoleon's pretended revocation of his decrees against American shipping had been announced to the United States.


His first great speech, 14 January, 1814, was in opposition to the bill for encouraging enlistments, and at the close of that year he opposed Secretary Monroe's measures for enforcing what was known as the "draft of 1814." Mr. Webster's attitude toward the administration was that of the Federalist party to which he belonged; but he did not go so far as the leaders of that party in New England. He condemned the embargo as more harmful to ourselves than to the enemy, as there is no doubt it was; he disapproved the policy of invading Canada, and maintained that our wisest course was to increase the strength of the navy, and on these points history will probably judge him to have been correct. But in his opinion, that the war itself was unnecessary and injurious to the country, he was probably, like most New Englanders of that time, mistaken. Could he have foreseen and taken into account, the rapid and powerful development of national feeling in the United States which the war called forth, it would have modified his view, for it is clear that the war party, represented by Henry Clay and his friends, was at that moment the truly national party, and Mr. Webster's sympathies were then, as always, in favor of the broadest nationalism, and entirely opposed to every sort of sectional or particularist policy. This broad, national spirit, which was strong enough in the two Adamses to sever their connection with the Federalists of New England, led Mr. Webster to use his influence successfully to keep New Hampshire out of the Hartford convention.

In the 13th congress, however, he voted 191 times on the same side with Timothy Pickering, and only 4 times on the opposite side. In this and the next congress the most important work done by Mr. Webster was concerned with the questions of currency and a national bank. He did good service in killing the pernicious scheme for a bank endowed with the power of issuing irredeemable notes and obliged to lend money to the government. He was disposed to condemn outright the policy of allowing the government to take part in the management of the bank. He also opposed a protective tariff, but, by supporting Mr. Calhoun's bill for internal improvements, he put himself on record as a loose constructionist. His greatest service was unquestionably his resolution of 26 April, 1816, requiring that all payments to the national treasury must be made in specie or its equivalents.. This resolution, which he supported in a very powerful speech, was adopted the same day by a large majority, and its effect upon the currency was speedily beneficial. In the course of this session he declined, with grim humor, a challenge sent him by John Randolph.

In June, 1816, he removed to Boston, and at the expiration of his second term its congress, 4 March, 1817, he retired for a while to private life. His reason for retiring was founded in need of money and the prospect of a great increase in his law-practice. On his removal to Boston this prospect was soon realized in an income of not less than $20,000 a year. One of the first cases upon which he was now engaged was the famous Dartmouth college affair. While Mr. Webster's management of this case went far toward placing him at the head of the American bar, the political significance of its decision was such as to snake it an important event in the history of the United States. It shows Mr. Webster not only as a great constitutional lawyer and consummate advocate, but also as a powerful champion of Federalism.


In its origin Dartmouth college was a missionary school for Indians, founded in 1754 by the Reverend Eleazar Wheelock, at Lebanon, Connecticut. After a few years funds were raised by private subscription for the purpose of enlarging the school into a college, and as the Earl of Dartmouth had been one of the chief contributors, Dr. Wheelock appointed him and other persons trustees of the property. The site of the college was fixed in New Hampshire, and a royal charter in 1769 created it a perpetual corporation. The charter recognized Wheelock as founder, and appointed him president, with power to name his successor, subject to confirmation by the trustees. Dr. Wheelock devised the presidency to his son, John Wheelock, who accordingly became his successor. The charter, in expressly forbidding the exclusion of any person on account of his religious belief, reflected the broad and tolerant disposition of Dr. Wheelock, who was a liberal Presbyterian, and as such had been engaged in prolonged controversy with that famous representative of the strictest Congregationalism, Dr. Joseph Bellamy.

In 1793 Bellamy's pupil, Nathaniel Niles, became a trustee of Dartmouth, and between him and John Wheelock the old controversy was revived and kept up with increasing bitterness for several years, dividing the board of trustees into two hostile parties. At length, in 1809, the party opposed to President Wheelock gained a majority in the board, and thus became enabled in various ways to balk and harass the president, until in 1815 the quarrel broke forth into a war of pamphlets and editorial articles that convulsed the whole state of New Hampshire.


 The Congregational church was at that time the established church in New Hampshire, supported by taxation, and the Federalist party found its strongest adherents among the members of that church. Naturally, therefore, the members of other churches, and persons opposed on general principles to the establishment of a state church, were inclined to take sides with the Republicans. In 1815 President Wheelock petitioned the legislature for a committee to investigate the conduct of the trustees, whom he accused of various offences, from intolerance in matters of religion to improper management of the funds. Thus the affair soon became a party question, in which the Federalists upheld the trustees, while the Republicans sympathized with the president.


The legislature granted the petition for a committee, but the trustees forthwith, in a somewhat too rash spirit of defiance, deposed Mr. Wheelock and chose a new president, the Reverend Francis Brown. In the ensuing state election Mr. Wheelock and his sympathizers went over to the Republicans, who thus succeeded in electing their candidate for governor, with a majority of the legislature. In June, 1816, the new legislature passed an act reorganizing the college, and a new board of trustees was at once appointed by the governor.


Judge Woodward, secretary of the old board, went over to the new board, and became its secretary, taking with him the college seal. The new board proceeded to expel the old board, which forthwith brought suit against Judge Woodward in an action of trover for the college seal. The ease was tried in May, 1817, with those two great lawyers, Jeremiah Mason and Jeremiah Smith, as counsel for the plaintiffs. It was then postponed till September, when Mr. Webster was secured by the plaintiffs as an additional counsel. The plaintiffs contended that, in the case of a corporation chartered for private uses, any alleged misconduct of the trustees was properly a question for the courts, and not for the legislature, which in meddling with such a question plainly transcended its powers. Their chief reliance was upon this point, but they also contended that the act of legislature reorganizing the college was an act impairing the obligation of a contract, and therefore a violation of the constitution of the United States.


The state court at Exeter decided against the plaintiffs, and the point last mentioned enabled them to carry up their case to the supreme court of the United States. As the elder counsel were unable to go to Washington, it fell to Mr. Webster to conduct the case, which was tried in March, 1818. Mr. Webster argued that the charter of Dartmouth college created a private corporation for administering a charity; that in the administration of such uses the trustees have a recognized right of property; that the grant of such a charter is a contract between the sovereign power and the grantees, and descends to their successors; and that, therefore, the act of the New Hampshire legislature, in taking away the government from one board of trustees and conferring it upon another, was a violation of contract.


These points were de' fended by Mr. Webster with masterly cogency, and re-enforced by illustrations calculated to appeal to the Federalist sympathies of the chief justice. He possessed in the highest degree the art of so presenting a case that the mere statement seemed equivalent to demonstration, and never did he exhibit that art in greater perfection or use it to better purpose than in this argument. A few sentences at the close, giving utterance to deep emotion, left judges and audience in tears. The decision, rendered in the autumn, sustained Mr. Webster and set aside the act of the legislature as unconstitutional. It was one of those far-reaching decisions in which the supreme court, under John Marshall, fixed the interpretation of the constitution in such wise as to add greatly to its potency as a fundamental instrument of government. The clause prohibiting state legislation in impairment of contracts, like most such general provisions, stood in need of judicial decisions to determine its scope. By bringing under the protection of this clause every charter granted by a state, the decision in the Dartmouth college case went further perhaps than any other in our history toward limiting state sovereignty and extending the jurisdiction of the Federal supreme court.

In the Massachusetts convention of 1820 for revising the state constitution Mr. Webster played an important part. He advocated with success the abolition of religious tests for office-holders, and in a speech in support of the feature of property-representation in the senate he examined the theory and practice of bicameral legislation. His discussion of that subject is well worthy of study. In the same year, at the celebration of the second centennial of the landing of the Pilgrims. his commemorative oration was one of the noblest ever delivered. In 1825, on the laying of the corner-stone of Bunker Hill monument (see illustration), he attained still higher perfection of eloquence ; and one year later, on the deaths of Adams and Jefferson, his eulogy upon those statesmen completed a trio of historical addresses unsurpassed in splendor. The spirit of these orations is that of the broadest patriotism, enlightened by a clear perception of the fundamental importance of the Federal union between the states and an ever-present consciousness of the mighty future of our country and its moral significance m the history of the world. Such topics have often been treated as commonplaces and made the theme of vapid rhetoric; but under Daniel Webster's treatment they acquired a philosophical value and were fraught with most serious and earnest meaning. These orations were conceived in a spirit of religious devotion to the Union, and contributed powerfully toward awakening such a sentiment in those who read them afterward, while upon those who heard them from the lips of the majestic speaker the impression was such as could never be effaced. The historian must assign to them a high place among the literary influences that aroused in the American people a sentiment of union strong enough to endure the shock of civil war.

In 1822 Mr. Webster was elected to congress from the Boston district, and he was twice reelected by a popular vote that was almost unanimous. When he took his seat in congress in December, 1823, the speaker, Henry Clay, appointed him chairman of the judiciary committee. In that capacity he prepared and carried through the "Crimes act," which was substantially a thorough remodeling of the criminal jurisprudence of the United States. The preparation of this bill showed in the highest degree his constructive genius as a legislator, while in carrying it through congress his parliamentary skill and persuasiveness in debate were equally conspicuous. In 1825 he prepared a bill for increasing the number of supreme court judges to ten, for making ten Federal circuits, and otherwise strengthening the working capacity of the court; but this bill, after passing the house, was lost in the senate.


Of his two most celebrated speeches in congress during this period, the first was on the revolution in Greece. Mr. Webster moved, 19 January, 1824, the adoption of his own resolution in favor of making provision for a commissioner to Greece should President Monroe see fit to appoint one. In his speech on this occasion he set forth the hostility of the American people to the principles, motives, and methods of the "Holy Alliance," and their sympathy with such struggles for self-government as that in which the Greeks were engaged. The resolution was not adopted, but Mr. Webster's speech made a profound impression at home and abroad. It was translated into several European languages, and called forth much foreign comment. The other great speech, delivered on 1 and 2 April, 1824, was what is commonly called his "free-trade speech."


A bill had been introduced for revising the tariff in such a way as to extend the operation of the protective system. In this speech Mr. Webster found fault with the phrase "American policy," as applied by Mr. Clay to the system of high protective duties. "If names are thought necessary," said Mr. Webster, "it would be well enough, one would think, that the name should be in some measure descriptive of the thing; and since Mr. Speaker denominates the policy which he recommends a 'new policy in this country'; since he speaks of the present measure as a new era in our legislation; since he professes to invite us to depart from our accustomed course, to instruct ourselves by the wisdom of others, and to adopt the policy of the most distinguished foreign states--one is a little curious to know with what propriety of speech this imitation of other nations is denominated an 'American policy, ' while, on the contrary, a preference for our own established system, as it now actually exists and always has existed, is called a 'foreign policy.'


This favorite American policy is what America has never tried; and this odious foreign policy is what, as we are told, foreign states have never pursued. Sir, that is the truest American policy which shall most usefully employ American capital and American labor." After this exordium, Mr. Webster went on to give a masterly exposition of some of the elementary theorems of political economy and a survey, at once comprehensive and accurate, of the condition of American industry at the time. He not only attacked Mr. Clay's policy on broad national grounds, but also showed more specifically that it was likely to prove injurious to the marl-time commerce in which the New England states had so long taken the lead; and he concluded by characterizing that policy as "so burdensome anal so dangerous to the interest which has steadily enriched, gallantly defended, and proudly distinguished us, that nothing can prevail upon me to give it my support." Upon this last clause of his speech he was afterward enabled to rest a partial justification of his change of attitude toward the tariff. The other chief incidents in his career in the house of representatives were his advocacy of a national bankrupt law, his defence of William H. Crawford, secretary of the treasury, against sundry charges brought against him by Ninian Edwards (q. v.), lately senator from Illinois, and his defense of President Adams's policy in the matter of Georgia and the Creek Indians.


In politics Mr. Webster occupied at this time an independent position. The old Federalist party, to which he had formerly belonged, was completely broken down, and the new National Republican party, with its inheritance of many of the principles, motives, and methods of the Federalists, was just beginning to take shape under the leadership of Adams and Clay. Between these eminent statesmen and Mr. Webster the state of feeling was not such as to insure cordial co-operation, but in their views of government there was similarity enough to bring them together in opposition to the new Democratic party represented by Jackson, Benton, and Van Buren. With the extreme southern views of Crawford and Calhoun it was impossible that he should sympathize, although his personal relations with those leaders were quite friendly, and after the death of Calhoun, the noblest eulogium upon his character and motives was made by Mr. Webster.


There is a sense in which all American statesmen may be said to be intellectually the descendants and disciples either of Jefferson or of Hamilton, and as a representative follower of Hamilton, Mr. Webster was sure to be drawn rather toward Clay than toward Jackson. The course of industrial events in New England was such as to involve changes of opinion in that part of the country, which were soon reflected in a complete reversal of Mr. Webster's attitude toward the tariff. In 1827 he was elected to the United States senate. In that year an agitation was begun by the woollen-manufacturers, which soon developed into a promiscuous scramble among different industries for aid from. government, and finally resulted in the tariff of 1828. That act, which was generally known at the time as "the tariff of abominations," was the first extreme application of the protective system in our Federal legislation.


 When the bill was pending before the senate in April, 1828, Mr. Webster made a memorable speech, in which he completely abandoned the position he had held in 1824, and from this time forth he was a supporter of the policy of Mr. Clay and the protectionists. For this change of attitude he was naturally praised by his new allies, who were glad to interpret it as a powerful argument in favor of their views. By every one else he was blamed, and this speech has often been cited, together with that of 7 March, 1850, as proving that Mr. Webster was governed by unworthy motives and wanting in political principle. The two cases, as we shall see, are not altogether parallel. Probably neither admits of entire justification, but in neither case did Mr. Webster attempt to conceal or disguise his real motives. In 1828 he frankly admitted that the policy of protection to manufactures by means of tariff duties was a policy of which he had disapproved, whether as a political economist or as a representative of the interests of New England. Against his own opposition and that of New England, the act of 1824 had passed. "


 What, then, was New England to do ? . . . Was she to hold out forever against the course of the government, and see herself losing on one side and yet make no el-fort to sustain herself on the other? No. sir. Nothing was left for New England but to conform herself to the will of others. Nothing was left to her but to consider that the government had fixed and determined its own policy" and that policy was protection." In other words, the tariff policy adopted at Washington, while threatening the commercial interests of New England, had favored the investment of capital in manufactures there, and it was not becoming in a representative of New England to take part in disturbing the new arrangement of things. This . argument, if pushed far enough, would end in the doctrine--now apparently obsolete, though it has of ten been attacked and defended--that a senator is simply the minister of his state in congress. With Mr. Webster it went so far as to modify essentially his expressions of opinion as to the constitutionality of protective legislation. He had formerly been inclined to interpret the constitution strictly upon this point, but in 1828 and afterward his position was that of the loose constructionists. Here the strong Federalist bias combined with that temperament which has sometimes been called "opportunism" to override his convictions upon the economic merits of the question.


This tariff of 1828 soon furnished an occasion for the display of Mr. Webster's strong Federalist spirit in a way that was most serviceable for his country and has earned for him undying fame as an orator and statesman. It led to the distinct announcement of the principles of nullification by the public men of South Carolina, with Mr. Calhoun at their head. During President Jackson's first term the question as to nullification seemed to occupy everybody's thoughts and had a way of intruding upon the discussion of all other questions. In December, 1829, Samuel A. Foote, of Connecticut, presented to the senate a resolution inquiring into the expediency of limiting the sales of the public hinds to those already in the market, besides suspending the surveys of the public lands and abolishing the office Of surveyor-general. Tile resolution was quite naturally resented by the western senators as having a tendency to cheek the growth of their section of the country. The debate was opened by Mr. Benton, and lasted several weeks, with increasing bitterness.


The belief in the hostility of the New England states toward the west was shared by many southern senators, who desired to unite south and west in opposition to the tariff. On 19 January, 1830, Robert Y. Hayne, of South Carolina, attacked the New England states, accusing them of aiming by their protective policy at aggrandizing themselves at the expense of all the rest of the Union. On the next day Mr. Webster delivered his "first speech on Foote's resolution," in which he took up Mr. Hayne's accusations and answered them with great power.


This retort pro-yoked a long and able reply from Mr. Hayne, in which he not only assailed Mr. Webster and Massachusetts and New England, but set forth quite ingeniously and elaborately the doctrines of nullification. In view of the political agitation then going on in South Carolina, it was felt that this speech would work practical mischief unless it should meet with instant refutation. It was finished on 25 January, and on the next two days Mr. Webster delivered his "second speech on Foote's resolution," better known in history as the "Reply to Hayne."


The debate had now lasted so long that people had come from different parts of the country to Washington to hear it, and on 26 January the crowd not only filled the galleries and invaded the floor of the senate-chamber, but occupied all the lobbies and entries within hearing and even beyond. In the first part of his speech Mr. Webster replied to the aspersions upon himself and New England; in the second part he attacked with weighty argument and keen-edged sarcasm the doctrine of nullification. He did not undertake to deny the right of revolution as a last resort in cases with which legal and constitutional methods are found inadequate to deal: but he assailed the theory of the constitution maintained by Calhoun and his followers, according to which nullification was a right, the exercise of which was compatible with loyal adherence to the constitution. His course of argument was two-fold; he sought to show, first, that the theory of the constitution as a terminable league or compact between sovereign states was unsupported by the history of its origin, and, secondly, that the attempt on the part of any state to act upon that theory must necessarily entail civil war or the disruption of the Union.


As to the sufficiency of his historical argument there has been much difference of opinion. The question is difficult to deal with in such a way as to reach an unassailable conclusion, and the difficulty is largely due to the fact that in the various ratifying conventions of 1787-'9 the men who advocated the adoption of the constitution did not all hold the same opinions as to the significance of what they were doing. There was great divergence of opinion, and plenty of room for antagonisms of interpretation to grow up as irreconcilable as those of Webster and Calhoun. If the South Carolina doctrine distorted history in one direction, that of Mr. Webster probably departed somewhat from the record in the other; but the latter was fully in harmony with the actual course of our national development, and with the increased and increasing strength of the sentiment of union at the time when it was propounded with such powerful reasoning and such magnificent eloquence in the "Reply to Hayne."


As an appeal to the common sense of the American people, nothing could be more masterly than Mr. Webster's demonstration that nullification practically meant revolution, and their unalterable opinion of the soundness of his argument was amply illustrated when at length the crisis came which he deprecated with such intensity of emotion in his concluding sentences. To some of the senators who listened to the speech, as, for instance, Thomas H. Benton, it seemed as if the passionate eloquence of its close concerned itself with imaginary dangers never likely to be realized: but the event showed that Mr. Webster estimated correctly the perilousness of the doctrine against which he was contending.


For genuine oratorical power, the "Reply to Hayne" is probably the greatest speech that has been delivered since the oration of Demosthenes on the crown. The comparison is natural, as there are points in the American orator that forcibly remind one of the Athenian. There is the fine sense of proportion and fitness, the massive weight of argument due to transparent clearness and matchless symmetry of statement, and along with the rest a truly Attic simplicity of diction. Mr. Webster never indulged in mere rhetorical flights; his sentences, simple in structure and weighted with meaning, went straight to the mark, and his arguments were so skillfully framed that while his most learned and critical hearers were impressed with a sense of their conclusiveness, no man of ordinary intelligence could fail to understand them. To these high qualifications of the orator was added such a physical presence as but few men have been endowed with.


Mr. Webster's appearance was one of unequalled dignity and power, his voice was rich and musical, and the impressiveness of his delivery was enhanced by the depth of genuine manly feeling with which he spoke. Yet while his great speeches owed so much of their overpowering effect to the look and manner of the man, they were at the same time masterpieces of literature. Like the speeches of Demosthenes, they were capable of swaying the reader as well as the hearer, and their effects went far beyond the audience and far beyond the occasion of their delivery. In all these respects the "Reply to Hayne" marks the culmination of Mr. Webster's power as an orator. Of all the occasions of his life, this encounter with the doctrine of nullification on its first bold announcement in the senate was certainly the greatest, and the speech was equal to the occasion. It struck a chord in the heart of the American people which had not ceased to vibrate when the crisis came thirty years later. It gave articulate expression to a sentiment of loyalty to the Union that went on growing until the American citizen was as prompt to fight for the Union as the Mussulman for his prophet or the cavalier for his king. It furnished, moreover, a clear and comprehensive statement of the theory by which that sentiment of loyalty was justified. Of the men who in after-years gave up their lives for the Union, doubtless the greater number had as school-boys declaimed passages from this immortal speech and caught some inspiration from its fervid patriotism. Probably no other speech ever made in congress has found so many readers or exerted so much influence in giving shape to men's thoughts.


Three years afterward Mr. Webster returned to struggle with nullification, being now pitted against the master of that doctrine instead of the disciple. In the interval South Carolina had attempted to put the doctrine into practice, and had been resolutely met by President Jackson with his proclamation of 10 December, 1832. In response to a special message from the president, early in January, 1833, the so-called "Force bill," empowering the president to use the army and navy, if necessary, for enforcing the revenue laws in South Carolina, was reported in the senate.


The bill was opposed by Democrats who did not go so far as to approve of nullification, but the defection of these senators was more than balanced by the accession of Mr. Webster, who upon this measure came promptly to the support of the administration. For this, says Benton, "his motives . . . were attacked, and he was accused of subservience to the president for the sake of future favor. At the same time all the support which he gave to these measures was the regular result of the principles which he laid down against nullification in the debate with Mr. Hayne, and he could not have done less without being derelict to his own principles then avowed. It was a proud era in his life, supporting with transcendent ability the cause of the constitution and of the country, in the person of a chief magistrate to whom he was politically opposed, bursting the bonds of party at the call of duty, and displaying a patriotism worthy of admiration and imitation. General Jackson felt the debt of gratitude and admiration which he owed him ; the country, without distinction of party, felt the same .... He was the colossal figure on the political stage during that eventful time ; and his labors, splendid in their day, survive for the benefit of distant posterity" (" Thirty Years' View," i., 334).


The support of the president's policy by Mr. Webster, and .its enthusiastic approval by nearly all the northern and a great many of the southern people, seems to have alarmed Mr. Calhoun, probably not so much for his personal safety as for the welfare of his nullification schemes. The story that he was frightened by the rumor that Jackson had threatened to begin by arresting him on a charge of treason is now generally discredited. He had seen enough, however, to convince him that the theory of peaceful nullification was not now likely to be realized. It was not his aim to provoke an armed collision, and accordingly a momentary alliance was made between himself and Mr. Clay, resulting in the compromise tariff bill of 12 February, 1833. Only four days elapsed between Mr. Webster's announcement of his intention to support the president and the introduction of this compromise measure.


Mr. Webster at once opposed the compromise, both as unsound economically and as an unwise and dangerous concession to the threats of the nullifiers. At this point the Force bill was brought forward, and Mr. Calhoun made his great speech, 15-16 February, in support of the resolutions he had introduced on 22 January, affirming the doctrine of nullification. To this Mr. Webster replied, 16 February, with his speech entitled "The Constitution not a Compact between Sovereign States," in which he supplemented and re-enforced the argument of the "Reply to Hayne." Mr. Calhoun's answer, 26 February, was perhaps the most powerful speech he ever delivered, and Mr. Webster did not reply to it at length. The burden of the discussion was what the American people really did when they adopted the Federal constitution. Did they simply create a league between sovereign states, or did they create a national government, which operates immediately upon individuals, and, without superseding the state governments, stands superior to them, and claims a prior allegiance from all citizens? It is now plain to be seen that in point of fact they did create such a national government; but how far they realized at the outset what they were doing is quite another question.


Mr. Webster's main conclusion was sustained with colossal strength; but his historical argument was in some places weak, and the weakness is unconsciously betrayed in a disposition toward wire-drawn subtlety, from which Mr. Webster was usually quite free. His ingenious reasoning upon the meaning of such words as " compact" and "accede" was easily demolished by Mr. Calhoun, who was, however, more successful in hitting upon his adversary's vulnerable points than in making good his own case. In fact, the historical question was not really so simple as it presented itself to the minds of those two great statesmen. But in whatever way it was to be settled, the force of Mr. Webster's practical conclusions remained, as he declared in the brief rejoinder with which he ended the discussion: "Mr. President, turn this question over and present it as we will--argue it as we may--exhaust upon it all the fountains of metaphysics--stretch over it all the meshes of logical or political subtlety--it still comes to this: Shall we have a general government? Shall we continue the union of the states under a government instead of a league ? This is the upshot of the whole matter; because, if we are to have a government, that government must act like other governments, by majorities; it must have this power, like other governments, of enforcing its own laws and its own decisions; clothed with authority by the people and always responsible to the people, it must be able to hold its course unchecked by external interposition.


According to the gentleman's views of the matter, the constitution is a league ; according to mine, it is a regular popular govern-meat. This vital and all-important question the people will decide, and in deciding it they will determine whether, by ratifying the present constitution and frame of government, they meant to do nothing more than to amend the articles of the old confederation." As the immediate result of the debates, both the Force bill and the Compromise tariff bill were adopted, and this enabled Mr. Calhoun to maintain that the useful and conservative character of nullification had been demonstrated, since the action of South Carolina had, without leading to violence, led to such modifications of the tariff as she desired. But the abiding result was, that Webster had set forth the theory upon which the Union was to be preserved, and that the administration, in acting upon that theory, had established an extremely valuable precedent for the next administration that should be called upon to meet a similar crisis.


The alliance between Mr. Webster and President Jackson extended only to the question of maintaining the Union. As an advocate of the policy of a national bank, a protective tariff, and internal improvements, Mr. Webster's natural place was by the side of Mr. Clay in the Whig party, which was now in the process of formation. He was also at one with both the northern and the southern sections of the Whig party in opposition to what Mr. Benton called the "demos krateo" principle, according to which the president, in order to carry out the "will of the people," might feel himself authorized to override the constitutional limitations upon his power. This was not precisely what Mr. Benton meant by his principle, but it was the way in which it was practically illustrated in Jackson's war against the bank. In the course of this struggle Mr. Webster made more than sixty speeches, remarkable for their wide and accurate knowledge of finance. His consummate mastery of statement is nowhere more thoroughly exemplified than in these speeches.


Constitutional questions were brought up by Mr. Clay's resolutions censuring the president for the removal of the deposits, and for dismissing William J. Duane, secretary of the treasury. In reply to the resolutions, President Jackson sent to the senate his remarkable "Protest," in which he maintained that in the mere discussion of such resolutions that body transcended its constitutional prerogatives, and that the president is the "direct representative of the American people," charged with the duty, if need be, of protecting them against the usurpations of congress. The Whigs maintained, with much truth, that this doctrine, if carried out in all its implications, would push democracy to the point where it merges in Caesarism. It was now that the opposition began to call themselves Whigs, and tried unsuccessfully to stigmatize the president's supporters as "Tories."


 Mr. Webster's speech on the president's protest, 7 May, 1834, was one of great importance, and should be read by every student of our constitutional history. In another elaborate speech, 16 February, 1835, he tried to show that under a proper interpretation of the constitution the power of removal, like the power of appointment, was vested in the president and senate conjointly, and that "the decision of congress in 1789, which separated the power of removal from the power of appointment, was founded on an erroneous construction of the constitution." But subsequent opinion has upheld the decision of 1789, leaving the speech to serve as an illustration of the way in which, under the stress of a particular contest, the Whigs were as ready to strain the constitution in one direction as the Democrats were inclined to bend it in another. An instance of the latter kind was Mr. Benton's expunging resolution, against which Mr. Webster emphatically protested.


About this time Mr. Webster was entertaining thoughts of retiring, for a while at least, from public life. As he said, in a letter to a friend, he had not for fourteen years had leisure to attend to his private affairs, or to become acquainted by travel with his own country. This period had not, however, been entirely free from professional work. It was seldom that Mr. Webster took part in criminal trials, but in this department of legal practice he showed himself qualified to take rank with the greatest advocates that have ever addressed a jury. His speech for the prosecution, on the trial of the murderers of Captain Joseph White, at Salem, in August, 1830, has been pronounced superior to the finest speeches of Lord Erskine. In the autumn of 1824, while driving in a chaise with his wife from Sandwich to Boston, he stopped at the beautiful farm of Captain John Thomas, by the sea-shore at Marshfield.


For the next seven years his family passed their summers at this place as guests of Captain Thomas" and, as the latter was growing old and willing to be eased of the care of the farm, Mr. Webster bought it of him in the autumn of 1831. Captain Thomas continued to live there until his death, in 1837, as Mr. Webster's guest. For the latter it became the favorite home whither he retired in the intervals of public life. It was a place, he said, where he "could go out every day in the year and see something new." Mr. Webster was very fond of the sea. He had also a passion for country life, for all the sights and sounds of the farm, for the raising of fine animals, as well as for hunting and fishing. The earlier years of Mr. Webster's residence at Marshfield, and of his service in the United States senate, witnessed some serious events in his domestic life. Death removed his wife, 21 January, 1828, and his brother Ezekiel, 10 April, 1829.


 In December, 1829, he married Miss Caroline Le Roy, daughter of a wealthy merchant in New York. Immediately after this second marriage came the "Reply to Hayne." The beginning of a new era in his private life coincided with the beginning of a new era in his career as a statesman. After 1830 Mr. Webster was recognized as one of the greatest powers in the nation, and it seemed natural that the presidency should be offered to such a man. His talents, however, were not those of a party leader, and the circumstances under which the Whig party was formed were not such as to place him at its head. The elements of which that party was made up were incongruous, the bond of union between them consisting chiefly of opposition to President Jackson's policy. In the election of 1836 they had not time in which to become welded together, and after the brief triumph of 1840 they soon fell apart again. In 1836 there was no general agreement upon a candidate. The northern Whigs, or National Republicans, supported by the anti-Masons, nominated General William H. Harrison ; the southern or "state-rights" Whigs nominated Hugh L. White" the legislature of Massachusetts nominated Mr. Webster, and he received the electoral vote of that state only.


Over such an ill-organized opposition Mr. Van Buren easily triumphed. In March, 1837, on his way from Washington to Boston, Mr. Webster stopped in New York and made a great speech at Niblo's garden, in which he reviewed and criticised the policy of the late administration, with especial reference to its violent treatment of the bank. In the course of the speech he used language that was soon proved prophetic by the financial crisis of that year. In the summer he made a journey through the western states. In the next session of congress his most important speeches were those on the sub-treasury bill. The second of these, delivered 12 March, 1838, contained some memorable remarks on the course of Mr. Calhoun, who had now taken sides with the administration. No passage in all his speeches is more graphic than that in which, with playful sarcasm, he imagines General Jackson as coming from his retirement at the Hermitage, walking into the senate-chamber, and looking across "to the seats on the other side." The whole of that portion of the speech which relates to nullification is extremely powerful. Mr. Calhoun, in his reply, "carried the war into Africa," and attacked Mr. Webster's record. He was answered, 22 March, by a speech that was a model for such parliamentary retorts. Mr. Webster never sneered at his adversaries, but always rendered them the full meed of personal respect that he would have demanded for himself. He discussed questions on their merits, and was too great to descend to recriminations. His Titanic power owed very little to the spirit of belligerency. Never was there an orator more urbane or more full of Christian magnanimity.



In the summer of 1839 Mr. Webster with his family visited England, where he was cordially received and greatly admired. On his return in December he learned that the Whigs had this time united upon General Harrison for their candidate in the hope of turning to their own uses the same kind or' unreflecting popular enthusiasm that had elected Jackson. The panic of 1837 aided them still more, and Mr. Webster made skilful use of it in a long series of campaign speeches, during the summer of 1840, in Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. He accepted the office of secretary of state in President Harrison's administration, and soon showed himself as able in diplomacy as in other departments of statesmanship. There was a complication of difficulties with Great Britain which seemed to be bringing us to the verge of war. There was the longstanding dispute about the northeastern boundary, which had not been adequately defined by the treaty of 1783, and along with the renewal of this controversy came up the cases of McLeod and the steamer "Caroline," the slave-ship " Creole," and all the manifold complications that these cases involved.


The Oregon question, too, was looming in the background. In disentangling these difficulties Mr. Webster showed wonderful tact and discretion. He was fortunately aided by the change of ministry in England, which transferred the management of foreign affairs from the hands of Lord Palmerston to those of Lord Aberdeen. Edward Everett was then in London, and Mr. Webster secured his appointment as minister to Great Britain. In response to this appointment, Lord Ashburton, whose friendly feeling toward the United States was known to every one, was sent over on a special mission to confer with Mr. Webster, and the result was the Ashburton treaty of 1842, by which an arbitrary and conventional line was adopted for the northeastern boundary, while the loss thereby suffered by the states of Maine and Massachusetts was to be indemnified by the United States. It was also agreed that Great Britain and the United States should each keep its own squadron to watch the coast of Africa for the suppression of the slave-trade, and that in this good work each nation should separately enforce its own laws.


This clause of the treaty was known as the "cruising convention." The old grievance of the impressments of seamen, which had been practically abolished by the glorious victories of American frigates in the war of 1812-'15, was now formally ended by Mr. Webster's declaration to Lord Ashburton that henceforth American vessels would not submit themselves to be searched, Henceforth the enforcement of the so-called "right of search" by a British ship would be regarded by the United States as a casus belli. When all the circumstances are considered, this Ashburton treaty shows that Mr. Webster's powers as a diplomatist were of the highest order. In the hands of an ordinary statesman the affair might easily have ended in a war; but his management was so dexterous that, as we now look back upon the negotiation, we find it hard to realize that there was any real danger. Perhaps there could be no more conclusive proof or more satisfactory measure of his really brilliant and solid success.


While these important negotiations were going on, great changes had come over the political horizon. There had been a quarrel between the northern and southern sections of the Whig party (see TYLER JOHN), and on 11 September, 1841, all the members of President Tyler's cabinet, except Mr. Webster, resigned. It seems to have been believed by many of the Whigs that a unanimous resignation on the part of the cabinet would force President Tyler to resign. The idea came from a misunderstanding of the British custom in similar cases, and it is an incident of great interest to the student of American history; but there was not the slightest chance that it should be realized. Had there been any such chance, Mr. Webster defeated it by staying at his post in order to finish the treaty with Great Britain. The Whigs were inclined to attribute his conduct to unworthy motives, and no sooner had the treaty been signed, 9 August, 1842, than the newspapers began calling upon him to resign. The treaty was ratified in the senate by a vote of 39 to 9, but it had still to be adopted by parliament, and much needless excitement was occasioned on both sides of the ocean by the discovery of an old map in Paris, sustaining the British view of the northeastern boundary, and another in London, sustaining the American view. Mr. Webster remained at his post in spite of popular clamor until he knew the treaty to be quite safe. In the hope of driving him from the cabinet, the Whigs in Massachusetts held a convention and declared that President Tyler was no longer a member of their party. On a visit to Boston, Mr. Webster made a noble speech in Faneuil hall, 30 September, 1842, in the course of which he declared that he was neither to be coaxed nor driven into an action that in his own judgment was not conducive to the best interests of the country. He knew very well that by such independence he was likely to injure his chances for nomination to the presidency. He knew that a movement in favor of Mr. Clay had begun in Massachusetts, and that his own course was adding greatly to the impetus of that movement. But his patriot, ism rose superior to all personal considerations. In May, 1843, having seen the treaty firmly established, he resigned the secretaryship and returned to the practice of his profession in Boston. In the canvass of 1844 he supported Mr. Clay in a series of able speeches.


On Mr. Choate's resignation, early in 1845, Mr. Webster was re-elected to the senate. The two principal questions of Mr. Polk's administration related to the partition of Oregon and the difficulties that led to war with Mexico. The Democrats declared that we must have the whole of Oregon up to the parallel of 54º 40', although the 49th parallel had already been suggested as a compromise-line. In a very able speech at Faneuil hall, Mr. Webster advocated the adoption of this compromise. The speech was widely read in England and on the continent of Europe, and Mr. Webster followed it by a private letter to Mr. Macgregor, of Glasgow, expressing a wish that the British government might see fit to offer the 49th parallel as a boundary-line. The letter was shown to Lord Aberdeen, who adopted the suggestion, and the dispute accordingly ended in the partition of Oregon between the United States and Great Britain. This successful interposition disgusted some Democrats who were really desirous of war with England, and Charles J. Ingersoll, member of congress from Pennsylvania and chairman of the committee on foreign affairs, made a scandalous attack upon Mr. Webster, charging him with a corrupt use of public funds. Mr. Webster replied in his great speech of 6 and 7 April, 1846, in defence of the Ashburton treaty. The speech was a triumphant vindication of his public policy, and in the thorough investigation of details that followed, Mr. Ingersoll's charges were shown to be utterly groundless.


During the operations on the Texas frontier, which brought on war with Mexico, Mr. Webster was absent from Washington. In the summer of 1847 he travelled through the southern states, and was everywhere received with much enthusiasm. He opposed the prosecution of the war for the sake of acquiring more territory, because he foresaw that such a policy must speedily lead to a dangerous agitation of the slavery question. The war brought General Zachary Taylor into the foreground as a candidate for the presidency, and some of the Whig managers actually proposed to nominate Mr. Webster as vice-president on the same ticket with General Taylor. He indignantly refused to accept such a proposal ; but Mr. Clay's defeat in 1844 had made many Whigs afraid to take him again as a candidate.


Mr. Webster was thought to be altogether too independent, and there was a feeling that General Taylor was the most available candidate and the only one who could supplant Mr. Clay. These circumstances led to Taylor's nomination, which Mr. Webster at first declined to support. He disapproved of soldiers as presidents, and characterized the nomination as "one not fit to be made." At the same time he was far from ready to support Mr. Van Buren and the Free-soil party, yet in his situation some decided action was necessary. Accordingly, in his speech at Marshfield, 1 September, 1848, he declared that, as the choice was really between General Taylor and General Cass, he should support the former. It has been contended that in this Mr. Webster made a great mistake, and that his true place in this canvass would have been with the Free-soil party. He had always been opposed to the further extension of slavery; but it is to be borne in mind that he looked with dread upon the rise of an anti-slavery party that should be supported only in the northern states. Whatever tended to array the north and the south in opposition to each other Mr. Webster wished especially to avoid. The ruling purpose of his life was to do what he could to prevent the outbreak of a conflict that might end in the disruption of the Union; and it may well have seemed that there was more safety in sustaining the Whig party in electing its candidate by the aid of southern votes than in helping into life a new party that should be purely sectional. At the same time, this cautious policy necessarily involved an amount of concession to southern demands far greater than the rapidly growing anti-slavery sentiment in the WEBSTER northern states would tolerate. No doubt Mr. Webster's policy in 1848 pointed logically toward his last great speech, 7 March, 1850, in which he supported Mr. Clay's elaborate compromises for disposing of the difficulties that had grown out of the vast extension of territory consequent upon the Mexican war.


This speech aroused intense indignation at the north, and especially in Massachusetts. It was regarded by many people as a deliberate sacrifice of principle to policy. Mr. Webster was accused of truckling to the south in order to obtain southern support for the presidency. Such an accusation seems inconsistent with Mr. Webster's character, and a comprehensive survey of his political career renders it highly improbable. The "Seventh-of-March" speech may have been a political mistake; but one cannot read it to-day, with a clear recollection of what was thought and felt before the civil war, and doubt for a moment the speaker's absolute frankness and sincerity. He supported Mr. Clay's compromises because they seemed to him a conclusive settlement of the slavery question.


The whole territory of the United States, as he said. was now covered with compromises, and the future destiny of every part, so far as the legal introduction of slavery was concerned, seemed to be decided. As for the regions to the west of Texas, he believed that slavery was ruled out by natural conditions of soil and climate, so that it was not necessary to protect them by a Wilmot proviso. As for the fugitive-slave law, it was simply a provision for carrying into effect a clause of the constitution, without which that instrument could never have been adopted, and in the frequent infraction of which Mr. Webster saw a serious danger to the continuance of the Union. He therefore accepted the fugitive-slave law as one lecture in the proposed system of compromises ; but, in accepting it, he offered amendments, which, if they had been adopted, would have gone far toward depriving it of some of its most obnoxious and irritating features. By adopting these measures of compromise, Mr. Webster believed that the extension of slavery would have been given its limit, that the north would, by reason of its free labor, increase in preponderance over the south, and that by and by the institution of slavery, hemmed in and denied further expansion, would die a natural death. That these views were mistaken, the events of the next ten years showed only too plainly, but there is no good reason for doubting their sincerity.


There is little doubt, too, that the compromises had their practical value in postponing the inevitable conflict for ten years, during which the relative strength of the north was increasing and a younger generation was growing up less tolerant of slavery and more ready to discard palliatives and achieve a radical cure. So far as Mr. Webster's moral attitude was concerned, although he was not prepared for the bitter hostility that his speech provoked in many quarters, he must nevertheless have known that it was quite as likely to injure him at the north as to gain support for him in the south, and his resolute adoption of a policy that he regarded as national rather than sectional was really an instance of high moral courage. It was, however, a concession that did violence to his sentiments of humanity, and the pain and uneasiness it occasioned is visible in some of his latest utterances.


On President Taylor's death, 9 July, 1850, Mr. Webster became President Fillmore's secretary of state. An earnest attempt was made on the part of his friends to secure his nomination for the presidency in 1852; but on the first ballot in the convention he received only 29 votes, while there were 131 for General Scott and 133 for Mr. Filmore. The efforts of Mr. Webster's adherents succeeded only in giving the nomination to Scott. The result was a grave disappointment to Mr. Webster. He refused to support the nomination, and tool: no part in the campaign. His health was now rapidly failing. He left Washington, 8 September, for the last time, and returned to Marshfield, which he never left again, except on 20 September for a brief call upon his physician in Boston. By his own request there were no public ceremonies at his funeral, which took place very quietly, 29 September, at Marshfield. The steel engraving of Webster is from a portrait made about 1840, the vignette from a painting by James B. Longacre, executed in 1833. The other illustrations represent the Bunker Hill monument, his residence and grave at Marshfield, and the imposing statue by Thomas Ball, erected in the Central park, New York. See Webster's "Works," with biographical sketch by Edward Everett (6 vols., Boston, 1851) ; "Webster's Private Correspondence," edited by Fletcher Webster (2 vols., Boston, 1856) ; George Ticknor Curtis's " Life of Webster" (2 vols., New York, 1870); Edwin P. Whipple's " Great Speeches of Webster" (Boston, 1879); and Henry Cabot Lodge's " Webster," in "American Statesmen Series" (Boston, 1883).--Daniel's son, Fletcher, lawyer, born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 23 July, 1813 ; died near Bull Run, Virginia, 30 August, 1862, was graduated at Harvard in 1833, studied law with his father, and was admitted to the bar. He was private secretary to his father during part of the letter's service as secretary of state, secretary of legation in China under Caleb Cushing in 1843, a member of the Massachusetts legislature in 1847, and from 1850 till 1861 surveyor of the port of Boston. He became colonel of the 12th Massachusetts regiment, 26 June, 1861, served in Virginia and Maryland, and was killed at the second battle of Bull Run. Besides editing his father's private correspondence, Colonel Webster published an "Oration before the Authorities of the City of Boston, July 4, 1846."

FROM  http://www.danielwebster.org/


Webster on States Rights and Federal Powers

Sen. Daniel Webster
In the Winter of 1830, the notable orator and Senator from Massachusetts, Daniel Webster, stood up before the Senate in Washington D.C. to answer a challenge from Senator Hayne of South Carolina. Although the discussion was of minor effect as an attack on New England, Mr. Webster would speak to the matter of a particular statement made by Mr. Hayne that "the Constitution was a compact between sovereign States, that there was no power supreme over these sovereigns to determine whether or not a particular act of Congress was an infraction of the compact; that each State, therefore, must judge for itself, and that if, in the exercise of this sovereign right and judgment, it came to the conclusion that a particular act was in violation of the compact, and therefore void, it could lawfully refuse obedience to the obnoxious statute, or, in other words, nullify it."
In the scheme of things I could probably ignore this matter as a historical interlude, but under the present circumstances in our nation, and particularly in my sovereign state of Texas, I feel obliged to bring this topic to the forefront. It's really not by my choice, but by those who would profess to step forward and proclaim that their American liberties are challenged, and that they would have right, and the power, to stand in defiance of the American Constitution, and Congress, and nullify any law (namely, healthcare reform) set down by the people of this Nation, or even go further and sever their position in this Union by secession. It's probably better to ignore this fringe, but I learned that silence is not always the best option. I choose to use the arguments of Daniel Webster.
Daniel Webster challenged Mr. Hayne's propositions that : "1) the Constitution is a compact between the States; 2) that a compact between two, with authority reserved to one to interpret its terms, would be a surrender to that one of all power whatever," and "3) therefore, the general government does not possess the authority to construe its own powers."
Webster replied: "The Constitution, it is said, is a compact between States. The States then, and the States only, are parties to the compact. How comes the general government itself a party. Upon the honorable gentleman's hypothesis, the general government, is the result of the compact, the creature of the compact, not one of the parties to it. Yet the argument as the gentleman has now stated it, makes the government itself one of its own creators. It makes it a party to that compact to which it owes its own existence. ...."
"Even supposing the Constitution to be a compact between the States, the gentleman's doctrine, nevertheless, is not maintainable, because - first, the general government is not a party to that compact, but a government established by it and vested by it with the powers of trying and deciding doubtful questions; and secondly, because if the Constitution be regarded as a compact, not one state only, but all states, are parties to that compact, and one can have no right to fix upon it her own peculiar construction."
"He has not shown - it cannot be shown that the Constitution is a compact between state governments. The Constitution itself, in its very front, refutes that idea; it declares that it is ordained and established by the people of the United States." .... "Doubtless, the people of the several states, taken collectively, constitute the people of the United States; but it is in this, their collective capacity, it is all the people of the United States, that they establish the Constitution. So they declare; and words cannot be plainer than the words used."
"When the gentleman says the Constitution is a compact between the States, he uses language exactly applicable to the old Confederation. He speaks as if he were in Congress before 1789. He describes fully that old state of things then existing. The Confederation was, in strictness, a compact; the States, as states, were parties to it. We had no other general government. But that was found insufficient, and inadequate to the public exigencies. The people were not satisfied with it, and undertook to establish a better. They undertook to form a general government, which should stand on a new basis; not a confederacy, not a league, not a compact between States, but a Constitution; a popular government founded in popular election, directly responsible to the people themselves, and divided into branches with prescribed limits of power, and prescribed duties."
I believe that Senator Webster spoke correctly that "the Constitution of the United States is not a league, confederacy, or compact between the people of the several States in their sovereign capacities; but a government proper, founded on the adoption of the people, and creating direct relations between itself and individuals." He is correct in saying "no State authority has power to dissolve these relations; that nothing can dissolve them but revolution; and that consequently there can be no such thing as secession without revolution." Mr. Perry, he is correct in stating that "an attempt by a State to abrogate, annul, or nullify an act of Congress, or to arrest its operation within her limits, on the ground that, in her opinion, such law is unconstitutional, is a direct usurpation on the just powers of the general government, and on the equal rights of other States, a plain violation of the Constitution, and a proceeding essentially revolutionary in its character and tendency."
I fail to grasp the fears of a few who see the potential demise of their liberties, when their liberties are set within the common law (the Constitution) of all peoples of America. If any liberty is to be lost by one, it will be lost by all and by popular choice. How do you see this happening? You have to actually believe that the opposition really seeks to destroy the Republic. Unless Congress gives you, Mr. Perry, the liberty to nullify a law, your defiance of the law, that has been enacted on the behalf of the whole Union, is an act of rebellion against the people of the United States, including those who reside in the State of Texas. There is no half measure in that.
Commentator Jim Selman recently asked the question: "Is this the end of democracy?" I say no. Though I fear the challenges to our nation are very real, very internal, and ironically, beset most by those who proclaim to defend the freedoms of America. There is an idleness by some, an ignorance by others, and fear by too many. There is a yearning of 'patriots' to return to an America of a more grand age. They say we should do as our Founding Fathers would have done. But they fail to say which ones - outside Jefferson, of course. America was diverse and their ideals ranged greatly. It is even more so now. America at the time of the declaration of independence evolved out of a Confederation (a favorite of states-rights folks) to a much greater Constitution upon which we all reside today. It is no longer the America of our Founders, but ours - their children. It's OUR Constitution - their legacy, our living document. This is what the Founding Fathers (yeah, I know - which ones?) have been trying to tell you.
The Private Correspondence of Daniel Webster, 1857.
Daniel Webster: The Expounder of the Constitution, E.P. Wheeler, 1905.


Oration at Hanover, N.H. (July 4, 1800)
Webster's first notable public address, given in celebration of the Fourth of July. Webster was invited to address the public by the town of Hanover while still a Dartmouth student of only 18 years of age. Webster invokes the memory of George Washington, who had died earlier that year.

Peroration, The Dartmouth College Case (March 10, 1818)

Webster in 1818, defending the College he loved. Webster's closing argument does not survive; What is known of the text comes from notes taken by Chauncey A. Goodrich, a Yale professor observing Webster's argument. His notes of the peroration quote Webster at length and also include an account of the emotion Webster invested in this case.

The Plymouth Oration (December 22, 1820)

The Origin of "Godlike Daniel"

On August 2, 1826, Daniel Webster delivered a
eulogy on the lives and services of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson at Faneuil Hall in Boston. So magnificent was the speech that, upon its conclusion, tremendous cheers roared through the hall -- although "inappropriate indeed for the occasion," according to Webster's friend and fellow Dartmouth alumnus George Ticknor.

The eulogy also earned Webster the appellation "Godlike Daniel:"
Three days later, an obscure temperance journal in Boston [called the National Philanthropist] commented, "To say of this production that it was eloquent, would be too common an expression to apply to such a performance. It was profound -- it was sublime -- it was godlike."
Merrill D. Peterson, The Great Triumvirate: Webster, Clay, and Calhounn

Daniel Webster on the Slave Trade

At a speech commemorating the anniversary of the Pilgrims' landing at Plymouth Rock, Webster propounds the intricate relationship between property rights and the foundation of a republican nation. He also uses this address as an opportunity to denounce the African slave-trade.
I deem it my duty on this occasion to suggest, that the land is not yet wholly free from the contamination of a traffic, at which every feeling of humanity must for ever revolt, - I mean the African slave-trade. Neither public sentiment, nor the law, has hitherto been able entirely to put an end to this odious and abominable trade. At the moment when God in his mercy has blessed the Christian world with a universal peace, there is reason to fear, that, to the disgrace of the Christian name and character, new efforts are making for the extension of this trade by subjects and citizens of Christian states, in whose hearts there dwell no sentiments of humanity or of justice, and over whom neither the fear of God nor the fear of man exercises a control.br />
In the sight of our law, the African slave-trader is a pirate and a felon; and in the sight of Heaven, an offender beyond the ordinary depth of human guilt. There is no brighter page of our history, than that which records the measures which have been adopted by the government at an early day, and at different times since, for the suppression of this traffic; and I would call on all the true sons of New England to cooperate with the laws of man, and the justice of Heaven.

If there be, within the extent of our knowledge or influence, any participation in this traffic, let us pledge ourselves here, upon the rock of Plymouth, to extirpate and destroy it. It is not fit that the land of the Pilgrims should bear the shame longer. I hear the sound of the hammer, I see the smoke of the furnaces where manacles and fetters are still forged for human limbs. I see the visages of those who by stealth and at midnight labor in this work of hell, foul and dark, as may become the artificers of such instruments of misery and torture. Let that spot be purified, or let it cease to be of New England. Let it be purified, or let it be set aside from the Christian world; let it be put out of the circle of human sympathies and human regards, and let civilized man henceforth have no communion with it.

The Bunker Hill Monument (June 17, 1825)

Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill, Webster paints a vivid verbal picture of the Battle. He extolls the virtues of representative government, stating America's role as an example to the world and reminds the audience of the responsibility that is being handed down to them by the remaining few of the Revolution.

Adams and Jefferson (August 2, 1826)

Webster speaks at the momentous occasion of the funeral of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both of whom died on the 50th anniversary of the Union. Webster praises Jefferson and the Declaration. He then offers an analysis of Adams, including a representation of words that Adams might have spoken at the Congress of the Revolution. These words were, indeed, so stirring that one might believe Adams himself had spoken them.

The Second Reply to Hayne (January 26-27, 1830)

Webster counters Senator Robert Hayne's claims of South Carolina's right of annullment in a speech mainly directed at Vice-President John C. Calhoun. He offers a brilliant summary of the complicated notion of federalism and establishes forever the link between "Liberty and Union..."

The Seventh of March Speech (March 7, 1850)

Webster begins this speech by offering his support for the Fugitive Slave Law. Although his Constitutional argument is logical and compelling, this position was a controversial one which cost Webster any hope he might have had of achieving the Presidency. The rest of this address is a passionate call for Union in a time when "peacable secession" was being offered by Southern states as an alternative to the Union's problems.

The Dignity and Importance of History (February 23, 1852)

Addressing the Historical Society of New York, Webster describes the value of embellishment and ornamentation in making history "interesting and instructive," so long as it is built upon a foundation of truth. He then explains the need for greater exploration of the realm of social history, calling for a "history of firesides." He ends with a final call for Union, that America may never be described as having a Decline and Fall.

FROM http://www.dartmouth.edu/~dwebster/speeches/index.html

IMAGES: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~dwebster/gallery.html


"Hold on, my friends,
to the Constitution and
to the Republic for which it stands.
Miracles do not cluster
and what has happened once in 6,000 years,
may not happen again.
Hold on to the Constitution,
for if the American Constitution should fail,
there will be anarchy throughout the world."

"Where is it written in the Constitution,
in what article or section is it contained,
that you may take children from their parents
and parents from their children, and compel them
to fight the battles of any war in which the folly
and wickedness of the government may engage itself?
Under what concealment has this power lain hidden,
which now for the first time comes forth,
with a tremendous and baleful aspect, to trample down
and destroy the dearest right of personal liberty?
Who will show me any Constitutional injunction
which makes it the duty of the American people
to surrender everything valuable in life,
and even life, itself, whenever the purposes of
an ambitious and mischievous government may require it? ...
A free government with an uncontrolled power
of military conscription is the most ridiculous
and abominable contradiction and nonsense
that ever entered into the heads of men."

“I apprehend no danger to our country from a foreign foe. … Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from another quarter. From the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government—from their carelessness and negligence—I must confess that I do apprehend some danger. I fear that they may place too implicit a confidence in their public servants, and fail properly to scrutinize their conduct.—that in this way they may be made the dupes of designing men, and become the instruments of their own undoing. Make them intelligent, and they will be vigilant—give them the means of detecting the wrong, and they will apply the remedy.”
— Daniel Webster (1782-1852) Author, Lawyer and Patriot


Daniel Webster Birthplace

daniel webster birthplace
Phone: 603-934-5057 or 603-485-2034

Location: Off Route 127, Franklin

Activities: Historical interpretation, picnicing

Amenities: Living history, guided tours

Fee: All New Hampshire residents are admited free of charge. Others must pay $7 for adults; $3 for children ages 6-11; children ages 5 and under are free.

Operation Schedule: Open 9:00am - 5:00pm on Saturdays and Sundays from June 21 through September 1, 2008. The Sawyer house is closed to the public.

Acreage: 147 acres

Pets: Pets are not permitted at state historic sites.

More Information
The Daniel Webster Birthplace State Historic Site is associated with the birth and early childhood years of Daniel Webster, one of our country's most respected orators and statesmen. While the site affords a view of the early years of Daniel Webster, it also provides a glimpse of 1700s farm life in the infant years of the United States.

The Site
When the Revolutionary War broke out in 1775, Ebenezer Webster was operating a mill and farming a stony tract of land in Salisbury, New Hampshire. He shared a log cabin with his four children and second wife, Abigail Eastman Webster. Ebenezer was a patriotic man who had served with "Roger's Rangers" in the French and Indian Wars. He was active in Salisbury town affairs, and when the call came for soldiers to fight the British, he organized and captained a company of local volunteers.

Captain Webster came home each winter during the war, but he depaRouted again when the fighting resumed again in the spring. His family was growing. Abigail gave birth to a daughter in 1779 and a son in 1780. During this period Ebenezer built a two-room frame house to replace the crowded log cabin.

It was in this new home that Abigail's fourth child, Daniel, was born on January 18, 1782. Thick snow probably blanketed the little house on that winter day adding to the farm's isolation. Ebenezer was still away, serving his final days in General Washington's army. Abigail must have been glad to have her older children around her to help with the birth, fetching buckets of water from the well and keeping a good fire going in the large fireplace.

Around 1785 Ebenezer sold his farm and mill and moved the family to more fertile land near the Merrimack River. The farm's new owner, Captain Stephen Sawyer, built a large square farmhouse on the site. He also moved the Webster's small house across the road and attached it to his new home to form a shed, or ell.

The property passed through the hands of several owners until Judge George Nesmith gave it to Daniel Webster in 1851. After his death it was sold again, and finally in 1910 it was acquired by the Webster Birthplace Association. The original cellar hole was located and cleared, and the frame house moved back to its original foundation. In 1917 the restored house and 155 of the farm's original acres were deeded to the State of New Hampshire.

The Birthplace
The house, associated with Daniel Webster's childhood, provides an intimate snapshot of frontier life during the country's earliest years.

The hearth was obviously the center of the home, with the smell of freshly baked bread drifting from the oven while a stew bubbled in an iron pot or a haunch of venison roasted slowly on a spit. It is here where the family would have gathered to talk, work and eat. By the flickering light of hand-dipped candles they would also have read from the family Bible, which was kept in the cupboard above the mantle.

The stairs in the corner of the main room lead to a loft, where the many Webster children slept on cornhusk mattresses. Abigail and Ebenezer slept in the house's second room, with baby Daniel in a wooden cradle similar to the one now on display.

Much of the house is believed to be original despite its several moves. The fireplace was rebuilt using the original handmade bricks and hearthstone. The attached woodshed and well surround are reconstruction's. Furnishings such as the flax spinning wheel and kitchen utensils are typical of a rustic farm of the period. Other items on display belonged to Daniel Webster later in his life.

The foundations of Ebenezer Webster's mill can be found among the trees behind the house near Punch Brook. The original mill was for sawing wood, but Ebenezer also added a grist and cider mill. There are still some apple trees near the house.

The Area
When the Webster family left their small home they moved to Elms Farm, where Ebenezer ran a mill and also built and operated a tavern. They later sold this property to finance Daniel and his brother at Dartmouth. The family moved to a smaller house nearby. This new home eventually passed to Daniel, who owned it until his death. It is now owned by the Sisters of the Holy Cross and can be viewed from the outside.

The old Salisbury cemetery is on the same road as the Webster house. Ebenezer and Abigail are buried there along with many other Websters. Daniel is buried in Marshfield, Massachusetts. The Webster Birthplace and Elms Farm were in the town of Salisbury, which was incorporated as a part of Franklin in 1828.

The Man
Daniel Webster (1782-1852) was a frail and sickly child. He was given only light chores to do and spent much of his time playing, fishing and roaming the countryside, often in the company of his older brother, Ezekiel. During this period, while he was building his physical strength, he also developed a deep love of literature from reading the family Bible and books borrowed from neighbors.

Daniel graduated from Dartmouth College in 1801 and became a lawyer and renowned orator. He served as U.S. congressman from New Hampshire and Massachusetts; and secretary of state under presidents Harrison, Tyler and Fillmore. In all, he spent forty years in public service, helping to mold the loose collection of states into a single unified nation. One theme in particular stands out from his many impassioned speeches: "The Union, one and inseparable, now and forever."

Although his later life was centered around Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., Daniel Webster never forgot his New Hampshire roots. He often returned to visit old friends, fish in Punch Brook, and enjoy the robust social life of the local taverns.

Visiting the Birthplace
The Daniel Webster Birthplace is a state historic site managed by the New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation, Department of Resources and Economic Development. The birthplace staff can be reached on weekends during the summer at 603/ 934-5057. The Franklin Historical Society provides living history interpretation at the site on the weekends it is open. It also offers a participatory living history program for school groups midweek during May and June, on a reservation only basis. For information about the school program or to make a reservation for a class visit call 603/736-8938.

From Tilton, exit 20 of Interstate 93, follow Route 3 south (west) through Franklin to Route 127. Take 127 south and follow the signs to the Daniel Webster Birthplace

Important: This information was posted on June 4, 2008 and all information, services and fees are subject to change. For current information you may wish to call 603-271-3556 or contact the park directly.

FROM  http://www.nhstateparks.com/danielwebster.html'


The Federalist No. 45

Alleged Danger From the Powers of the Union to the State Governments Considered

Independent Journal
Saturday, January 26, 1788
[James Madison]

To the People of the State of New York:

HAVING shown that no one of the powers transferred to the federal government is unnecessary or improper, the next question to be considered is, whether the whole mass of them will be dangerous to the portion of authority left in the several States.

The adversaries to the plan of the convention, instead of considering in the first place what degree of power was absolutely necessary for the purposes of the federal government, have exhausted themselves in a secondary inquiry into the possible consequences of the proposed degree of power to the governments of the particular States. But if the Union, as has been shown, be essential to the security of the people of America against foreign danger; if it be essential to their security against contentions and wars among the different States; if it be essential to guard them against those violent and oppressive factions which embitter the blessings of liberty, and against those military establishments which must gradually poison its very fountain; if, in a word, the Union be essential to the happiness of the people of America, is it not preposterous, to urge as an objection to a government, without which the objects of the Union cannot be attained, that such a government may derogate from the importance of the governments of the individual States? Was, then, the American Revolution effected, was the American Confederacy formed, was the precious blood of thousands spilt, and the hard-earned substance of millions lavished, not that the people of America should enjoy peace, liberty, and safety, but that the government of the individual States, that particular municipal establishments, might enjoy a certain extent of power, and be arrayed with certain dignities and attributes of sovereignty? We have heard of the impious doctrine in the Old World, that the people were made for kings, not kings for the people. Is the same doctrine to be revived in the New, in another shape that the solid happiness of the people is to be sacrificed to the views of political institutions of a different form? It is too early for politicians to presume on our forgetting that the public good, the real welfare of the great body of the people, is the supreme object to be pursued; and that no form of government whatever has any other value than as it may be fitted for the attainment of this object. Were the plan of the convention adverse to the public happiness, my voice would be, Reject the plan. Were the Union itself inconsistent with the public happiness, it would be, Abolish the Union. In like manner, as far as the sovereignty of the States cannot be reconciled to the happiness of the people, the voice of every good citizen must be, Let the former be sacrificed to the latter. How far the sacrifice is necessary, has been shown. How far the unsacrificed residue will be endangered, is the question before us.

Several important considerations have been touched in the course of these papers, which discountenance the supposition that the operation of the federal government will by degrees prove fatal to the State governments. The more I revolve the subject, the more fully I am persuaded that the balance is much more likely to be disturbed by the preponderancy of the last than of the first scale.

We have seen, in all the examples of ancient and modern confederacies, the strongest tendency continually betraying itself in the members, to despoil the general government of its authorities, with a very ineffectual capacity in the latter to defend itself against the encroachments. Although, in most of these examples, the system has been so dissimilar from that under consideration as greatly to weaken any inference concerning the latter from the fate of the former, yet, as the States will retain, under the proposed Constitution, a very extensive portion of active sovereignty, the inference ought not to be wholly disregarded. In the Achaean league it is probable that the federal head had a degree and species of power, which gave it a considerable likeness to the government framed by the convention. The Lycian Confederacy, as far as its principles and form are transmitted, must have borne a still greater analogy to it. Yet history does not inform us that either of them ever degenerated, or tended to degenerate, into one consolidated government. On the contrary, we know that the ruin of one of them proceeded from the incapacity of the federal authority to prevent the dissensions, and finally the disunion, of the subordinate authorities. These cases are the more worthy of our attention, as the external causes by which the component parts were pressed together were much more numerous and powerful than in our case; and consequently less powerful ligaments within would be sufficient to bind the members to the head, and to each other.

In the feudal system, we have seen a similar propensity exemplified. Notwithstanding the want of proper sympathy in every instance between the local sovereigns and the people, and the sympathy in some instances between the general sovereign and the latter, it usually happened that the local sovereigns prevailed in the rivalship for encroachments. Had no external dangers enforced internal harmony and subordination, and particularly, had the local sovereigns possessed the affections of the people, the great kingdoms in Europe would at this time consist of as many independent princes as there were formerly feudatory barons.

The State governments will have the advantage of the Federal government, whether we compare them in respect to the immediate dependence of the one on the other; to the weight of personal influence which each side will possess; to the powers respectively vested in them; to the predilection and probable support of the people; to the disposition and faculty of resisting and frustrating the measures of each other.

The State governments may be regarded as constituent and essential parts of the federal government; whilst the latter is nowise essential to the operation or organization of the former. Without the intervention of the State legislatures, the President of the United States cannot be elected at all. They must in all cases have a great share in his appointment, and will, perhaps, in most cases, of themselves determine it. The Senate will be elected absolutely and exclusively by the State legislatures. Even the House of Representatives, though drawn immediately from the people, will be chosen very much under the influence of that class of men, whose influence over the people obtains for themselves an election into the State legislatures. Thus, each of the principal branches of the federal government will owe its existence more or less to the favor of the State governments, and must consequently feel a dependence, which is much more likely to beget a disposition too obsequious than too overbearing towards them. On the other side, the component parts of the State governments will in no instance be indebted for their appointment to the direct agency of the federal government, and very little, if at all, to the local influence of its members.

The number of individuals employed under the Constitution of the United States will be much smaller than the number employed under the particular States. There will consequently be less of personal influence on the side of the former than of the latter. The members of the legislative, executive, and judiciary departments of thirteen and more States, the justices of peace, officers of militia, ministerial officers of justice, with all the county, corporation, and town officers, for three millions and more of people, intermixed, and having particular acquaintance with every class and circle of people, must exceed, beyond all proportion, both in number and influence, those of every description who will be employed in the administration of the federal system. Compare the members of the three great departments of the thirteen States, excluding from the judiciary department the justices of peace, with the members of the corresponding departments of the single government of the Union; compare the militia officers of three millions of people with the military and marine officers of any establishment which is within the compass of probability, or, I may add, of possibility, and in this view alone, we may pronounce the advantage of the States to be decisive. If the federal government is to have collectors of revenue, the State governments will have theirs also. And as those of the former will be principally on the seacoast, and not very numerous, whilst those of the latter will be spread over the face of the country, and will be very numerous, the advantage in this view also lies on the same side. It is true, that the Confederacy is to possess, and may exercise, the power of collecting internal as well as external taxes throughout the States; but it is probable that this power will not be resorted to, except for supplemental purposes of revenue; that an option will then be given to the States to supply their quotas by previous collections of their own; and that the eventual collection, under the immediate authority of the Union, will generally be made by the officers, and according to the rules, appointed by the several States. Indeed it is extremely probable, that in other instances, particularly in the organization of the judicial power, the officers of the States will be clothed with the correspondent authority of the Union. Should it happen, however, that separate collectors of internal revenue should be appointed under the federal government, the influence of the whole number would not bear a comparison with that of the multitude of State officers in the opposite scale. Within every district to which a federal collector would be allotted, there would not be less than thirty or forty, or even more, officers of different descriptions, and many of them persons of character and weight, whose influence would lie on the side of the State.

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.

The operations of the federal government will be most extensive and important in times of war and danger; those of the State governments, in times of peace and security. As the former periods will probably bear a small proportion to the latter, the State governments will here enjoy another advantage over the federal government. The more adequate, indeed, the federal powers may be rendered to the national defense, the less frequent will be those scenes of danger which might favor their ascendancy over the governments of the particular States.

If the new Constitution be examined with accuracy and candor, it will be found that the change which it proposes consists much less in the addition of NEW POWERS to the Union, than in the invigoration of its ORIGINAL POWERS. The regulation of commerce, it is true, is a new power; but that seems to be an addition which few oppose, and from which no apprehensions are entertained. The powers relating to war and peace, armies and fleets, treaties and finance, with the other more considerable powers, are all vested in the existing Congress by the articles of Confederation. The proposed change does not enlarge these powers; it only substitutes a more effectual mode of administering them. The change relating to taxation may be regarded as the most important; and yet the present Congress have as complete authority to REQUIRE of the States indefinite supplies of money for the common defense and general welfare, as the future Congress will have to require them of individual citizens; and the latter will be no more bound than the States themselves have been, to pay the quotas respectively taxed on them. Had the States complied punctually with the articles of Confederation, or could their compliance have been enforced by as peaceable means as may be used with success towards single persons, our past experience is very far from countenancing an opinion, that the State governments would have lost their constitutional powers, and have gradually undergone an entire consolidation. To maintain that such an event would have ensued, would be to say at once, that the existence of the State governments is incompatible with any system whatever that accomplishes the essental purposes of the Union.


FROM  http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa45.htm

Regarding the U.S. Constitution, Why did our Founding Fathers use the word "promote" not "provide"?

... for the general welfare of citizens?

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription
When the Founding Fathers said that “WE THE PEOPLE” established the Constitution to “promote the general Welfare,” they did not mean the federal government would have the power to aid education, build roads, and subsidize business. Likewise, Article 1, Section 8 did not give Congress the right to use tax money for whatever social and economic programs Congress might think would be good for the “general welfare.”

James Madison stated that the “general welfare” clause was not intended to give Congress an open hand “to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defense or general welfare.” If by the “general welfare,” the Founding Fathers had meant any and all social, economic, or educational programs Congress wanted to create, there would have been no reason to list specific powers of Congress such as establishing courts and maintaining the armed forces. Those powers would simply have been included in one all-encompassing phrase, to “promote the general welfare.”

They meant that the Constitution and powers granted to the federal government were not to favor particular classes of people. There were to be no privileged individuals or groups in society. Neither minorities nor the majority was to be favored. Rather, the Constitution would promote the “general welfare” by ensuring a free society where free, self-responsible individuals - rich and poor, bankers and shopkeepers, employers and employees, farmers and blacksmiths - would enjoy “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” rights expressed in the Declaration of Independence.

Writing about the “general welfare” clause in 1791, Thomas Jefferson saw the danger of misinterpreting the Constitution. The danger in the hands of Senators and Congressmen was “that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and, as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please.” Unlike public officials during Jefferson’s time, our modern-day legislators have a very loose interpretation of the Constitution. The result is that government has mushroomed into a monolithic bureaucracy"

A "Clear and Present Danger"

After the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, Americans pulled together. But Americans still speak out voicing many different opinions. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of speech. And most Americans support the idea of free speech. But since the First Amendment became part of the Constitution in 1791, American citizens have sometimes gotten into trouble with the government for speaking out. This has happened when a speaker was considered "too unpatriotic," "too radical," or "too dangerous."

Who should have freedom of speech? Should it apply only to those who voice opinions most people agree with? Or, should it be for everyone, even for those who hold opinions that most Americans hate?

Also, what does freedom of speech really mean? Does it mean that someone should be able to say whatever he or she wants at any time or place? Or, should speech sometimes be limited by the law?

Sedition Act of 1798

Just a few years after the First Amendment was added to the Constitution, the federal government passed a law restricting freedom of speech. In 1798, Congress passed the Sedition Act. War seemed likely between the United States and its former ally France. Members of Congress were convinced that people sympathetic to France would try to stir up trouble for the new nation.

Congress and President John Adams believed that the Sedition Act would help control pro-French troublemakers by forbidding criticism of the federal government. "Sedition" generally means the incitement of violent revolution against the government. The Sedition Act of 1798, however, went far beyond this. It required criminal penalties for persons who said or published anything "false, scandalous, or malicious" against the federal government, Congress or the president.

Twenty-five American citizens were arrested under the Sedition Act. Among them was a Congressman who was convicted and imprisoned for calling President Adams a man who had "a continual grasp for power." Another citizen was convicted for painting a sign that read, "Downfall To The Tyrants of America." Still another man was found guilty of sedition for saying that he wished that the wadding of a cannon fired in a salute to President Adams would hit him in the seat of the pants.

Despite the arrests and convictions, many people spoke out against the Sedition Act. The state of Virginia even threatened to secede from the United States over this issue. The act was never legally challenged before the Supreme Court. Instead, it simply expired in 1801. By that time Thomas Jefferson, a bitter political opponent of President Adams and the Sedition Act, had been elected President. He pardoned all those convicted under this law.

"Clear and Present Danger"

Another major attempt to regulate freedom of speech occurred during World War I. In 1917, Congress passed the Federal Espionage Act. This law prohibited all false statements intending to interfere with the military forces of the country or to promote the success of its enemies. In addition, penalties of up to $10,000 and/or 20 years in prison were established for anyone attempting to obstruct the recruitment of men into the military. In 1918, another law was passed by Congress forbidding any statements expressing disrespect for the U.S. government, the Constitution, the flag, or army and navy uniforms.

Almost immediately, Charles Schenck, general secretary of the American Socialist Party, violated these laws. He was arrested and convicted for sending 15,000 anti-draft circulars through the mail to men scheduled to enter the military service. The circular called the draft law a violation of the 13th Amendment's prohibition of slavery. It went on to urge draftees not to "submit to intimidation," but to "petition for repeal" of the draft law.

The government accused Schenck of illegally interfering with military recruitment under the espionage act. Schenck admitted that he had sent the circulars, but argued that he had a right to do so under the First Amendment and was merely exercising his freedom of speech.

The issue found its way to the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47 (1919). It was the court's first important decision in the area of free speech. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote the opinion of the unanimous Court, which sided with the government. Justice Holmes held that Mr. Schenck was not covered by the First Amendment since freedom of speech was not an absolute right. There were times, Holmes wrote, when the government could legally restrict speech.

According to Justice Holmes, that test is "whether the words...are used in such circumstances as to create a clear and present danger." Holmes said that in Charles Schenck's case the government was justified in arresting him because, "When a nation is at war, many things that might be said in time of peace are such a hindrance to its effort that their utterance will not be endured so long as men fight and that no Court could regard them as protected by any constitutional right."

In the Schenck case, the highest court in the nation ruled that freedom of speech could be limited by the government. But Justice Holmes was careful to say that the government could only do this when there was a "clear and present danger" such as during wartime. While settling one legal issue, however, the Supreme Court created others. For example, what does a "clear and present danger" specifically mean, and when should it justify stopping people from speaking?

The Angry Crowd

Another important free-speech case took place after World War II. It was only a few years after thousands of American soldiers had given their lives to defeat Adolf Hitler and the German Nazis. Arthur Terminiello was speaking before an audience in Chicago. His message was hate. He said that Hitler was right in what he did. He claimed that Democrats, Jews, and communists were all trying to destroy America.

An angry crowd gathered outside the hall where Terminiello was speaking. Bricks and bottles soon rained through the windows as his oratory continued.

Arthur Terminiello was later arrested, tried, and convicted for disturbing the peace with his provocative harangue. Like Charles Schenck 30 years earlier, Terminiello appealed his case to the U.S. Supreme Court (Terminiello v. Chicago, 337 U.S. 1). He claimed that he should not have been arrested since his speech was protected by the First Amendment. The city of Chicago, however, argued that the things Terminiello raved about in his speech so angered people that a "clear and present danger" to the safety of the community had occurred.

In 1949 the Supreme Court reversed Terminiello's conviction. (Four of the nine justices dissented.) In the majority opinion, Justice William O. Douglas wrote that "it is only through debate and free exchange of ideas that government remains responsive to the will of the people...." Justice Douglas stated that in a democracy free speech must occur even if it causes disputes, unrest, or "stirs people to anger."

Thus, according to Justice Douglas, "freedom of speech, though not absolute, is protected against censorship or punishment unless shown likely to produce a clear and present danger of serious substantive evil that rises far above public inconvenience, annoyance or unrest."

FROM:  http://www.crf-usa.org/america-responds-to-terrorism/a-clear-and-present-danger.html

Al Gore: 'America's Constitution Is in Grave Danger'

    US Constitution in Grave Danger
    By Albert Gore Jr.

    Monday 16 January 2006

The following is the transcript as prepared for delivery.

    Congressman Barr and I have disagreed many times over the years, but we have joined together today with thousands of our fellow citizens - Democrats and Republicans alike - to express our shared concern that America's Constitution is in grave danger.

    In spite of our differences over ideology and politics, we are in strong agreement that the American values we hold most dear have been placed at serious risk by the unprecedented claims of the Administration to a truly breathtaking expansion of executive power.

    As we begin this new year, the Executive Branch of our government has been caught eavesdropping on huge numbers of American citizens and has brazenly declared that it has the unilateral right to continue without regard to the established law enacted by Congress to prevent such abuses.

    It is imperative that respect for the rule of law be restored.

    So, many of us have come here to Constitution Hall to sound an alarm and call upon our fellow citizens to put aside partisan differences and join with us in demanding that our Constitution be defended and preserved.

    It is appropriate that we make this appeal on the day our nation has set aside to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who challenged America to breathe new life into our oldest values by extending its promise to all our people.

    On this particular Martin Luther King Day, it is especially important to recall that for the last several years of his life, Dr. King was illegally wiretapped - one of hundreds of thousands of Americans whose private communications were intercepted by the U.S. government during this period.

    The FBI privately called King the "most dangerous and effective negro leader in the country" and vowed to "take him off his pedestal." The government even attempted to destroy his marriage and blackmail him into committing suicide.

    This campaign continued until Dr. King's murder. The discovery that the FBI conducted a long-running and extensive campaign of secret electronic surveillance designed to infiltrate the inner workings of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and to learn the most intimate details of Dr. King's life, helped to convince Congress to enact restrictions on wiretapping.

    The result was the Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act (FISA), which was enacted expressly to ensure that foreign intelligence surveillance would be presented to an impartial judge to verify that there is a sufficient cause for the surveillance. I voted for that law during my first term in Congress and for almost thirty years the system has proven a workable and valued means of according a level of protection for private citizens, while permitting foreign surveillance to continue.

    Yet, just one month ago, Americans awoke to the shocking news that in spite of this long settled law, the Executive Branch has been secretly spying on large numbers of Americans for the last four years and eavesdropping on "large volumes of telephone calls, e-mail messages, and other Internet traffic inside the United States." The New York Times reported that the President decided to launch this massive eavesdropping program "without search warrants or any new laws that would permit such domestic intelligence collection."

    During the period when this eavesdropping was still secret, the President went out of his way to reassure the American people on more than one occasion that, of course, judicial permission is required for any government spying on American citizens and that, of course, these constitutional safeguards were still in place.

    But surprisingly, the President's soothing statements turned out to be false. Moreover, as soon as this massive domestic spying program was uncovered by the press, the President not only confirmed that the story was true, but also declared that he has no intention of bringing these wholesale invasions of privacy to an end.

    At present, we still have much to learn about the NSA's domestic surveillance. What we do know about this pervasive wiretapping virtually compels the conclusion that the President of the United States has been breaking the law repeatedly and persistently.

    A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government. Our Founding Fathers were adamant that they had established a government of laws and not men. Indeed, they recognized that the structure of government they had enshrined in our Constitution - our system of checks and balances - was designed with a central purpose of ensuring that it would govern through the rule of law. As John Adams said: "The executive shall never exercise the legislative and judicial powers, or either of them, to the end that it may be a government of laws and not of men."

    An executive who arrogates to himself the power to ignore the legitimate legislative directives of the Congress or to act free of the check of the judiciary becomes the central threat that the Founders sought to nullify in the Constitution - an all-powerful executive too reminiscent of the King from whom they had broken free. In the words of James Madison, "the accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny."

    Thomas Paine, whose pamphlet, "On Common Sense" ignited the American Revolution, succinctly described America's alternative. Here, he said, we intended to make certain that "the law is king."

    Vigilant adherence to the rule of law strengthens our democracy and strengthens America. It ensures that those who govern us operate within our constitutional structure, which means that our democratic institutions play their indispensable role in shaping policy and determining the direction of our nation. It means that the people of this nation ultimately determine its course and not executive officials operating in secret without constraint.

    The rule of law makes us stronger by ensuring that decisions will be tested, studied, reviewed and examined through the processes of government that are designed to improve policy. And the knowledge that they will be reviewed prevents over-reaching and checks the accretion of power.

    A commitment to openness, truthfulness and accountability also helps our country avoid many serious mistakes. Recently, for example, we learned from recently classified declassified documents that the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which authorized the tragic Vietnam war, was actually based on false information. We now know that the decision by Congress to authorize the Iraq War, 38 years later, was also based on false information. America would have been better off knowing the truth and avoiding both of these colossal mistakes in our history. Following the rule of law makes us safer, not more vulnerable.

    The President and I agree on one thing. The threat from terrorism is all too real. There is simply no question that we continue to face new challenges in the wake of the attack on September 11th and that we must be ever-vigilant in protecting our citizens from harm.

    Where we disagree is that we have to break the law or sacrifice our system of government to protect Americans from terrorism. In fact, doing so makes us weaker and more vulnerable.

    Once violated, the rule of law is in danger. Unless stopped, lawlessness grows. The greater the power of the executive grows, the more difficult it becomes for the other branches to perform their constitutional roles. As the executive acts outside its constitutionally prescribed role and is able to control access to information that would expose its actions, it becomes increasingly difficult for the other branches to police it. Once that ability is lost, democracy itself is threatened and we become a government of men and not laws.

    The President's men have minced words about America's laws. The Attorney General openly conceded that the "kind of surveillance" we now know they have been conducting requires a court order unless authorized by statute. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act self-evidently does not authorize what the NSA has been doing, and no one inside or outside the Administration claims that it does. Incredibly, the Administration claims instead that the surveillance was implicitly authorized when Congress voted to use force against those who attacked us on September 11th.

    This argument just does not hold any water. Without getting into the legal intricacies, it faces a number of embarrassing facts. First, another admission by the Attorney General: he concedes that the Administration knew that the NSA project was prohibited by existing law and that they consulted with some members of Congress about changing the statute. Gonzalez says that they were told this probably would not be possible. So how can they now argue that the Authorization for the Use of Military Force somehow implicitly authorized it all along? Second, when the Authorization was being debated, the Administration did in fact seek to have language inserted in it that would have authorized them to use military force domestically - and the Congress did not agree. Senator Ted Stevens and Representative Jim McGovern, among others, made statements during the Authorization debate clearly restating that that Authorization did not operate domestically.

    When President Bush failed to convince Congress to give him all the power he wanted when they passed the AUMF, he secretly assumed that power anyway, as if congressional authorization was a useless bother. But as Justice Frankfurter once wrote: "To find authority so explicitly withheld is not merely to disregard in a particular instance the clear will of Congress. It is to disrespect the whole legislative process and the constitutional division of authority between President and Congress."

    This is precisely the "disrespect" for the law that the Supreme Court struck down in the steel seizure case.

    It is this same disrespect for America's Constitution which has now brought our republic to the brink of a dangerous breach in the fabric of the Constitution. And the disrespect embodied in these apparent mass violations of the law is part of a larger pattern of seeming indifference to the Constitution that is deeply troubling to millions of Americans in both political parties.

    For example, the President has also declared that he has a heretofore unrecognized inherent power to seize and imprison any American citizen that he alone determines to be a threat to our nation, and that, notwithstanding his American citizenship, the person imprisoned has no right to talk with a lawyer - even to argue that the President or his appointees have made a mistake and imprisoned the wrong person.

    The President claims that he can imprison American citizens indefinitely for the rest of their lives without an arrest warrant, without notifying them about what charges have been filed against them, and without informing their families that they have been imprisoned.

    At the same time, the Executive Branch has claimed a previously unrecognized authority to mistreat prisoners in its custody in ways that plainly constitute torture in a pattern that has now been documented in U.S. facilities located in several countries around the world.

    Over 100 of these captives have reportedly died while being tortured by Executive Branch interrogators and many more have been broken and humiliated. In the notorious Abu Ghraib prison, investigators who documented the pattern of torture estimated that more than 90 percent of the victims were innocent of any charges.

    This shameful exercise of power overturns a set of principles that our nation has observed since General Washington first enunciated them during our Revolutionary War and has been observed by every president since then - until now. These practices violate the Geneva Conventions and the International Convention Against Torture, not to mention our own laws against torture.

    The President has also claimed that he has the authority to kidnap individuals in foreign countries and deliver them for imprisonment and interrogation on our behalf by autocratic regimes in nations that are infamous for the cruelty of their techniques for torture.

    Some of our traditional allies have been shocked by these new practices on the part of our nation. The British Ambassador to Uzbekistan - one of those nations with the worst reputations for torture in its prisons - registered a complaint to his home office about the senselessness and cruelty of the new U.S. practice: "This material is useless - we are selling our souls for dross. It is in fact positively harmful."

    Can it be true that any president really has such powers under our Constitution? If the answer is "yes" then under the theory by which these acts are committed, are there any acts that can on their face be prohibited? If the President has the inherent authority to eavesdrop, imprison citizens on his own declaration, kidnap and torture, then what can't he do?

    The Dean of Yale Law School, Harold Koh, said after analyzing the Executive Branch's claims of these previously unrecognized powers: "If the President has commander-in-chief power to commit torture, he has the power to commit genocide, to sanction slavery, to promote apartheid, to license summary execution."

    The fact that our normal safeguards have thus far failed to contain this unprecedented expansion of executive power is deeply troubling. This failure is due in part to the fact that the Executive Branch has followed a determined strategy of obfuscating, delaying, withholding information, appearing to yield but then refusing to do so and dissembling in order to frustrate the efforts of the legislative and judicial branches to restore our constitutional balance.

    For example, after appearing to support legislation sponsored by John McCain to stop the continuation of torture, the President declared in the act of signing the bill that he reserved the right not to comply with it.

    Similarly, the Executive Branch claimed that it could unilaterally imprison American citizens without giving them access to review by any tribunal. The Supreme Court disagreed, but the President engaged in legal maneuvers designed to prevent the Court from providing meaningful content to the rights of its citizens.

    A conservative jurist on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals wrote that the Executive Branch's handling of one such case seemed to involve the sudden abandonment of principle "at substantial cost to the government's credibility before the courts."

    As a result of its unprecedented claim of new unilateral power, the Executive Branch has now put our constitutional design at grave risk. The stakes for America's representative democracy are far higher than has been generally recognized.

    These claims must be rejected and a healthy balance of power restored to our Republic. Otherwise, the fundamental nature of our democracy may well undergo a radical transformation.

    For more than two centuries, America's freedoms have been preserved in part by our founders' wise decision to separate the aggregate power of our government into three co-equal branches, each of which serves to check and balance the power of the other two.

    On more than a few occasions, the dynamic interaction among all three branches has resulted in collisions and temporary impasses that create what are invariably labeled "constitutional crises." These crises have often been dangerous and uncertain times for our Republic. But in each such case so far, we have found a resolution of the crisis by renewing our common agreement to live under the rule of law.

    The principle alternative to democracy throughout history has been the consolidation of virtually all state power in the hands of a single strongman or small group who together exercise that power without the informed consent of the governed.

    It was in revolt against just such a regime, after all, that America was founded. When Lincoln declared at the time of our greatest crisis that the ultimate question being decided in the Civil War was "whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure," he was not only saving our union but also was recognizing the fact that democracies are rare in history. And when they fail, as did Athens and the Roman Republic upon whose designs our founders drew heavily, what emerges in their place is another strongman regime.

    There have of course been other periods of American history when the Executive Branch claimed new powers that were later seen as excessive and mistaken. Our second president, John Adams, passed the infamous Alien and Sedition Acts and sought to silence and imprison critics and political opponents.

    When his successor, Thomas Jefferson, eliminated the abuses he said: "[The essential principles of our Government] form the bright constellation which has gone before us and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation ... [S]hould we wander from them in moments of error or of alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty and safety."

    Our greatest President, Abraham Lincoln, suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War. Some of the worst abuses prior to those of the current administration were committed by President Wilson during and after WWI with the notorious Red Scare and Palmer Raids. The internment of Japanese Americans during WWII marked a low point for the respect of individual rights at the hands of the executive. And, during the Vietnam War, the notorious COINTELPRO program was part and parcel of the abuses experienced by Dr. King and thousands of others.

    But in each of these cases, when the conflict and turmoil subsided, the country recovered its equilibrium and absorbed the lessons learned in a recurring cycle of excess and regret.

    There are reasons for concern this time around that conditions may be changing and that the cycle may not repeat itself. For one thing, we have for decades been witnessing the slow and steady accumulation of presidential power. In a global environment of nuclear weapons and cold war tensions, Congress and the American people accepted ever enlarging spheres of presidential initiative to conduct intelligence and counter intelligence activities and to allocate our military forces on the global stage. When military force has been used as an instrument of foreign policy or in response to humanitarian demands, it has almost always been as the result of presidential initiative and leadership. As Justice Frankfurter wrote in the Steel Seizure Case, "The accretion of dangerous power does not come in a day. It does come, however slowly, from the generative force of unchecked disregard of the restrictions that fence in even the most disinterested assertion of authority."

    A second reason to believe we may be experiencing something new is that we are told by the Administration that the war footing upon which he has tried to place the country is going to "last for the rest of our lives." So we are told that the conditions of national threat that have been used by other Presidents to justify arrogations of power will persist in near perpetuity.

    Third, we need to be aware of the advances in eavesdropping and surveillance technologies with their capacity to sweep up and analyze enormous quantities of information and to mine it for intelligence. This adds significant vulnerability to the privacy and freedom of enormous numbers of innocent people at the same time as the potential power of those technologies. These techologies have the potential for shifting the balance of power between the apparatus of the state and the freedom of the individual in ways both subtle and profound.

    Don't misunderstand me: the threat of additional terror strikes is all too real and their concerted efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction does create a real imperative to exercise the powers of the Executive Branch with swiftness and agility. Moreover, there is in fact an inherent power that is conferred by the Constitution to the President to take unilateral action to protect the nation from a sudden and immediate threat, but it is simply not possible to precisely define in legalistic terms exactly when that power is appropriate and when it is not.

    But the existence of that inherent power cannot be used to justify a gross and excessive power grab lasting for years that produces a serious imbalance in the relationship between the executive and the other two branches of government.

    There is a final reason to worry that we may be experiencing something more than just another cycle of overreach and regret. This Administration has come to power in the thrall of a legal theory that aims to convince us that this excessive concentration of presidential authority is exactly what our Constitution intended.

    This legal theory, which its proponents call the theory of the unitary executive but which is more accurately described as the unilateral executive, threatens to expand the president's powers until the contours of the constitution that the Framers actually gave us become obliterated beyond all recognition. Under this theory, the President's authority when acting as Commander-in-Chief or when making foreign policy cannot be reviewed by the judiciary or checked by Congress. President Bush has pushed the implications of this idea to its maximum by continually stressing his role as Commander-in-Chief, invoking it has frequently as he can, conflating it with his other roles, domestic and foreign. When added to the idea that we have entered a perpetual state of war, the implications of this theory stretch quite literally as far into the future as we can imagine.

    This effort to rework America's carefully balanced constitutional design into a lopsided structure dominated by an all powerful Executive Branch with a subservient Congress and judiciary is - ironically - accompanied by an effort by the same administration to rework America's foreign policy from one that is based primarily on U.S. moral authority into one that is based on a misguided and self-defeating effort to establish dominance in the world.

    The common denominator seems to be based on an instinct to intimidate and control.

    This same pattern has characterized the effort to silence dissenting views within the Executive Branch, to censor information that may be inconsistent with its stated ideological goals, and to demand conformity from all Executive Branch employees.

    For example, CIA analysts who strongly disagreed with the White House assertion that Osama bin Laden was linked to Saddam Hussein found themselves under pressure at work and became fearful of losing promotions and salary increases.

    Ironically, that is exactly what happened to FBI officials in the 1960s who disagreed with J. Edgar Hoover's view that Dr. King was closely connected to Communists. The head of the FBI's domestic intelligence division said that his effort to tell the truth about King's innocence of the charge resulted in he and his colleagues becoming isolated and pressured. "It was evident that we had to change our ways or we would all be out on the street.... The men and I discussed how to get out of trouble. To be in trouble with Mr. Hoover was a serious matter. These men were trying to buy homes, mortgages on homes, children in school. They lived in fear of getting transferred, losing money on their homes, as they usually did. ... so they wanted another memorandum written to get us out of the trouble that we were in."

    The Constitution's framers understood this dilemma as well, as Alexander Hamilton put it, "a power over a man's support is a power over his will." (Federalist No. 73)

    Soon, there was no more difference of opinion within the FBI. The false accusation became the unanimous view. In exactly the same way, George Tenet's CIA eventually joined in endorsing a manifestly false view that there was a linkage between al Qaeda and the government of Iraq.

    In the words of George Orwell: "We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield."

    Whenever power is unchecked and unaccountable it almost inevitably leads to mistakes and abuses. In the absence of rigorous accountability, incompetence flourishes. Dishonesty is encouraged and rewarded.

    Last week, for example, Vice President Cheney attempted to defend the Administration's eavesdropping on American citizens by saying that if it had conducted this program prior to 9/11, they would have found out the names of some of the hijackers.

    Tragically, he apparently still doesn't know that the Administration did in fact have the names of at least 2 of the hijackers well before 9/11 and had available to them information that could have easily led to the identification of most of the other hijackers. And yet, because of incompetence in the handling of this information, it was never used to protect the American people.

    It is often the case that an Executive Branch beguiled by the pursuit of unchecked power responds to its own mistakes by reflexively proposing that it be given still more power. Often, the request itself it used to mask accountability for mistakes in the use of power it already has.

    Moreover, if the pattern of practice begun by this Administration is not challenged, it may well become a permanent part of the American system. Many conservatives have pointed out that granting unchecked power to this President means that the next President will have unchecked power as well. And the next President may be someone whose values and belief you do not trust. And this is why Republicans as well as Democrats should be concerned with what this President has done. If this President's attempt to dramatically expand executive power goes unquestioned, our constitutional design of checks and balances will be lost. And the next President or some future President will be able, in the name of national security, to restrict our liberties in a way the framers never would have thought possible.

    The same instinct to expand its power and to establish dominance characterizes the relationship between this Administration and the courts and the Congress.

    In a properly functioning system, the Judicial Branch would serve as the constitutional umpire to ensure that the branches of government observed their proper spheres of authority, observed civil liberties and adhered to the rule of law. Unfortunately, the unilateral executive has tried hard to thwart the ability of the judiciary to call balls and strikes by keeping controversies out of its hands - notably those challenging its ability to detain individuals without legal process - by appointing judges who will be deferential to its exercise of power and by its support of assaults on the independence of the third branch.

    The President's decision to ignore FISA was a direct assault on the power of the judges who sit on that court. Congress established the FISA court precisely to be a check on executive power to wiretap. Yet, to ensure that the court could not function as a check on executive power, the President simply did not take matters to it and did not let the court know that it was being bypassed.

    The President's judicial appointments are clearly designed to ensure that the courts will not serve as an effective check on executive power. As we have all learned, Judge Alito is a longtime supporter of a powerful executive - a supporter of the so-called unitary executive, which is more properly called the unilateral executive. Whether you support his confirmation or not - and I do not - we must all agree that he will not vote as an effective check on the expansion of executive power. Likewise, Chief Justice Roberts has made plain his deference to the expansion of executive power through his support of judicial deference to executive agency rulemaking.

    And the Administration has supported the assault on judicial independence that has been conducted largely in Congress. That assault includes a threat by the Republican majority in the Senate to permanently change the rules to eliminate the right of the minority to engage in extended debate of the President's judicial nominees. The assault has extended to legislative efforts to curtail the jurisdiction of courts in matters ranging from habeas corpus to the pledge of allegiance. In short, the Administration has demonstrated its contempt for the judicial role and sought to evade judicial review of its actions at every turn.

    But the most serious damage has been done to the legislative branch. The sharp decline of congressional power and autonomy in recent years has been almost as shocking as the efforts by the Executive Branch to attain a massive expansion of its power.

    I was elected to Congress in 1976 and served eight years in the house, 8 years in the Senate and presided over the Senate for 8 years as Vice President. As a young man, I saw the Congress first hand as the son of a Senator. My father was elected to Congress in 1938, 10 years before I was born, and left the Senate in 1971.

    The Congress we have today is unrecognizable compared to the one in which my father served. There are many distinguished Senators and Congressmen serving today. I am honored that some of them are here in this hall. But the legislative branch of government under its current leadership now operates as if it is entirely subservient to the Executive Branch.

    Moreover, too many Members of the House and Senate now feel compelled to spend a majority of their time not in thoughtful debate of the issues, but raising money to purchase 30 second TV commercials.

    There have now been two or three generations of congressmen who don't really know what an oversight hearing is. In the 70's and 80's, the oversight hearings in which my colleagues and I participated held the feet of the Executive Branch to the fire - no matter which party was in power. Yet oversight is almost unknown in the Congress today.

    The role of authorization committees has declined into insignificance. The 13 annual appropriation bills are hardly ever actually passed anymore. Everything is lumped into a single giant measure that is not even available for Members of Congress to read before they vote on it.

    Members of the minority party are now routinely excluded from conference committees, and amendments are routinely not allowed during floor consideration of legislation.

    In the United States Senate, which used to pride itself on being the "greatest deliberative body in the world," meaningful debate is now a rarity. Even on the eve of the fateful vote to authorize the invasion of Iraq, Senator Robert Byrd famously asked: "Why is this chamber empty?"

    In the House of Representatives, the number who face a genuinely competitive election contest every two years is typically less than a dozen out of 435.

    And too many incumbents have come to believe that the key to continued access to the money for re-election is to stay on the good side of those who have the money to give; and, in the case of the majority party, the whole process is largely controlled by the incumbent president and his political organization.

    So the willingness of Congress to challenge the Administration is further limited when the same party controls both Congress and the Executive Branch.

    The Executive Branch, time and again, has co-opted Congress' role, and often Congress has been a willing accomplice in the surrender of its own power.

    Look for example at the Congressional role in "overseeing" this massive four year eavesdropping campaign that on its face seemed so clearly to violate the Bill of Rights. The President says he informed Congress, but what he really means is that he talked with the chairman and ranking member of the House and Senate intelligence committees and the top leaders of the House and Senate. This small group, in turn, claimed that they were not given the full facts, though at least one of the intelligence committee leaders handwrote a letter of concern to VP Cheney and placed a copy in his own safe.

    Though I sympathize with the awkward position in which these men and women were placed, I cannot disagree with the Liberty Coalition when it says that Democrats as well as Republicans in the Congress must share the blame for not taking action to protest and seek to prevent what they consider a grossly unconstitutional program.

    Moreover, in the Congress as a whole - both House and Senate - the enhanced role of money in the re-election process, coupled with the sharply diminished role for reasoned deliberation and debate, has produced an atmosphere conducive to pervasive institutionalized corruption.

    The Abramoff scandal is but the tip of a giant iceberg that threatens the integrity of the entire legislative branch of government.

    It is the pitiful state of our legislative branch which primarily explains the failure of our vaunted checks and balances to prevent the dangerous overreach by our Executive Branch which now threatens a radical transformation of the American system.

    I call upon Democratic and Republican members of Congress today to uphold your oath of office and defend the Constitution. Stop going along to get along. Start acting like the independent and co-equal branch of government you're supposed to be.

    But there is yet another Constitutional player whose pulse must be taken and whose role must be examined in order to understand the dangerous imbalance that has emerged with the efforts by the Executive Branch to dominate our constitutional system.

    We the people are - collectively - still the key to the survival of America's democracy. We - as Lincoln put it, "[e]ven we here" - must examine our own role as citizens in allowing and not preventing the shocking decay and degradation of our democracy.

    Thomas Jefferson said: "An informed citizenry is the only true repository of the public will."

    The revolutionary departure on which the idea of America was based was the audacious belief that people can govern themselves and responsibly exercise the ultimate authority in self-government. This insight proceeded inevitably from the bedrock principle articulated by the Enlightenment philosopher John Locke: "All just power is derived from the consent of the governed."

    The intricate and carefully balanced constitutional system that is now in such danger was created with the full and widespread participation of the population as a whole. The Federalist Papers were, back in the day, widely-read newspaper essays, and they represented only one of twenty-four series of essays that crowded the vibrant marketplace of ideas in which farmers and shopkeepers recapitulated the debates that played out so fruitfully in Philadelphia.

    Indeed, when the Convention had done its best, it was the people - in their various States - that refused to confirm the result until, at their insistence, the Bill of Rights was made integral to the document sent forward for ratification.

    And it is "We the people" who must now find once again the ability we once had to play an integral role in saving our Constitution.

    And here there is cause for both concern and great hope. The age of printed pamphlets and political essays has long since been replaced by television - a distracting and absorbing medium which sees determined to entertain and sell more than it informs and educates.

    Lincoln's memorable call during the Civil War is applicable in a new way to our dilemma today: "We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country."

    Forty years have passed since the majority of Americans adopted television as their principal source of information. Its dominance has become so extensive that virtually all significant political communication now takes place within the confines of flickering 30-second television advertisements.

    And the political economy supported by these short but expensive television ads is as different from the vibrant politics of America's first century as those politics were different from the feudalism which thrived on the ignorance of the masses of people in the Dark Ages.

    The constricted role of ideas in the American political system today has encouraged efforts by the Executive Branch to control the flow of information as a means of controlling the outcome of important decisions that still lie in the hands of the people.

    The Administration vigorously asserts its power to maintain the secrecy of its operations. After all, the other branches can't check an abuse of power if they don't know it is happening.

    For example, when the Administration was attempting to persuade Congress to enact the Medicare prescription drug benefit, many in the House and Senate raised concerns about the cost and design of the program. But, rather than engaging in open debate on the basis of factual data, the Administration withheld facts and prevented the Congress from hearing testimony that it sought from the principal administration expert who had compiled information showing in advance of the vote that indeed the true cost estimates were far higher than the numbers given to Congress by the President.

    Deprived of that information, and believing the false numbers given to it instead, the Congress approved the program. Tragically, the entire initiative is now collapsing - all over the country - with the Administration making an appeal just this weekend to major insurance companies to volunteer to bail it out.

    To take another example, scientific warnings about the catastrophic consequences of unchecked global warming were censored by a political appointee in the White House who had no scientific training. And today one of the leading scientific experts on global warming in NASA has been ordered not to talk to members of the press and to keep a careful log of everyone he meets with so that the Executive Branch can monitor and control his discussions of global warming.

    One of the other ways the Administration has tried to control the flow of information is by consistently resorting to the language and politics of fear in order to short-circuit the debate and drive its agenda forward without regard to the evidence or the public interest. As President Eisenhower said, "Any who act as if freedom's defenses are to be found in suppression and suspicion and fear confess a doctrine that is alien to America."

    Fear drives out reason. Fear suppresses the politics of discourse and opens the door to the politics of destruction. Justice Brandeis once wrote: "Men feared witches and burnt women."

    The founders of our country faced dire threats. If they failed in their endeavors, they would have been hung as traitors. The very existence of our country was at risk.

    Yet, in the teeth of those dangers, they insisted on establishing the Bill of Rights.

    Is our Congress today in more danger than were their predecessors when the British army was marching on the Capitol? Is the world more dangerous than when we faced an ideological enemy with tens of thousands of missiles poised to be launched against us and annihilate our country at a moment's notice? Is America in more danger now than when we faced worldwide fascism on the march - when our fathers fought and won two World Wars simultaneously?

    It is simply an insult to those who came before us and sacrificed so much on our behalf to imply that we have more to be fearful of than they. Yet they faithfully protected our freedoms and now it is up to us to do the same.

    We have a duty as Americans to defend our citizens' right not only to life but also to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is therefore vital in our current circumstances that immediate steps be taken to safeguard our Constitution against the present danger posed by the intrusive overreaching on the part of the Executive Branch and the President's apparent belief that he need not live under the rule of law.

    I endorse the words of Bob Barr, when he said, "The President has dared the American people to do something about it. For the sake of the Constitution, I hope they will."

    A special counsel should immediately be appointed by the Attorney General to remedy the obvious conflict of interest that prevents him from investigating what many believe are serious violations of law by the President. We have had a fresh demonstration of how an independent investigation by a special counsel with integrity can rebuild confidence in our system of justice. Patrick Fitzgerald has, by all accounts, shown neither fear nor favor in pursuing allegations that the Executive Branch has violated other laws.

    Republican as well as Democratic members of Congress should support the bipartisan call of the Liberty Coalition for the appointment of a special counsel to pursue the criminal issues raised by warrantless wiretapping of Americans by the President.

    Second, new whistleblower protections should immediately be established for members of the Executive Branch who report evidence of wrongdoing - especially where it involves the abuse of Executive Branch authority in the sensitive areas of national security.

    Third, both Houses of Congress should hold comprehensive - and not just superficial - hearings into these serious allegations of criminal behavior on the part of the President. And, they should follow the evidence wherever it leads.

    Fourth, the extensive new powers requested by the Executive Branch in its proposal to extend and enlarge the Patriot Act should, under no circumstances be granted, unless and until there are adequate and enforceable safeguards to protect the Constitution and the rights of the American people against the kinds of abuses that have so recently been revealed.

    Fifth, any telecommunications company that has provided the government with access to private information concerning the communications of Americans without a proper warrant should immediately cease and desist their complicity in this apparently illegal invasion of the privacy of American citizens.

    Freedom of communication is an essential prerequisite for the restoration of the health of our democracy.

    It is particularly important that the freedom of the Internet be protected against either the encroachment of government or the efforts at control by large media conglomerates. The future of our democracy depends on it.

    I mentioned that along with cause for concern, there is reason for hope. As I stand here today, I am filled with optimism that America is on the eve of a golden age in which the vitality of our democracy will be re-established and will flourish more vibrantly than ever. Indeed I can feel it in this hall.

    As Dr. King once said, "Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movements and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us."

All republished content that appears on Truthout has been obtained by permission or license.

No Checks, Many Imbalances

By George F. Will
Thursday, February 16, 2006

The next time a president asks Congress to pass something akin to what Congress passed on Sept. 14, 2001 -- the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) -- the resulting legislation might be longer than Proust's "Remembrance of Things Past." Congress, remembering what is happening today, might stipulate all the statutes and constitutional understandings that it does not intend the act to repeal or supersede.

But, then, perhaps no future president will ask for such congressional involvement in the gravest decision government makes -- going to war. Why would future presidents ask, if the present administration successfully asserts its current doctrine? It is that whenever the nation is at war, the other two branches of government have a radically diminished pertinence to governance, and the president determines what that pertinence shall be. This monarchical doctrine emerges from the administration's stance that warrantless surveillance by the National Security Agency targeting American citizens on American soil is a legal exercise of the president's inherent powers as commander in chief, even though it violates the clear language of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which was written to regulate wartime surveillance.

Administration supporters incoherently argue that the AUMF also authorized the NSA surveillance -- and that if the administration had asked, Congress would have refused to authorize it. The first assertion is implausible: None of the 518 legislators who voted for the AUMF has said that he or she then thought it contained the permissiveness the administration discerns in it. Did the administration, until the program became known two months ago? Or was the AUMF then seized upon as a justification? Equally implausible is the idea that in the months after Sept. 11, Congress would have refused to revise the 1978 law in ways that would authorize, with some supervision, NSA surveillance that, even in today's more contentious climate, most serious people consider conducive to national security.

Anyway, the argument that the AUMF contained a completely unexpressed congressional intent to empower the president to disregard the FISA regime is risible coming from this administration. It famously opposes those who discover unstated meanings in the Constitution's text and do not strictly construe the language of statutes.

The administration's argument about the legality of the NSA program also has been discordant with its argument about the urgency of extending the USA Patriot Act. Many provisions of that act are superfluous if a president's wartime powers are as far-reaching as today's president says they are.

And if, as some administration supporters say, amending the 1978 act to meet today's exigencies would have given America's enemies dangerous information about our capabilities and intentions, surely FISA and the Patriot Act were both informative. Intelligence professionals reportedly say that the behavior of suspected terrorists has changed since Dec. 15, when the New York Times revealed the NSA surveillance. But surely America's enemies have assumed that our technologically sophisticated nation has been trying, in ways known and unknown, to eavesdrop on them.

Besides, terrorism is not the only new danger of this era. Another is the administration's argument that because the president is commander in chief, he is the "sole organ for the nation in foreign affairs." That non sequitur is refuted by the Constitution's plain language, which empowers Congress to ratify treaties, declare war, fund and regulate military forces, and make laws "necessary and proper" for the execution of all presidential powers . Those powers do not include deciding that a law -- FISA, for example -- is somehow exempted from the presidential duty to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed."

The administration, in which mere obduracy sometimes serves as political philosophy, pushes the limits of assertion while disdaining collaboration. This faux toughness is folly, given that the Supreme Court, when rejecting President Harry S Truman's claim that his inherent powers as commander in chief allowed him to seize steel mills during the Korean War, held that presidential authority is weakest when it clashes with Congress.

Immediately after Sept. 11, the president rightly did what he thought the emergency required, and rightly thought that the 1978 law was inadequate to new threats posed by a new kind of enemy using new technologies of communication. Arguably he should have begun surveillance of domestic-to-domestic calls -- the kind the Sept. 11 terrorists made.

But 53 months later, Congress should make all necessary actions lawful by authorizing the president to take those actions, with suitable supervision. It should do so with language that does not stigmatize what he has been doing, but that implicitly refutes the doctrine that the authorization is superfluous.


The War Against the U.S. Constitution
September 27, 2009 | From theTrumpet.com
Is the Constitution being destroyed?
Gerald Flurry

When Robert Bork was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1987, it created a firestorm in Congress, and he failed to get confirmed. Shortly thereafter, he wrote The Tempting of America, which I believe is the best book about constitutional law in a century—perhaps ever.

Mr. Bork said he believes we are more than halfway along in the destruction of our Constitution. If he is right, our republic is in grave danger.

He made that statement about two decades ago. Surely he would think the Constitution is 60 to 75 percent destroyed today.

So you could make the case that the problem is too far gone to even correct. At least, this danger should terrify every American citizen!

Negative Liberties

In a 2001 radio interview, Barack Obama revealed some of his shocking ideas about how the government should run.

Here is what he said about the 1953-1969 Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Earl Warren, which was a very activist court: “To that extent, as radical as I think people tried to characterize the Warren court, it wasn’t that radical.” Notice this! “It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution” (emphasis mine throughout).

The extremely liberal Warren Supreme Court wasn’t radical enough, in Mr. Obama’s opinion.

Mr. Obama was talking about how the constraints on the Constitution need to be removed. He was revealing where he believes the Founding Fathers erred in writing the defining legal charter of the United States!

“Generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties,” Mr. Obama continued. “It says what the states can’t do to you, says what the federal government can’t do to you, but it doesn’t say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf.”

That is true, and it is a major reason the Constitution was so successful in establishing this nation.

Essayist Bill Whittle wrote this in response to Mr. Obama’s interview: “The entire purpose of the Constitution was to limit government. That limitation of powers is what has unlocked in America the vast human potential available in any population. Barack Obama sees the limiting of government not as a linchpin, but rather as a fatal flaw …” (National Review Online, Oct. 27, 2008).

This is Mr. Obama’s view of the Constitution. When he says it should have stated what the government “must” do on the people’s behalf, he is talking about federal social programs. As he said in the same radio interview, this means taking wealth from some citizens and redistributing it to others in the form of health care, welfare and other social benefits.

A lot of that thinking was what virtually destroyed the home mortgage firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That crisis is at the heart of America’s financial meltdown.

I warned about how dangerous his views were in the January 2009 Trumpet. Mr. Obama gave a clear signal that he would work to change the Constitution—the founding document of this nation!

That is a shocking view from a man with very little experience in government. And his election shows how little Americans understand or care about their Constitution!

Understanding Human Nature

The Founding Fathers created the Constitution to limit the government’s power because they had lived under a tyrant who decided, according to his own whims, what was fair for the people and what wasn’t. The Constitution gave them a certain protection from evil human nature. The founders based this charter on certain biblical principles, not just human reasoning.

What happens if you don’t have a Constitution to hold back the radical left? You end up with a welfare state and a loss of many freedoms!

I believe Mr. Obama sincerely thinks his ideas will solve America’s problems, and I’m not saying he is malicious.

But look at how his disrespect for the Constitution is driving his decisions. He is pushing the government into activities it was never meant to do. He is appointing judges who think the same way, who will reject parts of the Constitution and remove its restraints so radicals can do whatever they want with the government!

One of the strongest czars the president chose, and who has since been forced to resign, was a self-avowed communist! How much love do you think he has for the Constitution?

Our Forefathers’ Goal

Early immigrants who came to this land were often persecuted in the countries they left. They usually lacked religious freedom.

The famous British historian Paul Johnson wrote an article titled “No Law Without Order, No Freedom Without Law.” It was printed in the Sunday Telegraph, Dec. 26, 1999. In it he wrote: ”Both in Virginia and in New England to the north, the colonists were determined, God-fearing men, often in search of a religious toleration denied them at home, who brought their families and were anxious to farm and establish permanent settlements. They put political and religious freedom before riches …. Thus took shape the economic dynamo that eventually became the United States—an experiment designed to establish the rule of God on Earth.”

What a goal. They planned to establish the rule of God on Earth! That means they had the goal of each person keeping the Ten Commandments of God—the basis of all righteous law.

In 1954, Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote, “I believe the entire Bill of Rights came into being because of the knowledge our forefathers had of the Bible and their belief in it.”

The Constitution is the foundation of our republic. And the Ten Commandments were, in many ways, the foundation of the Constitution. Our forefathers believed that if we didn’t keep God’s Ten Commandments, our republic would collapse!

We can’t afford to take the words of our founders lightly if we want to see our nation stand.

It was much harder for our Founding Fathers to spill streams of blood winning our freedom, and to create and establish our constitutional law, than it is for us just to maintain it! So we ought to respect our Founding Fathers above ourselves. But we are too vain and arrogant to see how profoundly strong they were and how pathetically shallow and weak we are.

Law schools routinely teach about being “legal realists.” Like former Vice President Al Gore, they want an “evolving Constitution.” But this reasoning gives the judges despotic powers. It also takes us away from the foundational law established by our forefathers.

Then why do our politicians allow it? The president and Congress often like the judges to do this, if the decisions are favorable to their views and they know their views will not be approved by the voters. Still, the judges are taking power from the legislature and the executive branches as they rewrite the Constitution.

Our politicians simply lack the vision to see how disastrous this process is. It is based on selfish lawlessness—not law!

The great heresy being taught in our law schools is that the judges are not bound by law. Some are saying the Constitution isn’t even law!

That means we are being led by the human reasoning of a dangerously liberal culture.

That is often the opposite of establishing the rule of law. History reveals that empires are destroyed if they fail to establish the rule of law. But the radical liberal culture often has contempt of history and our Founding Fathers. Its followers foolishly rely on their own reasoning, which is not grounded in foundational law.

The Constitution is being altered dramatically. And it is the foundation of our republic! We are experiencing a constitutional earthquake, and most of our people don’t even know it—yet. Your future is being changed for you, and often you have no input.

This process is sure to lead to anarchy! That is why you and I should be deeply concerned.

Seeking Destructive Lawlessness

Why did our Founding Fathers work so hard to establish the Constitution? Because it was to be the supreme law of the land.

“A well-known Harvard law professor,” Mr. Bork wrote, “turned to me with some exasperation and said, ‘Your notion that the Constitution is in some sense law must rest upon an obscure philosophic principle with which I am unfamiliar.’”

But notice what the Constitution itself states:

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.

The senators and representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

A Harvard law professor is actually stating that the Constitution is not even law! That view comes from our most prestigious university. The very fact that he would even make that statement shows that we are already getting into extreme lawlessness!

The majority of our leaders now agree with the Harvard law professor. He made a statement that shows we are failing to establish the rule of law. The real issue here is lawlessness.

That means your future will be adversely affected.

Cal Thomas wrote in the March 8, 2000, Washington Times,

In the final Democratic debate before the Super Tuesday election, Vice President Al Gore responded to a question about the type of Supreme Court justices he as president would select: “I would look for justices of the Supreme Court who understand that our Constitution is a living and breathing document, that it was intended by our founders to be interpreted in the light of the constantly evolving experience of the American people.” …

Mr. Gore’s view of the Constitution, shared by most political liberals, is one of the most dangerous philosophies of our time. It establishes a class of philosopher-kings who determine the rights of the people and shreds the Constitution as a document that conforms people to unchanging principles that promote their own and the general welfare.

A “living” Constitution, notes constitutional attorney John Whitehead, means the Constitution is “up for grabs,” and it becomes whatever the justices decide, not the people through their elected representatives ….

The founders never intended the courts to be supreme. Their intention was that the law, rooted in objective and unchanging truth, would be preeminent.

Law scholars today don’t believe the Constitution was “rooted in objective and unchanging truth”—that is, they don’t believe our founders established the rule of law. But that’s just what the founders did. And now most lawyers and judges reject their foundational work.

Our views today reflect a deadly degeneration into lawlessness!

The radical liberal culture in politics wants a ” living Constitution.” Mr. Bork stated that many liberals imply the Constitution is dead. They don’t want unchanging truth, established 200 years ago, to direct their lives. For more information on this subject, request our free booklet No Freedom Without Law.

The liberal religious culture similarly wants a “living Bible.” Their “intelligence” demands that they adapt the Bible to modern times—even though every word was inspired by God (Matthew 4:4).

Most religions preach that God’s law was done away, in spite of what Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-18: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Christ came to fulfill the law, or fill the law to the full. He essentially was saying every t must be crossed and every i dotted. Still, many thought, and still think, that He came to destroy the law. They refuse to believe the truth!

Christians are supposedly people who follow Christ, the Lawgiver. That is how they got their name “Christian.”

But whether secular or religious, we are racing into lawlessness, and our nation is plunging toward disaster. Any good history book will show us that!

The Bible should be even more convicting. Study it and see the deadly danger of lawlessness. When the new U.S. government was established, Benjamin Franklin said that we have “a republic, if you can keep it. It’s all about either establishing the rule of law—or descending into lawlessness and chaos.

FROM: http://www.thetrumpet.com/index.php?q=6605.5072.0.0


The "Tree of Liberty" letter

From Thomas Jefferson to William Smith

Paris, November 13, 1787

DEAR SIR, -- I am now to acknoledge the receipt of your favors of October the 4th, 8th, & 26th. In the last you apologise for your letters of introduction to Americans coming here. It is so far from needing apology on your part, that it calls for thanks on mine. I endeavor to show civilities to all the Americans who come here, & will give me opportunities of doing it: and it is a matter of comfort to know from a good quarter what they are, & how far I may go in my attentions to them. Can you send me Woodmason's bills for the two copying presses for the M. de la Fayette, & the M. de Chastellux? The latter makes one article in a considerable account, of old standing, and which I cannot present for want of this article. -- I do not know whether it is to yourself or Mr. Adams I am to give my thanks for the copy of the new constitution. I beg leave through you to place them where due. It will be yet three weeks before I shall receive them from America. There are very good articles in it: & very bad. I do not know which preponderate. What we have lately read in the history of Holland, in the chapter on the Stadtholder, would have sufficed to set me against a chief magistrate eligible for a long duration, if I had ever been disposed towards one: & what we have always read of the elections of Polish kings should have forever excluded the idea of one continuable for life. Wonderful is the effect of impudent & persevering lying. The British ministry have so long hired their gazetteers to repeat and model into every form lies about our being in anarchy, that the world has at length believed them, the English nation has believed them, the ministers themselves have come to believe them, & what is more wonderful, we have believed them ourselves. Yet where does this anarchy exist? Where did it ever exist, except in the single instance of Massachusetts? And can history produce an instance of rebellion so honourably conducted? I say nothing of it's motives. They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, & always well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had 13. states independent 11. years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century & a half for each state. What country before ever existed a century & a half without a rebellion? & what country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it's natural manure. Our Convention has been too much impressed by the insurrection of Massachusetts: and in the spur of the moment they are setting up a kite to keep the hen-yard in order. I hope in God this article will be rectified before the new constitution is accepted. -- You ask me if any thing transpires here on the subject of S. America? Not a word. I know that there are combustible materials there, and that they wait the torch only. But this country probably will join the extinguishers. -- The want of facts worth communicating to you has occasioned me to give a little loose to dissertation. We must be contented to amuse, when we cannot inform.

FROM:  http://www.theatlantic.com/past/issues/96oct/obrien/blood.htm

The Tree of Liberty Must Be Refreshed

 BY Fred Soto


A revolution in America — no matter how you choose to define or characterize it — is still an American Revolution

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.” — Thomas Jefferson

What happens when the threat to American government comes from within? There is the subtle and invisible war that is taking place at home. This War is between Americans with different understandings of what it means to be “American” and what it means to be “Free”. This war will NOT take place in the trenches and won’t be won with guns or knives.

This revolutionary war is taking place among America’s elite over control of our nation’s future. What better way to spearhead the revolution than the advancement of technology? The revolutionary charge from libertarians and anti-war liberals has already started to make members of the establishment a bit nervous. Radicals want change and there will be no compromise on one key idea: Defending liberty at home is essential to fighting the “war on terror” ™ and necessary to restore our Constitution as the supreme law of the land.

David hunting down Goliath

Can the principle, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” apply to this kind of war?

Can Democrats, Independents, and Libertarians band together to bring about this change? Will the change sought shake up Washington and restore American faith in Democracy? Americans sense the the threat to freedom that has come from within. If you haven’t noticed, Libertarians have come out of the woodworks and have amassed a viable force to counter the threat of “super patriotism”.

The force is especially noticeable with the rise of Ron Paul, a Texas libertarian that will no doubt impact the outcome of the Republican primary. His band of revolutionaries will likely help decide the 2008 election no matter how Ron Paul fares in the primary.

Defending the Constitution vs. “Securing” our Nation

Were the founding fathers revolutionaries or “terrorists?”

The founders of the U.S. Constitution were most definitely terrorists as per today’s definition of the word. When we recall their patriotic actions, we remember them as revolutionaries, visionaries, and widely regard them as American heroes. Our founder had dreams of an America free of tyranny and corruption. They desired a limited government that would keep order, promote freedom and stay out of people’s affairs. Without the aid of civil libertarians that kept our nation honest and true to our founding principles over the years, the dream our founders had may soon end if Americans aren’t careful.

Home-grown Terrorism Legislation is now in sharp focus

As I mentioned above, the founders were a special breed of “terrorist”. They stood bravely against a State ready to hang them for not bowing before an unjust king. His majesty, King George III of England, was in for a great surprise!

Over two hundred years later, our nation remains strong but liberty is no longer the hallmark of American Democracy. In fact, the issue of protecting Liberty has become a controversial topic now. Our Senators in Congress should be quick to stand up for the cause of Liberty. Instead, the foundation of our nation is cracking and Senators are sitting down when they should be fighting for our rights.

If there were ever a litmus test for serving as a public official, protecting essential liberty and defending the Constitution should be it.


Senator Ted Kennedy and Chris Dodd joined forces this week against immunity for telecommunication companies that allegedly violated outdated FISA laws

video update: SEE VIDEO: http://whitehouser.com/politics/tree-of-liberty/



Why is this such a big deal, weren’t these companies just doing their patriotic duty? For starters, you might want to take a look at Senator Sessions who currently serves to champion the neo-conservative agenda in Washington.

Senator Jeff Sessions said

“The civil libertarians among us would rather defend the constitution than protect our nation’s security.”

If that’s what passes for “patriotic duty” around here, then I want no part of it. Whether it was a gaffe, a Freudian slip, or him speaking his mind and sharing what he really feels is of no consequence. Most of the buzz has and will be focused on Senator Dodd’s protection of Civil Liberties and derailment of the corrupted FISA legislation. Nevertheless, Senator Sessions statement should not be dismissed or ignored.

America is in danger.

There are a number of politicians in Washington that have engaged in the very terrorism that they claim they are against. They use fear tactics, NO, they use terrorism to get their point across. By encouraging Americans to fear death, the traitors effectively deny citizens the right to dissent and challenge authority.

“Essential Liberty” and Defending our Constitution vs. Fascism

Our Politicians have been quick to forsake liberty in the name of “defending the nation.” They claim that they are “spreading Democracy overseas” and acting in “America’s best interest.” If our Senators cannot defend the Constitution and act as model citizens, how could they hope to spread Democracy abroad?

How could men who cater to tyranny, promote Fascism, and dismiss Constitutional rights, have the nerve to say they represent American Freedom? These men do not represent America, they certainly do not represent you or me. Our “leaders” represent something awful that if not kept in check, may threaten our understanding of what it means to be American. We live in a a failed Democratic Republic and the illusion of freedom is fading away.

Let’s stop pretending we live in a truly free democratic society.  Let’s aim to learn about American history and understand our place in the world. We are dangerously close to being governed by a fascist State and there is an argument to be made that we already live under fascist rule.  Americans like myself are desperately seeking to break free from the shackles.  If we don’t dismantle the threat to the Republic, how could we continue to claim we’re leaders of the “free world?”

Will there be an American Revolution in 2008?

Don’t stand on the sidelines. A plague is eating away at Washington and it must be cured. Remember, the revolution starts with YOU, your mind can never be enslaved and your vote is your weapon. For those Americans that have lost all hope, hang in there and have faith in America. A Revolution is on the horizon and you will have the pleasure of being a part of something wonderful. Even those people who lost themselves along the way can redeem themselves. Every neo-conservative stuck on the Bush bandwagon is welcome to join the movement.

Since you’re reading this piece, I expect that you’ll err on the side of liberty. Whatever happens, do your part to ensure the enemy falls short in its attempt to support the rise of tyranny and corruption in America.

If you haven’t yet done so, please subscribe to the White House Intel Report — RSS News Feed.. (daily updates & costs you nothing)

Here’s a follow-up article for you to read: “a href="http://whitehouser.com/politics/planting-the-seeds-of-liberty/" target="_blank" title="Planting the seeds of liberty">Planting the seeds of liberty.“

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Daniel Webster College/a>

Located in Nashua, New Hampshire, em>Daniel Webster College was founded in 1965 as the New England Aeronautical Institute. Although we're still nationally ...


Daniel Webster Owl Quest

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - Quick View
Tree swallows may be in the field,. A deer or two may pass. .... The Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary protects 507 acres of open space, ...

The Daniel Webster Trail: http://www.newenglandtrailreview.com/images.asp?TID=114&offset=-1



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    w www.greatdreams.com/lincoln.htm

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    w www.greatdreams.com/jeffersn.htm

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    ... the Texas boundary and territorial slavery disputes arising from the war, enlisting the aid of Whig party stalwarts Henry Clay and Daniel Webster. ...
    www.greatdreams.com/political/invasion_of_america.htm -


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    w www.greatdreams.com/political/thomas_paine.htm


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    w www.greatdreams.com/drugs.htm


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    Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) & the New World Order/a>

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    www.greatdreams.com/new_world_order_database.htm -


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    GGeorge W Bush and the Whirlwind

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    A paraphrased quote from Thomas Jefferson, "The whole of Christianity is to engender eternal argument, for church profit". A paraphrased quote from me: "The ...


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    HR-645 - FEMA CAMPS/a>

    For truly these once great and mighty people have forgotten the words of warning of their greatest Statesman Thomas Jefferson, and who said, "All tyranny ....



    DREAM OF 33/a>

    ... the marquis de Lafayette, the future US President Thomas Jefferson, and the future leaders of the French Revolution, George Danton and Jean-Paul Marat. ....


    Thomas Jefferson said that "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants." ....

    Twilights Last Gleaming/a>

    With those words Thomas Jefferson cautioned a newly independent United States of America against the perils of, well… ignorance. Jefferson knew that for any ....


    Oct 3, 2008 ... Sri Chinmoy claims to have been Thomas Jefferson in a previous life, and he also claims to be the Spiritual Brother to Jesus Christ. ....

    THOMAS JEFFERSON/em> - THE DREAM AND THE REALITY. They protested against excessive taxes on property, polling taxes which ... Western farmers refused to pay the ....


    This is their heroin. "Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost" --Thomas Jefferson Brenda Stardom ....


    Oct 17, 2009 ... Thomas Jefferson (not a Mason) conceived that 16th Street would be the prime meridian for the new world. The meridian line would pass ....


    His T-shirt that day was emblazoned with a quote from Thomas Jefferson: "The Tree of Liberty must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of patriots ....


    Sep 13, 2005 ... THOMAS JEFFERSON - THE DREAM AND THE REALITY. They protested against excessive taxes on property, polling taxes which preented the poor from ....



    ... the checks of one branch over the other and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated." -- Thomas Jefferson, 1821 ...
    www.greatdreams.com/prep.htm - Cached - Similar

    Anti-War Global rallies protest possible U.S. war on Iraq - Oct ...




    And Thomas Jefferson, being the Deist, being the pagan that he was, cut out all the supernatural from those three gospels. Jefferson was a Deist; ....

    The Lion of the Pride/a>

    Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, said "…I am surrounded by enemies but I shall never stand down in the face of tyrants..." ....


    For some reason the words, "Nation Building" jumped into my head and I thought those guys were George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. ...



    John Adams wrote to Thomas Jefferson in 1787. "The people must be helped to think naturally about money. They must be told what it is, and what makes it ...


    Thomas Jefferson was one of the members of the Hell Fire Club as was Benjamin ... She is tied in with the Collins of the satanic group Hell Fire Club. ...


     = BUSH
    Dec 19, 2005 .../b> THOMAS JEFFERSON - THE DREAM AND THE REALITY. One district judge was removed, and proceedings were begun to impeach Supreme Court Justice ...