|Our Federal Government: Its True Nature and Character
by Abel Parker Upshur
Originally Published in 1868
Paperback; 187 pages
For forty years from the ratification of the Constitution, it was well understood that the American States were united in a political compact, entrusting certain powers to a common agent, while retaining their essential sovereignty and rights. One of these rights was that of secession. It was not until 1833 that the theory of a consolidated nation first appeared in Joseph Story's Commentaries on the Constitution. Daniel Webster relied on this theory in his debates with South Carolina Senators Robert Hayne and John C. Calhoun. Story and Webster denied that the Constitution was a compact between sovereign States, asserting that it had instead been established by "the people of the United States in the aggregate." As such, the States were creatures of the Union rather than vice versa, rendering secession not only impossible, but treasonous. This book, written by a Virginia lawyer who served as Secretary of the Navy in the Tyler Administration, is a brilliant response to the Story/Webster theory and also is a direct challenge to the centralized political system of modern America.
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