Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Quote of the Day

(Editor's Note: Make no mistake, there's a political message in the words of Noah Webster, hardly a man that invokes partisan bickering among Americans today. Continuing where I left off yesterday...)
"However independent each state may be and ought to be in things that relate to itself merely, yet as part of a greater body it must be a subject of that body in matters that relate to the whole. A system of continental government, thus organized, may establish and perpetuate the confederation infringing the rights of any particular state. But the power of all the states must be reduced to a narrow compass; it must center in a single body of men; and it must not be liable to be controlled or defeated by an individual state. The states assembled in Congress must have the same compulsory power in matters that concern the whole as a man has his own family, as a city has within the limits of the corporation, and as the legislature of a state has in the limits of that state, respecting matters that fall within their several jurisdictions.

"I beg to know how otherwise the states will be governed as a collective body? Every man knows by his own experience that even families are not to be kept in subordination by recommendations and advice. How much less then will such flimsy things command the obedience of a whole continent? They will not -- they do not. A single state by noncompliance with resolves of Congress, has repeatedly defeated the most salutary measures of the states proposed by Congress [...]

"I will suppose for the present that a measure recommended by Congress and adopted by a majority of the legislatures should be really repugnant to the interest of a single state, considered in its separate capacity. Would it be right for that state to oppose it? While the measure is in agitation it is the undoubted privilege of every state to oppose it by every argument. But when it is passed by the concurrence of a legal majority, it is the duty of every state to acquiesce. So far from resisting the measure, those very individuals who opposed it in debate ought to support it in execution. The reason is very plain: society and government can be supported on no other principles. The interest of individuals must always give place to the interest of the whole community. The principle of government is not perfect, but it as perfect as any principle that can be carried into effect on this side of heaven."
-- Noah Webster, Sketches of American Policy (1785)

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