The American Republic


The line that distinguishes the two governments is that which distinguishes the general relations and interests from the particular relations and interests of the people of the United States.These general relations and interests are placed under the General government, which, because its jurisdiction is coextensive with the Union, is called the Government of the United States; the particular relations and interests are placed under particular governments, which, because their jurisdiction is only coextensive, with the States respectively, are called State governments.The General government governs supremely all the people of the United States and Territories belonging to the Union, in all their general relations and interests, or relations and interests common alike to them all; the particular or State government governs supremely the people of a particular State, as Massachusetts, New York, or New Jersey, in all that pertains to their particular or private rights, relations, and interests.The powers of each are equally sovereign, and neither are derived from the other.The State governments are not subordinate to the General government, nor the General government to the State governments.They are co-ordinate governments, each standing on the same level, and deriving its powers from the same sovereign authority.In their respective spheres neither yields to the other.In relation to the matters within its jurisdiction, each government is independent and supreme in regard of the other, and subject only to the convention.

The powers of the General government are the power--To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the general welfare of the United States; to borrow money on the credit of the United States; to regulate commerce with foreign nations, among the several States, and with the Indian tribes; to establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States; to coin money and regulate the value thereof, and fix the standard of weights and measures; to provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States; to establish post-offices and post-roads; to promote the progress of science and of the useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries; to define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offences against the law of nations; to declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water; to raise and support armies; to provide and maintain a navy; to make rules for the government of the land and naval forces; to provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions; to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and of governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States; to exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever over such district, not exceeding ten miles square, as may by cession of particular States and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise a like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the State in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful buildings; and to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or office thereof.

In addition to these, the General government is clothed with the treaty-making power, and the whole charge of the foreign relations of the country; with power to admit new States into the Union; to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations concerning the territory and all other property belonging to the United States; to declare, with certain restrictions, the punishment of treason, the constitution itself defining what is treason against the United States; and to propose, or to call, on the application of the legislatures of two-thirds of all the states, a convention for proposing amendments to this constitution; and is vested with supreme judicial power, original or appellate, in all cases of law and equity arising under this constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made or to be made under their authority, in all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls, in all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, in all controversies to which the United States shall be a party, all controversies between two or more States, between a State and citizens of another State, between citizens of different States, between citizens of the same State claiming lands under grants of different States, and between a State or the citizens thereof and foreign states, citizens, or subjects.

Orestes Augustus Brownson