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established it, and have hitherto supported it, for the very purpose, among others, of imposing certain salutary restraints on State sovereignties. The States cannot now make war; they cannot contract alliances; they cannot make, each for itself, separate regulations of commerce; they cannot lay imposts; they cannot coin money. If this Constitution, sir, be the creature of State legislatures, it must be admitted that it has obtained a strange control over the volitions of its creators.

Mr. President, I have thus stated the reasons of my dissent to the doctrines which have been advanced and maintained. I am conscious of having detained you and the Senate much too long. I was drawn into the debate with no previous deliberation, such as is suited to the discussion of so grave and important a subject. But it is a subject of which my heart is full, and I have not been willing to suppress the utterance of its spontaneous sentiments. I cannot even now persuade myself to relinquish it, without expressing once more deep conviction that, since it represents nothing less than the union of the States, it is of the most vital and essential importance to the public happiness.

I profess, sir, in my career hitherto to have kept steadily in view the prosperity and honor of the whole country and the preservation of our federal Union. It is to that Union we owe our safety at home and our consideration and dignity abroad. It is to that Union that we are chiefly indebted for whatever makes us most proud of our country. That Union we reached only by the discipline of our virtues in the severe school of adversity. It had its origin in the necessities of disordered finance, prostrate commerce, and ruined credit. Under its benign influence those great interests immediately awoke, as from the dead. and sprang forth with newness of life. Every year of its duration has teemed with fresh proofs of its utility and its blessings; and although our territory has stretched out wider and wider and our population spread farther and farther, they have not outrun its protection or its benefits. It has been to us all a copious fountain of national, social, and personal happiness.

I have not allowed myself, sir, to look beyond the Union to see what might lie hidden in the dark recess behind. I have not coolly weighed the chances of preserving liberty when the bonds that unite us together shall be broken asunder. I have not accustomed myself to hang over the precipice of disunion, to see whether with my short sight I can fathom the depth of the abyss below; nor could I regard him as a safe counselor in the affairs of this government, whose thoughts should be mainly bent on considering, not how this Union may be best preserved, but how tolerable might be the condition of the people when it should be broken up and destroyed.

While the Union lasts we have high, exciting, gratifying prospects spread out before us for us and our children. Beyond that I seek not to penetrate the veil. God grant that in my day at least that curtain may not rise ! God grant that on my vision never may be opened what lies behind! When my eyes shall be turned to behold for the last time the sun in heaven, may I not see him shining on the broken and dishonored fragments of a once glorious Union; on States dissevered, discordant, belligerent; on a land rent with civil feuds, or drenched, it may be, in fraternal blood! Let their last feeble and lingering glance rather behold the gorgeous ensign of the Republic, now known and honored throughout the earth, still full high advanced, its arms and trophies streaming in their original lustre, not a stripe erased or polluted, nor a single star obscured, bearing for its motto no such miserable interrogatory as,

“ What is all this worth? those other words of delusion and folly, “ Liberty first


and Union afterward”; but everywhere, spread all over in characters of living light, blazing on all its ample folds, as they float over the sea and over the land, and in every wind under the whole heavens, that other sentiment dear to every American heart-Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!

What was the rhetorical and persuasive effect of Webster's praise of South Carolina ?

From what source does Webster derive all legal authority ?
In what sense is the Constitution the supreme law of the land ?

Whose views were the more democratic, Hayne's or Webster's?

What reason is there for maintaining that this speech was one of the important influences that brought on the Civil War?

To what motives did Webster appeal in this speech?


February 27, 1860

At the close of the Revolution Massachusetts abolished slavery, and her example was gradually followed by the other states north of Virginia. At that time in the South also it seemed probable that little by little slavery would disappear until the entire territory of the United States was free. The invention of the cotton gin in 1793, however, increased many times the profit that could be gained from slave labor and arrested the movement for abolition. After the beginning of the nineteenth century the prosperity of the South seemed to depend on the continuance of slavery.

In the North the sentiment for abolition meanwhile grew stronger, but the difference of opinion between the two sections was not yet so profound as to prevent the adoption in 1820 of Henry Clay's Missouri Compromise which limited the spread of slavery in the territories north of latitude 36° 30'. In 1830 in Boston, William Lloyd Garrison began to publish The Liberator and thereby initiated in the face of great opposition even in the North an aggressive struggle against slavery.

In 1850 again Henry Clay was able to secure in Congress, with great difficulty, a colorless compromise between the two conflicting sections. Among its terms was a provision that the territories of Utah and New Mexico were to be organized without any Federal action concerning slavery. It was not long, however, before slavery was introduced into these territories through the action of their territorial legislatures This result enabled Stephen A. Douglas, the leader of the Northern Democrats to secure by the aid of Southern votes the passage by Congress in 1854 of the Kansas-Nebraska bill, a measure that abrogated the Missouri Coinpromise and left to home rule or “popular sovereignty” to determire whether Kansas and Nebraska were to be free or slave. To combat this measure the Republican party was organized.

In 1857, however, the Supreme Court, in the Dred Scott decision, held that the Constitution recognized slaves as property which Congress must protect. This view, unexpectedly favorable to slavery, was at once adopted by the South in place of Douglas's theory of state authority or “popular sovereignty.” The Democrats in the North were unwilling to support the Dred Scott decision as it seemed to place șlavery under the protection of Congress and to do away with all future possibility of compromise. Many of the Northern Democrats at this time accordingly were forced from their neutral position and preferring to oppose rather than defend slavery were absorbed by the Republican party.

In 1858 in Illinois Douglas was the candidate of the Democratic party for the United States senate and Abraham Lincoln was nominated by the Republicans. Lincoln challenged Douglas, who was a highly educated and brilliant speaker, to a series of seven public debates; and Douglas accepted on the condition that he should both open and close each debate. The contest has been called the greatest “intellectual wrestle” that has taken place in America. The speeches were reported throughout the country and the contest was followed with interest everywhere Although the legislature sent Douglas to the Senate,

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