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"On what principle the confederation, which stands in the solemn form of a compact among the states, can be superseded without the unanimous consent of the parties to it? . . . . The . . . question is answered at once by recurring to the absolute necessity of the case; to the great principle of self- preservation; to the transcendent law of nature and of nature?s God, which declares that the safety and happiness of society are the objects at which all political institutions aim."
"It would have marked a want of foresight in the convention, which our own experience would have rendered inexcusable."
"That useful alterations will be suggested by experience, could not but be foreseen . . . . It moreover equally enables the general and state governments to originate the amendment of errors as they may be pointed out by the experience on one side or on the other."
"At first view it might seem not to square with the republican theory, to suppose either that a majority have not the right, or that a minority will have the force to subvert a government . . . . But theoretic reasoning in this, as in most other cases, must be qualified by the lessons of practice."
"The express authority of the people alone could give validity to the Constitution."
"That this liberty [of the press] is often carried to excess; that it has sometimes degenerated into licentiousness, is seen and lamented, but the remedy has not yet been discovered. Perhaps it is an evil inseparable from the good with which it is allied; perhaps it is a shoot which cannot be stripped from the stalk without wounding vitally the plant from which it is torn. However desirable those measures might be which might correct without enslaving the press, they have never yet been devised i"
"I consider the government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises. This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment or free exercise of religion, but from that also which reserves to the States the powers not delegated to the United States. Certainly, no power to prescribe any religious exercise or to assume authority in any religious discipline"
"I consider the government of the U.S. as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises."
"Our country, if it does justice to itself, will be the workshop of liberty to the civilized world."

Letter from Edward Coles

Letter from Thomas McCleland

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