he ties of allegiance, the assumption of sovereign power, and the institution of civil government, are all acts of transcendent authority, which the people alone are competent to perform; and, accordingly, it is in the name and by the authority of the people, that two of these acts--the dissolution of allegiance, with the severance from the British Empire, and the declaration of the United Colonies, as free and independent States--were performed by that instrument.
But there still remained the last and crowning act, which the people of the Union alone were competent to perform--the institution of civil government, for that compound nation, the United States of America.
At this day it cannot but strike us as extraordinary, that it does not appear to have occurred to any one member of that assembly, which had laid down in terms so clear, so explicit, so unequivocal, the foundation of all just government, in the imprescriptible rights of man, and the transcendent sovereignty of the people, and who
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