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or by means of territorial governments—the latter being the usual mode. And all measures commenced and prosecuted with a design to subvert the territorial government, and to establish and put in force in its place a new government, without the consent of Congress, are unlawful.
402. But the people of any territory may peaceably meet together in primary assemblies, or in conventions chosen by such assemblies, for the purpose of petitioning Congress to abrogate the territorial government, and to admit them into the Union as an independent state, and if they accompany their petition with a constitution, framed and agreed to by their primary assemblies, or by a convention of delegates duly authorized, there is no objection to their power to do so, nor to any measures which may be taken to collect the sense of the people in respect to it: provided such measures be prosecuted in a peaceable manner, in subordination to the existing . government, and in subserviency to the power of Congress to adopt, reject, or disregard them, at their pleasure.
GUARANTY OF REPUBLICAN GOVERNMENT.
403. The United States shall guarantee to every state in the Union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion, and on application of the legislature, or of the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened), against domestic violence.
404. A confederacy of states, founded on dissimilar principles, some of the states having a republican form of government, some an aristocratic form, and others a monarchical form, would be very apt, from opposing views and policy, to be discordant, and fall into distraction. To avoid such a condition of affairs, the Constitution has provided that in all the states of the Union a republican form of government must be maintained.
405. It has been justly remarked that the only restriction imposed on the states by this clause of the Constitution is, that they shall not exchange republican for anti-republican institutions. They may alter or amend their respective constitutions as they please, only they must take care and preserve
the republican form. If they should adopt aristocratic or monarchical systems, or such systems should be imposed on them by the violence of parties or factions, the government of the United States would be bound to interpose and restore the republican form. 405}. And the standard by which the question must be determined whether the actual government is republican in form or not, is, does it correspond with • the governments in existence when the Constitution was adopted ? When a state is admitted into the Union, Congress determines, by the fact of admission, that the government of such state is republican in form. If changes are afterwards made which do not essentially alter the character of such government, as it stood when the state was admitted into the Union, Congress cannot interpose, however distasteful such changes may be. But, it seems, by recent decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States, that if Congress should unjustly, erroneously, and arbitrarily determine and declare that a particular state government was not republican in form, and refuse thereupon to recognize it, the citizens of such state are without redress. The judicial tribunals, in political questions, accept and follow the conclusions of the political department. 406. The United States are also bound to protect each state from invasion; and also against domestic violence, such as insurrection or rebellion, on application of the legislature, or of the executive when the legislature cannot be convened.
407. Congress, whenever two-thirds of both Houses deem it necessary, must propose amendments to the Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states, must call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, are valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three-fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by Congress; provided, that no amendment, which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight, shall, in any manner, affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first Article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.
408. As useful alterations in the Constitution might be suggested by experience, a mode is provided for making them. This mode combines two great advantages; that is, changes can be made, but
without too much facility on the one hand, or too