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Privileges of Citizens.—Fugitive Criminals and Slaves.
$ 408. The fourth article of the Constitution contains several important subjects, some of which have been already considered. Among those, which have been so considered, are, the clauses which respect the faith and credit to be given to the acts, records, judgements, and proceedings, of the different States, and the mode of proving them, and the effect thereof; the admission of new States into the Union; and the regulation and disposal of the territory, and other property, of the United States.
§ 409. Among those, which remain for consideration, the first is, “ The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States.” It is obvious, that if the citizens of the different States were to be deemed aliens to each other, they could not inherit, or hold, or purchase real estate, or possess any political or municipal privileges in any other State, than that, in which they were born. And the States would be at liberty to make laws, giving preferences of rights and offices, and even privileges in trade and business, to those, who were Natives, over all other persons, who belonged to other States ; or they might make invidious discriminations between the citizens of different States. Such a power would have a tendency to generate jealousies and discontents, injurious to the harmony of all the States. And, therefore, the Constitution has wisely created, as it were, a general citizenship, communicating to the citizens of each State, who have their domicil in another, all the privileges and immunities enjoyed by the citizens of the latter.
$ $ 410. The next clause is, “A person, charged in any State with treason, felony, or other crime, who shall flee from justice, and be found in another State, shall, on demand of the Executive authority of the State, froir which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State, having jurisdiction of the crime." As doubts have existed, whether, by the law of nations, a surrender of fugitives from justice can lawfully be demanded from the government of the country, where they seek an asylumn, there is great propriety in making this a positive right, in regard to the several States composing the United States. It is for their mutual benefit, convenience, and safety. It will promote harmony and good feeling between them. It will also add strength to a great moral duty, and ope rate indirectly to the suppression of crimes ; and finally, it will thus increase the public sense of the blessings of the National Government.
§ 411. The next clause is, “No person held to ser vice or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor but shall be delivered up, on the claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.” This clause was introduced into the Constitution solely for the benefit of the slave-holding States, to enable them to reclaim their fugitive slaves, who should escape into other States, where slavery is not tolerated. It is well known, that, at the common law, a slave escaping into a State, where slavery is not allowed, would immediately become free, and could not be reclaimed. Before the Constitution was adopted, the Southern States felt the want of some protecting provision against such an occurrence to be a grievous injury to them. And we here see, that the Eastern and Middle States have sacrificed their own opinions and feelings, in order to take away every source of jealousy, on a subject so delicate to Southern interests a circumstance, sufficient of itself, to repel the celusive notion, that the South has not, at all times, had its full share in the blessings resulting from the Union
Guarantee of Republican Government.--Mode of mak
$ 412. The fourth section of the fourth article declares, “ The United States shall guaranty to every State in this 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.” The propriety of this provision will scarcely be doubted. If any of the States were to be at liberty to adopt any other form of Government, than a republican form, it would necessarily endanger, and might destroy, the safety of the Union. Suppose, for instance, a great State, like New York, should adopt a monarchical form of government, it might, under an enterprising and ambitious king, become formidable to, if not destructive of, the Constitution. And the PEOPLE of each State have a right to protection against the tyranny of a domestic faction, and to have a firm guarantee, that their political liberties shall not be overturned by a successful demagogue, who shall arrive at power by corrupt arts, and then plan a scheme for permanent possession of it. On the other hand, domestic violence by popular insurrection is equally repugnant to the good order and safety of the Union; and one of the blessings arising from a National Government is the security which it affords, against a recurrence of evils of this sort. Accordingly, it is made an imperative duty of the General Government, on the application of the Legislature or Executive of a State, to aid in the suppression of such domestic insurrections ; as well as to protect the State from foreign invasion.
§ 413. It may possibly be asked, what need there could be of such a precaution, and whether it may not become a pretext for alterations in the State governments
without the concurrence of the States themselves. These questions admit of ready answers. If the interposition of the General Government should not be needed, the pro vision for such an event will be a harmless superfluity only in the Constitution. But, who can say, what experiments may be produced by the caprice of particular States, by the ambition of enterprising leaders, or by the intrigues and influence of foreign powers ? To the second question, it may be answered, that if the General Government should interpose, by virtue of this constitutional authority, it will, of course, be bound to pursue the authority. But the authority extends no further than to a guarantee of a republican form of Government, which supposes a pre-existing Government of the form, which is to be guarantied. As long, therefore, as the existing republican forms are continued by the States, they are guarantied by the Federal Constitution. Whenever the States may choose to substitute other republican forms, they have a right to do so, and to claim the federal guarantee for the latter. The only restriction imposed on them is, that they shall not exchange republican for antirepublican Constitutions : a restriction, which, it is presumed, will hardly be considered as a grievance.
$ 414. 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; and, consequently, that the National interposition can never be required, but when it would be improper. But theoretic reasoning in this case, as in most other cases, must be qualified by the lessons of practice. Why may not illicit combinations, for purposes of violence, be formed, as well by a majority of a State, especially of a small State, as by a majority of a county, or of a district of the same State ; and if the authority of the State ought, in the latter case, to protect the local magistracy, ought not the National authority, in the former, to support the State authority? Besides; there are certain parts of the State Constitutions, which are so interwoven with the National Constitution, that a violent blow cannot be given to the one, without communicating
the woud to the other. Insurrections in a State will rarely induce a National interposition, unless the number concerned in them bear some proportion to the friends of Government. It will be much better, that the violence in such cases, should be repressed by the superintending power, than that the majority should be left to maintain their cause by a bloody and obstinate contest. istence of a right to interpose will generally prevent the necessity of exerting it.
§ 415. The next (the fifth) article, provides for the mode of making amendments to the Constitution. Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution; or, on application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing amendments; which, in either case, shall be valid, to all intents and purposes, as part of this 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 the 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."
§ 416. The importance of this power can scarcely be over estimated. It is obvious, that no human government can ever be perfect ; and it is impossible to foresee, or guard against all the exigencies, which may, in different ages, require changes in the powers and modes of operation of a government, to suit the necessities and interests of the people. A government, which has no mode prescribed for any changes, will, in the lapse of time, become utterly unfit for the nation. It will either degenerate into a despotism, or lead to a revolution, by its oppressive inequalities. It is wise, therefore, in every government, and especially in a republic, to provide peaceable means for altering and improving the structure, as time and experience shall show it necessary, for the public safety and