American Quarterly Review, Volume 9

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General Books, May 19, 2012 - 252 pages
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This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1831 Excerpt: ...may, in the din of new contests, be forgotten, or remembered only to be forgiven, and, by the hocus pocus of party, even metamorphosed into a recommendation. When, then, it is so easy to take shelter behind the ark of the constitution, ought we to enlarge the limits of this place of refuge for cunning and cowardice? One more argument in favour of a fair, liberal, manly construction of the constitution. There would be a certain degree of inconvenience incident to every written constitution, if there were no difficulties in its interpretation, and its language was always understood in the same sense by all men. In making that distribution of its various powers which is deemed most likely to secure a safe and healthy action, the hands of its functionaries must often be tied up from doing that which particular circumstances may make highly expedient. Some imperative claim of humanity, some yet more pressing emergency of state, may call for powers which the constitution has withheld. Mr. Jefferson considered the acquisition of Louisiana to be a case of that character. He questioned the power of acquiring foreign territory under the constitution. But when he reflected that France could not retain possession of Louisiana, and that hither the constitution must be stretched, (his letter to W. C. Nicholas might almost justify a stronger expression, ) or we must submit to having the greatest commercial nation in Europe--our most active rival in peace, our most powerful enemy in war--posted on our right and left flank, and, by and by, in our rear, --he sacrificed his opinions to the safety of the republic. The present president was no doubt actuated by similar considerations, when he pursued the Seminoles into the Spanish territory, and made war on the country in which t.

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