All, or nearly all, the advantage there is in fixing any constitutional limits to the power of a government, is simply to give notice to the government of the point at which it will meet with resistance.
It is with government paper, and bank paper, as it is with the paper of private persons; that is, it is worth just what can be delivered in redemption of it, and no more. We all understand that the notes of the Astors, and Stewarts, and Vanderbilts, though issued by millions, and tens of millions, are really worth their nominal values.
There is not, in the Constitution, a syllable that implies that persons, born within the territorial limits of the United States, have allegiance imposed upon them on account of their birth in the country, or that they will be judged by any different rule, on the subject of treason, than persons of foreign birth.
If men were but to read the New Testament with the same tone and emphasis, with which they do other books, and were to keep out of mind the idea of its being sacred, they would be disgusted with the credulity, and the want of intellect, reason and judgment, that is apparent in it.
The only security men can have for their political liberty, consists in keeping their money in their own pockets.
It is self-evident that no number of men, by conspiring, and calling themselves a government, can acquire any rights whatever over other men, or other men’s property, which they had not before, as individuals.
To say that majorities, as such, have a right to rule minorities, is equivalent to saying that minorities have, and ought to have, no rights, except such as majorities please to allow them.
A contract for the establishment of government, being nothing but a voluntary contract between individuals for their mutual benefit, differs, in nothing that is essential to its validity, from any other contract between man and man, or between nation and nation.
Any number of scoundrels, having money enough to start with, can establish themselves as a ‘government’; because, with money, they can hire soldiers, and with soldiers extort more money; and also compel general obedience to their will.
One essential of a free government is that it rest wholly on voluntary support. And one certain proof that a government is not free, is that it coerces more or less persons to support it, against their will.