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Texas Governor Perry’s Answer Against Seceding Comes From 1830 And Daniel Webster


Since the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, is trying to succeed in seceding, Dare to Dream feels a speech given on the Senate floor by the great Senator from New Hampshire, elegantly states the reason for Texas staying in the “Union.”

Granted, the speech was given in 1830 and by “progressive” Daniel Webster, but the power and point is timely and poignant for today’s “Tea Baggers” and their fight against progressiveness and anything liberal.

The following is an excerpt from the end of Webster’s great oratory:

The people, then, Sir, erected this government. They gave it a Constitution, and in that Constitution they have enumerated the powers which they bestow on it. They have made it a limited government. They have defined its authority. They have restrained it to the exercise of such powers as are granted; and all others, they declare, are reserved to the States or the people. But, Sir, they have not stopped here. If they had, they would have accomplished but half their work. No definition can be so clear, as to avoid possibility of doubt; no limitation so precise, as to exclude all uncertainty. Who, then, shall construe this grant of the people? Who shall interpret their will, where it may be supposed they have left it doubtful? With whom do they repose this ultimate right of deciding on the powers of government? Sir, they have settled all this in the fullest manner. They have left it with the government itself, in its appropriate branches. Sir, the very chief end, the main design, for which the whole Constitution was framed and adopted, was to establish a government that should not be obliged to act through State agency, or depend on State opinion and State discretion. The people had had quite enough of that kind of government under the Confederation. Under that system, the legal action, the application of law to individuals, belonged exclusively to the States. Congress could only recommend; their acts were not of binding force, till the States had adopted and sanctioned them. Are we in that condition still? Are we yet at the mercy of State discretion and State construction? Sir, if we are, then vain will be our attempt to maintain the Constitution under which we sit.

But, Sir, the people have wisely provided, in the Constitution itself, a proper, suitable mode and tribunal for settling questions of Constitutional law. There are in the Constitution grants of powers to Congress, and restrictions on these powers. There are, also, prohibitions on the States. Some authority must, therefore, necessarily exist, having the ultimate jurisdiction to fix and ascertain the interpretation of these grants, restrictions, and prohibitions. The Constitution has itself pointed out, ordained, and established that authority. How has it accomplished this great and essential end? By declaring, Sir, that “the Constitution, and the laws of the United States made in pursuance thereof, shall be the supreme law of the land any thing in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.”

This, Sir, was the first great step. By this the supremacy of the laws and Constitution of the United States is declared. The people so will it. No State law is to be valid which comes in conflict with the Constitution, or any law of the United States passed in pursuance of it. But who shall decide this question of interference? To whom lies the last appeal? This, Sir, the Constitution itself decides also, by declaring, “That the judicial power shall extend to all cases arising under the Constitution and laws of the United States.” These two provisions cover the whole ground. They are, in truth, the keystone of the arch! With these it is a government; without them it is a confederation. In pursuance of these clear and express provisions, Congress established, at its very first session, in the judicial act, a mode for carrying them into full effect, and for bringing all questions of constitutional power to the final decision of the Supreme Court. It then, Sir, became a government. It then had the means of self-protection; and but for this, it would, in all probability, have been now among things which are past. Having constituted the government, and declared its powers, the people have further said, that, since somebody must decide on the extent of these powers, the government shall itself decide; subject always, like other popular governments, to its responsibility to the people…

I have not allowed myself, Sir, to look beyond the Union, to see what might lie hidden in the dark recess behind. I have not coolly weighed the chances of preserving liberty when the bonds that unite us together shall be broken asunder. I have not accustomed myself to hang over the precipice of disunion, to see whether, with my short sight, I can fathom the depth of the abyss below; nor could I regard him as a safe counsellor in the affairs of this government, whose thoughts should be mainly bent on considering, not how the Union may be best preserved, but how tolerable might be the condition of the people when it should be broken up and destroyed. While the Union lasts, we have high, exciting, gratifying prospects spread out before us and our children. Beyond that I seek not to penetrate the veil. God grant that in my day, at least, that curtain may not rise! God grant that on my vision never may be opened what lies behind! When my eyes shall be turned to behold for the last time the sun in heaven, may I not see him shining on the broken and dishonored fragments of a once glorious Union; on States dissevered, discordant, belligerent; on a land rent with civil feuds, or drenched, it may be, in fraternal blood! Let their last feeble and lingering glance rather behold the gorgeous ensign of the republic, now known and honored throughout the earth, still full high advanced, its arms and trophies streaming in their original lustre, not a stripe erased or polluted, not a single star obscured, bearing for its motto, no such miserable interrogatory as “What is all this worth?” nor those other words of delusion and folly, “Liberty first and Union afterwards”; but everywhere, spread all over in characters of living light, blazing on all its ample folds, as they float over the sea and over the land, and in every wind under the whole heavens, that other sentiment, dear to every true American heart, – Liberty and Union, now and for ever, one and inseparable!

Entire speech of Daniel Webster is called Second Haynes Reply.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 02/11/2010 4:03 pm

    This may sound very bizarre, but I am of the opinion that the Tea Baggers intend on destroying the Uinited States of America as we know it. Sara Palin once belonged to the Alaskan Independence Party (yet they now deny this); so, we can at least say she was connected to that organisation.

    Even going beyond Ms. Palin, we have them advocating policies which are detrimental to the existence of the United States. For example, their main raison d’ etre is to protest a national health care policy, yet the lack of such a policy is crippling the US economy. Likewise, they also do not like taxes, yet have no proposal for how to pay for government. Perhaps they look to big business rather than big government.

    As I like to say, how can one have government tyranny in a democracy which by definition is a government of the people?

  2. 02/12/2010 3:20 pm

    Laci, I whole heartily agree. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Duh permalink
    02/17/2010 1:49 pm

    “…I am of the opinion that the Tea Baggers intend on destroying the Uinited States of America as we know it… For example, their main raison d’ etre is to protest a national health care policy, yet the lack of such a policy is crippling the US economy.”

    This is a leap of faith even progressives cannot make.

    First, how is not obtaining something that has never existed in this country crippling the economy? You are essentially trying to prove a negative and that, simply, cannot be done.

    Second, increasing the budget and the national deficit by an order of magnitude will help “uncripple” the US economy? Please demonstrate how the federal government controlling an entire economic sector, increasing its budget, increasing its deficits, adding to unsustainable entitlements already extant and, ultimately, increasing the tax burden is even remotely beneficial to the economy. Is it because the unsustainability of current federal programs is such a good example of what we should expect in the future? The two original statements are simply incorrect and based on erroneous assumption.

    “Likewise, they also do not like taxes, yet have no proposal for how to pay for government.”

    Ummm, I never heard of anyone seriously advocating the elimination of all federal revenue so you must mean [they] want to reduce taxes (which I agree with). How will the government then afford to operate with reduced revenue? Cut spending? Reform unsustainable entitlement programs? Reform the tax code? Grow the private sector economy? Should I go on? You seem to be overlooking a number of substantive proposals as a matter of convenience.

    “This may sound very bizarre…”

    Yes, it does.

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