The Sovereign States: Notes of a Citizen of Virginia

By James Jackson Kilpatrick | Go to book overview

More than five years earlier, a treaty of amity and commerce with France had established the same sovereign status of the contracting parties. Louis XVI treated with the thirteen American States, but he recognized each of them as a separate power. And it is interesting to note that Virginia, feeling some action desirable to complete the treaty, prior to action by Congress, on June 4, 1779, undertook solemnly to ratify this treaty with France on her own. By appropriate resolution, transmitted by Governor Jefferson to the French minister at Philadelphia, the sovereign Commonwealth of Virginia declared herself individually bound by the French treaty.8 In terms of international law, Virginia was a nation; in terms of domestic law, she was a sovereign State.


2
The State

TO REVIEW the process by which the colonies became States is not necessarily to answer the basic question, What is a State? It is a troublesome word. The standard definition is that a State is "a political body, or body politic; any body of people occupying a definite territory and politically organized under one government, especially one that is not subject to external control." Chief Justice Chase , in Texas vs. White,9 put it this way: "A State, in the ordinary sense of the Constitution, is a political community of free citizens, occupying a territory of defined boundaries, and organized under a government sanctioned and limited by a written Constitution, and established by the consent of the governed." In the Cherokee case, John Marshall described a State as "a distinct political society, separated from others, capable of managing its own affairs and governing itself."10

Thus, variously, a State is defined as a body, a community, and a distinct society. Plainly, mere boundary lines are not enough; a

-8-

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The Sovereign States: Notes of a Citizen of Virginia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Part 1 - The Sovereign States 1
  • 3 - The Articles of Confederation 8
  • 4 - "We the People" 10
  • 5 - The States in the Constitution 13
  • 6 - The Prophetic Mr. Henry 18
  • 7 - The States Ratify 28
  • Part 2 - The Right to Interpose 49
  • 3 - Debt Assumption 53
  • 4 - The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions 58
  • 5 - Mr. Madison's Report of 1799 62
  • Part 3 - The States Fight Back * 99
  • 1 - The Olmstead Case 101
  • 3 - The Embargo Crisis 118
  • 4 - Matters of the Militia 132
  • 6 - The Hartford Convention 136
  • 7 - The Bank of the United States 139
  • 8 - Internal Improvements 144
  • 9 - Kentucky Vs. the Court 158
  • 10 - Georgia Vs. the Court 161
  • 11 - Calhoun and Nullification 174
  • 12 - The Case for Nullification 186
  • 14 - The Obligation of Contracts 199
  • 15 - After the War 216
  • 16- The Reconstruction Cases 222
  • 17 - The Commerce Clause (commenced) 231
  • 18 - Interlude in a Speakeasy 242
  • Part 4 - The States Today 253
  • 1 - The Southern States 255
  • 3 - Some Notes on Police Power 258
  • 4 - The Transcendent Issue 277
  • Notes 309
  • Table of Cases and Index 331
  • Table of Cases 333
  • Index 337
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