Skip to main content

Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

thoughtful men becoming tired of them. Another question
. in the opposite direction is whether the constitution provides
sufficiently against its own disintegration. This used to be
the string on which those pulled who did not trust to any-
thing in the shape of a confederation, and they were fortified
in their opinion by the history of the breaking up of other
similar governments. The strength of the central administra-
tion had never been fully tested, nor the feeling in the states
towards the union. This feeling was miscalculated and under-
rated not only by political philosophers in Europe, but also
by the advocates of nullification in this country. That there
should have been a powerful party in one part of the union
holding opinions hostile to the true sense of the constitution,
that this party should really have had the government in its
hands the greater part of half a century, that it should have
conceived that there would be no great struggle in cutting in
two the country, shows that the opinion as to where the great-
est danger lay was not wholly, illusive. But it must be re-
membered that slavery in a number of contiguous states gave
facilities for combination which the variety of interests in the
northern states rendered impracticable in that quarter ; that
the southern power, although essentially aristocratic, played
with and governed the most democratic of the northern par-
ties ; and that they were misled by the belief that the north
would not try force to preserve the union and to compel them
to stay in it. Thus they were profoundly ignorant of those
deepest feelings of men in political states, which lie quiet in
the breast until danger actually comes. They felt, indeed,
the strength of the moral antipathy to slavery, and dreaded
it as a factor in future parties, but they did not estimate duly
the strength of the union feeling, which had no chance to
make itself known. It was not the constitution then, simply,
which called the 'north into armed contest, when secession
went into act, but all the feelings, strong beyond any one's
estimate, that clustered around the union in fond loyalty.
The result showed the weakness of the secession or disinte-
gration principle; it showed that the government was pro-