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REPUBLIC OR EMPIRE?

Argument

IN OPPOSITION TO THE ESTABLISHMENT

OF AN AMERICAN COLONIAL

SYSTEM

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REPUBLIC OR EMPIRE?

One of the various arguments which are advanced by the advocates and the supporters of the President's policy of territorial expansion is that the commercial interests of the United States imperatively demand that the markets of the old world should be thrown open to our surplus products. This is the principal ground upon which Senator Beveridge of Indiana, in his recent speech in the Senate, sought to justify the war which the Federal administration is now waging against the inhabitants of the Philippine Islands, As this speech is said correctly to represent the views of the President and of his coadjutors, it is worthy of more serious consideration than it would command were it merely an expression of the individual opinions of its author; and for that reason the writer of this article will inquire whether or not a colonial system can be inaugurated by the United States consistently with the fundamental principles upon which our Government was founded.

Conceding for the purpose of this discussion the truth of all that the Senator has said concerning the great advantages which would accrue to our people by creating an increased demand for their manufactures and other products among the inhabitants of our so-called "new possessions," the question as to how a colonial system can be established or maintained under our Constitution as it now reads must first be considered; for no legislation by Congress which is contrary to the provisions of, or is forbidden by, that «y instrument can be valid and binding upon our citizens.' If, after a careful examination thereof, it should appear that such a system is authorized thereby, we may then decide whether or not it ought to be adopted; and if we should be convinced that colonies would be advantageous to us we may proceed to establish them. If, however, that system is contrary to the Constitution, the first step to be taken in

that direction must be to amend that instrument accordingly, if such an amendment can and will accomplish that result,— a question which will be considered in a subsequent part of this article.

It becomes necessary, therefore, to examine the nature of the Federal Government and to ascertain what are the powers which it may rightfully exercise. It is a fundamental principle of our political system that all sovereignty resides in and flows from the people and that no power can be rightfully exercised by any department of the Government which is not conferred upon it by the Constitution -either expressly or by necessary implication. So important was this principle considered by the people of the United States that very soon after the Constitution was adopted Article X. of the Amendments thereto was submitted by Congress to the Legislatures of the several States and ratified by a sufficient number thereof to insure its adoption as a part of that instrument. That Article reads as follows:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

As the Government established by the Constitution is one of limited scope, we are thus led to inquire whether or not there is any provision thereof which authorizes Congress to establish or to maintain colonies or provinces in various parts of the world. Before examining the provision thereof by which this power is alleged to have been conferred upon that body it is necessary to call the attention of the reader to the preamble thereto which specifies the purposes for which that instrument was ordained and established, as all legislation by Congress in order to be valid must be in accordance with, and not repugnant to, those purposes. That preamble is in the following words : —

"We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves

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