"The attributes of sovereignty are now enjoyed by every state in the Union."
by:
Alexander Hamilton
(1757-1804) American statesman, Secretary of the Treasury
Source:
Commentaries on the Constitution, Vol. III, p 287
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Sovereignty over who or what? I thought the individual was sovereign. Did the people delegate their sovereignty to the states? Does any one know in what context this was said?
 -- Dan     
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    An aspect of freedom and liberty that is now so far diminished that it renders sovereignty almost invisible. Each individual is sovereign. When a sovereign sends a deputy (legally descriptive, not necessarily an executive office), legal spokesman, or lawful or otherwise political representative to a body of other such representatives, delegating authority to act in his behalf, his (the individual) sovereignty then becomes an integral aspect of the body politic, the State becomes a sovereign representative of its united sovereigns. In exact simile, the federal government becomes a sovereign state by its organized body of sovereign state representatives. Each individual in every jurisdiction within and including the United States, is a king or queen, a Caesar.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    He did say attributes... The sovereignty of the individual is absolute and his birth right - what happens after that is any body's guess. But in reality no individual, state, of country, is totally independent - no individual, state, of country can afford the luxury of supreme authority.
     -- RobertSRQ     
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    I suspect that Hamilton was referring to "States Rights", an idea that has disappeared since the feds and the Supreme Court now control our country.
     -- jim k, austin     
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    Sovereignity means absolute authority. There can be only one sovereign within a geographic area. Some person or entity may have sovereignity for a particular issue which cannot be interfered with even by the general sovereign. Thus the individual is sovereign concerning what he may eat for breakfast. For the benefit of living together we give up sovereignity to ever larger groups and governments. Definitionally once given up it cannot legally be taken back at will but can only be given back by the upstream soveregin. The only other recourse would be to arms. Further if you by into the argument that their can be only one absolute authority by definition then people (plural) cannot be sovereign but the people (singular) can be. Hamilton was probably waxing poetic about the state of affairs after freedom from the Crown and adoption of the Constitution.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    A republican form of government recognizes its subordination to the people who hold the sovereignty in this land. It starts with a sovereign citizen holding allodial title to his land upon which the government has no claim or right (BTW, this was revolutionary -- no where in Europe could the common man hold sovereign title to land). Then when enough of these sovereigns wish to join together they incorporate a 'town' and agree on some by-laws -- but it is out of their sovereign power that they do so, and their sovereign title to their land remains in tact. Then towns may choose to incorporate into counties, and counties into states, and states into confederations -- but the sovereigns are still the sovereigns. If the committees of any of these associations acquire the power to oppress any of the others, the sovereigns may disassociate themselves and withdraw from the compact that united them. The sovereigns are responsible for taking care of themselves and bonding together for a common defense and common good -- it does not take anything away from their sovereign powers and responsibilities -- that is how these associations are formed in the first place. Hamilton was not waxing poetic -- he was acknowledging the 'more perfect union' formed by the Constitution and the fact that the states in their sovereign capacity are indeed still free and independent nations. All one has to do is read The Federalist Papers and the Debates on the Constitution to understand that they knew exactly who they were and what they were doing. (contrary to Waffler's McHistory.)
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Archer, thank you, said very well. Logan in the past has described the difference between lawful acts of a sovereign and unlawful acts of a criminal, as well as the effects of justice on both. Waffler, your incredulous pride of ignorance, only surpassed by an unwillingness or inability to grasp the simplest lawful concepts of freedom is disheartening if not down right scary. It is fine that as a slave at mind and heart you worship at the alter of your sovereign master, but all do not suffer under your religious or political confines. Your definition of sovereignty, and the transfer thereof, is foreign and absurd to the original American Jurisprudence. I am the owner of a business. I have salesmen and others that represent the company and me. I delegate authority to them to act in the company's and my best interest. They are representatives of mine. By hiring them, I did not give up any sovereignty, ownership, or authority. My representatives simply expand my self expression. The same is true of political relationships. As in business, my political representative(s) can not represent anything that I am not. If it doesn't exist, a less than vacuum can not be represented. My elected officials can only expand my sovereign self. My representative(s) can not exceed me in authority, power, sovereignty, etc., that is the fundamental difference between the genius of the U.S.'s founders and all other nations. As Archer so apply put it, (I paraphrase) the government, at all levels is nothing more than a representative extension of sovereigns. When the sovereign is no longer represented in any given arena, he is by default not a party to the new de facto regime. As you once said Waffler, I may be a man without a country. Hamilton's quote here has made a fairytale's opening line 'once upon a time, in a land far, far away' a startling reality.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Mike a soverergin has absolute authority. If you have absolute authority then you sir can do anything you want to do.You may break any law and command any police force to leave you alone. You sir are not a soveregin you are are a subject of the Constitution. The Constitution is the Supreme Law or Soveregin of this Land. Since our Constitution dictates a democratic form of government you together with your fellows and your enemies in society execise a brief form of temporary absolute power on election day. Archer one day we claim we are under the Articles the next day the Constitution. Keep us posted where you wonder off to next. Mike you Archer and Logan state that you believe that the Union is not "indivisible" but "divisible" thus you and they may or may not be men without a country but you are traitors to the idea, concept and fact of the indivisbility of the Union. Archer if any of the western states wish to go their own way let us make sure that they give all of the land that belongs to us the people of the United States who own it since it was obtained by Washington, DC in our name.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    Waffler, you are confusing a sovereign with a dictator. You apparently are confused about 'rights' and 'power.' As an advocate of democracy, you are an advocate of 'might makes right' so it is not hard to see how you confuse the issue. If in fact you could acknowledge that might does not make right, that indeed every person on the planet cannot be compelled to obey any authority but his own conscience, that each of us are responsible for taking care of ourselves, respecting the rights of others, has dignity, deserves the fruit of his own labors, should be secure on one's own property, safe from the arbitrary will of despots and jealous mobs, then you might begin to understand what it means to be a sovereign. The Union is a voluntary union -- it was a unanimous union -- none joined by force, and none gave up any rights to leave should the hired help decide to usurp their assigned roles -- otherwise what do you think Madison meant when he said, "[A]ll power is originally vested in, and consequently derived from, the people. That government is instituted and ought to be exercised for the benefit of the people; which consists in the enjoyment of life and liberty and the right of acquiring property, and generally of pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety. That the people have an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform or change their government whenever it be found adverse or inadequate to the purpose of its institution."? By the same sovereign power we enter into a compact with those that wish to 'govern,' we have the same right to withdraw our support for the charter when it attempts to exceed its limited jurisdictions. I am sovereign of only what is mine -- my body, my property, my ideas, my words, my loyalty, my labors, my land -- and so are you. If however you choose to ignore your responsibilities and make yourself a ward of the state, the state has no obligation to take care of you other than to perhaps put you into an institution. Someone like that is meant only to be a slave -- and since his slavery is voluntary, he wishes his wretchedness on everyone else, too. His creed becomes, "tax the rich and give it to me." And in a democracy, if enough of them can become a majority, they can simply vote away all that is not theirs -- no different than a king that lays claim to everything by divine right. The despotism of which you speak is not sovereignty but lust for power. And our Constitutions were written to balance and check power from any and all whose ambitions are aimed upon the rights and properties of another. BTW, each territory when it joined the Union has land patents signed by the President which transfers all rights to the land owner and his assigns -- no further claim to that land can anyone make, no more than the Queen of England can claim the land of the USA as hers. The federal government is not allowed to own land other than Washington, D.C. and a FEW parks for memorials (not the millions of acres that they currently 'own' in the West). Oregon and any other state is sovereign, the land belongs to the people, not to the state or Washington, DC. Our government is a Constitutional Federal Republic, not a National Socialist Democracy -- learn the difference.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    I speak of democracy in the same way and with the same love for it as Churchill, Bush and hundreds of other political leaders down through the eons of time. In a democracy thank God no one has absolute authority but the people taken together are sovereign. You protest to much Archer, keep it simple and most of all honest.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    E Archer, Thank you, your explanation makes sense with what I understand has been a big help. Who is this Waffler? Whew!
     -- Dan     
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    The truth cannot always be whiddled down to a sound bite, Waffler. No one questions your allegiance to democracy, only your allegiance to the inalienable rights of humankind. How many votes does it take to vote away your rights? One -- your own.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    If Bush had a love of democracy, Gore would have been the president. But since the US is not a democracy, and the president is elected in the Electoral College which is hardly representative of a democracy, Bush won the presidency even though Gore had the majorty of the popular vote. Churchill was a British Prime Minister of a Monarchy -- he does not speak for the US or the Constitution upon which it is founded.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    I second that E Archer. The U.S. is NOT A DEMOCRACY! IT IS A REPUBLIC and the only place democracy entered in was the election of govt. officials. But even that system is corrupt now.
     -- Dan     
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