Front Page Titles (by Subject) III. - Address of the Free Constitutionalists to the People of the United States
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III. - Lysander Spooner, Address of the Free Constitutionalists to the People of the United States 
Address of the Free Constitutionalists to the People of the United States (Boston: Thayer & Eldridge, 1860).
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Another proof that the general government must determine for itself, independently of the State governments, who are, and who are not, citizens of the United States, is found in that provision of the constitution, which declares that “the United States shall guarantee to every State of this Union a republican form of government.”
Although the constitution presumes that the State governments will be representative governments, yet this provision for “a republican form of government” certainly requires that the United States shall guarantee to the States something more than a mere representative government; for a government may be a representative government, and yet the constituent body—or the body enjoying the right of suffrage—be so small, and the principles of the government so exclusive and arbitrary, as to make the government a perfect tyranny, as to the great body of the people. A guaranty, therefore, of a representative government simply, would have been of no practical value to the people.
It is plain, too, from another part of the constitution, that the constitution does not mean to imply that a representative form of government is necessarily a republican form of government; because if it did, it would have made some specific provision as to the extent of the suffrage to be enjoyed by the constituent body. Whereas it leaves that matter to be regulated at the discretion of the States respectively.*
It is certain, therefore, that the “republican form of government,” which the United States are bound to guarantee to the States, is something essentially different from, and more than, a representative government, representing such portions only of the whole people as may chance to get the power of a State into their hands, wielding it arbitrarily for their own purposes.
What, then, is implied in this “republican form of government?” This certainly, if no more, is implied—for this must necessarily be implied in the very terms, “a republican form of government,”—viz., that at least all the members of the republic shall enjoy the protection of the laws.
Whatever other disagreements there may be in men’s minds, as to the essential requisites of “a republican form of government,” certainly no man in his senses can deny so self-evident a proposition as this,—that such a government necessarily implies that all the acknowledged members of the republic must be under the protection of the laws.
This being admitted, it follows that the United States must guarantee to each State a government, that shall give the protection of the laws to all the acknowledged members or citizens of the State.
But who are the acknowledged members or citizens of a State? We answer, that, whomsoever else they may, or may not, include, they must certainly include all the citizens of the United States, within the State. This must necessarily be so; because it would be absurd to suppose that those people, in the various States, who united to form the national government, and thereby made themselves citizens of the United States, would also unite to guarantee a republican form of government for each of the separate States, unless they themselves were personally to have the benefit of this guaranty. It certainly cannot be supposed that they would be so foolish and suicidal as to unite to guarantee to others a government within the States, the benefits of which could be denied to themselves, or the power of which could be turned against themselves for purposes of oppression.
This guaranty, then, on the part of the United States, of a “republican form of government” for each State, is a guaranty of a government, under which at least all the citizens of the United States, within the State, shall have the protection of the laws.
From this proposition it follows inevitably that the United States government must determine, independently of the State government, who are the citizens of the United States, within a State; for, otherwise, it could not know when it had fulfilled this guaranty to them of the protection of a republican form of government. The guaranty itself might be wholly or partially defeated, at the pleasure of the State government, if it were left to the State government itself to determine who were, and who were not, among those citizens of the United States, within the State, for whose benefit this guaranty had been made. And the State government might very likely have great motive to defeat the guaranty, either in whole or in part.
It must be borne in mind that this guaranty of a republican form of government to the citizens of the United States, within a State, is a guaranty against the oppressions of any anti-republican form of government, that may succeed in obtaining power in a State. Yet clearly the United States could not protect its own citizens against such anti-republican government within the States, unless it could determine, independently of the State governments, who its own citizens, within the States, were.
We insist that this argument is entirely conclusive to prove that the United States Government must determine, for itself, who are its own citizens within the respective States; and that the constitutions and laws of the States themselves can have nothing whatever to do with the matter.
[* ] “The House of Representatives shall be composed of members, chosen every second year by the people of the several States; and the electors in each State shall have the requisite qualifications for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislature.”—Art. I., sec. 2.