Front Page Titles (by Subject) XII. - Address of the Free Constitutionalists to the People of the United States
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XII. - 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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Turning now from our constitution, as it is in theory, and looking at our government, as it is in practice, what do we find? Do we find our national government securing to all its citizens the rights which it is constitutionally bound to secure to them? No. It does not know, nor even profess to know, foritself, who its own citizens are. It does not even profess to have any citizens, except such as the separate States may see fit to allow it to have. It dares not perform the first political duty towards the people of the United States individually, without first humbly asking the permission of the State governments. It ventures timidly, and hat in hand, within each State, as if fearful of being treated as an intruder, and obsequiously inquires if the State government will be pleased to allow “the supreme law of the land” the privilege of having a few citizens within the State, to save it from falling into contempt, and becoming a dead letter? Shamefacedly confessing its own barrenness, it simply offers itself as a dry nurse to any political children whom the States may see fit to commit partially to its care. Some of the States, confiding in its subserviency and desire to please, graciously suffer the forlorn and harmless creature to busy itself in various subordinate services, such as carrying letters, &c., for all their citizens. Others, less gracious towards it, or less disposed to allow their citizens the luxury of such a servant, give it strict orders to do nothing for these, those, and the others of their people—the exceptions amounting, in some States, to one half of the whole population. And the submissive creature follows these instructions to the letter, living, as it does, in perpetual fear lest the slightest transgression, on its part, should be followed by its summary dismissal from the political household. The only dignity left it is its name. It still calls itself the United States Government; fancies it has citizens of its own, whom it protects; plumes itself, in the eyes of the world, on its greatness and strength; talks contemptuously, and even indignantly, of those governments that suffer their subjects to be oppressed; and ostentatiously proffers its protection to those of all lands who will accept it. Yet all the while the affrighted and imbecile thing sees its own citizens snatched away from it, at the rate of a hundred thousand per annum, by the State governments, and dares neither lift its finger, nor raise its voice, to save one of them from the auctioncer’s block, the slave-driver’s whip, the ravisher’s lust, the kidnapper’s rapacity, or the ruffian’s violence. The number of its living citizens (to say nothing of the dead) of whom it has thus been robbed, amounts at this day to some four millions; and the number doubles in every twenty-five years. Nevertheless, its greatest anxiety still is lest its servility and acquiescence shall not be so complete as to satisfy these kidnappers of its citizens. The only symptom of courage it dares ever exhibit, as against a State, is when it attempts some rapacious or unequal taxation, or commits the unnatural crime of pursuing its own flying citizens, not to protect them, but to subject them again to the tyranny from which they have once escaped.