Annotated Constitution P928


.. Page 928, 929

It may be added that the governing powers reserved to the States are not inferior in origin to the governing powers vested in the Federal Government. The States do not derive their governing powers and institutions from the Federal Government, in the way that municipalities derive their powers from the Parliament of their country. The State Governments were not established by the Federal Government, nor are they in any way dependent upon the Federal Government, except by the special provisions of sec. 119.

The States existed as colonies prior to the passing of the Federal Constitution, and possessed their own charters of government, in the shape of the Constitutions granted to them by the Imperial Parliament. Those charters have been confirmed and continued by the Federal Constitution, not created thereby. Hence, though the powers reserved to the States are not wide, general, and national, no badge of inferiority or subordination can be associated with those powers, or with the State institutions through which they are exercised. State powers and State institutions, Federal powers and Federal institutions, all spring directly from the same supreme source— British sovereignty. The Federal Government and the State Governments are in fact merely different grantees and trustees of power, acting for and on behalf of the people of the Commonwealth. Each of them has to exercise its powers within the limits and in the manner prescribed by the Constitution ; each of them has different powers to be used in different domains for different purposes. The Constitution is the title, the master, and the guardian of all these various governing agencies. At the back of the Federal and State Governments are the quasi-sovereign people of the Commonwealth, organized within the Constitution as a quasi-national State ; they can alter the instrument of government, abolishing existing institutions of government, and substituting new ones, subject only to its special provisions and the Imperial supremacy. The States, therefore, as governing organizations, are not inferior in origin or status to the Federal governing i organizations. Both are equally subject to the law of the Constitution, and equally entitled to its protection. ” The perpetuity and indissolubility of the Union by no means imply the loss of distinct and individual existence, or of the right of self-government by the States. Not only, therefore, can there be no loss of separate and independent autonomy to the States, through their union under the Constitution, but it may not be unreasonably said that the preservation of the States and the maintenance of their
governments are as much within the design and care of the Constitution as the preservation of the Union and the maintenance of the national government.

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