Daniel WebsterDaniel Webster, (1782-1852) US Senator

Daniel Webster Quote

“If the States were not left to leave the Union when their rights were interfered with, the government would have been National, but the Convention refused to baptize it by that name.”

Daniel WebsterDaniel Webster
~ Daniel Webster

June 1, 1837; Works 1:403

Ratings and Comments

Logan, Memphis, TN

Excellent observation! This is why, in political science, we call the USA a "federalism" and not a "nationalism". There is a difference.

Mike, Norwalk

Nationalists had taken power in the Northern States defeating those Southern States that chose to remain united. To the victors go the spoils of war so new concepts were introduced, words changed meanings and liberty's bell began to exponentially ring less. By way of example: The war between the States was called 'civil'; and, the 'Union' (meaning a single national omnipotent/omnipresence of the one master over inferior districts - no longer a united constitutional republic) by imperialistic force dismantled any remaining confederating hopes of federalism or a united relationship. I personally know of 6 States that have had legislation pending in the last several years to leave the Union.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

Editor Daniel Webster died in 1852 as you state under his name above but you state this quote was from 1883. What gives? This quote may have been from his early years as a "states rights" advocate. He certainly changed later becoming a strong advocate for the Federal Government. Many historians believe that by 1776 (175 years afte arriving here) the American people had become a different people as compared to their English and European cousins. Franklin is quoted as saying in the debate for independence "Americans are a new people and they deserve a new "NATION". The war was civil if you believe that Pennsylvanians and Virginians were brothers, sisters, and cousins. If you fail to dig that deep and see only a legal argument debated with guns then you may call it a war between states. I give it thumbs down because it is so untelling about what Websters whole political life was about.

Editor, Liberty Quotes

Thanks, Waffler. The correct source has been updated.

E Archer, NYC

The battle for the world is the battle for definitions. A federal government is not a nation. A federal government is not the country. The nation is the nation, and a country is a country. Confusing government with 'the nation' or even with 'society' is incorrect. All one has to do is read the debates on the Constitution or the writings of the founders at the time of independence and confederation to know that they absolutely knew and understood what a sovereign state was. Webster was an ardent Federalist -- not Nationalist. He wrote and spoke urging New England not to separate from the Union -- he never advocated force to preserve the Union. He believed Liberty and Union to be essential.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

You are correct Archer, but observers from all over the world recognize that the American people or more correctly United States persons are a unique populaton with a unique personality and value system which was as is formed by their history and the early documents of the founding fathers. This nation of people like most nations do try to form and maintain a government.

Logan, Memphis, TN

"One nation under God" was an epitaph of a "nation" that was once united under an overwhelming religious people; this belief in a "God" united a people -- as one "nation" (a group of homogeneous learnings in religion, language, ethnicity, etc.). We are no longer "One nation under God", because we have rejected the notion that a "God" has anything to do with politics or our "nation". This unification of a "nation under God" had nothing to do with the legal status of a "United States".

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

HaHaHa! You ignoramus Logan. Take your own advice Logan and read history. The pledge originally did not have the phrase "under God" even in it. It was added in the early '50's during Eisenhower's term. If you had been paying attention recently Adams was quoted as saying and I paraphrase, "The creation or founding of this nation and constitution was not done by reliance on God or gods but on the reliance of reason alone." Talk about 101 courses where do you get this crap you say. The nation is today as religious and irreligious as it ever was. And the nation has been just as much "under God" in the years before the pledge was ever written circa 1905, (a period from 1776 to circa 1905) during the earlier pledge 1905 to 1950, and under the new "under God" pledge 1950 to present. You never cease to amaze Logan.

E Archer, NYC

Not sure how the Pledge of Allegiance is related to this quote, but it should be noted that the Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister, admitted Christian Socialist, and cousin of Socialist Utopian novelist Edward Bellamy. It was originally accompanied with hand on the heart then outstretched foreward and up with palm facing outward -- just like the salute to Hitler. Bellamy said that the purpose of the pledge was to teach obedience to the state as a virtue and that the United States supports the flag. But what the hey, America is refered to as a Republic -- so why can't Waffler? Logan, I find your arguments often incredibly concise and clear. Of course, we get a lot of practice around here. ;-)

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

The United States is seldom referred to as a Republic only in the pledge. I saw a French aeroplane on TV the other day. On its' side was the words "Republic Francaise". Have never seen the phrase "United States Republic" or "Republic USA" anywhere at anytime. It is however a republic which as we all know means nothing more than that it is sovereign within its borders. The style of this country is "the United States of America" period, nothing more and nothing less.

E Archer, NYC

The United States is referred to as a republic all over the place -- shall we dredge up months of discussions on the topic with hundreds of references to 'republic' by dozens and dozens of statesmen and historians? Ignorance is ignoring what has been plainly put before you -- that is why people call Waffler ignorant. Secondly, the Articles define the stile of the CONFEDERACY not the country. Waffler cannot seem to make the distinction between the country and its form of association or government. The confederation was a compact of sovereign states -- it says so right after declaring the stile of the confederacy. And as the right to contract is preserved, the right to withdraw from an association is of course a sovereign right. Always has been, always will be.

Logan, Memphis, TN

Waffler, was the term "under God" added or not? Of course I know the history of the pledge, you moron; my comments have nothing to do with WHEN the phrase "under God" was added -- just that it was added and used as I stated. Pick your arguments!

Black's Law Dictionary, Revised Fourth Edition, 1968, p. 1176

“A national government is a government of the people of a single state or nation, united as a community by what is termed the “social compact,’ and possessing complete and perfect supremacy over persons and things, so far as they can be made the lawful objects of civil government. A federal government is distinguished from a national government by its being the government of a community of independent and sovereign states, united by compact."

J. D. Crutchfield, Long Island City, NY

I think the quotation is spurious, even though I sympathize with its argument. According to Google Books, the first volume of Webster's Works does not contain the word "baptize". Webster called the United States a "nation" all the time, including in the speech cited (which does not contain the quotation). The purported quotation appears to originate with Mildred Rutherford, who cited "The Federalist", a work of Webster's that does not appear in the Library of Congress's catalogue. She seems to have fabricated it out of material borrowed from Albert Taylor Bledsoe's "The War Between the States". A search of Google Books will provide the texts.

Someone, Lala land

Iv been looking all over the whole damn Internet to find the quote that Daniel Webster said that " inspired the northern soldiers in the civil war" if anyone can help I would be much obliged.

cal, Lewisville, TX

Daniel Webster said the nation is made of people and not states in his argument with David Hayne. He hardly recognized the states.

Ronw13, Yachats Or

If the States were not left to leave !! They would never have any recourse, against Tyranny. These are Not light and transient times. Our Liberty and Freedom are High Dry Ground. Webster was so blatant and in your face.!
William Wordsworth during these times enduring, wrote the poem The Happy Warrior, one should read it now days a lot.

Ronw13, Yachats Or

The mechanism of socialism is present in all associations. It is the judas wanting the purse strings. The lines in the sand were easier to see prior to the civil war. There is a temple of Liberty and Freedom, many come visit twice a week, but can not come and go as they please. Their democracy only goes as far as voting on what's for dinner on Wed night !. In other associations they control leadership. The true leaders of Liberty and Freedom, this honor no man taketh upon himself. Nor is it appointed by a social vote. That is why the sovereign State and Individual have the right to Leave. That is why we formed this nation under God and not the cackling back row.

Mike, Norwalk

A slight caveat to Logan's nation under God. The Declaration of Independence sited the right to separate from political associations (individually and in concert - the State) as well as giving the new association of law - that being the laws of nature and of nature's God. The here designation was not a theocracy but rather, a reference to natural law (that which exists with or without man). The pledge's reference to liberty and justice for all is in harmony with both the God of the original founders as well as the founding secular law jurisprudence. Under the occupying statist theocracy now infesting this land, there is little to no association to the laws of nature and of nature's God (Logan was right there), liberty or justice. Ron13, I like the "formed this nation under God and not the cackling back row".

Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown

Should we not confer a national union of our country's communal processes with the explicit goal of an international unification with all of the territories of the planet earth for peaceful and developmental purposes?

Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown
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Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown Mike, Norwalk 7/8/23

Yes, definitely, Mike Norwalk. We are the world, we are the adults.

Mike, Norwalk

Sillik, you have been extremely obvious and clear, you would rather be a slave in a mandated Borg simile (everyone being captured by the child's mental illness / religion), with no ability to leave that union, than live by nature's law   that being the reality of being a sovereign individual with inalienable rights and liberty. I myself, reject your child's mental illness / religion.  I choose to be free and to enjoy the differences in the noble being.


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