Second Speech On Foot's Resolution Quotes

"Liberty And Union, Now And Forever, One And Inseparable!"

Context: Daniel Webster, probably the most eloquent orator in the history of American politics, is of primary importance as the champion of the nationalistic view of the federal constitution. His lengthy reply (January 26-27, 1830) to Senator Robert Y. Hayne of South Carolina is one of the most eloquent statements of his position. The debate between Webster and Hayne was not a model one, for the resolution under consideration (that the Committee on Public Lands report all lands remaining to be sold in each state or territory) received scant attention from either senator. The real issue was the extent to which such lands could be controlled by the central government. The New England senator argued long and passionately for a powerful federal government which would maintain ultimate control over the individual states. In his peroration he pleads:

. . . When my eyes shall be turned to behold for the last time the sun in heaven, may I not see him shining on the broken and dishonored fragments of a once glorious Union; on States dissevered, discordant, belligerent; on a land rent with civil feuds, or drenched, it may be, in fraternal blood! Let their last feeble and lingering glance rather behold the gorgeous ensign of the republic, now known and honored throughout the earth, still full high advanced, . . . bearing for its motto, no such miserable interrogatory as "What is all this worth?" nor those other words of delusion and folly, "Liberty first and Union afterwards"; but . . . that other sentiment, dear to every true American heart,–Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!