It is not meant, by stating this case, to insinuate that the Constitutionwould warrant a law of this kind! Or unnecessarily to alarm the fears of thepeople, by suggesting that the Federal legislature would be more likely to passthe limits assigned them by the Constitution, than that of an individual State,further than they are less responsible to the people. But what is meant is,that the legislature of the United States are vested with the great anduncontrollable powers of laying and collecting taxes, duties, imposts, andexcises; of regulating trade, raising and supporting armies, organizing, arming,and disciplining the militia, instituting courts, and other general powers; andare by this clause invested with the power of making all laws, proper andnecessary, for carrying all these into execution; and they may so exercise thispower as entirely to annihilate all the State governments, and reduce thiscountry to one single government. And if they may do it, it is pretty certainthey will; for it will be found that the power retained by individual States,small as it is, will be a clog upon the wheels of the government of the UnitedStates; the latter, therefore, will be naturally inclined to remove it out ofthe way. Besides, it is a truth confirmed by the unerring experience of ages,that every man, and every body of men, invested with power, are ever disposed toincrease it, and to acquire a superiority over everything that stands in theirway. This disposition, which is implanted in human nature, will operate in theFederal legislature to lessen and ultimately to subvert the State authority, andhaving such advantages, will most certainly succeed, if the Federal governmentsucceeds at all. It must be very evident, then, that what this Constitutionwants of being a complete consolidation of the several parts of the union intoone complete government, possessed of perfect legislative, judicial, andexecutive powers, to all intents and purposes, it will necessarily acquire inits exercise in operation.
[Second]. The second class is composed of those descriptions of men who arecertainly more numerous with us than in any other part of the globe. First,those men who are so wise as to discover that their ancestors and indeed all therest of mankind were and are fools. We have a vast overproportion of thesegreat men, who, when you tell them that from the earliest period at whichmankind devoted their attention to social happiness, it has been their uniformjudgment, that a government over governments cannot exist - that is twogovernments operating on the same individual - assume the smile of confidence, andtell you of two people travelling the same road - of a perfect and precisedivision of the duties of the individual. Still, however, the politicalapothegm is as old as the proverb - That no man can serve two masters - and whoeverwill run their noddles against old proverbs will be sure to break them, howeverhard they may be. And if they broke only their own, all would be right; but itis very horrible to reflect that all our numskulls must be cracked in concert. Second. The trimmers, who from sympathetic indecision are always united with,and when not regularly employed, always fight under the banners of these greatmen, These people are forever at market, and when parties are nearly equallydivided, they get very well paid for their services. Thirdly. The indolent,that is almost every second man of independent fortune you meet with inAmerica - these are quite easy, and can live under any government. If men can besaid to live, who scarcely breathe; and if breathing was attended with anybodily exertion, would give up their small portion of life in despair. Thesemen do not swim with the stream as the trimmers do, but are dragged like mud atthe bottom. As they have no other weight than their fat flesh, they are hardlyworth mentioning when we speak of the sentiments and opinions of America. Asthis second class never can include any of the yeomanry of the union, who neveraffect superior wisdom, and can have no interests but the public good, it can beonly said to exist at the birth of government, and as soon as the first andthird classes become more decided in their views, this will divide with each anddissipate like a mist, or sink down into what are called moderate men, andbecome the tools and instruments of others. These people are prevented by acloud from having any view; and if they are not virtuous, they at least preservethe appearance, which in this world amounts to the same thing.
This constitution considers the people of the several states as one bodycorporate, and is intended as an original compact; it will therefore dissolveall contracts which may be inconsistent with it. This not only results from itsnature, but is expressly declared in the 6th article of it. The design of theconstitution is expressed in the preamble, to be, "in order to form a moreperfect union, to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide forthe common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings ofliberty to ourselves and posterity. " These are the ends this government isto accomplish, and for which it is invested with certain powers; among these isthe power "to make all laws which are necessary and proper for carryinginto execution the foregoing powers and all other powers vested by thisconstitution in the government of the United States, or in any department orofficer thereof. "
It is agreed by most of the advocates of this new system, that thegovernment which is proper for the United States should be a confederated one;that the respective states ought to retain a portion of their sovereignty, andthat they should preserve not only the forms of their legislatures, but also thepower to conduct certain internal concerns. How far the powers to be retainedby the states are to extend, is the question; we need not spend much time onthis subject, as it respects this constitution, for a government without powerto raise money is one only in name. It is clear that the legislatures of therespective states must be altogether dependent on the will of the generallegislature, for the means of supporting their government. The legislatureofthe United States will have a right to exhaust every source of revenue in everystate, and to annul all laws of the states which may stand in the way ofeffecting it; unless therefore we can suppose the state governments can existwithout money to support the officers who execute them, we must conclude theywill exist no longer than the general legislatures choose they should. Indeedthe idea of any government existing, in any respect, as an independent one,without any means of support in their own hands, is an absurdity. If therefore,this constitution has in view, what many of its framers and advocates say ithas, to secure and guarantee to the separate states the exercise of certainpowers of government, it certainly ought to have left in their hands somesources of revenue. It should have marked the line in which the generalgovernment should have raised money, and set bounds over which they should notpass, leaving to the separate states other means to raise supplies for thesupport of their governments, and to discharge their respective debts. To thisit is objected, that the general government ought to have power competent to thepurposes of the union; they are to provide for the common defense, to pay thedebts of the United States, support foreign ministers, and the civilestablishment of the union, and to do these they ought to have authority toraise money adequate to the purpose. On this I observe, that the stategovernments have also contracted debts; they require money to support theircivil officers; . . . if they give to the general government a power to raisemoney in every way in which it can possibly be raised, with . . . a control overthe state legislatures as to prohibit them, whenever the general legislature maythink proper, from raising any money, (the states will fail]. It is againobjected that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to draw the line ofdistinction between the powers of the general and state governments on thissubject. The first, it is said, must have the power to raise the moneynecessary for the purposes of the union; if they are limited to certain objectsthe revenue may fall short of a sufficiency for the public exigencies; they musttherefore have discretionary power. The line may be easily and accurately drawnbetween the powers of the two governments on this head. The distinction betweenexternal and internal taxes, is not a novel one in this country. It is a plainone, and easily understood. The first includes impost duties on all importedgoods; this species of taxes it is proper should be laid by the generalgovernment; many reasons might be urged to show that no danger is to beapprehended from their exercise of it. They may be collected in few places, andfrom few hands with certainty and expedition. But few officers are necessary tobe employed in collecting them, and there is no danger of oppression in layingthem, because if they are laid higher than trade will bear, the merchants willcease importing, or smuggle their goods. We have therefore sufficient security,arising from the nature of the thing, against burdensome, and intolerableimpositions from this kind of tax. The case is far otherwise with regard todirect taxes; these include poll taxes, land taxes, excises, duties on writteninstruments, on everything we eat, drink, or wear; they take hold of everyspecies of property, and come home to every man's house and pocket. These areoften so oppressive, as to grind the face of the poor, and render the lives ofthe common people a burden to them. The great and only security the people canhave against oppression from this kind of taxes, must rest in theirrepresentatives. If they are sufficiently numerous to be well informed of thecircumstances, . . . and have a proper regard for the people, they will besecure. The general legislature, as I have shown in a former paper, will not bethus qualified,' and therefore, on this account, ought not to exercise the powerof direct taxation. If the power of laying imposts will not be sufficient, someother specific mode of raising a revenue should have been assigned the generalgovernment; many may be suggested in which their power may be accurately definedand limited, and it would be much better to give them authority to lay andcollect a duty on exports, not to exceed a certain rate per cent, than to havesurrendered every kind of resource that the country has, to the completeabolition of the state governments, and which will introduce such an infinitenumber of laws and ordinances, fines and penalties, courts, and judges,collectors, and excisemen, that when a man can number them, he may enumerate thestars of Heaven.
Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the severalstates which may be included within this union according to their respectivenumbers. This seems to imply, that we shall be taxed by the poll again, whichis contrary to our Bill of Rights. But it is possible that the rich men, whoare the great land holders, will tax us in this manner, which will exempt themfrom paying assessments on their great bodies of land in the old and new partsof the United States; many of them having but few taxable by the poll. Ourgreat Lords and Masters are to lay taxes, raise and support armies, provide anavy, and may appropriate money for two years, call forth the militia to executetheir laws, suppress insurrections, and the President is to have the command ofthe militia. Now, my countrymen, I would ask you, why are all these thingsdirected and put into their power? Why, I conceive, they are to keep you in agood humor; and if you should, at any time, think you are imposed upon byCongress and your great Lords and Masters, and refuse or delay to pay yourtaxes, or do anything that they shall think proper to order you to do, they can,and I have not a doubt but they will, send the militia of Pennsylvania, Boston,or any other state or place, to cut your throats, ravage and destroy yourplantations, drive away your cattle and horses, abuse your wives, kill yourinfants, and ravish your daughters, and live in free quarters, until you getinto a good humor, and pay all that they may think proper to ask of you, and youbecome good and faithful servants and slaves. (1) Such things have been done, andI have no doubt will be done again, if you consent to the adoption of this newFederal Government. You labored under many hardships while the Britishtyrannized over you! You fought, conquered and gained your liberty - then keepit, I pray you, as a precious jewel. Trust it not out of your own hands; beassured, if you do, you will never more regain it. The train is laid, the matchis on fire, and they only wait for yourselves to put it to the train, to blow upall your liberty and commonwealth governments, and introduce aristocracy andmonarchy, and despotism will follow of course in a few years. Four-yearsPresident will be in time a King for life; and after him, his son, or he thathas the greatest power among them, will be King also. View your danger, andfind out good men to represent you in convention - men of your own profession andstation in life; men who will not adopt this destructive and diabolical form ofa federal government. There are many among you that will not be led by the noseby rich men, and would scorn a bribe. Rich men can live easy under anygovernment, be it ever so tyrannical. They come in for a great share of thetyranny, because they are the ministers of tyrants, and always engross theplaces of honor and profit, while the greater part of the common people are ledby the nose, and played about by these very men, for the destruction ofthemselves and their class. Be wise, be virtuous, and catch the precious momentas it passes, to refuse this newfangled federal government, and extricateyourselves and posterity from tyranny, oppression, aristocratical or monarchicalgovernment. . . .
Massachusetts was satisfied that these internal commotions were so happilysettled, and was unwilling to risk any similar distresses by theoreticexperiments. Were the Eastern States willing to enter into this measure? Werethey willing to accede to the proposal of Virginia? In what manner was itreceived? Connecticut revolted at the idea. The Eastern States, sir, wereunwilling to recommend a meeting of a convention. They were well aware of thedangers of revolutions and changes. Why was every effort used, and suchuncommon pains taken, to bring it about? This would have been unnecessary, hadit been approved of by the people. Was Pennsylvania disposed for the receptionof this project of reformation? No, sir. She was even unwilling to amend herrevenue laws, so as to make the five per centum operative. She was satisfiedwith things as they were. There was no complaint, that ever I heard of, fromany other part of the Union, except Virginia. This being the case amongourselves, what dangers were there to be apprehended from foreign nations? Itwill be easily shown that dangers from that quarter were absolutely imaginary. Was not France friendly? Unequivocally so. She was devising new regulations ofcommerce for our advantage. Did she harass us with applications for her money? Is it likely that France will quarrel with us? Is it not reasonable to supposethat she will be more desirous than ever to cling, after losing the Dutchrepublic, to her best ally? How are the Dutch? We owe them money, it is true;and are they not willing that we should owe them more? Mr. [John] Adams appliedto them for a new loan to the poor, despised Confederation. They readilygranted it. The Dutch have a fellow-feeling for us. They were in the samesituation with ourselves.
The number of trade unions increased, formed by railway workers, teachers, post and telegraph workers, marine staff, civil servants, and others. There were other associations in the cities formed along ethnic lines (for example, Ibo State Union) or town lines (Oyo Progressive Union). More associations emerged in the 1940s as hundreds of people entered wage employment. Nationalist leaders could mobilize these associations for support. More importantly, the workers had a platform from which to organize protest. In 1945, labor unions were strong enough to embark upon a general strike for fifty-two days. The strike was a challenge to the government, it enabled the trade unions and the nationalist movement to fuse, and it revealed the advantages of cooperation and the usefulness of threats to gain concessions. The north, which had been excluded from most of the previous nationalist agitations, was drawn into the strike, thus spreading nationalism and political consciousness to a region that the British had sheltered against new ideas. Many became emboldened to make demands for a transfer of power. In the early 1940s, trade union leaders and students submitted memoranda to the government and wrote essays in the media calling for the takeover of power. In 1941, WASU called for the creation of “a united Nigeria with a Federal Constitution.” Two years later, the same organization demanded ten years of representative government to precede five years of full responsible government led by Nigerians.
In 1948, the colonial government granted a number of concessions – the “turning point” towards decolonization. It reformed the Richards Constitution and announced measures to Nigerianize the civil service, democratize the Native Authorities, and expand higher education. Political reforms were introduced. Emerging leaders began to call for greater regional autonomy, creating associations to fight for this. The problems of ethnic politics that would consume Nigeria for the rest of the century had begun. Among the causes of ethnicity were the regional disparities created by colonialism, the competition in the urban environment for limited resources, and the instrumentalization of ethnicity by emerging politicians seeking the fastest means to mobilize support. Regional feelings eventually led to the emergence of regionally-based political parties. The Action Group (AG), based in the west, was led by Obafemi Awolowo, who used the Yoruba creation myth and the importance of the ancestral town of Ile-Ife to create a cultural organization, the Egbe Omo Oduduwa — “the descendants of Oduduwa” — that was transformed into a political party in 1951. The Northern People’s Congress (NPC), established in 1949, revived the memory of the Caliphate of the nineteenth century and used Islam to create a solid party for the north. A second major party emerged in the north, the left-wing Northern Elements Progressive Union ( NEPU), led by Aminu Kano. The NCNC, which had started as a national party, became the party of the east, controlled by the Igbo. Things would never be the same again as the leaders abandoned pan-Nigerian issues and focused more and more on regional concerns. Within one generation, nationalists became tribalists, interested in independence for narrow gains. Regional Houses of Assembly and a central Federal Parliament were established.
Some crucial developments that occurred during this period include the alliance that the colonial state struck with the remnants of the Caliphate rulers. Based on that alliance, the latter sustained the view that their empire was still intact and with high prospects of continuing its Southward expansion. This was so in spite of the absence of an army under their command and control. They believed that the alliance between themselves and the colonial state implied the protection of their interests by the latter. It was in the course of this period that most Southern cities and urban centers became cradles of nationalism and anti-colonial activism. But if conventional wisdom were to hold true, older cities in the North ought to have served this end. That the reverse was the case is not only symbolic in this essay, it underscores an earlier point that unlike in the North, the colonial state could not find the grounds for any meaningful interaction and exchange with the Southern groups who sustained their resistance to it. Another development that took place in the course of this period is that the colonial state was unable to find or create a basis to facilitate any meaningful interaction and exchange with the Southern groups who sustained their resistance to it through riots, other acts of open insubordination, and subsequently by way of nationalism.