War Power of the President

3 and puts sovereignty nowhere. Rejecting this mysterious doctrine, therefore, we must admit, either the unlimited right of the government to defend itself, or the right of the South to break up the government. There is no middle ground. This brief deduction of constitutional principles, conclusive in itself as it seems to be, is specifically endorsed and confirmed by this clause of the Constitution: u Before he enters on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation: I do solemnly swear (or affirm), that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and de fend the Constitution of the United States.” This clause commands the Constitution to be preserved, protected, and defended, not conditionally, not in any particular manner, not by any limited means, and not in subordination to the dicta of judges or anybody else; but to the full extent of the President's ability. This language sounds very much as if the first object of the Constitution is to preserve and perpetuate itself. Paramount to everything else, it shall be preserved, protected, and defended. Such is the palpable import of the language. Now, to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, it is indispensable that this rebellion shall be suppressed; so that this clause plainly and unequivocally requires and commands that the rebellion shall be put down by any efficient and necessary means whatever. And it constitutes and appoints the President the chief agent of the nation to do this work. It swears him to do it to the best of his ability, whiles it does not require any other man to be so sworn. Other officers are sworn simply to support the Constitution—he is sworn to preserve, protect, and defend it. To support the Constitution is to uphold it by our ordinary influence and not oppose it; to preserve, protect, and defend it to the best of one’s ability, is to seek out its enemies who make war upon it, and their aids and comforters, and put them down. Constitutionally appointed commander-in chief, for this purpose, too, the President is the embodiment of the unlimited national sovereignty for the active work of preserving, protecting, and defending the Constitution ; in other words, for suppressing rebellion. Whatever the nation has a right to do in this behalf, he is the lawful agent to do. with all the material means placed at his command by Congress. Therefore, the Constitution is imperative that he shall suppress this rebellion by any and all needful measures, to the best of his