I assume that we, as Americans, share a common value for liberty and freedom, and everything I wish to say goes toward the preservation of those values. The unity of Government, which constitutes you one people, is also dear to you. This is as it should be, since a unified government is what forms the basis of real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very Liberty, which we so highly prize. Since the beginning, forces have tried to pull it apart, from inside and out. It is imperative that you properly estimate the immense value of your national Union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the absolute necessity of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion, that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts. All this is in your best interest. A citizen, by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you as a nation, must always be synonymous with Patriotism, more than any loyalty derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the Independence and Liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts, of common dangers, sufferings, and successes. But these incentives, however powerfully you believe in them, are greatly outweighed by those, which apply more immediately to your interests. Here every portion of our country finds the most commanding motives for carefully guarding and preserving the Union of the whole. To the efficacy and permanency of our Union, a Government for the whole is indispensable. Addressing the party system which has developed in our nation, no alliances, however strict, between the parts can be an adequate substitute; they must inevitably experience the infractions and interruptions, which all alliances in all times have experienced. Knowing this, our forefathers wrote up a Constitution of Government better calculated than any in history. Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true Liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish Government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established Government. The political parties and factions which we have allowed to develop in our nation must never be viewed as higher than the Union as a whole. They may now and then answer to popular ends, but they have become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to, for themselves, take control of government; destroying afterwards the very engines, which have lifted them to unjust dominion. Towards the preservation of your government, and the permanency of our nation, it is not only necessary to obey the Constitution, but to refrain from taking innovative, creative liberties with its provisions for revision, what many call loose construction. To make, in the forms of the constitution, alterations, which will impair the workings of the system, and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown, is a direct assault against the government. We have seen this in the way that the checks and balances of the system have shifted. In all the changes to which you may be invited, remember that time and habit are at least as necessary to fix the true character of governments, as of other human institutions; that experience is the surest standard, by which to test the real tendency of the existing constitution of a country; and remember, especially, that, for the efficient management of our common interests, in a country so extensive as ours, a government of as much passion as is consistent with the perfect security of liberty is indispensable. Liberty itself will find in such a government, with powers properly distributed and adjusted, its surest guardian. It is, indeed, little else than a name, where the government is too feeble to withstand the enterprises of faction, to confine each member of the society within the limits prescribed by the laws, and to maintain all in the secure and tranquil enjoyment of the rights of person and property. It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution, in those entrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositories, and constituting each to guard the public against invasions by the others, has been shown by experiments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way, which the constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation (the Supreme Court would do well to pay attention); for, though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit, which the use can at any time yield. Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. Any man who works to undermine these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens, can never claim to be a patriot or an American, and has no place in this great nation. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the senses of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us be careful to think that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. It is substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who, that is a sincere friend of America, can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric? Therefore, let us not allow America to fall to those who believe that the Constitution must be adapted to modern circumstances, or that God is may be dismissed since people are naturally good and enlightened through science. There is plenty of evidence to the contrary. Let us continue to place our trust in God and religion for goodness and morality, trust in tradition for our safety, and trust in the just authority of our Constitution for our true freedom and liberty. This, my friends, is the American way.