The American doctrine is the logical resultant of the philosophy of the Revolution. If men are all equal in the sense that they have equal rights, if they form governments to protect those rights, then there must be somewhere a fundamental set of rules which delineates those rights and lays down the terms on which the protection is granted. If the protecting agent destroys what he is created to protect, then the process is simple enough ; society simply appoints another agent who will observe its instructions and abide by the fundamental law. From this assumption develops normally the American doctrine that a law against the constitution is void, and no government can put it into effect, because as no fountain can rise above its source, no government can be above the law of the constitution.
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