A constitution, in the American sense of the word, is a written instrument by which the fundamental powers of the government are established, limited, and defined, and by which these powers are distributed among several departments, for their more safe and useful exercise, for the benefit of the body politic.
History teaches us, in no mistaken language, how often customs and practices, which were originated without lawful warrant, and opposed to the sound construction of the law, have come to overload and pervert it, as commentators on the text of Holy Scripture have established doctrines wholly at variance with its true spirit.
It is a very great mistake, and a very common one, even for well-read persons, to adopt the idea that the progress of the human race in the science of government, in the arts of civilization and refinement, and in the establishment of morality and religion, has been constantly and steadily towards improvement and perfection.
Naturalization is the process by which a citizen, or subject of a foreign nation or kingdom, is made a citizen of the United States. It is evident that the Constitutional Convention thought that it was important that this process should be placed under the exclusive control of the Federal Government and not of the States.