Constitution des Etats-Unis ...

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Abraham Lincoln First Inaugural Address

 Monday, March 4, 1861

Auteur: Ja



.... It is seventy-two years since the first inauguration of a President under our National Constitution. During that period fifteen different and greatly distinguished citizens have in succession administered the executive branch of the Government. They have conducted it through many perils, and generally with great success. Yet, with all this scope of precedent, I now enter upon the same task for the brief constitutional term of four years under great and peculiar difficulty. A disruption of the Federal Union, heretofore only menaced, is now formidably attempted. 11

I hold that in contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution the Union of these States is perpetual. Perpetuity is implied, if not expressed, in the fundamental law of all national governments. It is safe to assert that no government proper ever had a provision in its organic law for its own termination. Continue to execute all the express provisions of our National Constitution, and the Union will endure forever, it being impossible to destroy it except by some action not provided for in the instrument itself .

Again: If the United States be not a government proper, but an association of States in the nature of contract merely, can it, as a contract, be peaceably unmade by less than all the parties who made it? One party to a contract may violate it—break it, so to speak—but does it not require all to lawfully rescind it? 13

Descending from these general principles, we find the proposition that in legal contemplation the Union is perpetual confirmed by the history of the Union itself. The Union is much older than the Constitution. It was formed, in fact, by the Articles of Association in 1774. It was matured and continued by the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It was further matured, and the faith of all the then thirteen States expressly plighted and engaged that it should be perpetual, by the Articles of Confederation in 1778. And finally, in 1787, one of the declared objects for ordaining and establishing the Constitution was "to form a more perfect Union."




The Great Seal of the United States



texte hébergé en  11/04


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The American bald eagle is the most prominent feature of the Seal of the United States. Across the breast of the eagle is a shield with 13 alternating red and white stripes (the pales) representing the 13 original States. Note that the stripes alternate in opposite fashion from the stripes on our flag. On the seal the stripes begin and end with a white stripe, while on the flag the first and last stripe are red. Across the top of the shield is a blue field (chief) that unites all the stripes into one. The blue chief represents the United States Congress. In his talons the eagle grasps an olive branch representing peace, and 13 arrows representing war. These demonstrate our desire for peace but our willingness to defend with might, the Nation the Seal represents.

Above the eagle are thirteen stars inside a circular design, representing a "New Constellation", the same constellation referred to in the blue union of the of the United States Flag. In his beak the eagle grasps a flowing ribbon bearing the first MOTTO of the United States:

E Pluribus Unum

These Latin words are translated "Out of many, One", reminding us that out of many States was born One new Nation.

The similarities between the Great Seal and the United States Flag are no accident. Francis Hopkinson of New Jersey is generally credited with the design for our first flag, the Congress Colors of 1775. He was Chairman of the Continental Navy's Middle Department at the time the Flag Resolution was adopted on June 14, 1777 establishing the "Stars and Stripes" flag, and most historians believe that he was responsible for replacing the British Union Jack of the Congress Colors with the 13 stars of the new flag. He is also generally credited with the design for the Seal of the United States.

**(Years later Francis Hopkinson sent a petition to the Continental Admiralty Board seeking reward for his services in design of these and other early American symbols. In that letter he asked if "a Quarter Cask of the public wine will not be a proper and reasonable reward for these labours of fancy and a suitable encouragement to future exertions of a like nature." His request was denied because he was considered a "public servant", and was ineligible for payment for such services.)
On July 4, 1776, our first Independence Day, the Continental Congress passed a resolution authorizing a committee including Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams to research and devise a National Motto as well a seal for their new Nation. On September 9th Congress gave that new Nation a name, calling it the "United States". During that meeting the motto "E Pluribus Unum" was generally accepted as the Nation's motto, though the official vote did not occur until later. Likewise, the adoption of a National Seal would not occur until much later.

In 1782 Charles Thompson, Secretary of the Continental Congress, introduced this design for the new Seal of the United States. He told the members of Congress:
"The colors of the pales are those used in the flag of the United States of America; White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness and valour, and Blue, the color of the Chief signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice."
On June 20, 1782 Congress approved the design, and the Great Seal of the United States was born. The image of the eagle within the seal became our National "Coat of Arms".

Heraldic devices such as our Great Seal have been in use for centuries. Some of the earliest seals were carved into the face of a ring worn by a monarch. Official documents were quickly recognized by the impression of the king's seal in soft wax applied to the document.
The OBVERSE FRONT of the Great Seal of the United States authenticates the President's signature on many official documents. The Great Seal die, counter die, press and cabinet that contains them are located in the Exhibit Hall of the Department of State. Nearly 3,000 times a year the Department of State receives official documents ranging from ratification of treaties to communications from the President to officials of foreign governments. When these have been duly signed by the President and counter-signed by the Secretary of State, an officer from the State Department's Presidential Appointments Staff affixes the Great Seal of the United States to authenticate the signatures.