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Abel Upshur

Abel Upshur
Abel Parker Upshur (1790-1844) was an American lawyer, judge and statesman from Virginia, who served as Secretary of the Navy and Secretary of State during the administration of President John Tyler. A defender of states' rights, he expressed his views about the nature of the Constitution in A Brief Enquiry into the Nature and Character of our Federal Government (1840). Upshur was among six people killed on February 28, 1844, when a gun exploded during an official function on board the warship, USS Princeton.

The Federal Government is the creature of the States. It is not a party to the Constitution, but the result of it—the creation of that agreement which was made by the States as parties. It is a mere...