Federal Government As An Ideal
“I wish, however, to enter my protest against that interpretation of American history that would make the Southern States the anvil on which federal government wrought out its greatest victory. This widespread misconception of our history implies that there were two sections in the United States, one seeking to uphold federal government, the other to overthrow it. That is not true. Federal government as a principle, as an ideal, was not at stake, but only a particular form of federal government.
The first paragraph of the Constitution of the United States declares that we, the people of the United States, do ordain and establish this Constitution “in order to form a more perfect union.” The first paragraph of the Constitution of the Confederate States of America declares that we, the people of the Confederate States, do ordain and establish this Constitution “in order to from a more permanent federal government.” Scrutinize these two paragraphs as you will, the advantage for federal government as an ideal does not lie with the first.”
(Our Heritage of Idealism, C. Alphonso Smith, Address (excerpt) delivered at the University of South Carolina, January 11, 1912)