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The acquisition of the Philippine Islands has aroused a profound interest in certain constitutional questions. This is not to be deplored. One of those questions is the meaning, the force and effect of the statement in the Declaration of Independence that "all governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed." That doctrine is not embodied in the constitution in those words nor in words of similar import, but some contend that the Declaration of Independence is a great beacon fire kindled by the fathers of the revolution and that in its light the constitution, afterwards adopted by them, must be read and interpreted. Without admitting or denying the force of that argument, only suggesting, in passing, that the fathers must have stood with their backs to that beacon when they inserted in the constitution a provision that Congress should not interfere with the African slave trade prior to 1808, we propose to call attention to the legal meaning of the statement quoted.

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