THE United States, as its name implies, is a federation, in which the powers of the Federal Government are determined by the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court. The original thirteen States existed before they were united, and there were among them wide differences of religion, climate, and history. Their economic interests were different, and on many points mutually antagonistic; their important economic relations, for a long time, were with Europe rather than with each other. Puritan Massachusetts, which lived mainly by sea-faring and manufactures, had no natural affinity with Episcopalian Virginia, where large landed proprietors grew tobacco by slave labour. The War of Independence had produced the union, but the war of 1812 nearly destroyed it, because the North disliked the interruption to commerce. When, in 1798, the Federalists passed the Sedition and Alien Acts, Kentucky passed Resolves, written by Jefferson, to the effect that that State regarded these Acts as unconstitutional, and refused to enforce them, and Virginia followed suit. It was not generally admitted, at that time, that the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Constitution must be accepted by all. In 1832, South Carolina almost seceded from dislike of the tariff. So late as 1843, thirteen northern Congressmen, headed by Ex-President J. Q. Adams, threatened secession of their States if Texas was annexed. Throughout the older North and South, secession was regarded as an ever-present possibility.