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    What does "a breath of theirs having made" mean?


    The broad foundation upon which our Constitution rests being the people--a breath of theirs having made, as a breath can unmake, change, or modify it--it can be assigned to none of the great divisions of government but to that of democracy. If such is its theory, those who are called upon to administer it must recognize as its leading principle the duty of shaping their measures so as to produce the greatest good to the greatest number. But with these broad admissions, if we would compare the sovereignty acknowledged to exist in the mass of our people with the power claimed by other sovereignties, even by those which have been considered most purely democratic, we shall find a most essential difference. All others lay claim to power limited only by their own will. The majority of our citizens, on the contrary, possess a sovereignty with an amount of power precisely equal to that which has been granted to them by the parties to the national compact, and nothing beyond. We admit of no government by divine right, believing that so far as power is concerned the Beneficent Creator has made no distinction amongst men; that all are upon an equality, and that the only legitimate right to govern is an express grant of power from the governed.

    Read more at the American Presidency Project: William Henry Harrison: Inaugural Address

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    Re: What does "a breath of theirs having made" mean?

    [not a teacher]

    It means it was "spoken" in to existence. It's not a phrase I've heard before. (In fact, Google's first 4 pages of search results all relate to this Harrison quote.)

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