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Secession is an Attack on the Constitution

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Paleocon and Southern Nationalist Thomas DiLorenzo has made a career of writing books with the objective of redefining the causes of the Civil War and rewriting the history of the Lincoln presidency. While he has been scoffed at by mainstream historians, he has gathered a following among deluded quasi-libertarians through his association with the Von Mises Institute and Lew Rockwell's peculiar brand of post-libertarian, anti-government extremism.

In honor of Independence Day a few years ago, DiLorenzo came up with an article which ably demonstrates the kind of distorted reasoning and poor research he has used to suck willing dupes through the looking glass into his bizarre alternate history of America. In this article DiLorenzo makes an argument that secession was always intended to be allowed under the Constitution on the basis of a few selected comments from Thomas Jefferson.

The foundational fallacy in his argument is the mere act of looking to Jefferson as an expert on the Constitution. Not only was Jefferson opposed to the Constitution, but he was not at the Constitutional Convention and was in France throughout the convention and for much of the ratification process. DiLorenzo realizes that Jefferson is highly regarded by libertarians and that he was critical of the Constitution in some areas, and just assumes that people will not notice that his appeal to authority is to an authority with little or no connection to the subject matter he is addressing.

The members of the paleocon choir to which DiLorenzo preaches make a very big show of exalting the Constitution and demanding that it be observed and adhered to in every possible particular. But I find it hard to believe that even they can buy into his argument that Jefferson had anything more than a tenuous connection to the Constitution or held it in the same regard which they do.

The actual author of the Constitution, as much as it had one, was Jefferson's friend James Madison, who was at the convention and probably understood the document it produced better than any of his contemporaries. But even Madison, who was the Constitution's greatest champion, did not have the kind of sacramental regard for it which modern paleocons have developed.

One of the peculiarities of the mindset of DiLorenzo and his followers is that they have become convinced that the Constitution, which was specifically written to turn a loose confederation of unorganized states into a permanent and binding union, somehow sanctions and justifies the Civil War and even modern secessionism. It is particularly ironic that they claim to regard the Constitution so highly and yet understand its content and purposes so poorly.

That DiLorenzo should choose to selectively ignore Madison's thoughts on the Constitution is convenient, self-serving and deceptive and characteristic of his approach to history where only those sources which agree with his politicized vision of the past are given an airing. It's a particularly shameful deception, because Madison wrote at length on secessionism and the Constitution in the early 1830s.

Madison outlived Jefferson and lasted long enough to see the first major crisis in the process which eventually led to the Civil War, the Nullification Crisis. As the Nullifiers began talking about secession and breaking up the union, people came to Madison and asked for his opinion on whether it was legitimate for states to leave the union or for a minority of states to dissolve the union and he was quite willing to share his expertiese.

In a letter on this subject to Senator Daniel Webster in 1833, Madison wrote:

"It is fortunate when disputed theories can be decided by undisputed facts: and here the undisputed fact is, that the Constitution was made by the people, but as imbodied into the several States who were parties to it, and therefore made by the States in their highest authoritative capacity. they might, by the same authority and by the same process, have converted the Confederacy into a mere league or treaty, or continued it with enlarged or abridged powers, or have imbodied the people of their respective States into one people, nation or sovereignty; or as they did, by a mixed form, make them one people, nation or sovereignty for certain purposes, and not for others.

"The Constitution of the United States being established by a competent authority — by that of the sovereign people of the several States who were parties to it — it remains only to inquire what the Constitution is; and here it speaks for itself. It organizes the government into the usual legislative, executive and judiciary departments; invests it with specific powers, leaving others to the parties to the Constitution. It makes the government, like other governments, to operate directly on the people; places at its command the needful physical means of executing its powers; and finally proclaims its supremacy, and that of the laws made in pursuance of it, of the Constitutions and Laws of the States, the powers of the Government being exercised, as in other elective and responsible Governments, under the control of its constituents, the people and the legislatures of the States, and subject to the revolutionary rights of the people, in extreme cases."

Here we see Madison arguing the supremacy of the Constitution and the fact that it was created as an alternative to various other forms of less centralized government and structured in such a way that the people would have a voice at multiple levels and would not need to secede from the union it had created.
In another letter to journalist and diplomat Nicholas Trist on the same subject in 1833, Madison wrote:

"The essential difference between a free Government and Governments not free, is that the former is founded in compact, the parties to which are mutually and equally bound by it. Neither of them therefore can have a greater fight to break off from the bargain, than the other or others have to hold them to it. And certainly there is nothing in the Virginia resolutions of –98, adverse to this principle, which is that of common sense and common justice. The fallacy which draws a different conclusion from them lies in confounding a single party, with the parties to the Constitutional compact of the United States. The latter having made the compact may do what they will with it. The former as one only of the parties, owes fidelity to it, till released by consent, or absolved by an intolerable abuse of the power created."

Here Madison makes clear that states cannot leave the union without the consent of the other states once they have all agreed to what is essentially a contract. In the same ways that the parties to a commercial contract cannot dissolve that agreement unilaterally the states cannot act individually or as groups to break up the union and negate the Constitution.

Madison goes on to actually cite Jefferson himself, taking note of one of Jeffersons opinions which DiLorenzo has chosen to ignore in his own writing on the subject.

"It is remarkable how closely the nullifiers who make the name of Mr. Jefferson the pedestal for their colossal heresy, shut their eyes and lips, whenever his authority is ever so clearly and emphatically against them. You have noticed what he says in his letters to Monroe & Carrington (Pages 43 & 203, vol. 2,1) with respect to the powers of the old Congress to coerce delinquent States, and his reasons for preferring for the purpose a naval to a military force; and moreover that it was not necessary to find a right to coerce in the Federal Articles, that being inherent in the nature of a compact. It is high time that the claim to secede at will should be put down by the public opinion; and I shall be glad to see the task commenced by one who understands the subject."

There's nothing equivocal about Madison's position or his exhortation to Trist to use his very sharp pen to disabuse the nullifiers of their dangerous and unconstitutional notions.  What Madison makes clear is that the Constitution created the union specifically to bind the states together and the union is the embodiment of the Constitution

To secede or to overthrow the union is to overthrow the Constitution, because it binds the states and the people together under a system of government which should protect the rights of minorities and individuals and should make secession unnecessary, except in the most extreme of circumstances where a true second revolution is called for.

Yet in 1833 or in 1865 or today when the issue has been raised again, no one has come forward with a cause of sufficient merit to justify the dissolution of the union and the shredding of the Constitution. It is certain that slavery is not such a cause, nor is dissatisfaction with the Federal Reserve or with Obamacare.  The claim from DiLorenzo and his followers that secession is somehow constitutional or even a defense of the Constitution is utterly delusional and southerner and slave owner though he was, Mr. Madison certainly would not have approved.

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About Dave Nalle

  • Rose

    Secession isn’t a desirable thing.

    Neither is a Washington DC that has already trampled the Constitution into dust particles against the known will of a ratification-proof majority of American Citizens.

    We have no obligation to sit under Marxist Socialist oppression that is in direct conflict with the Constitution WE SUPPORT the RATIFICATION for.
    Furthermore, there is no American WILL to sit compliantly under such an oppressive Marxist regime that not only ignores the General Public and our well-being, but MOCKS us many times DAILY! And BRAGS about the further atrocities they have planned against us.
    We did not vote or ratify an elective DESPOTISM.

    The depth of the undermining of the Constitution is the depth of the undermining of Public Offices.

    Our oath is to the Constitution of WE THE PEOPLE and to NO GOVERNMENT ORGAN at all.
    If We The People choose, we can disband the present government organs and form new ones we are content to RATIFY.
    And is sending THUGS at TAX PAYERS EXPENSE to intimidate those who disagree with them.

  • Doug Hunter

    There would be no need for unconstitutional seccession if their was not an unconstitutional federal government, that genie’s not going back in the bottle though.

  • Mark

    Dave, I assume that your interest here is more than academic. Have the more radical Libertarians and Austrians been gaining ground down your way?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Mark, there are indeed a lot of paleocons masquerading as libertarians around. I find their deceptive reasoning on this and other subjects to be extremely irritating.

    And for Rose and others, if you don’t like the government, the constitution offers several methods for addressing your grievances. First off, your state CAN protect you from any unconstitutional imposition by the federal government. Non-compliance with unconstitutional behavior is certainly legitimate. Court challenges are another option. Voting the current government out is another. Amending the constitution is yet another.

    In our current situation the courts are the correct solution and the one which many state attorney generals are making use of. There are dozens of cases where state governments are challenging federal mandates including Obamacare and I suspect that most of them are going to win on Constitutional grounds.

    Read the Madison quote above where he outlines the idea of divided powers. That’s your main protection.

    Dave

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    I’d say the interests of folks like Rose are far better protected under a cosmopolitan federal arrangement than as a citizen of a seceded state such as, say, Texas, which would have an unremovable one-party monopoly on the various instruments of government.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Democrats in Texas do control many city and county governments, Dr. D – plus as is the case nationwide they control the vast unelected government and educational bureaucracies which have us virtually enslaved.

    Dave

  • Doug Hunter

    #5

    I’m all for staying together with federal oversight, the problem is that more and more power and authority has shifted to the top than what was intended.

    Many US states are big enough to warrant their own policies with economy of scale and it provides a awesome test bed that virtually no one else has. If Texas is allowed to try it’s way and California another and New York still another then people have a choice under what system to live and also we get real world feedback on what works and doesn’t work. When you do something at the federal level you have no idea. Not one person can definitively say how effective the recent bailouts and stimulus were because we have not control groups and nothing to compare it to, when states are given leeway in matters then you can compare and contrast.

  • http://pvtgov.wordpress.com George Staropoli

    This is a very broad view of secession in America that misses the ongoing secession from local government — planned communities and homeowners associations.

    In 2005 Robert H. Nelson actually addressed this issue in his book, “Private Neighborhoods and the Transformation of Local Government” (Urban Institute Press). In Part VI he includes a chapter titled, “Neighborhood Secession.” For more info, download Secession (PDF).

    For additional information, see the July 29, 2005 Ned Peirce Commentary in the Arizona Capitol Times, “Privatized Neighborhoods – The Future We Want?” , or United HOAS.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    George, the problem with HOAs is an entirely separate issue which has nothing to do with the subject of this article, but thanks for chiming in.

    Dave

  • Bob

    Spoken like a true Statist, Dave. Your attack on secession is an attack on freedom itself. There is no such thing as an eternal contract between people or groups of people, except by use of force as in the case of slavery. No doubt had you been around during our Revolutionary period you would have been a Loyalist to the King, objecting to colonial secession from England.

    “In the same ways that the parties to a commercial contract cannot dissolve that agreement unilaterally the states cannot act individually or as groups to break up the union and negate the Constitution.” Oh, really? Any contract can be broken unilaterally. The issue is how to deal with a broken contract. Do we go to war and slaughter the contract breakers? Or do we try to find peaceful means for handling any resulting loss to the injured party?

    Which part of “…Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…” is unclear to you?

    “Yet in 1833 or in 1865 or today when the issue has been raised again, no one has come forward with a cause of sufficient merit to justify the dissolution of the union and the shredding of the Constitution.” You forgot to add, “in my opinion.” Others have a right to their own opinions about when they’ve had enough oppression of their inalienable rights.

    Curious…did you object when the 15 former Soviet republics seceded from the USSR? They had a constitution as well, and the majority of their citizens voted to maintain the union – to no avail.

    Sic semper tyrannis.

  • bman

    Stupid article…

    If a state secedes then obviously the unions constitution doesn’t matter to them anymore now does it?

    States have their own constitution.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    @ # 8, 9: George is a man with a mission.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    You forgot to add, “in my opinion.”

    Bob, at a website like Blogcritics, unless an article is actually labelled “News” or “Review”, it’s probably safe to assume that it is an opinion piece. Dave doesn’t need to keep flagging it as such at the end of every paragraph for the benefit of the slow kids.

    did you object when the 15 former Soviet republics seceded from the USSR? They had a constitution as well, and the majority of their citizens voted to maintain the union

    Apples and oranges. Most of those states been forcibly coerced into joining the USSR in the first place. Also, Russia, which dominated the federation, actively encouraged and fostered the emigration of Russians to its satellite states, most of which ended up with a Russian majority population. It’s hardly surprising that the ethnic Russians voted in their own interests.

  • Bob

    Dr D –

    I realize this was an opinion piece. You took my sentence, “You forgot…” a little too literally. That was merely intended as a point of emphasis to contrast Dave’s position with the larger imperative in the next sentence that he should not be the arbiter of what tyranny someone else must tolerate.

    Not entirely apples to oranges with the Soviet republic example because 69 years had passed from their forced integration, roughly two generations. As I indicated, a majority of the citizens were by then satisfied with wearing their communist yokes and saw secession as treasonous.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Bob, while Dave does often seem to fancy himself as some sort of constitutional arbiter, I don’t think he pretends his opinion is any more than just that: an opinion. He’s as entitled to it as you are to yours.

    By the late 80s/early 90s, when its member states were declaring independence one by one, the Soviet Union was in full collapse and was no longer anything but nominally communist, so your claim that the people were ‘satisfied with wearing their… yokes’ is without substance. The movements for and against secession in the various republics were primarily nationalist, not pro- or anti-socialist.

  • Bob

    Dr D –

    I’m not sure I understand your point about the Soviet collapse. My interpretation of those events is that the pro-secession forces were primarily nationalistic as you say, not anti-socialist. But the anti-secession forces were the majority and pro-socialist, not anti-nationalist, in their arguments for maintaining the union. Thus my point that the majority were satisfied with the communistic government they labored under.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Perhaps, Bob. Or it may have been a last-ditch effort to hold onto what was familiar. The break-up of your country must be a pretty traumatic thing to live through.

    My point that the majorities in most of the Soviet republics except Russia were artificial, due to the Moscow-encouraged migration of Russians on a scale which disenfranchised the native populations of those republics, stands.

  • Tom

    Comments in brackets:
    In a letter on this subject to Senator Daniel Webster in 1833, Madison wrote:
    “It is fortunate when disputed theories can be decided by undisputed facts: and here the undisputed fact is, that the Constitution was made by the people(not true, the Constitution was created by elected and selected officials of the States to create “a more perfect union” of the States, as Patrick Henry said the preamble should read “We the States” not the People.), but as embodied into the several States who were parties to it, and therefore made by the States in their highest authoritative capacity. They might, by the same authority and by the same process, have converted the Confederacy into a mere league or treaty, or continued it with enlarged or abridged powers, or have embodied the people of their respective States into one people, nation or sovereignty; or as they did, by a mixed form, make them one people, nation or sovereignty for certain purposes, and not for others.
    “The Constitution of the United States being established by a competent authority — by that of the sovereign people of the several States who were parties to it — it remains only to inquire what the Constitution is; and here it speaks for itself. It organizes the government into the usual legislative, executive and judiciary departments; invests it with specific powers, leaving others to the parties to the Constitution. It makes the government, like other governments, to operate directly on the people; places at its command the needful physical means of executing its powers; and finally proclaims its supremacy, and that of the laws made in pursuance of it, of the Constitutions and Laws of the States, the powers of the Government being exercised, as in other elective and responsible Governments, under the control of its constituents, the people and the legislatures of the States, and subject to the revolutionary rights of the people, in extreme cases.”
    Here we see Madison arguing the supremacy of the Constitution (this statement by the writer is bullshit) and the fact that it was created as an alternative to various other forms of less centralized government and structured in such a way that the people would have a voice at multiple levels and would not need to secede(never said they would or could not secede) from the union it had created.
    In another letter to journalist and diplomat Nicholas Trist on the same subject in 1833, Madison wrote:
    “The essential difference between a free Government and Governments not free, is that the former is founded in compact, the parties to which are mutually and equally bound by it. Neither of them therefore can have a greater fight to break off from the bargain, than the other or others have to hold them to it. And certainly there is nothing in the Virginia resolutions of –98, adverse to this principle, which is that of common sense and common justice. The fallacy which draws a different conclusion from them lies in confounding a single party, with the parties to the Constitutional compact of the United States. The latter having made the compact may do what they will with it. The former as one only of the parties, owes fidelity to it, till released by consent, or absolved by an intolerable abuse of the power created.”
    Here Madison makes clear that states cannot leave the union without the consent of the other states once they have all agreed to what is essentially a contract(or by breach of contract). In the same ways that the parties to a commercial contract cannot dissolve that agreement unilaterally the states cannot act individually or as groups to break up the union and negate the Constitution. (Yes they can, if the Fed. Gov’t exceeds the Constitution or another way of saying “Breaches the contract”.)

    Madison goes on to actually cite Jefferson himself, taking note of one of Jefferson’s opinions which DiLorenzo has chosen to ignore in his own writing on the subject.
    “It is remarkable how closely the nullifiers who make the name of Mr. Jefferson the pedestal for their colossal heresy, shut their eyes and lips, whenever his authority is ever so clearly and emphatically against them. You have noticed what he says in his letters to Monroe & Carrington (Pages 43 & 203, vol. 2, 1) with respect to the powers of the old Congress to coerce delinquent States, and his reasons for preferring for the purpose a naval to a military force; and moreover that it was not necessary to find a right to coerce in the Federal Articles, that being inherent in the nature of a compact. It is high time that the claim to secede at will should be put down by the public opinion; and I shall be glad to see the task commenced by one who understands the subject.”
    There’s nothing equivocal about Madison’s position or his exhortation to Trist to use his very sharp pen to disabuse the nullifiers of their dangerous and unconstitutional notions. What Madison makes clear is that the Constitution created the union specifically to bind the states together and the union is the embodiment of the Constitution
    To secede or to overthrow the union is to overthrow the Constitution, because it binds the states and(does not bind the people, the people are sovereign and are not to be bound federally, only at the State level did the People give some sovereignty to the states and hence create a governing body.) the people together under a system of government which should protect the rights of minorities and individuals(this statement is untrue, the Constitution protects the rights of the States and hence the Sovereign People only) and should make secession unnecessary, except in the most extreme of circumstances where a true second revolution is called for.
    Yet in 1833 or in 1865 or today when the issue has been raised again, no one has come forward with a cause of sufficient merit to justify the dissolution of the union and the shredding of the Constitution. It is certain that slavery is not such a cause, nor is dissatisfaction with the Federal Reserve or with Obamacare (actually all of the above are very good reasons for the States to secede, the Fed Gov’t has breached the contract via the 9th and 10th amendments).

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Tom:

    the Constitution was created by elected and selected officials of the States to create “a more perfect union” of the States, as Patrick Henry said the preamble should read “We the States” not the People

    Both you and Mr Henry are being very literal-minded. As the elected (and in some cases appointed) representatives of their states, the signatories to the Constitution were taken to be acting on behalf of the citizenry.

    Out of curiosity, Tom, what would have been, for you, a genuine and legitimate act of the people? Or would nothing short of a democracy of the polis have sufficed?

  • Tom

    Henry thought this outrageous and ominous. What he found most astonishing was the expression, “We, the People,” in the Preamble.
    Today, this phrase seems somehow sacred and fundamental to American rights but to Patrick Henry it signified a monstrous deception. The Confederation between the States was just that – an agreement or contract between the thirteen new and independent States. The people were represented by their legislatures in the States but the States were the only entities that could participate in the Perpetual Union Between the States. Henry saw in the “We, the People” phrase something akin to Lenin’s use of “people” one hundred thirty years later – a power-grab “in the name of the People.” In Lenin’s case, “the People” would mean the Communist Party.
    On June 5, 1788 Henry spoke again in the Virginia Convention on this subject: “I rose yesterday to ask a question, which arose in my mind. When I asked that question, I thought the meaning of my interrogation was obvious: the fate of this question and of America may depend on this. Have they said, We, the states? Have they made a proposal of a compact between states? If they had, this would be a confederation: it is otherwise most clearly a consolidated government.
    The question turns, sir, on the expression, We, the People, instead of, the States of America. I need not take much pain to show that the principles of this system are extremely pernicious, impolitic and dangerous. Is this a monarchy, like England – a compact between prince and people: with checks on the former to secure the liberty of the latter? Is this a confederacy, like Holland – an association of a number of independent States, each of which retains its individual sovereignty?
    Had these principles been adhered to, we should not have been brought to this alarming transition, from a confederacy to a consolidated government. We have no detail of those great considerations which, in my opinion, ought to have abounded before we should recur to a government of this kind. Here is a revolution as radical as that which separated us from Great Britain. It is as radical, if, in this transition, our rights and privileges are endangered, and the sovereignty of the States relinquished. And cannot we plainly see? The rights of conscience, trial by jury, liberty of the press, all your immunities and franchises, all pretentions to human rights and privileges, are rendered insecure, if not lost, by this change.
    “To encourage us to adopt it, they tell us, that there is a plain, easy way of getting amendments. When I come to contemplate this part, I suppose that I am mad, or that my countrymen are so. The way to amendments is, in my conception, shut.
    “Will the great rights of the people be secured? Is this an easy mode of securing the public liberty? It is, sir, a most fearful situation, when the most contemptible minority can prevent the alteration of the most oppressive government, for it may, in many respects, prove to be such. Is this the spirit of republicanism?
    “I have just proved that one-tenth, or less, of the people of America – a most despicable minority, may prevent this reform, or alteration. Suppose the people of Virginia should wish to alter their government, can a majority of them do it? No, because they are connected with other men; or, in other words, consolidated with other States.
    “The honorable gentleman who presides, told us, that to prevent abuses in our government, we will assemble in Convention, recall our delegated powers, and punish our servants for abusing the trust reposed in them. Oh, sir, we should have fine times indeed, if to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people. Your arms, wherewith you could defend yourself, are gone.
    Let me here call your attention to that part which gives the Congress power ‘To provide for organizing, arming and disciplining the militia, and for governing such parts of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia, according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.’
    By this, sir, you see that their control over our last and best defense is unlimited. If they neglect or refuse to discipline or arm our militia, they will be useless: the States can do neither, this power being exclusively given to Congress. The power of appointing officers over men not disciplined or armed is ridiculous: so that this pretended little remnant of power, left to the States, may, at the pleasure of Congress, be rendered nugatory. Our situation will be deplorable indeed: nor can we ever expect to get this government amended; since I have already shown, that a very small minority may prevent it.
    Will the oppressor let go the oppressed? Was there ever an instance? Can the annals of mankind exhibit one single example, where rulers, overcharged with power, willingly let go the oppressed, though solicited and requested most earnestly? The application for amendments will therefore be fruitless. We drew the spirit of liberty from our British ancestors: by that spirit we have triumphed over every difficulty. But now, sir, the American spirit, assisted by the ropes and chains of consolidation, is about to convert this country into a powerful and mighty empire. If you make the citizens of this country agree to become the subjects of one great consolidated empire of America, your government will not have sufficient energy to keep them together: such a government is incompatible with the genius of republicanism.
    “Where are the checks in this Constitution? There will be no checks, no real balances, in this government. What can avail your specious, imaginary balances, your rope-dancing, chain-rattling, ridiculous ideal checks and contrivances?
    “The Senate, by making treaties, may destroy your liberty and laws, for want of responsibility. Two-thirds of those that shall happen to be present, can, with the President, make treaties that shall be the supreme law of the land: they may make the most ruinous treaties, and yet there is no punishment for them.”
    On another day he said, “Congress may introduce the practice of the civil law, in preference to that of the common law. They may introduce the practice of France, Spain and Germany – of torturing, to extort the confession of the crime. They will tell you that there is such a necessity of strengthening the arm of government, that they must have a criminal equity, and extort confession by torture, in order to punish with still more relentless severity.” In other words, Patrick Henry saw exactly where the United States government would go in the future. Despite the Constitution and the Bill of Rights which he demanded to protect us against torture, the US government openly tortures prisoners today, both foreign and domestic.
    Henry’s struggle against the coming US empire failed and the Constitution was passed, although with some watered-down amendments. He made some grim observations and some dire predictions.

  • Tom

    And today all of Mr. Henry’s observations and predictions seem to have come true.

  • Baronius

    We’re all in agreement with each other, and with Madison. The only question is what constitutes extreme cases (“the revolutionary rights of the people, in extreme cases”) or intolerable abuse (“absolved by an intolerable abuse of the power created”).

  • Ronnie

    The US Constitution and most of its wording was really written by John Rutledge of SC.The basic framework was his as madison and others tweaked it

    The Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville visited Charleston SC and discovered the document Rutledge wrote for the then independent republic of SC.

    Here is one of his quotes… “The Union was formed by the voluntary agreement of the states; and these, in uniting together, have not forfeited their nationality, nor have they been reduced to the condition of one and the same people.

    If one of the states chooses to withdraw from the compact,
    it would be difficult to disapprove its right of doing so, and
    the Federal Government would have no means of maintaining its claims
    directly either by force or right.”

    That being said, the election of Lincoln triggered secession. No one can argue that fact in the history of SC and her decision to secede. The causes were enumerated in the secession ordinance, but had Lincoln not been elected then the decision to secede would have been delayed perhaps not even attempted.

    Your argument discredits a lot of significant work and fact that Dr. DiLorenzo has accompished on Lincoln.

    Lincoln indeed was the tyrant as he was the first president to circumvent the constitution EXTENSIVELY. He wanted the war but did not envision it lasting as long and at the terrible price it brought in money manpower and destruction.

    The Constitution does provide for the People/States to alter or abolish by call for convention.

    Perhaps the secession conventions were extensions of this as the manner in which the proceedings were conducted resembled talks the framers had?

    Another point is… Marx had plenty of influence on today’s USA. And for more on Lincoln / Civil War and other US wars, read John V Denson’s “A Century of War”. It will definitely open your eyes.

    Other authors such as Denson cited above document Lincoln the despot. You have not chosen to refute any of DiLorenzo on Lincoln. Your crticism of DiLorenzo based solely on the references to Jefferson and the Madison quotes is shoddy.

    No one has mentioned his new work on Hamilton. That would be an interesting debate as Hamilton influenced Madison to a degree.

  • http://ohcrapihaveacrushonsarahpalin.blogspot.com OhCrapIHaveACrushOnSarahPalin

    Secessionists and other confederates are frakin’ idiots.

    Secede from the US, no more tenth amendment for you.

    Dumb confederates…they all deserve each other.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Your argument discredits a lot of significant work and fact that Dr. DiLorenzo has accompished on Lincoln.

    Indeed it does.

    Dave

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Oh, and I like the citing of Rutledge, whose role in the Constitution was nowhere near as important as you make it out to be.

    I can see why you like him, though. As Chief Justice he wrote the ruling in Talbot vs. Janson which totally destroys many of the birther arguments, plus he was the only Chief Justice ever removed from office for insanity.

    Dave

  • Thomass

    No right to seceed?
    One of us needs to read.

    As Madison states IN THIS LETTER:

    “The [States], owe fidelity to it (the Constitution), till released by consent (thats one good way), or absolved by an intolerable abuse of the power created.”

    See that litle word “til” in there? That means “until” meaning condtioned upon something that Madison then discribes.

    Seems pretty plain to me.

    And that is not even mentioning the 10th Amendement which says “if its not mentioned in the Consitution then it is reserved to the states.”

    So where is secession mentioned?
    Answer: No where.
    So it is then reserved to the States.

    Sorry Statists, neocons and moderates, the South was legally w/i its rights to leave and we ALL would have been better off if they were allowed to peacefully.

    Competition even works to make States better pleasers of its people. Too bad we ALL lost the Civil War. Yes, including blacks who would have been far easier and more willingly assimulated into free lives in the South without a bloody war to force the issue, or rather, being used as the excuse to create an empire which was the real reason for the Norths hyper-aggression.

    I’m sorry you don’t like this conclusion, but adding the word paleo does not make the argument invalid.

  • Eugene

    This article is great -very lucid and clear thinking. I am familiar with the site and article you menrion here, and I have noticed a number of other lies and distortions he makes. He misquotes, intentionally, several sources for sure…

  • Eugene

    Also, I am gathering ‘ammo’ (intellectual ammo) to deal with a secessionist. I need as much info as possible, especially other good sites, blog sites countering the secession loons. Let me know what these are when you can!