Skip to comments.Jefferson vs Lincoln: America Must Choose
Posted on 03/10/2010 6:35:02 PM PST by Idabilly
Over the course of American history, there has been no greater conflict of visions than that between Thomas Jeffersons voluntary republic, founded on the natural right of peaceful secession, and Abraham Lincolns permanent empire, founded on the violent denial of that same right.
That these two men somehow shared a common commitment to liberty is a lie so monstrous and so absurd that its pervasiveness in popular culture utterly defies logic.
After all, Jefferson stated unequivocally in the Declaration of Independence that, at any point, it may become necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Natures God entitle them
And, having done so, he said, it is the peoples right to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Contrast that clear articulation of natural law with Abraham Lincolns first inaugural address, where he flatly rejected the notion that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.
Instead, Lincoln claimed that, despite the clear wording of the Tenth Amendment, no State upon its own mere motion can lawfully get out of the Union; [and] resolves and ordinances [such as the Declaration of Independence] to that effect are legally void
King George III agreed.
(Excerpt) Read more at southernheritage411.com ...
I side with Jefferson.
I pick Jefferson .... Davis.
It’s been nearly 150 years. I think it’s time you got over it. History has given its verdict; Jefferson and Lincoln came out OK.
I side with Lincoln, next to Washington the greatest president we’ve ever had.
Nobody knows for sure, but I suspect if given the choice Thomas Jefferson would choose Abraham Lincoln over Jefferson Davis.
Abraham Lincoln played the Southern fire-eaters like a fiddle. His secret was to use jiu-jitsu politics.
These techniques were developed around the principle of using an enemy’s energy against him,
“Its been nearly 150 years. I think its time you got over it. History has given its verdict; Jefferson and Lincoln came out OK.”
A great man once said:
“The contest is not over, the strife is not ended. It has only entered upon a new and enlarged arena.”
Jefferson was one of those gifted founders who changed the world. Lincoln had 50 years and still missed most of the boat.
My vote of course, therefore is for Jefferson.
Put me down with Jefferson as well.
During Virginia's ratification convention
John Taylor of Caroline - Didn't stutter:
“In the creation of the federal government, the states exercised the highest act of sovereignty, and they may, if they please, repeat the proof of their sovereignty, by its annihilation. But the union possesses no innate sovereignty, like the states; it was not self-constituted; it is conventional, and of course subordinate to the sovereignties by which it was formed.
The sovereignties which imposed the limitations upon the federal government, far from supposing that they perished by the exercise of a part of their faculties, were vindicated, by reserving powers in which their deputy, the federal government, could not participate; and the usual right of sovereigns to alter or revoke its commissions. “
Interesting read. But also interesting that Jefferson became president (as opposed to Burr) due to the efforts of Hamilton!
Side with Jefferson....Lincoln is way down on my list..
That burning Atlanta thing was Criminal.
I suspect you're right, and I would know that presidents such as Ronald Reagan and Andrew Jackson agreed with Lincoln's view that a state can't unilaterally secede from the rest of them and declare war on them.
Comparing the south during the civil war to the American COLONIES during the revolutionary war is a pretty weak analogy -- a state within a nation has an entirely different status than a colony under the rule of another nation. The colonies had NO representation in Parliament and were at the mercy of another place across the ocean, compared to the southern states who had the exact same rights as all the other states under the constitution, and had overrepresentation in Congress thanks to the 3/5th compromise counting millions of their slave "property" with no rights or voting power as "resident population" entitled to more Congressmen.
In order for anyone to "secede" from England in a manner similar to the civil war, Cornwall, Devon, Somset, Dorset, the Isle of Wright, Hampshire, Sussex, Kent, Surrey, Whitshire, and Bristol would have to pass ordinances announcing they were leaving the U.K. (upset that the guy they wanted for Prime Minister didn't win in the rest of the country) and forming a pro-slavery United Confederacy of Great Britain, then fire on the Queen's guards for attempting to resupply a fort that was property of the federal government.
Likewise, in order for an internal U.S. dispute to resemble the revolutionary war, the United States would have to announce the Puetro Rico will have no longer have a delegate to Congress and pass a bill ordering Puetro Ricans to pay three times the rate of everyone else for stamps that they must buy from the U.S. When Puetro Ricans protested, the U.S. would then pass a law to force them to pay exorbitant taxes on all alcohol (say, $50 for a can of beer), cigarettes, gas, and guns, which were only allowed to be purchased from the U.S. and had to be imported. When Puetro Ricans rioted in response to that, the U.S. would then pass a series of militant fascist laws effecting putting Puetro Rico under martial law and giving them zero rights and freedoms, and in every step of this process Puetro Rico would have absolutely no way to petition the U.S. about their grievances. Finally, with no other option left, the Puetro Rican Legislation would pass a resolution declaring Independence form the United States and severing its long standing ties to the mainland.
Pretty different situations. One thing I would certainly say is if Lincoln and Jefferson were alive today they'd adamantly oppose the idea of government by "politicians appointing politicians", i.e. the U.S. Senate choosen entirely by state legislatures that some founders thought was a good idea in 1776. Martha Coakley provides the latest example of why this would be a disaster if it was in effect today.
As the author of the article says, it was the War Between The States. Lincoln couldn't have done much of anything without the support of the Northern States that elected him—twice.
I read that at the beginning of the war the Regular Army had a little over 16,000 men. And at First Manassas the Union forces consisted of about 35,000 men. The difference was made up by volunteers from the States. The brunt of the war was borne by volunteers from the States, not the Regular Army. (OK, later on the volunteers might have required a little “encouragement”.)
If Lincoln had had to depend on the Regular Army, without volunteers from the States and the support of those States, the South would have won in short order.
If the Northern States had acquiesced to the secession of the Southern States, what could Lincoln (who was only the President) have done about it?
If it is indeed a contract, the SOuthern States which border with Mexico may have a case against the union for breach of contract. “...provide for the common defense” is a sham along our porous southern border.
And Federal Census data guided the pillaging!
Jefferson was a true Son of Freedom!
History has proven that Lincoln had no cause and no justification to resort to aggression and fratricide for a solution to a problem that every other civilized nation solved peacefully and with far fewer scars.
You said it best!
The United States, as envisioned by the Founders, ended with Lincoln.
I think I read somewhere that Lincoln had stated he would do anything needed to keep the Union together.
Including finding a way to keep slavery going as an institution, if necessary.
Never put yourself in the position of appearing to defend the slaveocracy. That, along with Jim Crow race repression is Democrat Party history; let them defend it.
The tenth ammendment fell into disrepute because it was used to justify repression during the Jim Crow era. The whole purpose of the separation of powers vertically (local, state, federal) and horizontally (judicial, exec, legislative) is so that when one power becomes abusive you have others to appeal to. If the state is your abuser you appeal to the feds; if the feds overreach their just powers you appeal to the state or your local community. You don’t make a fetish out of any level or focus of power, the point of it all is maintaining freedom. Which ever level threatens your freedom, that is the level you resist with the other levels.
We have to reclaim the tenth ammendment. It is as important as the separation of powers between congress, president, and supreme court which are also being fuzzed together. We don’t reclaim it by justifying its abuse by the Democrats of yesteryear. We reclaim it by demanding its proper use in defense of rule of law.
I wish Coolidge was a choice.
Yes, he did. He was a well known abolitionist, which is why the moment he was elected the south started seceding.
But his primary purpose was to hold the union together, and he said he would allow slavery in the south to continue to its natural death. What he would not allow was its extension into future western states.
And, if you read the articles of secession of the various states, that was what the war was about. They knew that if they couldn't spread slavery into the new states, over time the institution would eventually die out in the south too.
So from the point of view of the north, it was a war to preserve the union. From the point of view of the south it was to preserve the institution of slavery, and for both north and south the prize was the American West. It was not a war over whether or not the south would retain slavery, as Lincoln had already granted that. It was a war over who would control the west.
Thanks. Good summary.
True. I dont remember which movie (I think National Treasure 2), but the main character said he loved Lincoln because before Lincoln, it was the United States are, and after it was the United States is. To me, that is the worst thing Lincoln did.
"In the creation of the federal government, the states exercised the highest act of sovereignty, and they may, if they please, repeat the proof of their sovereignty, by its annihilation. But the union possesses no innate sovereignty, like the states; it was not self-constituted; it is conventional, and of course subordinate to the sovereignties by which it was formed."
In light of the fact that "states", "sovereignties", "they" and "their" are plural, is it a logical consequent that a single state may annihilate the federal government?
The sovereignties which imposed the limitations upon the federal government, far from supposing that they perished by the exercise of a part of their faculties, were vindicated, by reserving powers in which their deputy, the federal government, could not participate; and the usual right of sovereigns to alter or revoke its commissions. Again, may a single state or sovereignty alter or revoke its commissions with regard to the deputy federal government, which commissions were granted by all, or may a single state or sovereignty even remove limitations upon the federal governemnt which all the states imposed?
Oh, history gives out "verdicts" now ..... how perfectly Marxian. Which dialectic are we on now?
History gave a "verdict" to the Athenian, Roman, Venetian, and Florentine republics ...... but our Framers founded yet another, having refused history's "verdict" that tyranny, Caesarism, and divine right of kings are the natural order of things.
That is such a gross oversimplification of each man’s views, it’s laughable.
Come on. You know better than that. It's been posted to you repeatedly on these boards.
Jefferson and John Quincy Adams both made statements that they'd prefer to see the Union divided peacefully, than see it bound together by violence and the spirit of empire.
Search up and read Madison's Federalist No. 39 for comprehension, and then get back to us. You might as well, once you've taken the trouble to find it, read Federalist No. 40 as well.
Since we're talking about the Framers, the purposes of the Republic, and Original Intent and all.
A State may remove itself from the Union by seceding from it, by the same mechanism by which it entered the Union or ratified the Constitution. In so doing, the People take their property and their geography with them, out of the Union. But the rest of the Union remains intact and fully operative in all its laws and powers, and a single State leaving the Union does not affect any aspect of federal power except as regards the departing State.
The "commissions" of the federal government were not granted by all the States, just the first nine to ratify the Constitution and bring it into effect (as per the section at the end of the Constitution dealing with ratifications).
I'm sorry, but you seem to have misunderstood something.
As some of us have pointed out repeatedly, the war was in fact an attempt by the Southern States to preserve their right to run their own affairs. They saw that Lincoln was bent on turning the Republic into a national empire, and they wanted out.
After all, it was Lincoln's Republicans who came up with the slogan "national greatness" in the days of William McKinley, the last President of the U.S. to have held a commission during the Civil War.
That greatness was built on the necks of the South and the West.
Re-read the articles of secession. The prize was the American West.
Lincoln's personal secretary John Nicolai agreed. He wrote a book about the outbreak of the Civil War and stated that Lincoln was very careful about putting the South in the wrong, for his political purposes; it was his key objective in starting the war.
Aside: Jefferson and Hamilton were once in a room together in which the former had portraits on the wall of Locke, Bacon, and Newton. Jefferson remarked that they were the three greatest men who had ever lived. Hamilton disagreed, stating that the greatest man who ever lived was Julius Caesar.
Really? Then why no Southern claims to Nebraska? Montana and the Dakotas? They walked away from all that. All they really tried to claim was New Mexico and Arizona -- and perhaps Colorado, I'm a little iffy about that, whether Confederates were more interested in the territory or just raiding the mine shipments.
Someone once described Hamilton's politics as "monarchy without the king". Maybe the "without" part was based on a misunderstanding!
They boycotted the elections because they had already made their minds up to leave the union; the election of Lincoln cinched it. He was willing to allow slavery in the states that already had it but he would not allow it to expand further west. The slavers are very clear in the articles, that this is not acceptable because it means the eventual end of the slave system. Despite Lincoln’s willingness to leave their system in place, they made the decision to break in order to preserve slavery, not merely in the south, but into the rest of the west and most importantly to avoid the natural death they foresaw if not allowed to expand.
Seriously, the slaveocracy and the Jim Crow system of race repression that followed are Democrat Party history. Let them own it. Let them defend it. Never put yourself in the position of trying to justify it. They did enormous damage to the 10th ammendment by trying to use it to justify repression rather than its natural intent, as a barrier against repression.
What the Democrats usurped in service to repression during the bad old days of Jim Crow we must now reclaim in service to freedom and rule of law.
The GOP was formed by Christians who abandoned the Whigs over its refusal to take sides on the slave issue. They were distinctly a minority party and by rights ought to have had no influence over the outcome of anything. But in a decade slavery was gone. Despite the fact that most of the country either favored slavery or didn’t care and despite the fact that their champion was willing to compromise on it, in a decade it was gone. Sometimes God gets a vote.
So what is your point in posting this Klan material? You cannot think that black slavery is going to be revived or that blacks are going to be deported to Africa, or do you?
To quote Madison:
“Here, too, were facts on the other side. It has been alleged, that this contract, having been formed by unanimous consent, could only be dissolved by only unanimous consent.”
“A breach of the fundamental principles of the compact by a part of the society, would certainly absolve the other party to their obligations to it.”
During the convention,of course.....
I agree with most of your analogy, but not this section.
The colonies had all kinds of ways to petition the British government, and indeed did so. B. Franklin spent this whole period in London as a representative for a number of colonies. He did a very effective job in getting the colonial case out.
The problem is that the government and parliament decided to ignore the colonist's concerns, presented via their petitions. When they did so the colonists had no way to resist other than force.
The analogy to our present government being well aware the people oppose the health care but deciding to pass it anyway is remarkably close.
Haven't studied history much?
Didn't States use 'nullification' against the Federal fugitive slave laws?
Why don’t you answer my questions before asking ones of your own?
This is widely believed, but is not really correct.
The plural United States was universal up to the War of 1812. Thereafter the United States as singular noun became more and more common.
The horse's mouth said different:
“I can't let them go. Who would pay for the government?”
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