Skip to comments.Walter Williams: Historical ignorance
Posted on 07/24/2015 6:56:31 PM PDT by NKP_Vet
The victors of war write its history in order to cast themselves in the most favorable light. That explains the considerable historical ignorance about our war of 1861 and panic over the Confederate flag. To create better understanding, we have to start a bit before the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.
The 1783 Treaty of Paris ended the war between the Colonies and Great Britain. Its first article declared the 13 Colonies to be free, sovereign and independent states. These 13 sovereign nations came together in 1787 as principals and created the federal government as their agent. Principals have always held the right to fire agents. In other words, states held a right to withdraw from the pact secede.
During the 1787 Constitutional Convention, a proposal was made that would allow the federal government to suppress a seceding state. James Madison rejected it, saying, A union of the states containing such an ingredient seemed to provide for its own destruction. The use of force against a state would look more like a declaration of war than an infliction of punishment and would probably be considered by the party attacked as a dissolution of all previous compacts by which it might be bound.
In fact, the ratification documents of Virginia, New York and Rhode Island explicitly said they held the right to resume powers delegated should the federal government become abusive of those powers. The Constitution never would have been ratified if states thought they could not regain their sovereignty in a word, secede.
On March 2, 1861, after seven states seceded and two days before Abraham Lincolns inauguration, Sen. James R. Doolittle of Wisconsin proposed a constitutional amendment that read, No state or any part thereof, heretofore admitted or hereafter admitted into the union, shall have the power to withdraw from the jurisdiction of the United States.
Several months earlier, Reps. Daniel E. Sickles of New York, Thomas B. Florence of Pennsylvania and Otis S. Ferry of Connecticut proposed a constitutional amendment to prohibit secession. Heres a question for the reader: Would there have been any point to offering these amendments if secession were already unconstitutional?
On the eve of the War of 1861, even unionist politicians saw secession as a right of states. Rep. Jacob M. Kunkel of Maryland said, Any attempt to preserve the union between the states of this Confederacy by force would be impractical, and destructive of republican liberty.
Both Northern Democratic and Republican parties favored allowing the South to secede in peace. Just about every major Northern newspaper editorialized in favor of the Souths right to secede. New York Tribune (Feb. 5, 1860): If tyranny and despotism justified the Revolution of 1776, then we do not see why it would not justify the secession of Five Millions of Southrons from the Federal Union in 1861. Detroit Free Press (Feb. 19, 1861): An attempt to subjugate the seceded states, even if successful, could produce nothing but evil evil unmitigated in character and appalling in content. The New York Times (March 21, 1861): There is growing sentiment throughout the North in favor of letting the Gulf States go.
The War of 1861 settled the issue of secession through brute force that cost 600,000 American lives. We Americans celebrate Abraham Lincolns Gettysburg Address, but H.L. Mencken correctly evaluated the speech: It is poetry, not logic; beauty, not sense. Lincoln said the soldiers sacrificed their lives to the cause of self-determination that government of the people, by the people, for the people should not perish from the earth. Mencken says: It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in the battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of people to govern themselves.
The War of 1861 brutally established that states could not secede. We are still living with its effects. Because states cannot secede, the federal government can run roughshod over the U.S. Constitutions limitations of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. States have little or no response.
~ Abraham Lincoln, Speech in the US House of Representatives, 1848
I think we did this one already.
“I think we did this one already.”
We did. Let’s don’t do another beat down of our northern friends tonight.
Walter Williams would look good on the Supreme Court.
No. It established that tyranny can be enforced at the cost of 600,000 lives for an uncertain amount of time.
The recent nonsense regarding the Confederate Battle Flag simply illustrates the tyrannical nature of the victors in that war.
Why does the author consistently, insistently and repetitively refer to the War of the Rebellion as, the “War of 1861”?
As far as our government is concerned we can withdraw from the union whenever we want. We just have to be able to defend and hold our land. The way it is now. The way it has always been.
It's refreshingly neutral.
“Why does the author consistently, insistently and repetitively refer to the War of the Rebellion as, the War of 1861?”
You need to reread the article. In 1861, everyone knew that states had a right to secede. The right to secede was not rebellion; it was classified rebellion to justify the carnage.
so question....why did these state secede? Lincoln had not taken office so what act had he done to the states as he had no power....let Lincoln say what offense he though he has commited
http://www.bartleby.com/124/pres31.html Abraham Lincoln First Inaugural Address, Monday, March 4, 1861
Walter Williams makes a valid and cogent case for secession.
Walter Williams what a great piece. This man gets it.
And by the way, what was the point of the author in resurrecting HL Menken just to have him mIquote Lincoln and then castigate Lincoln for making a statement he never made?
There is nothing in the Constitution that prohibits states from seceding; thus, they have the right to do so.
Would you prefer the author use the more accurate and correct term The War of Northern Aggression?
I think the southern states had been itching to succeed for a while. Lincoln’s election gave them the excuse to do it sooner rather than later.
We Americans celebrate Abraham Lincolns Gettysburg Address, but H.L. Mencken correctly evaluated the speech: It is poetry, not logic; beauty, not sense. Lincoln said the soldiers sacrificed their lives to the cause of self-determination that government of the people, by the people, for the people should not perish from the earth. Mencken says: It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in the battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of people to govern themselves.
Your assertion is this statement is factually incorrect?
Sure makes sense to me.
As to your first assertion. I only recall one example of consideration for succession. Also you say “1864 states were already....” they were 1 year away from losing a horrible unconstitutional suppression defense. See the paragraph below:
After initial problems, Daviss government grew stronger as he learned to use executive power to consolidate control of the armed forces and manpower distribution. But some Southern governors resisted Daviss centralization and tried to keep their men and resources at home. Although Davis used authority effectively, the insistence on preserving states rights plagued him constantly. Vice President Alexander H. Stephens, an early dissident, for example, sulked in his native Georgia and finally urged its secession from the Confederacy.
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