Skip to comments.The Unreal Lincoln: Loyola College Professor Flunks Out
Posted on 05/07/2002 11:31:24 AM PDT by WhiskeyPapa
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But did the states have every right to secede? You claim that they did and use the fact that it is not specifically forbidden by the Constitution as proof. I claim that they did not and also point out that the same Constitution did not say that is was allowed. From Lincoln's point of view the south was wrong and he was well within his obligation as President to supress the rebellion. No congressional approval is needed for that.
You know youre doing something right when you are the object of cheap shots, lies, and smears by a paid agent of the state whose job is to make up excuses and "justifications" for all the states wars and other military misadventures.
I don't know what courses Owens teaches, but I've never read anything by him justifying "military misadventures." This is the mother of all cheap shots, and it comes out of Di Lorenzo's own dirty mouth. At a time when we have to rely on "paid agents of the state" for safety and when some will die for our protection, such an attack is particularly vile.
Di Lorenzo also plays up Owens passing reference to "touches of Marxist economic analysis" turning it into the allegation that "[h]e begins his 'review' by charging that my book is based on 'Marxist economic analysis,' revealing a deep ignorance of economics on his part." It would be interesting to know just what Owens meant by "Marxist economic analysis," but if he's mistaken it's a natural error since so much of what Di Lorenzo writes does seem to rely on something very close to Marxian stereotypes. The danger of what Di Lorenzo calls "traditional Public Choice analysis" is that in the wrong hands it does end up being as reductive and one sided as traditional Marxist analysis.
Di Lorenzo also calls Owens a liar for claiming that Di Lorenzo sees slavery has having "nothing to do with the onset of the war." In general, it's a good idea not to resort to "nothing" "never" and "in no way," since the smallest objection proves you wrong. But Di Lorenzo doesn't tell us just what slavery did have to do with the beginning of the war in his view. Maybe once again, Owens is simply the ordinary rational person relying on rough common sense to interpret Di Lorenzo. He may miss some qualifiers, but understand and convey the essence of what Di Lorenzo writes.
Owens writes: " ... , John C. Calhoun, the architect of the theory of state sovereignty used to justify secession ..." Di Lorenzo responds "Owens says that I claim that John C. Calhoun was the architect of the doctrine of state sovereignty, which I do not. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, authors of the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798 that enunciated the doctrine of nullification, came first, as did myriad other members of the founding generation." Owens is making reference to state sovereignty as justification for secession. He's saying that in his view Calhoun was the originator of this theory, not claiming that Di Lorenzo says this. I'm not aware that secession is what Jefferson and Madison were about in 1798. It would take more research to establish the truth here, but it looks to me like a) Owens and Di Lorenzo are talking past each other, trying to create the best possible terms for their own case, b) Di Lorenzo accuses Owens of distorting, when Owens has a justification for presenting matters as he does and c) Di Lorenzo didn't read what Owens wrote.
Owens's article is flawed by a contradiction that Di Lorenzo doesn't pick up on. Owens's rightly notes that Davis, Stephens and other Confederates played up state's rights arguments in their memoirs to make them more prominent than they were at the time. He also rightly noticed that secession and rebellion are different questions. He also apears to claim that the Confederates could not and did not evoke the right of rebellion in 1860. In fact, that is what they did. Ideas of secession and rebellion were both in evidence in 1860 along with defenses of slavery. Secessionists combined a defense of slavery with recourse to older American traditions of rebellion. Recognition that Lincoln was in the tradition of the founders shouldn't obscure this.
Be that as it may, it does look to me like Owens is on firmer ground describing Lincoln as a Lockean. A Lockean is not the same thing as a Misean. Most people aren't Miseans and aren't anarchists or libertarians. Most political figures certainly aren't and there is no reason to expect them to be. Secondly, if Lincoln's recognition of the ongoing existence of slavery where it existed means that he was not a Lockean, then who in early 19th Century America was? Surely not Jefferson or Madison, certainly not Davis or Stephens. Even Locke himself would not qualify.
For the rest, one would have to read Locke and read him closely. I find it hard to believe, though, that Locke would approve of every rebellion, however unjustified or ill-conceived. In any event, this is a question that can only be resolved by closely reading Locke's works.
Owens is speaking of Lincoln's political philosophy. What Di Lorenzo focuses on are the means Lincoln used to save the Union and what he understood to be the Constitution and the Republic. Di Lorenzo tries to make out that these were his political philosophy. But they are the means that any leader would use finding the government and the social order threatened. Lincoln's methods are similar to those used by his opponents. Thus, Owens and Di Lorenzo are talking past each other. It's best to compare principles to principles and expedients to expedients, rather than making invidious identifications of the two among one's opponents and keeping them separate in analyzing one's own side.
On the whole, though, I'm still not convinced that Di Lorenzo has shown us "the Real Lincoln," or "the real" anything.
Your post was well written. But consider this: obviously the Framers would, as you have stated, be unhappy with either extreme federalism or extreme decentralism (Articles of Confederation). But there is a great deal in between these extremes. Toward which extreme do you think the Founders would be biased?
IMO, the Founders wanted to give the federal government just enough teeth for it to be able to accomplish the tasks listed in the Constitution...and no more. They had seen the effects of an out-of-control government and fought and bled to be free of it. Yes, they would've been sceptical about state right's absolutism, but they would've been much more appreciative of the state's holding very strong footing vis-a-vis the federal government.
So long as the states did not attempt to infringe on the federal authority granted by the Constitution, I think, as the Tenth Amendment indicates, that the Founders would've been satisified with such a federal-state arrangement.
I'm saying that the Militia Act passed at the request of George Washington requires that United States law operate in all the states.
Secession was ILLEGITIMATE revolution. This is the case we must make. (And it's not too hard)
Bump to that.
Hamilton vs. Jefferson
1. Believed in a public debt
2. Wanted to create a national bank to provide loans for businessmen, and to provide a place to deposit federal funds.
3. Believed that America should have a strong commercial society with a large industrial sector.
4. Believed that the government should foster business and contribute to the growth of capitalistic enterprise.
5. Favored a protective tariff to aid manufacturers
1. Opposed the National bank saying that it was unconstitutional and wanted to encourage state banks.
2. Felt that no special favors should be given to manufacturers.
3. Preferred an agrarian society with some industrial alternative to agriculture.
4. Felt that the national debt was harmful to society and all debts should be paid off quickly.
1. Believed that mostly the wealthy should run society
2. Hamilton was a supporter of the upper class and many taxes like taxes on whiskey harmed the lower to middle class most.
3. Believed that voting qualifications should be high meaning that he did not want any dumbasses voting.
4. Hamiltonians were mostly merchants, bankers, manufacturers, or wealthy farmers.
1. Believed that the "Common" people were capable of running the government
2. Believed that voting qualifications should be lower because common people had a say too.
3. Jefferson supported the lower and middle classes mostly.
4. Jeffersonians were mostly, artisans, shopkeepers, frontier settlers, or owners of small farms.
1. Admired the British aristocracy and believed it should be a model for American Gov.
2. Believed in a strong central Gov.
3. Favored a broad interpretation of the constitution to strengthen central Gov. at expense of state rights.
4. Hamiltonians, under certain circumstances, favored restrictions on speech and the press.
5. Believed at the time that America should break official bonds with France and tie itself closely to Britain.
1. Believed in a government more democratic than Britain's.
2. Jefferson wanted to reduce the number of federal office holders.
3. Jefferson favored freedom of the press and speech.
4. Jefferson also had a broad interpretation of the constitution but many times, it was only to favor himself or the situation (the damn hypocrite)
5. Wanted increased states rights and was suspicious of the central Gov. because of probable tyrannical overpowering like England.
||Call it what you want...
Triumph of the Hamiltonians
Hamilton vs. Jefferson
Nationalism vs. Sectionalism
Federal vs. State Authority
The point is since the creation of this country we have not been able to agree on several issues, and the division was drawn along geographic lines. War was inevitable. The point, then, is why couldn't we resolve the issues? Who really won the war? Is there resolution today?
Below is a series of eight documents beginning with the outright establishment of the United States as a nation under the Constitution and ending with the outbreak of the civil war. Each document is followed by some questions to assist you in processing the content/meaning of the document. As you read, keep in mind who the author of the document is (and their inherent bias) and who the audience is. In order to provide context for the issues, next to the list of documents is a brief timeline of sectional issues contemporary with the documents. Your job is to answer the questions for each document and ultimately decide how each issue/document contributed to growing sectional tension in the United States and what impact each had on the debate over federal vs. state authority. Keep a list of your own content and processing questions as you read. You will be provided texts for finding the answers.
|The Bank of the United States (1791)
Hamilton vs. Jefferson
|1791 - Strict vs. Loose Construction Debate
1814 - Hartford Convention
1820 - Missouri Compromise
1828 - Tariff of Abominations
1830 - Maysville Road Veto
1850 - Compromise of 1850
1854 - Kansas-Nebraska Act
1860 - South Carolina secession
Please list for me:
a) the "big bureaucracy" that Alexander Hamilton advocated and established;
b) the steps Jefferson took to dismantle this infrastructure during his tenure as President;
and c) the role Lincoln played in resurrecting the Hamiltonian Leviathan.
And spare me the rest of that BS about Hamilton favoring "the rich" and the rest of that class warfare rhetoric. BTW, Jefferson was "rich." Har!
The centralizers won. Read the constitution. The Federal government is supposed to do very little. One of the few things it's supposed to do, protect the borders it doesn't do.
BUMP to that.
Allow me to start the ball rolling, with a few observations courtesy of John Taylor of Caroline:
'On the same day [June 18, at the Philadelphia convention], Colonel Hamilton read a plan of government, containing, among others, the following proposals: "The supreme legislative power of the United States of America to be vested in two distinct bodies of men, the one to be called the assembly, and the other the senate," excluding the word Congress, "with power to pass all laws whatsoever, subject to the negative hereafter mentioned. The senate to consist of persons elected to serve during good behaviour. The supreme executive authority of the United States to be vested in a governor, to be elected to serve during good behaviour. To have a negative upon all laws about to be passed, and the execution of all laws passed. To have the intire direction of war when authorized or begun. To have the power of pardoning all offences, except treason, which he shall not pardon without the approbation of the senate. The senate to have the sole power of declaring war. All laws of the particular states, contrary to the constitution or laws of the United States, to be utterly void. And the better to prevent such laws being passed, the governor or president of each state shall be appointed by the general government, and shall have a negative upon the laws about to be passed in the state of which he is governor or president."
'It is needless to waste time in proving, that this project comprised a national government, nearly conforming to that of England...
'By Colonel Hamilton's project, the states were fairly and openly to be restored to the rank of provinces, and to be made as dependent upon a supreme national government, as they had been upon a supreme British government. Their governors were to be appointed by the national government, and invested with a negative upon all state laws; and all their laws, contrary to the laws of the supreme government, were to be void. The frankness of this undisguised proposition was honourable, and illustrates the character of an attempt to obtain a power for the federal government, substantially the same, not by plain and candid language, like Colonel Hamilton's, but by equivocal and abstruse inferences from language as plain, used with the intention of excluding his plan of government entirely. A power in the supreme federal court to declare all state laws and judgments void, which that court may deem contrary to the articles of the union, or to the laws of Congress; and also to establish every power, which Congress may infer from those delegated; comes fully up to the essential principle of Colonel Hamilton's plan; except that the court will both virtually, and directly, control the legislative, executive, and judicial state departments, by a supremacy exactly the same with that exercised by the British king and his council over the same provincial departments.'
John Taylor of Caroline, New Views of the Constitution of the United States, 1823
(italics in the original)
Mr. Hamiltons plan did indeed nearly conform to the government of England. Please note Mr. Hamiltons specific language: The supreme legislative power of the United States of America to be vested in two distinct bodies of men...with power to pass all laws whatsoever... Quite frankly, I could scarcely believe Mr. Hamilton dared use the phrase pass all laws whatsoever. The words enjoyed a certain notoriety:
But why should we enumerate our injuries in detail? By one statute it is declared, that parliament can "of right make laws to bind us in all cases whatsoever." What is to defend us against so enormous, so unlimited a power?
Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of taking up Arms, July 1775
In other words, Mr. Hamilton was proposing to reinstate a government with some of the same characteristics which had just caused the colonists to 'take up arms.' Tell us: would an American government modeled on that of Britain have qualified as a "big bureaucracy?" Fortunately, Mr. Hamiltons plan for a national (rather than federal) government was rejected by the constitutional convention. But, as John Taylor noted almost two centuries ago, (a) power in the supreme federal court to declare all state laws and judgments void, which that court may deem contrary to the articles of the union, or to the laws of Congress; and also to establish every power, which Congress may infer from those delegated; comes fully up to the essential principle of Colonel Hamilton's plan and that would seem to be a rather accurate description of our current state of affairs. In other words, Mr. Hamilton apparently did advocate a "big bureaucracy" a bureaucracy which seems, in fact, to have been established...
I have just enough time to throw another log on the fire:
Unlike many of the figures in the Hamiltonian tradition of American democratic nationalism, Abraham Lincoln (1809-65) needs no introduction...Among his contemporaries, Lincoln was distinguished neither as a thinker nor as a policymaker (such originality is not part of the job description of great politicians). His task as President, as he saw it, was to save the Union and to help his fellow Republicans in the Cabinet and Congress enact the Hamiltonian economic agenda that had been thwarted for decades by states-rights Southern Democrats. In both tasks, he suceeded.
Lincoln himself contributed to later misunderstandings by his rhetorical appropriation of the words and image of Thomas Jefferson in his antislavery and pro-Union speeches. There was not a single element of the Jeffersonian program states rights, agrarianism, strict construction of the federal constitution that Lincoln, as a Whig and then as a Republican politician, did not reject with passion. Nevertheless, he realized that if the Republican party was to be more successful than the failed Whigs, it had to recruit Democratic voters in the West and the border South who idolized Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson. Lincolns solution was to turn Jeffersonian rhetoric against Jeffersons own Southern Democratic political heirs, by a kind of intellectual ju-jitsu. Lincolns Jefferson was little more than the author of the Declaration of Independence, which itself was reduced to the phrase all men are created equal. Although the nineteenth-century abolitionist movement...had no significant roots at all in Jeffersons or Lockes secular natural-rights doctrines, Lincoln pretended that the antislavery movement was a natural development of Jeffersons Enlightenment belief in human equality. What is more, like a mathematician demonstrating a topological inversion, Lincoln turned the Declaration of Independence, a manifesto of secessionism, into a symbol of Unionism, arguing that the preservation of the Union was necessary to achieve the goal of the Declaration: equality. This was sophistry of the highest order. Thus did Lincoln, one of the most cunning debaters in American history, enlist Jeffersonian rhetoric for Hamiltonian ends ... Lincoln as a great but conventional Hamiltonian nationalist may be a less inspiring figure than the alternate Lincolns, but the others are phantoms of the patriotic imagination ... Lincoln should be remembered as the Great Nationalist, the greatest of all of the American statesmen in the Hamiltonian tradition of democratic nationalism. Lincoln more than any other individual saved the Union from disintegration and set it on the road to becoming the dominant military and industrial power of the twentieth century.
Michael Lind, Hamiltons Republic, 1997
"Lincoln should be remembered as the Great Nationalist, the greatest of all of the American statesmen in the Hamiltonian tradition of democratic nationalism. Lincoln more than any other individual...set [the Union] on the road to becoming the dominant military and industrial power of the twentieth century." And that, my friend, is from one of Mr. Hamiltons biggest fans...