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H.L. Mencken on Abraham Lincoln
"Five Men at Random," Prejudices: Third Series, 1922, pp. 171-76. | H.L. Mencken

Posted on 06/20/2002 1:32:32 PM PDT by H.R. Gross

H.L. Mencken on Abraham Lincoln

From "Five Men at Random," Prejudices: Third Series, 1922, pp. 171-76.
First printed, in part, in the Smart Set, May, 1920, p. 141

Some time ago a publisher told me that there are four kinds of books that seldom, if ever, lose money in the United States—first, murder stories; secondly, novels in which the heroine is forcibly overcome by the hero; thirdly, volumes on spiritualism, occultism and other such claptrap, and fourthly, books on Lincoln. But despite all the vast mass of Lincolniana and the constant discussion of old Abe in other ways, even so elemental a problem as that of his religious ideas—surely an important matter in any competent biography—is yet but half solved. Was he a Christian? Did he believe in the Divinity of Jesus? I am left in doubt. He was very polite about it, and very cautious, as befitted a politician in need of Christian votes, but how much genuine conviction was in that politeness? And if his occasional references to Jesus were thus open to question, what of his rather vague avowals of belief in a personal God and in the immortality of the soul? Herndon and some of his other early friends always maintained that he was an atheist, but the Rev. Willian E. Barton, one of the best of later Lincolnologists, argues that this atheism was simply disbelief in the idiotic Methodist and Baptist dogmas of his time—that nine Christian churches out of ten, if he were live today, would admit him to their high privileges and prerogatives without anything worse than a few warning coughs. As for me, I still wonder.

Lincoln becomes the American solar myth, the chief butt of American credulity and sentimentality. Washington, of late years, has bee perceptible humanized; every schoolboy now knows that he used to swear a good deal, and was a sharp trader, and had a quick eye for a pretty ankle. But meanwhile the varnishers and veneerers have been busily converting Abe into a plaster saint, thus marking hum fit for adoration in the Y.M.C.A.’s. All the popular pictures of him show him in his robes of state, and wearing an expression fit for a man about to be hanged. There is, so far as I know, not a single portrait of him showing him smiling—and yet he must have cackled a good deal, first and last: who ever heard of a storyteller who didn’t? Worse, there is an obvious effort to pump all his human weaknesses out of him, an obvious effort to pump all his human weaknesses out of him, and so leave him a mere moral apparition, a sort of amalgam of John Wesley and the Holy Ghost. What could be more absurd? Lincoln, in point of fact, was a practical politician of long experience and high talents, and by no means cursed with idealistic superstitions. Until he emerged from Illinois they always put the women, children and clergy to bed when he got a few gourds of corn aboard, and it is a matter of unescapable record that his career in the State Legislature was indistinguishable from that of a Tammany Nietzsche. Even his handling of the slavery question was that of a politician, not that of a messiah. Nothing alarmed him more than the suspicion that he was an Abolitionist, and Barton tells of an occasion when he actually fled town to avoid meeting the issue squarely. An Abolitionist would have published the Emancipation Proclamation the day after the first battle of Bull Run. But Lincoln waited until the time was more favorable—until Lee had been hurled out of Pennsylvania, and more important still, until the political currents were safely funning his way. Even so, he freed the slaves in only a part of the country: all the rest continued to clank their chains until he himself was an angel in Heaven.

Like William Jennings Bryan, he was a dark horse made suddenly formidable by fortunate rhetoric. The Douglas debate launched hum, and the Cooper Union Speech got him the Presidency. His talent for emotional utterance was an accomplishment of late growth. His early speeches were mere empty fire-works—the hollow rodomontades of the era. But in the middle life he purged his style of ornament and it became almost badly simple—and it is for that simplicity that he is remembered today. The Gettysburg speech is at once the shortest and the most famous oration in American history. Put beside it, all the whoopings of the Websters, Sumners and Everetts seem gaudy and silly It is eloquence brought to a pellucid and almost gem-like perfection—the highest emotion reduced to a few poetical phrases. Nothing else precisely like it is to be found in the whole range of oratory. Lincoln himself never even remotely approached it. It is genuinely stupendous.

But let us not forget that it is poetry, not logic; beauty, not sense. Think of the argument in it. Put it into the cold words of everyday. The doctrine is simply this: that the Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg 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. It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in that battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of their people to govern themselves. What was the practical effect of the battle of Gettysburg? What else than the destruction of the old sovereignty of the States, i.e., of the people of the States? The Confederates went into battle free; they came out with their freedom subject to the supervision and veto of the rest of the country—and for nearly twenty years that veto was so effective that they enjoyed scarcely more liberty, in the political sense, than so many convicts in the penitentiary.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism
KEYWORDS: dixielist
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To: Colt .45
...comes from a higher authority than the US Constitution...

I am glad you agree with my point, i.e. the South was overthrowing the US Constitution, and Lincoln was enforcing it.

151 posted on 06/24/2002 1:34:03 PM PDT by TheDon
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To: WhiskeyPapa
The problem is that people assume that if you are anti-slavery that you are also an abolitionist.  In actual fact, most northerners prior to the Civil War were Unionists and held slavers in contempt and abolitionists is suspicion.

Lincoln was a Unionist.
152 posted on 06/24/2002 1:37:07 PM PDT by Frumious Bandersnatch
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To: TheDon

You're WRONG, I am not agreeing with you, I am disputing your assumption that the Constitution was the highest authority for waging an unjust war on the South. The Right of Conscience was the reason for the Southern secession, and they did have a CONSTITUTIONAL right as old Abe stated in 1838. You act like the Federal Government was the holy grail of liberty, and in this case they were acting in direct opposition to the Founders intent. State's powers were full compared to the limited powers of Congress according to the Founders. All Congress had the authority to do was what was enumerated in the Constitution.

For your reading enjoyment-

From 'The American Ideal of 1776'

5. Limited Government

Governments derive "their just powers from the consent of the governed" - (Declaration of Independence)

The Principle
1. The traditional American philosophy teaches that government must be limited in power if Individual Liberty is to be safeguarded, if each Individual's God-given, unalienable rights are to be made and kept enduringly secure.

"Just Powers" Defined
2. This philosophy asserts that the self-governing people allow any government they may organize to possess, by grant from them, only the limited and few powers with which the people think the particular government may sensibly be entrusted in order to serve their purposes without endangering their rights--their liberties or freedoms. These powers constitute the "just powers" of government, as the Declaration of Independence phrases it. This is in keeping with the primary purpose for which the people organize governments: to make and keep these unalienable rights secure and most beneficial to themselves and to Posterity--time without end.

"Limited" - a Key Word
3. "Limited government" is a key term in the American philosophy. Its great significance is indicated by describing the purpose of limiting government's power in these words: Limited for Liberty. This summarizes what is meant by the statement in the Declaration of Independence about governments being limited in power "to secure these rights"--to make and keep them ever secure. "Limited" means limited by a written Constitution adopted by the sovereign people as their basic law--never changing in its meaning, as originally intended by The Framers and Adopters, except subject to change by the people only by amendments at any time and to any extent they may see fit. All governments in America are thus limited by written Constitutions--by the United States Constitution as the "supreme Law of the Land" and, as to each State government, by that States' Constitution. (Note again Par. 4 of Principle 3, regarding the first eight, or Bill of Rights, amendments being intended to apply against the Federal government only.)

Limited Powers, Duties, Responsibilities and Limited Threat to Liberty
4. The few and limited powers of the United States government are enumerated and defined in the people's fundamental law--the Constitution, as amended. This is the basis of Rule-by-Law (basically the people's fundamental law, the Constitution) in contrast to Rule-by-Man. The limited quantity of its powers means it is limited in potential threat to the people's liberties. These "just powers," being few and limited, automatically define the limits of the duties which the people assign to this government. It can have no duties, no responsibilities, other than those consistent with the limits of the powers granted to it by the people in the Constitution, as amended, It is equally as violative of the Constitution for government to assume duties--to pretend to have responsibilities--as it is to grasp powers, beyond these prescribed limits.

Division of Powers and Checks and Balances
5. As a further safeguard for the people's rights, The Framers and Ratifiers of the Constitution provided for division of powers not only between the Federal and State governments but also within the Federal government between its three, separate Branches and, further, specified various checks and balances among these Branches, to help prevent either usurpation of power (grasping unauthorized power) or misuse of the limited quantity of power granted to it by the people: as explained, for instance, by Madison in The Federalist number 51. Each of the Branches was designed to help restrain the other Branches from any violation of the Constitution. The admonition on this topic expressed in Washington's Farewell Address reflected the conviction of all of The Founders.

"It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free Country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective Constitutional spheres; avoiding in the exercise of the Powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create whatever the form of government, a real despotism. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power; by dividing and distributing it into different depositories, and constituting each the Guardian of the Public Weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them."--George Washington (Farewell Address; Emphasis added)

The Compound Republic
6. The limitation of government's power, by a written Constitution adopted by the people (by the electorate), is the main distinguishing characteristic of a Republic. The correct definition of a Republic is: a constitutionally limited government of the representative type, created by a written Constitution--adopted by the people and changeable (from its original meaning) by them only by its amendment--with its powers divided between three separate Branches: Executive, Legislative and Judicial. Each American government, Federal and State, is a Republic; and such a form of government is expressly guaranteed to each State by the United States Constitution. (Article IV, Section 4.) This makes the American system a combination, or federation , of Republics--a compound Republic as noted in The Federalist number 51 by Madison. Although the term "Federal Republic" has sometimes been used to refer both to the central (Federal) government and to the federated system of Republics--including both central government and State governments (all Republics)--it will facilitate clear thinking if this term "Federal Republic" is applied only to the central government while using the phrase "federated system of Republics" or "federation of Republics" to designate the combination, or confederation, of all of these Republics. Clarity of understanding will be best assured by referring to the central government as the central Republic.

The electorate adopt a Constitution as their basic law by utilizing a Constitutional Convention to frame it for their final approval, or ratification, as was done successfully for the first time in history by the people of Massachusetts with regard to its Constitution of 1780; it was so framed by a convention specially chosen by the people for this sole purpose and then submitted to the people for approval. Final adoption, or ratification, may also be effected in behalf of the people by a specially chosen convention for this sole purpose; and later amendments may be so approved for the people or through the regular legislative body--the alternatives specified in the United States Constitution. This Constitution was framed by the Federal (Constitutional) Convention in 1787 and then adopted in 1787-1788 by State Ratifying Conventions especially chosen by the people for this sole purpose; which is the complete and perfect method of Constitution-making. A Constitutional Convention--one chosen by the people for the sole purpose of framing or ratifying a Constitution--is one of America's greatest contributions, to the mechanics of self-government through constitutionally limited government.

Federal Delegated-Power, and State Full-Power, Republics
7. The Federal government is a delegated-power Republic which possesses only the comparatively few and limited powers granted to it by the people as enumerated in the United States Constitution, as amended--chiefly the powers concerned with "war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce" (quoting The Federalist, number 45 by Madison. It is in sharpest contrast that each State government is a full-power Republic which possesses the vast and varied powers needed to administer intra-State affairs--"all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State" (again quoting number 45). The full-power Republic of each State is subject to the State Constitution, as well as to the united States Constitution as the "supreme Law of the Land." Neither the Federal, nor any State, government therefore possesses legal sovereignty--the unlimited power of sovereignty--while the people's political sovereignty is limited in favor of preserving inviolate the God-given, unalienable rights of each Individual. (See Par. 3, Principle 4.)

The "General Welfare" in Relation to the Constitution
8. The Preamble of the United States Constitution specifies "the general Welfare" merely as one of the listed goals to be served by the Federal government in the exercise of the limited powers delegated to it, as enumerated in the body of that instrument. This mention of "the general Welfare" in the Preamble was intended, therefore, to serve in effect as a limit on the use of those delegated powers. The Preamble does not constitute a grant of any power whatever to the government. The only other mention of the words "general welfare" in the Constitution is in the Taxing Clause (Article I, Section 8) which authorizes Congress to collect taxes ". . . to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States . . ." Here, too, the words "general Welfare" were designed to serve as a limitation in effect--as a limit on the power granted under that clause. This excludes any power to tax and spend for all purposes which would not qualify as being for the "general Welfare of the United States" as a whole--for instance, it is excluded if for the benefit merely of a locality or some Individuals in the United States. The clause does not empower Congress to spend tax monies for any and every purpose it might select merely on the pretense, or even in the belief, that it is for the "general welfare." (Discussed also in Pars. 4 and 5 of Principle 11.) Congress possesses no "general legislative authority," as Hamilton stated in The Federalist number 83.

Hamilton's Opinion
9. All of those who framed and ratified the Constitution were in agreement on this point of the limited and limiting meaning of the words "general Welfare" in the Taxing Clause. As Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton contended for the first time in 1791 ("Opinion as to the Constitutionality of the Bank of the United States") in favor of a broader interpretation of this clause than he had formerly espoused and broader than that which Madison - with Hamilton's silent acquiescence--had presented in 1788 in The Federalist (especially number 41) as reflecting the controlling intent of the Framing Convention, which Madison and Jefferson consistently supported. Hamilton did not claim, however, that this clause gives to the Federal government any power, through taxing-spending, so as in effect to control directly or indirectly anything or anybody, or any activities of the people or of the State governments. Despite his assertion that this clause gives Congress a separate and substantive spending power, Hamilton cautioned expressly (Report on "Manufactures," 1791) that it only authorizes taxing and spending within the limits of what would serve the "general welfare" and does not imply a power to do whatever else should appear to Congress conducive to the "general welfare"--that it does "not carry a power to do any other thing not authorized in the Constitution, either expressly or by fair implication."

The Supreme Court's 1936 Decision Ascertaining and Defining the Original, Controlling Intent
10. As the Supreme Court decided (1936 Carter case) in ascertaining and defining the original, controlling intent of the Constitution as proved by all pertinent records and confirming its prior decisions over the generations since the adoption of the Constitution, the contentions advanced from time to time that "Congress, entirely apart from those powers delegated by the Constitution, may enact laws to promote the general welfare, have never been accepted but always definitely rejected by this court." It also decided that the Framing Convention "made no grant of authority to Congress to legislate substantively for the general welfare . . . [citing 1936 Butler case] . . . and no such authority exists, save as the general welfare may be promoted by the exercise of the powers which are granted." The American people have never amended the Constitution so as to change the limited and limiting meaning of the words "general Welfare" in the Taxing Clause, as thus originally intended by The Framers and Adopters in 1787-1788.

The Founders' Warnings
11. As Jefferson warned many times in his writings, public and private--for instance in the Kentucky Resolution--in keeping with the traditional American philosophy, strict enforcement of the Constitution's limits on the Federal government's power is essential for the protection of the people's liberties. This point was stressed at great length in The Federalist (notably numbers 17, 28, 33 and 78 by Hamilton and 44 and 46 by Madison) in reporting and explaining the intent of the Framing Convention expressed in the Constitution--as was understood and accepted by the State Ratifying Conventions. Hamilton's repeated warnings against permitting public servants to flout the people's mandate as to the limits on government's power, as specified in their basic laws (Constitutions) creating their governments, were in keeping with his words on one occasion in relation to the New York State Constitution. He stated ("Letters of Phocion," 1784) that any such defiance, by public servants, of the Constitution would be "a treasonable usurpation upon the power and majesty of the people . . ." Washington's Farewell Address expressed the conviction of The Founders of the Republic and their fellow leaders, in keeping with history's lesson, when he warned that usurpation "is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed."

Resistance to Usurpers, as Tyrants, Is Obedience to God
12. It is a traditional American motto that: "Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God." This motto was suggested by Benjamin Franklin in mid-1776 in the Congress as being an appropriate one for the seal of the United States; and it was so truly expressive of traditional American thinking that Jefferson adopted it for use on his personal seal.

A major part of the American philosophy underlying the resistance to the tyranny of king and parliament prior to the Declaration of Independence, and in support of that Declaration in 1776, was as follows. Public officials who exceed the limits of the powers delegated to them by the people under their fundamental law and thus violate, or endanger, the people's God-given, unalienable rights thereby and to this extent make of themselves defaulting trustees, usurpers, oppressors and tyrants. They thereby act outside of this supreme law, which defines these limits and the scope of their authority and office, and therefore act without authority from the people. By thus seceding and violating the restrictions of this law, they act outside of Law: lawlessly, as "out-laws." As Samuel Adams stated: "Let us remember, that 'if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others [Posterity] in our doom'" (Emphasis added.) They thereby, in practice, replace Rule-by-Law with Rule-by-Man. These defaulting trustees--thus acting lawlessly--thereby free the people from any duty of obedience; because legally and morally, under Rule-by-Law, obedience by the self-governing people is required only to Law and not to law-defying public servants.

The reasoning supporting the above-quoted motto's concept of moral duty is this: Man, being given by his Creator unalienable rights which are accompanied by corresponding duties, has the moral duty--duty to God--to safeguard these rights for the benefit of self and others, including Posterity. Man is therefore obligated to oppose all violators of these rights; and such failure betrays Man's duty as the temporary trustee of Posterity's just heritage. This is in keeping with the philosophy of the Declaration of Independence as reiterated in part, for example, in 1788 in the Virginia Ratifying Convention's proposals for amendments to the Constitution including a Bill of Rights stating in part as follows:

". . . that the doctrine of non-resistance against arbitrary power and oppression is absurd slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind."

Applied to the United States Constitution, which Federal and State officials are sworn to support, this means that--in resisting Federal officials who, as usurpers, defy the limits on their powers imposed by the "supreme Law of the Land"--the people and governments of the States are opposing Rule-by-Man and defending Rule-by-Law (basically the people's fundamental law: the Constitution). They are thus defending the Constitution against its violators: the Federal usurpers; and they are acting in defense of the people's God-given, unalienable rights and the States' reserved powers. The American philosophy and system of constitutionally limited government contemplates that the people of the several States--acting through their State governments--will, in last resort, use force to oppose any force employed by the Federal usurpers, that they will use military force (Militia of the States) to oppose any military force used by such usurpers; as Hamilton and Madison explained in detail in The Federalist, numbers 28 and 46.

The Conclusion
13. The American philosophy reflects the knowledge that the history of Individual Liberty is the history of the effective limitation of government's power, which is expressed in the traditional principle summarized in the phrase: Limited for Liberty.

153 posted on 06/24/2002 3:52:05 PM PDT by Colt .45
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To: WhiskeyPapa
Apparently the anti-feds were opposed to becoming the most powerful nation on earth.

In 1861,

The yankees knew that having Southern men of honor, like Robert E. Lee, Nathan B. Forrest, and Jefferson Davis in the Union, was essential to its survival. The Yankee States, existing in a union without the Southern States, rightly seemed silly and unworkable to the Yankees. So they fought to keep them from leaving.

85 year prior to that,

King George knew that having American men of honor, like James Madison, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton, in the British Empire, was essential to its survival. The British, in an empire without the Americans, rightly seemed silly and unworkable. So he fought to keep them from leaving.

Southerners, however, knew that the CSA was destined to become the greatest nation on earth, and they knew that they didn't need New Englanders of the Kennedy and Rockefeller ilk in it, to become just that. Ahh - the spirit of independence; so American.

154 posted on 06/24/2002 4:07:34 PM PDT by H.Akston
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To: Colt .45
The Constitution is the law of the land. States rights are circumscribed by Constitutional bounds, and subordinate to the Constitution in the powers over which the Constitution enumerates as in the federal government's sphere.

Article VI, Clause 2
"This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land"

You are resorting to an extra-Constitutional means of justifying the South's illegal acts. Then you try to cloak the South's resort to arms over the law, as legal. Sorry, you can't have it both ways.

If the South wanted out, they should have stayed within the bounds of the Constitution to do so. No doubt they didn't think the North would be able to stop them, for a variety of reasons, so they took a different path.

155 posted on 06/24/2002 5:40:32 PM PDT by TheDon
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To: WhiskeyPapa
A voluntary Union, is a more perfect Union.
156 posted on 06/24/2002 5:48:59 PM PDT by H.Akston
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To: H.Akston
A voluntary Union, is a more perfect Union.

The union we have now -is- voluntary. It was maintained agaist a disatisfied minority.

Hadn't you heard?

Walt

157 posted on 06/24/2002 6:29:45 PM PDT by WhiskeyPapa
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To: H.Akston
The yankees knew that having Southern men of honor, like Robert E. Lee, Nathan B. Forrest, and Jefferson Davis in the Union, was essential to its survival.

According to one of the affidavits of a CSA officer at Fort Pillow, Forrest shot in cold blood a mulatto servant of a federal officer. So much for him.

Lee ignored the words of his putative hero George Washington, who urged an immovable attachment to the national union. So much for him.

Jefferson Davis maintained that HIS government had the absolute right to coerce the states. So much for him.

Damn'd traitors, every one.

Walt

158 posted on 06/24/2002 7:18:41 PM PDT by WhiskeyPapa
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To: TheDon

NO! You must go back to the ORIGINAL INTENT of the Founding Fathers.

This phrase ' The Constitution is the law of the land. States rights are circumscribed by Constitutional bounds, and subordinate to the Constitution in the powers over which the Constitution enumerates as in the federal government's sphere.M/b>'

7. 'The Federal government is a delegated-power Republic which possesses only the comparatively few and limited powers granted to it by the people as enumerated in the United States Constitution, as amended--chiefly the powers concerned with "war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce" (quoting The Federalist, number 45 by Madison. It is in sharpest contrast that each State government is a full-power Republic which possesses the vast and varied powers needed to administer intra-State affairs--"all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State" (again quoting number 45). The full-power Republic of each State is subject to the State Constitution, as well as to the united States Constitution as the "supreme Law of the Land." Neither the Federal, nor any State, government therefore possesses legal sovereignty--the unlimited power of sovereignty--while the people's political sovereignty is limited in favor of preserving inviolate the God-given, unalienable rights of each Individual. (See Par. 3, Principle 4.)

159 posted on 06/25/2002 11:51:31 AM PDT by Colt .45
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To: TheDon
IMG SRC="http://www.confederate-flags.com/national/confederacy.jpg">

You say that the South went outside of the Constitution to Secede, and I still maintain that they seceded under the (key word here Yankee) original principles of liberty as were expressed in the Declaration of Independence, and that we still hold as inviolate!

If you are of the belief that the Declaration of Independence is not valid as a cornerstone of our principles of American liberty, then you must be saying that the States should have petitioned the Federal Government to leave. The Federal Government (overstepping its bounds) would never have let them do so. This would directly affect the individual liberties and pursuit of happiness within each State. 'The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State. Federalist papers No. 45 - Madison

So now you are telling me that the North was justified in invading the South, BUT if you read the Federalist Papers you would find that you are wrong again. 'The American philosophy and system of constitutionally limited government contemplates that the people of the several States--acting through their State governments--will, in last resort, use force to oppose any force employed by the Federal usurpers, that they will use military force (Militia of the States) to oppose any military force used by such usurpers; as Hamilton and Madison explained in detail in The Federalist, numbers 28 and 46.

Power being almost always the rival of power, the general government will at all times stand ready to check the usurpations of the state governments, and these will have the same disposition towards the general government. The people, by throwing themselves into either scale, will infallibly make it preponderate. If their rights are invaded by either, they can make use of the other as the instrument of redress. ' Federalist Paper #28 - Hamilton

'Were it admitted, however, that the Federal government may feel an equal disposition with the State governments to extend its power beyond the due limits, the latter would still have the advantage in the means of defeating such encroachments. If an act of a particular State, though unfriendly to the national government, be generally popular in that State and should not too grossly violate the oaths of the State officers, it is executed immediately and, of course, by means on the spot and depending on the State alone. The opposition of the federal government, or the interposition of federal officers, would but inflame the zeal of all parties on the side of the State, and the evil could not be prevented or repaired, if at all, without the employment of means which must always be resorted to with reluctance and difficulty. On the other hand, should an unwarrantable measure of the federal government be unpopular in particular States, which would seldom fail to be the case, or even a warrantable measure be so, which may sometimes be the case, the means of opposition to it are powerful and at hand. The disquietude of the people; their repugnance and, perhaps, refusal to co-operate with the officers of the Union; the frowns of the executive magistracy of the State; the embarrassments created by legislative devices, which would often be added on such occasions, would oppose, in any State, difficulties not to be despised; would form, in a large State, very serious impediments; and where the sentiments of several adjoining States happened to be in unison, would present obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter.' Federalist Papers #46 - Madison

160 posted on 06/25/2002 12:33:33 PM PDT by Colt .45
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To: Colt .45
You don't state your intent for using these quotes. They support my point of view though.
161 posted on 06/25/2002 12:59:37 PM PDT by TheDon
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To: Colt .45
If you are of the belief that the Declaration of Independence is not valid as a cornerstone of our principles of American liberty, then you must be saying that the States should have petitioned the Federal Government to leave.

No, I'm saying they should have ammended the Constitution to allow states to leave the Union. If they could not convince their fellow citizens to do this, then they are out of luck. You are trying to ignore the Constitution by wrapping your arguments with the Declaration of Independence. It is rather offensive. Resorting to arms when you have not exhausted every legal means of resolving a conflict of this nature is not responsible. Read the Declaration of Independence more carefully and see how long, and how hard the colonists tried to reconcile with Britian before they declared their independence. Look at the long line of abuses suffered, and tell me how this compares with what the South was suffering. As for putting down the South's insurrection, that is explicitly within the power of the federal government, as listed in the Constitution, which all the Southern states accepted when they joined the Union.

162 posted on 06/25/2002 1:22:49 PM PDT by TheDon
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To: Colt .45
great quotes in 160.

Wasted, though not your fault, it is what happens when one casts pearls before swine.

163 posted on 06/25/2002 1:30:56 PM PDT by Triple
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To: TheDon

Your supposition that my quotes support your points is Horse Sh*t! I am pointing out how the Founders view State's and ultimately individual rights. State's had control of promoting the general prosperity and welfare.

Your position would've worked out well for Stalin. No wonder you are having difficulties with limited government. You are used to a Socialistic type of system. Hmmmmmmmmm ... you must be from Californicate.

164 posted on 06/25/2002 2:46:55 PM PDT by Colt .45
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To: Colt .45
Horse Sh*t! ... Stalin ... Socialistic ... Californicate ...

Out of ammo already? I'm not much for "electronic shouting matches", though I prefer that to lead in this case. The soldiers of the Civil War were not so fortunate.

165 posted on 06/25/2002 3:03:01 PM PDT by TheDon
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To: WhiskeyPapa
Hey Walt, you still here too?
166 posted on 06/25/2002 3:06:19 PM PDT by TheDon
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To: TheDon

Not out of ammo, just tired of trying to teach pigs to sing.

167 posted on 06/25/2002 3:15:57 PM PDT by Colt .45
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To: Colt .45
LOL! All right then. Spend some time working on your arguments, and try again another day.
168 posted on 06/25/2002 3:28:38 PM PDT by TheDon
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To: WhiskeyPapa
A voluntary union, is a more perfect Union. In a country that has been reconstructed, the wrong are made to seem right, and the right wrong. The yankees, were therefore, the true traitors. The reconstructive yankees changed the nature of this nation from a voluntary one to a coercive one, and turned the relationship between state and central governments upside down. (While claiming to "save the Union") Damn traitors to the principles behind the Constitution, they were.

George Washington was a Virginian. He would have seceded, reluctantly, just like Lee, to try to preserve, in the CSA, the decentralizing principles behind the Union which were being perverted by the Union Party Radicals in Congress.

US Grant, when asked if he was going to free his slave, replied, no, "good help is hard to come by."

I'm sure I could find any number of cases where your saviors/heros killed people in cold blood. Surely you don't want me to remind you of the things WT Sherman did in Georgia to southern women and children.

Nothing Lee, Forrest, or Davis ever did was unjustified.

"I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races -- that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races from living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."

An address by Abraham Lincoln at Springfield, Illinois, on June 26, 1857 [Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Vol II, pp 408-9, Basler, ed.]

It's such a shame that Lincoln couldn't have guided the country during Reconstruction, and maintained the structure so that the STATES could have abolished slavery, as was their inclination and right to do so, at a time of their choosing. Damn John Wilkes Boothe. He enabled the traitorous radicals to take over.

169 posted on 06/25/2002 5:27:19 PM PDT by H.Akston
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To: Colt .45
Beautiful.
170 posted on 06/25/2002 5:29:58 PM PDT by H.Akston
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To: TheDon
What I am 'only stating' is definitional. Look up the terms. "Overthrow" & "civil war" it was not.
171 posted on 06/25/2002 9:28:24 PM PDT by budo
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To: WhiskeyPapa
"Apparently the anti-feds were opposed to becoming the most powerful nation on
earth."

Precisely. If this was not THE defining difference between the anti's & the federalists, what would you say was?

Please define 'organic' in this context.

172 posted on 06/25/2002 9:33:11 PM PDT by budo
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To: WhiskeyPapa
"George Washington supported the consolidation of the federal government, calling it the goal of every true American. It seems hard to blame Lincoln for adopting the stance of Washington."

Washington, Lincoln, & any other federalists you'd care to name could hold whatever views they wanted, but to say those, or any other, trump liberty, is to not begrudge the whips in their hands & the enslavement that ensued as those views were rammed down peoples' throats.


"Washington would certainly agree that what we see today is totally beyond the pale. So would Lincoln."

I think 'yes' regarding Washington (or, at least, a very strong 'probably'); to Lincoln, it would be home, sweet home. It took Lincoln & co. to create the infrastructure from which has metastisized today's 'beyond the pale'....

"...whereas a liberal, and energetic Constitution, well guarded and closely watched, to prevent encroachments, might restore us to that degree of respectability and consequence, to which we had a fair claim, and the brightest prospect of
attaining..."

Just so. It wasn't well guarded or closely watched, & not that many years after these words were penned, it was annihilated.

"Would you be happy if the states could print their own money again?"

You're straying. This is a whole other - & large - topic. Stay on point.

"Whatever -you- personally own is more stable and more secure because of the stable and secure situation that you have now in contrast with the unstable situation that Washington saw in 1785. You'd think common sense would tell you that."

This comes as about as close to the crux of the whole debate as is likely to be seen this thread. My take on conservatives, & I know bunches of them, is that, deep down, they are timid, even frightened, people (& for neo-cons - conservatives to an exponent - change the word to 'terrified'...). This, coupled with a very limited ability for introspection seems to result in an insatiable appetite for 'security', which, of course, to such people, revolves around the ability to command & control as much of the external world as possible. But the instability lies within these people, and so the acquisition of power 'out there' failes to sate, their internal life is mostly appetitive, and they just keep grasping, grasping, grasping. I bet you are familiar with Franklin's contempt for people who give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety....

I wish I could add audio to this so you could hear me guffawing over your alice-in wonderland statement re: the 'stability & security' of my property. Believe it or not, timid sir, but me & mine can can preserve the stability & security of ourselves & our property just fine...except, of course, against your pals, the federalists.
173 posted on 06/25/2002 10:37:08 PM PDT by budo
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To: Non-Sequitur
If you are correct, & 95% of the tariff was collected in northern ports in 1860, then the north paid the lion's share - in 1860 (would you conflate a single year's stats with the general situation?). But this would be news to me...Taussig's volume, "Tariff History of the U.S.", as far as I know, is considered seminal, and is my source. If you have another source, please share it. As to the second point, if you are referring to the period of time when the south was seriously outmanned, outsupplied, in desperate need of everything, her civilian population under seige, ports blockaded (just what is it you think was being imported, I wonder?) -and still kicking hell out of the yankee invaders - any & all means of raising revenue makes sense to me: it was life or death. Reread my post re: the drastic lowering - virtual elimination - of tariffs that wass written INTO the CSA constitution & the efffect that bit of info had on the northern appetite for invasion.
174 posted on 06/25/2002 11:01:30 PM PDT by budo
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To: TheDon
Please enlighten us as to the 'constitutional way' to leave the union....
175 posted on 06/25/2002 11:06:31 PM PDT by budo
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To: TheDon
I'm just working thru, one by one, so if farther on down you have ceased this infantile insistence on creating your own personal definitions for words like 'overthrow', my apologies. Otherwise, a click over to dictionary.com would add some much needed precision to your use of english.
176 posted on 06/25/2002 11:13:26 PM PDT by budo
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To: H.Akston
Interesting thesis. But Hamilton was federalist to the bone.
Madison wrote the federalist manifesto. And Washington seem a bit conflicted on the whole thing.
177 posted on 06/25/2002 11:19:24 PM PDT by budo
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To: TheDon
Virginia & Kentucky resolutions, as well as other state constitutions, have already been pointed out this thread. These state constitutions specified joining the compact in no way abrogated their ability to decide to leave said compact. For article6, clause2 to be read as trumping those state constitutions requires the oleaginous ethics of a bottom-feeding lawyer (like your pal Lincoln was, for instance...). At any rate, you have way too much regard for mere legality (or perhaps it serves your interests to pretend to, in this case). Laws uniformed by morality have no standing, are no litmus to right or wrong. Even if the federalists had executed legal trickery that resulted in states being compelled to indentured servitude, rather than merely deciding to force states into indentured servitude, the 'legality' of it would be irrelevant. A good title to a good book fits here..."Freeing Slaves, Enslaving Free Men", by Jeffrey Rogers (?) Hummel.
178 posted on 06/25/2002 11:42:00 PM PDT by budo
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To: WhiskeyPapa
Hello, Mr. Orwell! The income tax is 'voluntary' too. You & the don continue to look foolish. Maybe you & he could define your terms for the rest of us, help us to cut thru all your cognitive dissonance.
179 posted on 06/25/2002 11:50:02 PM PDT by budo
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To: WhiskeyPapa
I hadn't ever heard this about Nathan; coming from you (based on the qualities indicated in your posts), I doubt its true - but I'll look into it. Do you at least feign to profess equivalent (at least) moral outrage at wholesale northern atrocities (rape, plunder, murder) of southern civilian populations? Probably not, huh?

If all Washington was is encapsulated in your sentence, then 'putative hero' is all he could ever be. Lee was a noble, honorable man & so, of course, would not cleave wholesale to a man, or men, as you do, but to those high IDEALS embodied by the antifederalists.

Jefferson Davis was explicitly NOT tried for treason because his northern captors knew they would lose in open court on constitutional grounds.

You may as well have another whiskey, papa - coherence isn't your strong suit, anyway.
180 posted on 06/26/2002 12:20:35 AM PDT by budo
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To: TheDon
"It is rather offensive."

And you are rather prissy - & that is especially ridiculous in a man.

I'll bet your idea of 'conflict resolution' had you on the receiving end quite a bit as a kid, right? I wonder who decides when the train of abuses is long enough? Left up to people like you, it becomes infinite. And there were plenty like you around AFTER the declaration - they were called tories.

'Insurrection.' More slop. The states were not subordinate to DC - & would not have joined the compact if that had been the price of entrance. The south did not march on DC, did not try to wrest control of the DC govt - no insurrection (again, consult a dictionary...).

I am beginning to think a man that can continue to cling as you do,a man who can conclude that the men who refused to bend over for the british empire would then turn around & bend over for despotism & tyranny out of DC, is a man for whom being bent over is normal posture.
181 posted on 06/26/2002 12:53:24 AM PDT by budo
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To: budo
My source for the tariff information was "Lifeline of the Confederacy: Blockade running during the Civil War" by Stephen Wise. He references a government document, the "Statement Showing the Amount of Revenue Collected Annually", Executive Document No.33, 36th Congress, 1st Session, 1860. What source does your book use?

As for your second point, I'm referring to May 1861 when the south passed their tariff bill. A time when the south was not outmanned. A time when the south was not desperate. A time when the blockade had not been established, so the south wasn't in desperate need of everthing. And a time when the south had not kicked the hell out of anything, except civil liberties and their own constitution (but that is a topic for another post). In short, the tariff was the first thing the south turned to for revenue. Why would that be if the tariff was such a bone of contention prior to the war? Why wouldn't they try other sources before turning to something as hateful as a tariff?

182 posted on 06/26/2002 4:18:39 AM PDT by Non-Sequitur
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To: budo
Jefferson Davis was explicitly NOT tried for treason because his northern captors knew they would lose in open court on constitutional grounds.

Finally someone who admits that there were Constitutional grounds why Davis and his gang were never tried. But, I assume, that you arguement would be that secession was protected by the Constitution and that is, of course, false. Davis wasn't tried because the 14th Amendment had been ratified. Since that prevented the southern leadership from holding elected or appointed office in the Federal government, Chief Justice Chase's opinion was that any trial, conviction, and sentence for treason would violate their 5th Amendment protection against double jeopardy.

183 posted on 06/26/2002 4:23:23 AM PDT by Non-Sequitur
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To: budo
The states were not subordinate to DC - & would not have joined the compact if that had been the price of entrance. The south did not march on DC, did not try to wrest control of the DC govt - no insurrection

From earlier posts of mine:

The Constitution is the law of the land. States rights are circumscribed by Constitutional bounds, and subordinate to the Constitution in the powers over which the Constitution enumerates as in the federal government's sphere.

Article VI, Clause 2
"This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land"

Insurrection
The act or an instance of open revolt against civil authority or a constituted government.

Again, from an earlier post of mine:
Abraham Lincoln
FIRST INAUGURAL ADDRESS
MONDAY, MARCH 4, 1861

...

"I therefore consider that in view of the Constitution and the laws the Union is unbroken, and to the extent of my ability, I shall take care, as the Constitution itself expressly enjoins upon me, that the laws of the Union be faithfully executed in all the States. Doing this I deem to be only a simple duty on my part, and I shall perform it so far as practicable unless my rightful masters, the American people, shall withhold the requisite means or in some authoritative manner direct the contrary. I trust this will not be regarded as a menace, but only as the declared purpose of the Union that it will constitutionally defend and maintain itself.

In doing this there needs to be no bloodshed or violence, and there shall be none unless it be forced upon the national authority. The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the Government and to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere. Where hostility to the United States in any interior locality shall be so great and universal as to prevent competent resident citizens from holding the Federal offices, there will be no attempt to force obnoxious strangers among the people for that object. While the strict legal right may exist in the Government to enforce the exercise of these offices, the attempt to do so would be so irritating and so nearly impracticable withal that I deem it better to forego for the time the uses of such offices.

... All profess to be content in the Union if all constitutional rights can be maintained. Is it true, then, that any right plainly written in the Constitution has been denied? I think not. Happily, the human mind is so constituted that no party can reach to the audacity of doing this. Think, if you can, of a single instance in which a plainly written provision of the Constitution has ever been denied. If by the mere force of numbers a majority should deprive a minority of any clearly written constitutional right, it might in a moral point of view justify revolution; certainly would if such right were a vital one. But such is not our case. All the vital rights of minorities and of individuals are so plainly assured to them by affirmations and negations, guaranties and prohibitions, in the Constitution that controversies never arise concerning them."

You see, from the definition, the Southern state governments were in "open revolt against civil authority or a constituted government." The President is bound by oath to uphold the Constitution, which the South was revolting against. Under these circumstances, war was inevitable.

...the men who refused to bend over for the british empire would then turn around & bend over for despotism & tyranny out of DC...

Care to attempt to list a comparison of the abuses suffered by the colonists at the hands of the British government versus those suffered by the Southern states at the hands of the federal government? Also, pay attention to the long suffering attempts by the colonists to simply have the British government recognize the colonists rights as British citizens before resorting to the sword, after all other avenues yielded no success. I'll give you some help, for the colonists, start with the Declaration of Independence. I'll let you come up with the list of abuses for the Southern states, if you can.

You will not be able to make such a comparison, because there is none to be made. That is what I find offensive about such an argument. To compare the two situations is what is offensive.

184 posted on 06/26/2002 7:56:55 AM PDT by TheDon
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To: budo
http://www.freerepublic.com/fo cus/news/703308/posts?page=162 #162
185 posted on 06/26/2002 8:00:08 AM PDT by TheDon
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To: budo
At any rate, you have way too much regard for mere legality

Did you really mean to say this?

186 posted on 06/26/2002 8:01:20 AM PDT by TheDon
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To: Non-Sequitur
Do you have a link to support that double jep. stuff you're selling? Never heard of that one.

The truth is that Andrew Johnson pardoned Davis, just before a 3 judge panel could be assembled to vote on whether or not to indict him. Many wanted him tried, but those who looked into the Union's case started having second thoughts. After the pardon, they quickly lost interest. It was a convenient excuse not to try him, since he would have proven secession to be constitutional.

A voluntary Union is a more Perfect Union.

187 posted on 06/26/2002 5:31:16 PM PDT by H.Akston
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To: budo
But they (Founders and Southerners) were all secessionists.

The Union Party Radicals of the 1860s were of another spirit. Thank you for not personally attacking me. :)

You must be a Southern Gentleman.

188 posted on 06/26/2002 5:40:17 PM PDT by H.Akston
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To: budo
What is the difference between a Federalist and an anti-federalist? They both seem benign to me. The real villians were the radical republicans = Nationalists.
189 posted on 06/26/2002 5:43:28 PM PDT by H.Akston
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To: H.Akston
There are several excellent biographies of Davis which go into the details of his post-war legal issues to one extent or another, like "Jefferson Davis, American" by William Cooper. Here is a website which also gives a fairly detailed overview of the situation. Johnson never pardoned Davis, either. He just delayed acting on the issue, the trial of Davis remained on the court docket until 1869. As for Davis himself, he was never pardoned having never been convicted of a crime. But he did have his citizenship restored by Jimmy Carter, for all the good that did.

As for a trial, if there is anyone who thinks that Davis would not have been convicted if placed on trial then they are unbelievably naieve. And such a trial would have done nothing to prove or disprove the legality of secession. Than was decided by the Supreme Court in 1869. It's illegal.

190 posted on 06/26/2002 7:15:50 PM PDT by Non-Sequitur
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To: WhiskeyPapa
A voluntary Union is a more Perfect Union.
191 posted on 06/27/2002 2:51:49 AM PDT by H.Akston
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To: H.Akston
A voluntary Union is a more Perfect Union.

Our Union -is- voluntary.

When the people grow tired of it, they can exercise their constitutional right to amend it, or their revolutionary right to overthrow it.

Walt

192 posted on 06/27/2002 4:36:54 AM PDT by WhiskeyPapa
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To: WhiskeyPapa
"When the people grow tired of it, they can exercise their constitutional right to amend it, or their revolutionary right to overthrow it."

The people of the states may disunite without being killed, by holding state conventions and voting to secede?

193 posted on 06/27/2002 3:05:38 PM PDT by H.Akston
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To: WhiskeyPapa
When the people grow tired of it, they can exercise their constitutional right to amend it, or their revolutionary right to overthrow it.

You mean like New Yorkers reserved the right to do when they ratified the Constitution:

That all Power is originally vested in and consequently derived from the People, and that Government is instituted by them for their common Interest Protection and Security.
That the enjoyment of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness are essential rights which every Government ought to respect and preserve.
That the Powers of Government may be reassumed by the People, whensoever it shall become necessary to their Happiness that every Power, Jurisdiction and right, which is not by the said Constitution clearly delegated to the Congress of the United States, or the departments of the Government thereof, remains to the People of the several States [emphasis added for Walt], or to their respective State Governments to whom they may have granted the same; And that those Clauses in the said Constitution, which declare, that Congress shall not have or exercise certain Powers, do not imply that Congress is entitled to any Powers not given by the said Constitution; but such Clauses are to be construed either as exceptions to certain specified Powers, or as inserted merely for greater Caution.

?

194 posted on 06/29/2002 4:39:32 AM PDT by H.Akston
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To: r9etb
And why did slavery figure so prominently in those wily Southerners' Declarations of Secession?

What was featured in South Carolina's declaration was not slavery but the failure of the north to enforce the provision in the Constitution requiring the return of fugitive slaves. In other words, we didn't break the compact, you did.

195 posted on 01/18/2011 10:04:46 PM PST by SeeSharp
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To: SeeSharp
What was featured in South Carolina's declaration was not slavery but the failure of the north to enforce the provision in the Constitution requiring the return of fugitive slaves. In other words, we didn't break the compact, you did.

lol...

"It's not about slavery, it's just about our slaves."

Honestly ... do you nutjobs even read what you write?

196 posted on 01/19/2011 6:32:50 AM PST by r9etb
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To: SeeSharp
What was featured in South Carolina's declaration was not slavery but the failure of the north to enforce the provision in the Constitution requiring the return of fugitive slaves. In other words, we didn't break the compact, you did.

lol...

"It's not about slavery, it's just about our slaves."

Honestly ... do you nutjobs even read what you write?

197 posted on 01/19/2011 6:33:03 AM PST by r9etb
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To: r9etb

Do you ever read what you are replying to? The SC declaration establishes who broke the compact.


198 posted on 01/19/2011 7:38:43 AM PST by SeeSharp
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To: SeeSharp

The comment stands. Your boys gambled and lost it all, over slavery. What a dismal, wretched little cause.


199 posted on 01/19/2011 7:50:12 AM PST by r9etb
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To: r9etb
The comment stands. Your boys gambled and lost it all, over slavery. What a dismal, wretched little cause.

You cultists are all the same. When logic fails, just spew insults.

200 posted on 01/19/2011 7:55:39 AM PST by SeeSharp
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