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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: stainlessbanner; shuckmaster
Thanks for the ping.
I e-mailed this to my wife.

The only writer with the clarity and mordant wit that I have found today is Florence King, who writes "The Misanthrope's Corner" for National Review.

CD

51 posted on 06/21/2002 5:29:20 AM PDT by Constitution Day
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To: Libertarianize the GOP
Consider the source.....
52 posted on 06/21/2002 5:30:46 AM PDT by stainlessbanner
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To: Libertarianize the GOP
Do you want to see Walt's latest find?

LOL!!! Well look who it's written by. What would you expect? Southern Dixie bump. This however is a good article and thanks for posting it

53 posted on 06/21/2002 5:32:44 AM PDT by billbears
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To: Libertarianize the GOP
You know lincoln's revisionist lapdogs are on their last leg when they start refering to the truth as 'bashing'.
54 posted on 06/21/2002 5:35:36 AM PDT by shuckmaster
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To: Sicken Tard
If a State can secede lawfully, then there are no grounds for war.

The only way for a state to secede lawfully is through the amendment process in Article V.

It shouldn't be forgotten that the Arts. of Confed were a big flop and people -knew- they were a big flog at the time They in many cases reluctantly agreed to the United States taking a national form under the Constitution. But they knew that was what was being done.

The framers -clearly- wanted to establish nationality and Washington, Madison and Jefferson are only the most prominent.

A state may NOT leave the union unilaterally. To suggest it may perverts what the framers intended.

A whole blizzard of obscure quotations cannot change what the framers wanted.

People shouldn't let dissatisfaction with the government today cloud ther view of what the framers intended.

Walt

55 posted on 06/21/2002 5:44:56 AM PDT by WhiskeyPapa
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To: H.R. Gross
BUMP
56 posted on 06/21/2002 5:57:23 AM PDT by Aurelius
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To: WhiskeyPapa
A state may NOT leave the union unilaterally.

How did the original colonies enter? And where is the prohibition against leaving? Just curious.

57 posted on 06/21/2002 6:00:52 AM PDT by 4CJ
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To: 4ConservativeJustices
How did the original colonies enter? And where is the prohibition against leaving? Just curious.

Jay, Chief Justice:-- The Question we are now to decide has been accurately stated, viz.: Is a state suable by individual citizens of another state?...

The revolution, or rather the Declaration of Independence, found the people already united for general purposes, and at the same time, providing for their more domestic concerns by state conventions, and other temporary arrangements. From the crown of Great Britain, the sovereignty of their country passed to the people of it; and it was then not an uncommon opinion, that the unappropriated lands, which belonged to that crown, passed, not to the people of the colony or states within whose limits they were situated, but to the whole people; on whatever principles this opinion rested, it did not give way to the other, and thirteen sovereignties were considered as emerged from the principles of the revolution, combined with local convenience and considerations; the people nevertheless continued to consider themselves, in a national point of view, as one people; and they continued without interruption to manage their national concerns accordingly; afterwards, in the hurry of the war, and in the warmth of mutual confidence, they made a confederation of the States, the basis of a general Government.

Experience disappointed the expectations they had formed from it; and then the people, in their collective and national capacity, established the present Constitution. It is remarkable that in establishing it, the people exercised their own rights and their own proper sovereignty, and conscious of the plenitude of it, they declared with becoming dignity, "We the people of the United States," 'do ordain and establish this Constitution." Here we see the people acting as the sovereigns of the whole country.; and in the language of sovereignty, establishing a Constitution by which it was their will, that the state governments should be bound, and to which the State Constitutions should be made to conform. Every State Constitution is a compact made by and between the citizens of a state to govern themeselves in a certain manner; and the Constitution of the United States is liekwise a compact made by the people of the United States to govern themselves as to general objects, in a certain manner. By this great compact however, many prerogatives were transferred to the national Government, such as those of making war and peace, contracting alliances, coining money, etc."

Wilson, Justice-- "Whoever considers, in a combined and comprehensive view, the general texture of the constitution, will be satisfied that the people of the United States intended to form themselves into a nation for national purposes. They instituted, for such purposes, a national government complete in all its parts, with powers legislative, executive and judiiciary, ad in all those powers extending over the whole nation."

-- From "Chisholm v. Georgia", 1793

The Supreme Court is amply on the record to answer your question.

The whole Constitution forbids secession.

Walt

58 posted on 06/21/2002 6:25:11 AM PDT by WhiskeyPapa
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To: eddie willers
So - You've heard a bit about him too, eH ??
59 posted on 06/21/2002 6:44:52 AM PDT by Alabama_Wild_Man
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To: TheDon
>>Nice to know that no one can support the views of DiLorenzo, the Michael Bellesiles of Lincoln studies.

I have noticed that those who disagree with Dilorenzo NEVER refute his arguments. They just attack him personally. I see that you're no exception.
60 posted on 06/21/2002 6:52:00 AM PDT by dixiepatriot
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To: okchemyst
I've heard of H L Mencken, but not of you two. Run those credentials again, for those of us who missed them.

What special credentials qualify HLM to interpret the meaning of the Battle of Gettysburg or the relationship of liberty and self-determination to secession or nullification? I don't know that he has any more qualifications in that area than you do. He was a newspaperman.

61 posted on 06/21/2002 6:52:15 AM PDT by Huck
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To: okchemyst
One of the great physicists of the "Golden Era", perhaps De Broglie, said something to the effect that no theory gains acceptance because its opponents are suddenly converted to it, but rather because the opponents gradually die off and a new generation arises that has grown up with it.

Mencken's Lincoln-hating isn't a theory--it's a diatribe. Mencken was a bitter, irrelevant, crusty old fart and atheist who could write well. In this he was remarkably similar to Ayn Rand, except that Rand couldn't write well.

62 posted on 06/21/2002 6:58:52 AM PDT by Kevin Curry
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To: x; WhiskeyPapa
As for Mencken, I think he misunderstands the questions behind the Gettysburg Address. Lincoln wasn't talking about the right of self-determination, but about the survival of free, constitutional and democratic republics. The demands that groups made for self-determination would tear apart self-governing societies, and secession would be a warrant for perpetual war and all the anarchy and tyranny that war brings. You can agree or disagree with Lincoln, but simply giving a green light to every movement that demands secession on its own terms at its own will, doesn't prevent the dilemmas Lincoln calls our attention to. Such a policy would be more likely to create and exacerbate them.

The idea that state sovereignty equals the sovereignty of the people of the states equals freedom is another that can be called into question. The idea of minority rights defended by "state's right's" advocates can also be applied against "state's rights." If I am not free because of the abuses of majorities at the federal level, do abuses of majorities at the state level leave me any freer? Similarly, the idea that "the Confederates went into battle free" is also open to debate. It depends on how one defines "Confederates" and "free." Mencken's sentence opens up too many cans of worms to be accepted at face value as true.

Great job. Great summary of Mencken's error in oversimplifying the issues and misrepresenting the words of Mr. Lincoln. Anyone who earnestly consults the record--particularly a certain well known fellow named Washington and another one folks might have heard of named Madison--will find that secession does not equal self-determination, least of all in our system. Washington and Madison said so explicitly more than once. I daresay they are qualified to speak on the subject.

If some reader doesn't believe me (and why should you?) please go do a thorough investigation. I am sure WhiskeyPapa has a few quotations handy to point you on your way. Again, great job x. You nailed it.

63 posted on 06/21/2002 7:07:05 AM PDT by Huck
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To: Kevin Curry
In this he was remarkably similar to Ayn Rand, except that Rand couldn't write well.

LOL. That's a good line. But Kevin, Mencken could really write well and Ayn Rand really couldn't. Much as I enjoy Mencken's style and wit, I can't argue with the basics of your description.

64 posted on 06/21/2002 7:15:27 AM PDT by Huck
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To: Kevin Curry
In this he was remarkably similar to Ayn Rand, except that Rand couldn't write well.

LOL. That's a good line. But Kevin, Mencken could really write well and Ayn Rand really couldn't. Much as I enjoy Mencken's style and wit, I can't argue with the basics of your description.

65 posted on 06/21/2002 7:16:42 AM PDT by Huck
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To: stainlessbanner
1844: The Massachusetts Legislature threatened secession when Congress started debating whether to admit Texas into the Union.

Imagine a US WITHOUT Taxachooseits and Pres Kennedy AND Senators Robert and Tubby (er, Teddy)!!!!

66 posted on 06/21/2002 7:23:23 AM PDT by texson66
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To: WhiskeyPapa
>>The whole Constitution forbids secession.

Nonsense. It is clear from the available historical facts that the Constitution would have never been ratified if it had been understood that, in doing so, the States would surrender their sovereignty, as well as their right of secession should the experiment fail. We need look no further for proof of the reserved right of secession than in the ratification of at least three of the original thirteen States. Following are excerpts from the ratifications of the States of Virginia, New York, and Rhode Island respectively:

"We, the delegates of the people of Virginia, duly elected in pursuance of a recommendation from the general assembly, and now met in convention, having fully and freely investigated and discussed the proceedings of the Federal Convention, and being prepared as well as the most mature deliberation hath enabled us to decide thereon, Do, in the name and in behalf of the people of Virginia, declare and make known that the powers granted under the Constitution being derived from the people of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression, and that every power not granted thereby remains with them and at their will...."

"We, the delegates of the people of New York... do declare and make known that the powers of government may be reassumed by the people whenever 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 department of the government thereof, remains to the people of the several States, 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 in certain specified powers or as inserted merely for greater caution."

"We, the delegates of the people of Rhode Island and Plantations, duly elected... do declare and make known... that the powers of government may be resumed by the people whenever 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 department of the government thereof, remains to the people of the several States, or to their respective State governments, to whom they may have granted the same; that Congress shall guarantee to each State its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Constitution expressly delegated to the United States."

From the formation of the original Confederacy under the Articles of Confederation of 1777, and continuing on after the ratification of the Constitution of 1789, it was a well-understood and universally accepted political doctrine that the Union was a compact, or a "league of friendship" between thirteen independent and sovereign States, from which the parties thereof could constitutionally and peacefully withdraw at will. In the words of Massachusetts Senator Henry Cabot Lodge:

"When the Constitution was adopted by the votes of States at Philadelphia, and accepted by the votes of States in popular conventions, it is safe to say there was no man in this country, from Washington and Hamilton on the one side to George Clinton and George Mason on the other, who regarded our system of Government, when first adopted, as anything but an experiment entered upon by the States, and from which each and every State had the right to peaceably withdraw, a right which was very likely to be exercised." [Source: Henry Cabot Lodge, Daniel Webster (Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton, Mifflin, and Company, 1899), page 176.]

Furthermore, the Constitution is a document which defines and limits the powers of the federal government. All powers not specifically delegated are reserved to the states and the people therein. The fact that the Constitution doesn't mention secession goes to show that this is a matter left at the discretion of the sovereign states.
67 posted on 06/21/2002 7:32:24 AM PDT by dixiepatriot
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To: dixiepatriot
Nonsense. It is clear from the available historical facts that the Constitution would have never been ratified if it had been understood that, in doing so, the States would surrender their sovereignty, as well as their right of secession should the experiment fail.

I dunno.

People were thinking things were going down hill pretty fast under the Articles.

"What stronger evidence can be given of the want of energy in our government than these disorders? If there exists not a power to check them, what security has a man of life, liberty, or property? To you, I am sure I need not add aught on this subject, the consequences of a lax or inefficient government, are too obvious to be dwelt on. Thirteen sovereignties pulling against each other, and all tugging at the federal head, will soon bring ruin to the whole; 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..."

George Washington to James Madison November 5, 1786,

"I do not conceive we can exist long as a nation, without having lodged somewhere a power which will pervade the whole Union in as energetic a manner, as the authority of the different state governments extends over the several states. To be fearful of vesting Congress, constituted as that body is, with ample authorities for national purposes, appears to me to be the very climax of popular absurdity and madness."

George Washington to John Jay, 15 August 1786

Old GW wasn't mincing his words. Makes you wonder how his image got shanghaied onto the greal seal of the CSA, doesn't it?

What you are saying is that Washington wanted a national union, but failed to obtain one.

The record doesn't support that, does it?

I mean after all, the rebellion did collapse, didn't it?

Walt

68 posted on 06/21/2002 7:41:37 AM PDT by WhiskeyPapa
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To: dixiepatriot
VA -- being derived from the people of the United States

NY --the powers of government may be reassumed by the people

RI -- that the powers of government may be resumed by the people

These quotations make my point, not yours.

Walt

69 posted on 06/21/2002 7:45:31 AM PDT by WhiskeyPapa
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To: dixiepatriot
"When the Constitution was adopted by the votes of States at Philadelphia, and accepted by the votes of States in popular conventions, it is safe to say there was no man in this country, from Washington and Hamilton on the one side to George Clinton and George Mason on the other, who regarded our system of Government, when first adopted, as anything but an experiment entered upon by the States, and from which each and every State had the right to peaceably withdraw, a right which was very likely to be exercised." [Source: Henry Cabot Lodge, Daniel Webster (Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton, Mifflin, and Company, 1899), page 176.]

I don't think the record supports this very well.

"To the efficacy and permanency of your Union, a government for the whole is indispensable. No alliance, however strict, between the parts can be an adequate substitute; they must inevitably experience the infractions and interruptions which all alliances in all times have experienced. Sensible of this momentous truth, you have improved upon your first essay, by the adoption of a constitution of government better calculated than your former for an intimate union, and for the efficacious management of your common concerns. This government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support. Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government."

-- George Wasington, Farewell Address

It doesn't look like Washington's words square with Cabot's interpretation.

70 posted on 06/21/2002 7:56:16 AM PDT by WhiskeyPapa
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To: dixiepatriot
Furthermore, the Constitution is a document which defines and limits the powers of the federal government. All powers not specifically delegated are reserved to the states and the people therein.

Well, my goodness.

That is not what Jefferson Davis thought.

Nosirree!

He thought the federal government could coerce the states. He wasn't real big on states rights.

"Conscription dramatized a fundamental paradox in the Confederate war effort: the need for Hamiltonian means to achieve Jeffersonian ends. Pure Jeffersonians could not accept this. The most outspoken of them, Joseph Brown of Georgia, denounced the draft as a "dangerous usurpation by Congress of the reserved rights of the states...at war with all the principles for which Georgia entered into the revolution." In reply Jefferson Davis donned the mantle of Hamilton. The Confederate Constitution, he pointed out to Brown, gave Congress the power "to raise and support armies" and to "provide for the common defense." It also contained another clause (likewise copied from the U.S. Constitution) empowering Congress to make all laws "necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers." Brown had denied the constitutionality of conscription because the Constitution did not specifically authorize it. This was good Jeffersonian doctrine, sanctified by generations of southern strict constructionists.

But in Hamiltonian language, Davis insisted that the "necessary and proper" clause legitimized conscription. No one could doubt the necessity "when our very existance is threatened by armies vastly superior in numbers." Therefore "the true and only test is to enquire whether the law is intended and calculated to carry out the object...if the answer be in the affirmative, the law is constitutional."

--Battle Cry of Freedom, James McPherson P.433

If the Constitution limits and defines the powers of the federal government, one of those powers -- according to Jefferson Davis now -- was providing for the common defense, which allowed the government to coerce the states.

How about that?

Walt

71 posted on 06/21/2002 8:02:17 AM PDT by WhiskeyPapa
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To: WhiskeyPapa
How did the original colonies enter?
72 posted on 06/21/2002 8:14:24 AM PDT by 4CJ
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To: 4ConservativeJustices
How did the original colonies enter?

Enter what? The Union?

As free and independent states, just as it says in the D of I. But, as Chief Jiustice Jay said in 1793, they nevertheless saw themselves as one people, and managed their affairs sccordingly.

I don't see anything that Jay said that conflicts with what President Lincoln said:

"The Union is much older than the Constitution. It was formed, in fact, by the Articles of Association in 1774. It was matured and continued by the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It was further matured, and the faith of all the then thirteen States expressly plighted and engaged that it should be perpetual, by the Articles of Confederation in 1778. And finally, in 1787, one of the declared objects for ordaining and establishing the Constitution was "to form a more perfect Union."

Do you see anything that conmflicts with what Jay said and what President Lincoln said?

Walt

73 posted on 06/21/2002 8:27:55 AM PDT by WhiskeyPapa
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To: WhiskeyPapa
How did the original colonies enter?

As in who ratified for Georgia, and who entered the union with her ratification? Could Georgia's ratification admit Rhode Island?

Just curious.

74 posted on 06/21/2002 8:35:07 AM PDT by 4CJ
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To: 4ConservativeJustices
As in who ratified for Georgia, and who entered the union with her ratification?

Ratification of what? The Articles? By ratifying the Constitution, the people of Georgia plighted themselves to support the Union and nationalizled their citizenship in that union -- which was, as George Washington stated, the goal of every true American.

Now, Mr. Tippy toes, on what basis did Governor Brown of Georgia threaten to secede from the so-called CSA?

On what basis did he raise troops that could only be used in Georgia and on what basis did he exempt 9,000 men from CSA service?

Can you say, "died of a theory"?

Walt

75 posted on 06/21/2002 8:43:08 AM PDT by WhiskeyPapa
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To: WhiskeyPapa
Ratification of what? The Articles? By ratifying the Constitution, the people of Georgia plighted themselves to support the Union and nationalizled their citizenship in that union

The Constitution obviously. Who entered with her ratification? Who could deny her ratification? Who could force her ratification?

76 posted on 06/21/2002 8:55:17 AM PDT by 4CJ
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To: dixiepatriot
I guess you missed this thread...

http://www.freerepublic.com/fo cus/news/703307/posts
77 posted on 06/21/2002 9:34:22 AM PDT by TheDon
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To: 4ConservativeJustices
The Constitution obviously. Who entered with her ratification? Who could deny her ratification? Who could force her ratification?

No, no, no. Answer my questions in #75.

Walt

78 posted on 06/21/2002 10:12:27 AM PDT by WhiskeyPapa
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To: Ditto
Well, actually only about 66% of the people in the south had the right to govern themselves but Mencken, being a professional curmudgeon, never allowed facts to slow him down when he was on a good rant.

You're right, it was only about 66%. Now it's down to 0%.

I suppose slavery could have ended here the way it ended in England and Brazil -- nonviolently. Instead we chose to slaughter a million people and discard the original vision of the republic. Oh well, at least slavery's gone, huh?

79 posted on 06/21/2002 10:34:42 AM PDT by chkoreff
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To: Ditto
Well, actually only about 66% of the people in the south had the right to govern themselves but Mencken, being a professional curmudgeon, never allowed facts to slow him down when he was on a good rant.

You're right, it was only about 66%. Now it's down to 0%.

I suppose slavery could have ended here the way it ended in England and Brazil -- nonviolently. Instead we chose to slaughter a million people and discard the original vision of the republic. Oh well, at least slavery's gone, huh?

80 posted on 06/21/2002 10:42:41 AM PDT by chkoreff
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To: TheDon

The Southern States fought for the right of self-determination in their affairs, slavery was not an issue of great importance at the time of the framing of the Constitution and slavery was legal. However, you seem to conveniently forget that the Founders expressly set up a limited government with ENUMERATED powers, and that Thomas Jefferson said "The constitutions of most of our states [and of the United States] assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed and that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press."

81 posted on 06/21/2002 10:53:50 AM PDT by Colt .45
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To: chkoreff
Instead we chose to slaughter a million people and discard the original vision of the republic.

This is a persistant part of the neo-reb myth.

You won't find much difference between what Washington and Madison thought and what Jackson thought right down to what Lincoln thought. Their ideas were the same.

Washington urged an "immovable attachment" to the national union. So did Lincoln. The changes I bet you don't like came later.

Walt

82 posted on 06/21/2002 10:54:40 AM PDT by WhiskeyPapa
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To: Colt .45
The Southern States fought for the right of self-determination in their affairs, slavery was not an issue of great importance at the time of the framing of the Constitution and slavery was legal.

Slavery was definitely a big issue at the constitutional convention. Ever hear of the 3/5 compromise?

Secondly, -you- don't have a right to perfect selfish determination, do you? Can you just say you like the view from Spaghetti Junction here in Atlanta at I-85 and I-285 and block it off for your personal use? It's a cool view; you can see all the way downtown in one direction and it seems like halfway to North Carolina in the other.

No one can stop you, can they? Wouldn't they being infringing on your rights if they ask or force you to move?

It is the same concept in the framing of the Constitution. The people of the states agreed not to coin money, or enter treaties or the rest. They gave up something to get something else. All this boo-hoo-hoo-ing about self determination makes the boo-hoo'ers sound like toddlers.

Walt

83 posted on 06/21/2002 11:03:14 AM PDT by WhiskeyPapa
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To: Colt .45
However, you seem to conveniently forget that the Founders expressly set up a limited government with ENUMERATED powers...

No, actually they expressly avoided that.

On page 197 of _Creating the Bill of Rights_ the following exchange from The Congressional Register for 18 August 1789 is presented:

The 9th proposition in the words following was considered, "The powers not delegated by the constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively."

Mr. Tucker Proposed to amend the proposition by prefixing it, "all powers being derived from the people," thought this a better place to make this assertion than the introductory clause of the constitution, where a similar sentiment was proposed by the committee. He extended his motion also, to add the word "expressly" so as to read "The powers not expressly delegated by this constitution."

Mr. Madison Objected to this amendment, because it was impossible to confine a government to the exercise of express powers, there must necessarily be admitted powers by implication, unless the constitution be descended to recount every minutiae. He remembered the word "expressly" had been moved in the convention of Virginia, by the opponents to the ratification, and after full and fair discussion was given up by them, and the system allowed to retain its present form.

Mr. Sherman Coincided with mr. Madison in opinion, observing that corporate bodies are supposed to possess all powers incident to a corporate capacity, without being absolutely expressed.

Mr. Tucker Did not view the word "expressly" in the same light with the gentlemen who opposed him; he thought every power to be expressly given that could be clearly comprehended within any accurate definition of the general power.

Mr. Tucker's motion being negatived, The committee then rose and reported the amendments as amended by the committee So, we can conclude that the omission of the word "expressly" was intentional, and the intent was to acknowledge the existence of Federal powers by implication.

So how about that?

In fact, the framers did the -opposite- of what you suggest.

You need to stop using that CSA flag in your posts. People will associate it with ignorance.

Walt

84 posted on 06/21/2002 11:12:29 AM PDT by WhiskeyPapa
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To: okchemyst
okchemyst: Its not that one side see Lincoln as a minor deity more then as I see it, the other see him as the Great America Tyrant... See shuckmaster "America's tyrant ping" and that any and all Yankees are the Tyrant minions

Check how all these post start it always The Evil Lincoln or The Evil Yankees or The Noble South that killed the invading Evil Lincoln or Evil Yankees

I even seen some Evil Pilgrims post because they let to the Evil New Englander that lead to the Evil Yankees that lead to the Evil Lincoln

I had the treat of seeing a post just the other day here on a Confederate prisoner of war camp were they were saying the number of Union troop that died in it might be too high and should be dropped from 11000 to may be as low as 5000.. The poster only comment was to the effect...To bad all the tyrants didn’t die and rotted in hell ….

I have no problem with respect for the southern dead

But I also expect respect for northern dead and that includes Lincoln.

The south claims there noble cause was fighting the Federal government tyrants for the right of all states to be free.

Well the north claims there noble cause was fighting any governments tyrants for the right of all persons to be free.

That the problem.... I think all would agree the if both north and south claimed noble causes of the war are true.... north trumps south

So the ongoing battle to discredit Lincoln and prove there was no northern noble cause

85 posted on 06/21/2002 11:32:55 AM PDT by tophat9000
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To: WhiskeyPapa

Walt, there you go again. You sound like Clinton when he said "If the personal freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution inhibit the government's ability to govern the people, we should look to limit those guarantees."

However, the way things were set up was with the idea of LIMITED Governmental powers, contrary to what you are professing. You need to go back and study the Founder's intent at the time of the Framing of the Constitution.

James Madison: "It is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of citizens and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The freemen of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise and entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle. We revere this lesson too much ... to forget it."

"It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself." - Thomas Jefferson

U.S. Supreme Court: Martin v. Hunter's Lessee (1816):
The Federal Government "can claim no powers which are not granted to it by the constitution, and the powers actually granted must be such as are expressly given, or given by necessary implication."

And NO I WILL NOT stop using that flag, it is my heritage, my right and my freedom of expression. The ignorance comes from those who would try to infringe upon my right of self expression telling me to stop flying it! That's what liberty is all about ... if it offends you grow a thicker skin.

86 posted on 06/21/2002 11:37:31 AM PDT by Colt .45
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To: Colt .45
You need to go back and study the Founder's intent at the time of the Framing of the Constitution.

Founders? Intent?

"In all our deliberations on this subject we kept steadily to our view, that which appears to the greatest interest of every true American, the consolidation of our Union, in which is involved our prosperity, felicity, safety, perhaps our national existance. This important consideration, seriously and deeply impressed on our minds, led each state in the Convention to be less rigid on points of inferior magnitude, than might have been otherwise expected; and thus the Constitution we present is the result of a spirit of amity, and that mutual deference and concession which the peculularity of our political situation rendered indispensible....

-- George Washington, September 17, 1787.

You may know that this date is considered the birthday of the Constiution.

The intent of at least -one- founder was pretty plain, don't you think?

Walt

87 posted on 06/21/2002 11:48:36 AM PDT by WhiskeyPapa
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To: Colt .45
U.S. Supreme Court: Martin v. Hunter's Lessee (1816): The Federal Government "can claim no powers which are not granted to it by the constitution, and the powers actually granted must be such as are expressly given, or given by necessary implication."

Oh, you'll have to do better than "Martin".

Martin v. Hunter's Lessee, 1 Wheaton 304; 4 L. Ed. 97 (1816).

Before proceeding to the principal questions, it may not be unfit to dispose of some preliminary considerations which have grown out of the arguments at the bar.

"The constitution of the United States was ordained and established, not by the states in their sovereign capacities, but emphatically, as the preamble of the constitution declares, by "the people of the United States.

There can be no doubt that it was competent to the people to invest the general government with all the powers which they might deem proper and necessary; to extend or restrain these powers according to their own good pleasure, and to give them a paramount and supreme authority. As little doubt can there be that the people had a right to prohibit to the states the exercise of any powers which were, in their judgment, incompatible with the objects of the general compact; to make the powers of the state governments, in given cases, subordinate to those of the nation, or to reserve to themselves those sovereign authorities which they might not choose to delegate to either.

The constitution was not, therefore, necessarily carved out of existing state sovereignties, nor a surrender of powers already existing in state institutions, for the powers of the states depend upon their own constitutions; and the people of every state had the right to modify and restrain them, according to their own views of policy or principle. On the other hand, it is perfectly clear that the sovereign powers vested in the state governments, by their respective constitutions, remained unaltered and unimpaired, except so far as they were granted to the government of the United States."

It is hard to imagine an honest person posting excerpts from Martin when it is one of the main cases on which the federalist position rests.

Some comentary:

"The Supreme Court, in an opinion by Justice Story, held against the grant of the state of Virginia. Normally this would have ended the litigation, as the state supreme court would be expected to issue court process to carry out the decision.

But the Supreme Court of Virginia openly defied the decision and refused to issue the proper legal process upholding it! Remember, this was Virginia, the home of the Jeffersonians and the seat of the opposition to Marshall and the Court.

Back the case went to Washington. Story again delivered the opinion of the Court--an opinion which surely reached the ultimate in the doctrine of federal supremacy over the states. Story held that the Virginia court must follow the mandate of the Supreme Court, and indirectly hinted that if this were not clone the Supreme Court would issue legal process against the Virginia justices personally, compelling their acquiescence upon threat of contempt. The possible spectacle of a judge of the highest court of a state being called to account before the United States Supreme Court under pain of possible fine or jail sentence is certainly the acme of federal supremacy over the states. The spectacle never took place. The Supreme Court of Virginia acquiesced."

.--Professor Jerre S. Williams, University of Texas, author of Constitutional Analysis in a Nutshell

I say again that no honest person would cite Martin in trying to support secession and treason.

Walt

88 posted on 06/21/2002 12:01:25 PM PDT by WhiskeyPapa
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To: chkoreff
You're right, it was only about 66%. Now it's down to 0%.

When was the last time someone beat you with a lash, sold your kids to some other plantation or raped your wife becaue she was their "property"?

You guys whith your overblown crap show either that you have no idea what freedom really is or that you are pathetic whiners.

89 posted on 06/21/2002 12:16:21 PM PDT by Ditto
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To: WhiskeyPapa
Slavery was definitely a big issue at the constitutional convention. Ever hear of the 3/5 compromise?

And just why did they need the 3/5 compromise Walt? Because northern states were more populated, did not care for the South or her ways, and would have raped the South for everything we had a lot earlier if not for that compromise!!

As for the right and being forced to move, does this cover the Cherokees being forced out of their homes to walk halfway across the nation by the general government!! No wonder the Cherokees sided with the Confederacy

90 posted on 06/21/2002 12:23:12 PM PDT by billbears
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To: okchemyst; TheDon; WhiskeyPapa
"I've heard of H L Mencken, but not of you two. Run those credentials again, for those of us who missed them."

L.O.L. !!

They bought them at a 'Blue-Light Special'

91 posted on 06/21/2002 12:24:29 PM PDT by editor-surveyor
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To: r9etb
"Why did the South secede, then?"

Taxes !!

The southern states were paying 90% of the taxes, and had 10% of the population, thus no hope of correcting the problem.

92 posted on 06/21/2002 12:28:25 PM PDT by editor-surveyor
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To: Kevin Curry
Mencken's Lincoln-hating isn't a theory--it's a diatribe. Mencken was a bitter, irrelevant, crusty old fart and atheist who could write well. In this he was remarkably similar to Ayn Rand, except that Rand couldn't write well.

I'll have to disagree with you on this one, Kevin.

The fact that Mencken is an athiest and a "crusty old fart" has no affect on the truth that Lincoln is the father of expanding government.

In this case, Mencken is standing for the truth.

93 posted on 06/21/2002 12:36:54 PM PDT by A2J
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To: WhiskeyPapa

Regardless of the kind of federalism current the Constitution does provide some very specific powers to both the states and the federal government. These powers are traditionally divided into three categories.

Reserved powers are those that have been granted specifically to the states or are of a traditionally state scope. These consist mostly of police powers, such as providing fire and police protection, establishment of health regulations, licensing, and education.

Granted powers, also known as express, enumerated, implied, delegated, and inherent powers, are those specifically listed in Article 1, Section 8, such as the power to coin money, to raise an army and navy, to provide for patent and copyright protections, to establish a post office, and to make treaties and war with other nations. An express, delegated, or enumerated power is one specifically listed; an implied or inherent power is one that exists to carry out an express or enumerated power. For example, Congress can raise an army; this implies the ability to specify regulations concerning who can join the army.

Concurrent powers are those held to some extent by both the federal and state governments. Both, for example, have taxation power, the ability to construct and maintain roads, and other spending for the general welfare. Many things are denied of both or either levels of government. States, for example, have no authority to coin money or wage war. Neither may pass a bill of attainder or any ex post facto law. Much of the Bill of Rights applies restrictions to both states and the federal government, while all of the Bill of Rights applies restrictions to the federal government. Note that the Bill of Rights originally had no effect of restriction on the states, but judicial interpretation of the 14th Amendment's due process clause has incorporated much of the upholding of civil rights to the states. - U.S. Constitution online.

As you can clearly read, the Federal Government DOES NOT hold supreme power over the States! Only in enumerated (or specific) areas!

Article 14 was enacted only after Lincoln's War of Aggression.

Article 10 of the Bill of Rights reads The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Federalism in the United States has evolved quite a bit since it was first implemented in 1787. In that time, two major kinds of federalism have dominated political theory.

"The first, dual federalism, holds that the federal government and the state governments are co-equals, each sovereign. In this theory, parts of the Constitution are interpreted very narrowly, such as the 10th Amendment, the Supremacy Clause, the Necessary and Proper Clause, and the Commerce Clause. In this narrow interpretation, the federal government has jurisdiction only if the Constitution clearly grants such. In this case, there is a very large group of powers belonging to the states, and the federal government is limited to only those powers explicitly listed in the Constitution.

The second, cooperative federalism, asserts that the national government is supreme over the states, and the 10th Amendment, the Supremacy Clause, the Necessary and Proper Clause, and the Commerce Clause have entirely different meaning. A good illustration of the wide interpretation of these parts of the Constitution is exemplified by the Necessary and Proper Clause's other common name: the Elastic Clause.

Dual federalism is not completely dead, but for the most part, the United States' branches of government operate under the presumption of a cooperative federalism. The shift from dual to cooperative was a slow one, but it was steady.

In from 1789 to 1861 the federal Government operated more under the dual federalism than the cooperative kind. You look at government with todays view, and are trying to apply it to a system that was much closer to the Founder's intent. We are a Republic</> which means the government is supposed to be governed by the people! This is why we have the Bill of Rights.

By the way Amendment #9 of the Bill of Rights states 'The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. So you were incorrect in your assertion that the Federal Government's powers were broad and supreme

94 posted on 06/21/2002 12:38:46 PM PDT by Colt .45
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To: WhiskeyPapa
No, no, no. Answer my questions in #75.

No, no, no. Answer my questions in #74.

95 posted on 06/21/2002 12:42:25 PM PDT by 4CJ
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To: TheDon
You accuse others of using the "Liberal" technique of attacking their opponents, rather than addressing the issues, but you started right out of the box in this thread, doing precisely that. You found their arguments laughable did you?

Why don't you get an historic perspective. If coming from a slaveholding State discredits thought, then most of human thought, honored today on all sides, would be discredited. Ancient Greece & Rome were both slaveholding States. So were ancient Egypt, Babalon, Persia, Israel, etc.. So really was all of medeival Europe. Your anti-slavery rant, 137 years after it ceased to be an issue in America, pretty well types you as one with no sense of proportion on any historic issue.

It is not the defining issue of the ages. Open up your eyes.

William Flax Return Of The Gods Web Site

96 posted on 06/21/2002 12:43:54 PM PDT by Ohioan
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To: Colt .45
And NO I WILL NOT stop using that flag, it is my heritage, my right and my freedom of expression.

Keep it flying proudly, Colt,...

...along with a protruding middle finger toward that old Lincoln-worshipper, Walt.

97 posted on 06/21/2002 12:44:26 PM PDT by A2J
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To: WhiskeyPapa
It is nice that you quote General Washington. Why don't you quote also, his comments on sectional prejudices as a great threat to the future of the Union. It was precisely because the Southern States found themselves losing out to a purely sectional party--before Strom Thurmond led a realignment in 1964, the Republican party had very little base in the South, even a century after the war--that they seceded. Before that it was all theoretical. The Lincoln election was seen as a clear violation of the Washingtonian precept.

Frankly, I think that they could have worked with Lincoln--that he was not their enemy, and was not an abolitionist. But they over-reacted. In the actual conflict, however, they distinguished themselves as brave, honorable men. They deserve more respect than you give them.

William Flax Return Of The Gods Web Site

98 posted on 06/21/2002 12:54:33 PM PDT by Ohioan
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To: TheDon
You said that Lincoln didn't free the slaves in the Union slave states because they would have joined the Confederates. Delaware and New Jersey were Union slave states and I don't think there's any evidence that they threatened to leave the Union. Ok, so NJ had only a few "retired" slaves, but slavery is slavery. Also, the EP excluded the slaves in areas of Southern states which were under Union control. Is it your position that Lincoln invaded the South in order to free the slaves? If so, show us some evidence. Of course Lincoln had no authority to free any slaves, just as he had no authority to rule that the South did not have a right to secede. Slavery was legal in the US until Dec, 1865; and the United States Military was legally racially segregated until 1948.
99 posted on 06/21/2002 12:56:29 PM PDT by Rebelo3
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To: Colt .45
As you can clearly read, the Federal Government DOES NOT hold supreme power over the States! Only in enumerated (or specific) areas!

The Supremacy Clause gives supreme power to the feds.

The Militia Act of 1792 requires that U.S. law operate in all the states. The Judiciary Act of 1789 requires that civil controversies between the states be submitted to the SCOTUS.

So was secession a civil act, or a criminal act?

Walt

100 posted on 06/21/2002 1:29:25 PM PDT by WhiskeyPapa
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