America's Lost Identity

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Statue of Liberty under construction in France

The purpose of this page is to generate and gather support for a three-credit course based on the weekly topics displayed on the America's Lost Identity (ALI) Discussion Table at the University of Washington HUB.

If you would like to see a course that covers these and other topics (see below) offered at the University of Washington, please identify yourself as a UW student with a sincere interest in the course.

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It is your nation, your country, your future that is at stake. If this course succeeds at the University of Washington, then there is a good chance that it can succeed at other universities and colleges across the nation, as well.

In the end it is up to us to make of our nation, our country, our future what we want. Without an informed citizenry, however, this is unlikely ever to occur.

Topics

Please check those topics that are of greatest interest to you before submitting your student identification and contact information. You may check as many topics as you like. You may also add your own.

The topics are listed in the order that they were displayed on the ALI HUB Discussion Table

Summer 2019

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Classical vs Modern Liberalism

Modern liberalism has its origin in classical liberalism. Whereas classical liberalism comprises the ideals defended in the United State Constitution, modern liberalism undermines them. Modern liberalism got its first call from the early Progressive movement and now dominates American political thought on both the Left and Right.

Constitutional vs Administrative Law

The atavistic nature of modern liberalism.

The law contained in the United States Constitution comprises a millennium of British-American political and legal history. This tradition is rarely examined very carefully in American law classrooms today and only acknowledged in Congress when it is politically convenient. Administrative law, in contrast, is the active law of the land. Unfortunately, it is not law at all; rather, it is a set of policy prescriptions created by federal agencies that write, enforce, and adjudicate their prescriptions with the tacit approval of the federal courts.

Lincoln's War of Consolidation

The start of a long degenerative ascent.

Most people believe that the sectional war waged by President Lincoln between 1861 and 1865 was fought over the issue of slavery. Whereas the Southern leadership was fighting for a way of life, the Northern leadership was fighting for control of the South.

In the end, the war was neither necessary, nor salutary. Not only was the Constitution set aside, but the spirit of economic political liberty that dominated America before the war never fully recovered. Slavery would have died out on its own, as it did in every nation in the Western hemisphere except Haiti where another bitter war was fought -- a true war of liberation conducted by the slaves themselves.

Lincoln set our nation down a path of empire. His actions and his words do not match.

The UnAmerican Spoils System

Had the North not betrayed the Constitution it is unlikely that the South would have sought secession. Slavery, although the number one issue on the surface, was only one of several, important, underlying issues and unlikely the issues that you have learned about in school.

Our Founding Fathers feared the formation of political factions (parties), but they formed anyway. An important and healthy political debate that pitted against one another those who sought internal improvements, an inflationary money supply, and inequitable trade tariffs that favored one region over the other on the one hand and those who opposed these measures on the other. This debate was ended by force when the Radical Republicans entered Congress, and war was declared on the South.

Today our nation is plagued with what has been popularly called a welfare/warfare state.

National Bank Act of 1863

The nationalization of fractional reserve banking.

There is no political act that contributes more to the accumulation of power by a state than war, for it is a struggle until death or victory, and all principles are set aside. Inevitably the victorious state grows in size and importance, and once so magnified is reluctant to relinquish its newly acquired power and authority. This was surely true of Lincoln's War of Consolidation.

Not only did Lincoln reintroduce fiat currency at the national level, but he nationalized the concept of fractional reserve banking and set the nation down a path of institutionalized boom-and-bust cycles. This failed system of banking is what led to the creation of the Federal Reserve System -- the current source of our nation's financial woes.

Neither Slavery, Nor Socialism Made America Great

And, neither can neither can Make America Great Again.

America's greatness came about from its celebration of the free market -- a means of economic allocation, production, and distribution that, already in existence for millennia, had never before experienced the near absence of state intervention on such a grand scale. Surely, this freedom was made possible, in part, by the state's expropriation of Native American land and its consequent sale to pioneers in lieu of tax collection. This said, our Founding Fathers understood that the coercive hand of the state should be kept small in order to secure the liberty of its citizens.

In the absence of a landed aristocracy and a federal government with unlimited power, the people thrived. Although slavery was an important economic institution in the South, America's dynamism was occurring in the North where slavery was gradually phased out for lack of economic worth and a general disdain for the institution that had little to do with the liberation of the slaves.

Fall 2019

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Neither Slavery, Nor Socialism Made America Great

And, neither can Make America Great Again.

As the first week of the new term was very short, the last week's topic of the preceding term was offered for discussion again.

The Atavistic Nature of Modern Liberalism

Classical liberalism revisited.

An important part of Modern Liberalism is the way it views the role of government in society. Rather than a simple defender of the person, his property, and his right to pursue property, as conceived under our nation's founding documents, government is viewed as a provider of property that expropriates the property of the one and gives to others in the name of the greater good.

In order to achieve the above end Congress has largely destroyed the constitutional separation of powers created to protect the private citizen and his property from the heavy hand of the federal government and delegated its authority to federal agencies who write, enforce, and adjudicate their own policies under a single, unelected agency head. As a result, our current form of government is much more akin to a large number of medieval fiefdoms headed by appointed lords whose juridiction includes any aspect of American society that Congress deems fit to control.

The US Supreme Court, the supposed interpreter of the Constitution and separation of powers, is largely silent in these matters and pays deference to the wisdom of the bureaucrats who occupy these agencies.

In effect, we have returned to the royal prerogatives of British kings -- a method of governance that both, we and our British ancestors, fought countless wars over many centuries to dismantle.

We have tossed our constitutional heritage to the winds.

The UnAmerican Spoils System

When Santa Claus turned criminal.

Many people complain about the redistributive role of government, but focus only on the social welfare aspects of this redistribution. This redistributive role is far more ranging in its scope, however.

Congress has reconstituted itself as a kind of mafia boss who delegates favors to his friends and family who pay allegiance to his authority and hire iron-handed thugs to extract wealth from market participants in exchange for protection against his own authority.

The recipients of these favors are established through lobbying efforts on the part of corporate enterprises and major stockholders, foreign governments, and a large array of private institutions both foreign and domestic concerned about the plight of the average citizen, the not so average citizen, and their physical, biological, and social environments, and of course, themselves.

Many times these favors are granted directly in the form of congressional legislation and executive order on the part of the president. More often they are granted through the government agency that oversees the kinds of problems targeted by the lobbyists.

The Great Deformation

How Wall Street became a government-run, risk-free casino for the rich to get bigly richer.

The title of this week's topic was taken from David Stockman's book The Great Deformation: The corruption of capitalism in America.

David Stockman is a former US Congressman from the State of Michigan and the former Director of Ronald Reagan's Office of Management and Budget (OMB). When he left government he found a job in the private sector working for a prominent Wall Street investment house where he worked for more than a decade. The story that he tells begins with the creation of the FED, but focuses on what happened after Richard Nixon took us off the international gold standard in 1971.

Actually the story begins with Lincoln, but this oversight is minor when you read what happened after Alan Greenspan became Chairman of the Federal Reserve under Ronald Reagan. His book is some 750 pages long and is not written for the financial ignorant. This said, it is written in a highly readable language, and its contents should be made known to all Americans.

From Religious Charity to Political Opportunism

Although closely related to Topic Three this topic covers what America's unAmerican spoil system replaced.

As ever more Americans turn away from Christianity and religious belief in general, the voluntary spirit of charity inspired by these community-oriented institutions has been replaced with the ugly hand of state-oriented coercion. Where before those who provided charity provided it willingly, and those who received it were grateful, today there is little charity that is not provided for personal gain at the expense of others. Accordingly, what is received is treated today as a legal right, and the social fabric of our nation is being destroyed as a result.

Those who receive what government gives have become the enemies of those from whom the government has taken in order to make the reception possible. And, those who would give voluntarily have become the enemies of those who would take via the coercive hand of government.

You and the State

Call it what you want: the administrative, surveillance, warfare-welfare, nanny, or deep, ... -state. We are no longer sovereign.

So entrenched has the state become in our daily lives that there is little that we can do without its presence being felt. As this presence is in every case coercive, no matter how beneficial the outcome, the spirit of the nation has become increasingly alienated and human interaction increasingly aggressive.

The moral spirit of self-reliance, voluntary exchange, and human compassion that made it possible for complete strangers to come together to solve problems has been replaced with the amoral spirit of anything goes so long as authority is absent and cannot intervene.

What is worse, because government takes so much of what is ours by force, our willingness to give freely has been destroyed, and we are forever turning to government for solutions to problems that could be better solved by voluntary economic agents in the free market on the one hand, and by charitable institutions to which we contribute voluntarily because we desire, not because we are told on the other hand.

Government vs Market Solutions

Government solutions to social problems are coercive, quick, and lead to more problems. Market solutions are voluntary and slow, but lead to fewer new problems. Patience is a virtue.

Although the topic speaks for itself, American youth are being brought up in a society in which government is omnipresent. They simply cannot imagine how American society once was. Nor, can they imagine a society in which government is not the largest provider of social services. What is worse, they are taught in school that American government never was very good and that all we need is to make it better.

Alexis de Tocqueville, the son of a French aristocrat who was raised under Napoléon, and whose father witnessed the French Revolution, came to the United States in his mid-thirties at the request of the French government. In his two volume work that was translated into many languages at the time of its first appearance De Tocqueville tells what America was like before Lincoln arrived on the scene. In De la démocratie en Amérique you will discover that our Republic has always been much more than just a theory and that it once was a way of life.

Can we ever get it back?

Liberty Is a Guarantee Against Oppression

Freedom is a state of mind -- a modern American illusion and important source of social chaos.

Americans today are confused and unable to distinguish between what our Founding Fathers sought so hard to preserve and the government and literary propaganda with which Americans are bombarded in school, the work place, and the public arena every day. Even the courts and those who preside over them do not understand the important difference between political and economic liberty (classical liberalism) and freedom of the individual (modern liberalism).

Our Founding Fathers sought to protect themselves against government abuse. They were little concerned that an individual would wander very far from the speech and conduct with which he was raised. Indeed, the individual held his family and community in high esteem and would rarely drift very far from his own upbringing. No, American society was by no means homogeneous, but everyone identified closely with a local community that he could call his own, and the individual took his upbringing with him as he pioneered westward.

Today the courts barely wince when the government intrudes on an individual's person or property, but will defend that same individual with exuberance when he would trounce the mores of his own community.

Empire in the Defense of Liberty

It's an oxymoron.

Empire is about imposition. It is the use of force to extract resources that should otherwise be obtained in trade, to secure geopolitical advantage that should otherwise be secured through negotiation and alliance, and/or to impose one's own way of life and governance that should otherwise be acquired through voluntary acquisition on the part of those on whom you would otherwise impose your own.

Liberty, in contrast, is about rule by the consent of the ruled. It is based on the implicit understanding and widespread belief that a people can govern itself through the selection of its own governing officers. Further, it places monopoly power of the use of force in the hands of the few to insure peace among the many. This use of force may be shared, but any such use beyond simple defense of one's own person and property is prohibited.

A government created by the people cannot exercise any power that its citizens, as a group or as individuals, do not themselves already have. For, if it can, then it becomes the sovereign rather than the people.

Human compassion is surely a strong motivator of human action, but human action that disturbs the natural order of sovereign power must be avoided wherever possible. The right and obligation to overthrow a sovereign entity to which one gave consent in its formation, is hardly a right to overthrow another sovereign whose existence was not obtained through one's consent. It is arrogant to think otherwise and a very dangerous notion to entertain.

Currency vs Money

Debt-Based currency is not money, It is theft.

Today when we search on the internet for the difference between soft and hard money it nearly always brings up something about campaign finance or how easy or difficult it is to obtain a loan. There was a time in American history when these two concepts meant something quite different, and it is this meaning that we should be dwelling on today.

About a century ago, shortly before the Federal Reserve System was created, and long after Lincoln's National Bank Act of 1863 had been passed, there was still an important political debate about the supply and use of soft and hard money -- a debate that was reminiscent of the pre-Lincoln period when Andrew Jackson eliminated our nation's Second National Bank. Already then it was realized that money created out of nothing (soft money) was disruptive to economic activity. In fact, the first true bust of a boom and bust cycle took place shortly after the War of 1812. It was called the Panic of 1819.

Things have never been worse. The FED was created to make up for the short-comings of Lincoln's National Bank Act and finished by setting the stage for the worst financial rip-off in the history of humankind. Never before has a national currency been so abused. Rather than a simple, but very effective tool in the conduct of economic trade and investment, our national currency has become a conduit of vast sums of wealth from the many to the few.

Return to a gold-standard would be a boon to everyone except the crooks.

Modern Academia

The aristocracy of social democracy - the Druids revisited.

In earlier centuries the ruling aristocracies of Europe were based on land that was passed from generation to generation through the first son (primogeniture). Those who held land or were related to those who held it assumed high office in government and the military. It was these whom one courted to achieve whatever task.

Today, the government bureaucracy that rules over us consists primarily of university trained employees who have passed through an academic filter created by a special breed of educators called doctors. These Ph.D. holders have passed through a rigorous filtration system that inculcates its members in the current scientific knowledge and political, social, and economic philosophy of the day.

Not only does this new class of metaphysical priests determine who fills the ranks of government, but they determine the top echelon of the primary labor market and thus have a firm hold on what is and is not considered proper knowledge.

As nearly all of their funding comes from the state or large private donors, these priests are beholden to those whom they graduate for their own bread and butter, and toe the line of the existent political and economic establishment no matter how corrupt.

Unfortunately, this alignment moves contrary to our nation's founding and national heritage and is ruining our nation's social fabric as a result. We have abandoned our roots and must return else we perish as a nation. Fortunately we have the internet, but it is hardly enough, for there are so many distractions.

Winter 2020

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What Made America Great?

Our nation is now some 250 years old, and we have been living with the idea that government is good for about 100 years. Disillusioned many are looking back to discover what once made us great — the idea that government is a necessary evil.

Under construction.

Once Created

... an authority with unlimited power becomes the source of solution for all that is wrong in society, and autocratic dysfunction results.

Our founding fathers understood well the danger of the state and sought with all their might to limit the scope and constrain the power of the state.

Today our national government enjoys endless power and continues to increase in size as a percentage of national income no matter which party is in power.

Neither is our government federal, but in name, nor does it answer to the people. The only checks that we have on its power today are

  • the election of national congressmen and -women who are nominated at the top of a corrupt establishment, sold in the national media regardless of their state of origin, and selected by a largely, poorly informed national public.
  • a federal court system that pays deference to bureaucratic agencies who have the power to create, execute, and adjudicate their own policies, as if the were law. And, a grand- and petit-jury system that is for most practical purposes little more than an artifact of the pre-Lincoln era.
  • social justice warriors (SWJ) who spray are buildings with graffiti, occupy our public places, and trash any and all political opposition.

Our Constitution is enshrined in Washington, D.C. -- just another bauble on an iron tree of ever-growing, endless power rusting at its core. What is worse, our nation's citizenry has little understanding of the Law of the Land, believes that our government is too big for its citizens to stand in its way, and is largely indifferent to our nation's destiny.

In the end, they view government as a care provider, and so long as it continues to provide, they care little about its nature. Any understanding of historical process that is not empire in endless competition is nearly, totally absent.

Our nation is very sick and is in bad need of general practitioners who understand our founding, historical process, and the danger of the monopoly power of the state -- not modern liberal Ph.D.s. who legitimize the state in their every turn of phrase.

If Unity Is What Is Sought

Then, what better place to begin than with our nation's Founding Documents!

America has greatly changed since its foundation. We have traded our liberty for empire, and the political, legal, economic, and social ramifications are dire.

We are no longer protected from the iron-hand of government as we once were, and our increasing dependence on government's generosity makes us all the more vulnerable. History teaches us that matters can only worsen, if we do not wake up and begin to act. Some claim that it is already far too late.

Our nation's founding documents, however imperfect they may be, are our defense against the corruption and iron-hand of contemporary American government. These documents provide us with the legal basis necessary to prevent the further attrition of our natural rights, however, we choose to define them, and to dismantle those institutions that should never had been created had only we not let down our guard. No, we cannot be blamed for the short-comings of our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and as far back as we are inclined to investigate, but we are solely responsible for the present and what the future will bring.

Now, you may wish to live only for today and care little about ever having children. And, surely no one can deny you, under the law, your natural right to think and behave in this regard provided that you do no direct harm to others. This said, one can only wonder how such an outlook will likely unfold over time. For, a nation without a moral compass -- a set of principles that is valid over time and can be passed immutably from generation to generation -- is easily molded by the powers that be. And, the powerful, despite their fine rhetoric and expressed good intentions, are no less fallible than you or I, and are, in fact, increasingly tempted as their power increases to exercise it in a manner that better serves them than those whom they claim to serve.

There Once Was a Time When Everyone Agreed

For what our nation stood. That time can be again. That we might study our founding principles!

The University of Washington is the Pacific Northwest's number one institution of higher learning. Among West Coast institutions it is rated number four. It is named after George Washington, our nation's first president, the heroic patriot who presided over the Constitutional Convention and the drafting of the law that once formed the basis of our nation's legal framework. Not only this, but our university is located in the only State of the entire Union that is named after an American head of state. This said, the only honor that we pay to this individual is an imposing, but lifeless statue at the university's front gate.

Indeed, it is long past time that we bring this highly esteemed personage to life in our university's classrooms, and that we pay honor to the document over whose creation he presided and under whose leadership it was implemented.

Our nation's capitol has become a cesspool of competing public and private interests that vie for a piece of an enormous economic pie that should never have been and that continues to grow year after year as a percentage of our national economy. What is more, our nation's money supply -- the life blood of a national economy -- is not money at all; rather it is legal counterfeit used by our government and crony private financial interests to extract wealth from the many and place it in the hands of the few whose interests are unlikely to coincide well with the interests of those from whom they have obtained it.

In the end, the US Constitution is that one document that binds us altogether, and it is our failure as a nation to uphold its principles that has led to the aforementioned perverse outcomes. This failure can be attributed to a long series of events, each of which could have been prevented, if only the political will had been in place before each occurred. This absence of political will has its roots in our own ignorance and will continue long into the future, if we do not educate ourselves about our true founding.

Alas, that the University of Washington become the national beacon that restores our national heritage and reunifies the nation -- not through populist opportunism of the moment, but through a firmly based philosophical understanding of our nation's foundation!

Lincoln's War of Consolidation ...

... set aside our Constitution to save the Union and set us down a path of empire that has enslaved us all.

The modern liberal Left and Right have been going around the nation seeking to erase our collective memory of the Confederacy and make it appear as if the sole purpose of secession was the preservation of slavery, and that Lincoln's War of Consolidation was waged for the purpose of bringing slavery to an end. The idea that the North entered the war on a virtuous high-ground to end life-long human bondage because it was morally wrong is simply inaccurate.

Things have become so bad that Twitter refuses to accept tweeted entries that contain images that could place the Confederacy and those men and women who died in its defense in any light that is not no light at all!

No, this is not an apology for slavery; rather it is a defense of the US Constitution, due process, and the right, if you will, to pursue the truth.

Firstly, the institution of slavery was not only acknowledged in our Constitution, but it clearly defined and defended the institution -- not by name, but in terms of the nature of the human bondage that it engendered and how that bondage was to be treated by the individual States and federal government.

  • Article I, Section 2 - Slaves were indicated as Persons who were
    • Not tax-paying Indians
    • Not free Persons, and
    • Not bonded Persons, who were bonded for set period of time.
    In short, they were persons who were bonded for life.

  • Article I, Section 9 - Congress was
    • Prohibited from preventing the importation of slaves across State borders for a period of ten years (up until 1808)
    • Permitted to tax the passage of such Persons.

  • Article IV, Section 2 - A State was prohibited from becoming a sanctuary for Persons who had escaped their bondage. It made no difference whether their bondage was for a set term or for life.

In Article IV it was made further clear that each State must respect the laws of every other State in matters that concern the State in question. And, in Article V a legal procedure is set forth by which these agreed set of rules -- namely, the law of the land -- can be changed. It requires, in effect, that the legislatures of three quarters of the States agree to the change before the change can become binding.

In short, it was made clear at the outset that the slave trade was dirty, but that life-long human bondage was an economic way of life for both master and slaves, that this relationship was not restricted to a particular region, and that it would be protected by law.

Now, those who brought Lincoln to power, the Radical Republicans, were surely against the institution of slavery, but for a variety of reasons among which morality was only one. Among this minority political body were surely Abolitionists who could be found in all States of the Union, both North and South, and who were willing to risk their own freedom on behalf of those sought to find theirs. These were the true heroes of liberty during this epoch of American history.

When South Carolina fired on Fort Sumpter it was after several States had already seceded through the peaceful negotiation of federally occupied property. The State of South Carolina sought to do the same, but was prevented by Lincoln when he refused to abandon Fort Sumpter. Exhausted by the Union's unwillingness to negotiate a settlement South Carolina opened fire. As there were no casualties, Lincoln could have easily avoided war by simply withdrawing. He refused. Thus, began Lincoln's War of Consolidation.

One out of every 50 Americans lost his life or was permanently damaged by the conflagration that ensued. An important political debate between those who favored more centralized government and those less was squelched by force. And, the single most important check on federal government power -- namely, the legislature of each State was severely crippled. This is to say nothing of the fact that the US Congress under Lincoln's leadership set aside the US Constitution and either introduced or re-introduced numerous institutions that had no place in American society and government.

Although there was an important effort to reconstitute American society after the war, the damage was inexorable, and we have yet to recover from it.

Three Sources of Sovereignty

De facto, there were three sources of sovereignty when Lincoln entered office: the people, the States, and Washington, D.C. By 1863 there was only one.

In grade school we are commonly taught about the three branches of the federal government and the separation of powers. Typically we are provided with only a partial understanding of the essential nature of these powers and their separation. Rarely are we taught how this separation has been subverted in the course of our brief history. That we are even taught about the three sources of sovereignty is a matter of chance.

Initially there were three sovereigns: the people of each State both separately and together, each State as a sovereign political entity with its own militia, and the federal government whose powers were clearly enumerated in the US Constitution.

The relationship among these three sources of sovereignty requires study and a careful understanding of the three branches of government, the power of each branch, and how each branch is constituted. This understanding includes the power of each State, the power of the federal government over each State, and the ratification process by which the federal government was initially constituted as a source of sovereignty. A clear understanding of the 9th and 10th Amendments of the Bill of Rights is especially revealing in these regards.

Well before Lincoln the relationship between these sources of sovereignty were tested. Well-documented tests include the passage of the so-called Alien and Sedition Acts and the corresponding reaction to these manifested by the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798.

In December 1814 just before the close of the War of 1812, our second war of independence from Great Britain, leading political figures from several New England States met secretly in Hartford, Connecticut to discuss not only a joint defense separate from that of the other States, but the possibility of separation (secession) from the United States altogether, if the federal government would not cooperate.

And, still again in 1832 when South Carolina threatened separation from the Union, if the Union sought to impose its will on the State for its rejection of unconstitutional tax legislation passed by Congress.

There are two important works that simplify to some extent the complex nature of American sovereignty. One is Alexis de Tocqueville's De la démocratie en Amérique. The other is John C. Calhoun's Fort Hill Address ( relevant excerpt ). Whereas De Tocqueville emphasized the relationship among the three sovereigns including the people, the States, and the federal government, John C. Calhoun focused more on the relationship between the various States and the federal government. Unfortunately, John C. Calhoun and his work have been vilified by our national media, our social media, and many prominent national and State politicians and academicians as a source of racial hatred, when, in fact, both the person and his work provide valuable insight into the nature of our founding quite apart from the issue of slavery.

States Rights

Unlike the people of each State who were an amorphous political mass and required substantial effort to organize, their respective State governments were standing political bodies whose members were well versed in the art of governance and very familiar with the US Constitution. As the people of each State were sovereign unto themselves, their respective governments, both separately and together, formed an important external check on the federal government.

In time, political parties grew that traversed State lines, but these were more issue oriented, focused on particular political candidates, and could only truly exercise their power at election time. In contrast, the State governments were standing political bodies that could intervene in the goings-on of the federal government at any moment. This is because each State legislature could recall its representation in the US Senate without having to organize a State-wide election in order to do so. This too, changed after Lincoln's War of Consolidation with the introduction of the 17th Amendment introduced in 1912 and ratified in 1913 during the presidency of Woodrow Wilson.

No, the matter of nullification and secession was not so cut and dry as Andrew Jackson argued in his Proclamation against South Carolina's 1832 ordinance. This said, even if Andrew Jackson and later Abraham Lincoln were both correct in their determination that secession was a breach of contract and an offense against the people of the United States, each had the discretionary power to enforce or not enforce the breach in a manner that each saw fit. And, it is in this regard that Abraham Lincoln's decision to wage war is clearly in question. For, not only was he responsible for the loss of more than 600,000 lives, but he set aside the very law that he sought to enforce in order to quit the conflagration for which he was clearly responsible in victory. It is for this reason that his legacy is hardly worthy of the monument that was eventually erected in his honor.

Before and After Lincoln

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Before Lincoln we believed that government is a necessary evil. After Lincoln we were taught that government is necessary. Then came the Progressives: government is good.

Since the Constitutional Convention of 1787 there has been a standing dialogue in Congress between those who advocate more centralization and those who advocate less centralization. This dialogue has become increasingly weaker over time; today, it is little more than a ritual -- words without substance, a protocol to woo voters with no real application in the way in which legislation is passed, our laws are adjudicated, and we are governed.

Government as Evil

The Golden Era of the Constitution

When we think of federalism today, it is in a context very different from that of the Pre-Golden and Golden Eras of the Constitution. During these early eras -- 1788-1800 and 1801-1860, respectively -- a Federalist was someone who promoted greater centralization. Federalism meant a loose interpretation of the enumerated powers and the Constitution as a whole. In contrast, federalism today means decentralization of power and often serves as a euphemism for States Rights -- a noble and rigorous republican concept fundamental to American government and the preservation of liberty that was badly soiled by Lincoln's obsession with preservation of the Union, his War of Consolidation, and its aftermath.

Politically speaking, during the Golden Era of our Constitution you either lived by democratic principles set forth in the document, or you were out. Nullification and the threat of secession that made nullification a credible form of protest was much closer to expected behavior than a mere theoretical construct of a time long past.

According to our Constitution each State is its own sovereign republic that surrenders, while in union with the other States, a select number of its sovereign powers to the US government that then performs as a sovereign vis-å-vis other foreign powers on the one hand, and in a much more limited capacity as a sovereign vis-à-vis the various independent, sovereign States of the United States on the other hand.

Until 1801 and the inauguration of Thomas Jefferson as the 3rd President of the United States, the Federalist Party controlled the US Government. By 1816 the Federalist Party had all, but disappeared. With its disappearance the healthy political debate between those who promoted decentralization and those who promoted greater centralization did not abate. Indeed, it continued right up to the election of Abraham Lincoln when the debate was brought to an abrupt, coercive halt.

One cannot emphasize enough in this regard that neither the Federalists, nor the Democrat-Republicans, forsook the rudimentary principles of the Constitution of the United States. These included the notions that

  • The powers to legislate, adjudicate, and execute were separate and distinct powers shared with minimum overlap among the the three separate branches of government
  • The powers of the US Government, when taken as a whole, were limited and enumerated
  • Each State was its own sovereign that yielded voluntarily certain sovereign powers to the US Government -- powers assumed to be those of any sovereign no matter where in the world the sovereign could be found.

Jefferson’s victory was an important event in the early history of our nation. For, we had proven to ourselves and contemporary Europe that a head of state could be replaced through popular election.

From 1800 until 1824 the Democrat-Republicans remained in power while their opposition eroded. Unopposed in 1824 the Democrat-Republicans split into several factions and the presidency was decided in Congress; John Quincy Adams became our nation's 6th President. This factional infighting led to a permanent split in the party,from which the Democratic Party would emerge the standard bearer of Jeffersonian decentralization. It would win the 1828 election and place Andrew Jackson in the White House where he remained for two consecutive terms. Between 1836 and 1860 when the Republican Party swept the North, Midwest, and Pacific West in a four-way election in which Abraham Lincoln failed to receive a majority of the popular vote, the Democratic Party yielded the White House on only two occasions. On each occasion the White House would be occupied by a Whig, and in each case for only one term. The Whig Party formed in 1832 when the National Republican Party -- an 1824 spin-off from the earlier Democrat-Republican Party -- failed to defeat Andrew Jackson. The Whigs remained an important competitor until they dissolved in 1852 after a crushing defeat by the Democrats.

The Issue of Slavery

In 1854 the Whigs united with Free Soilers, Abolitionists, Free Democrats, and the temperance men from the State of Maine to form the Republican Party. The primary objective of the party was to prevent the spread of slavery into the new territories. It formed in reaction to the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act that it viewed as a betrayal to the Constitution and the very republic of which they were a part.

... [t]he Institution of Slavery, except in punishment of crime, is a great moral, social and political evil ....
... [s]lavery is a violation of the rights of man as man; ... a perpetual war upon its victims ....
... [we] publicly proclaim our determination to oppose by all the powerful and honorable means in our power, now and henceforth, all attempts, direct cr indirect, to extend slavery in this Country, or to permit it to extend into any region or locality in which it does not now exist by positive law, or to admit new Slave States into the Union.
... we hold ourselves absolved from all "compromises," except those expressed in the Constitution, for the protection of slavery and slave-owners; ... [and we] we now demand measures of protection and immunity for ourselves, and among them we demand the REPEAL OF THE FUGITIVE SLAVE LAW, and an act to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia.
... in view of the necessity of battling for the first principles of republican government, and against the schemes of aristocracy the most revolting and oppressive with which the earth was ever cursed, or man debased, we will co-operate and be known as REPUBLICANS until the contest be terminated.
William Stockings, Editor. Under the Oaks: Commemorating the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Founding of the Republican Party, at Jackson, Michigan, July 6, 1854; Comprising a History of the Party in Michigan; The Proceedings of the Anniversary Celebration, and Portraits of Leading Mich Igan Republicans, Detroit, Michigan: Detroit Tribune 1904. pp. 46-49. Online Source: Hathi Trust Digital Library

It should be clear from the above that the newly forming Republican Party was not prepared for compromise and was clearly against slavery as a part of the American republic.

In opposition to the self-selected mandates of the newly formed Republican Party was the Democratic Party's insistence on another, and even more -- albeit purposefully extrapolated -- explicit Constitutional principle made clear at the Democratic State Convention held in Detroit, Michigan in September 1854.

That the delegated Democracy of the State of Michigan here affirm their continued support of the principles embraced in the resolutions adopted by the Democratic National Convention which assembled in Baltimore in June, 1852, and that the doctrine of congressional non-intervention in the domestic legislation of the States and Territories therein embodied, harmonizes with the true spirit of our institutions, and it is the only platform upon which the Democratic party of the Union can maintain its nationality and its ascendancy and preserve the Union.
ibid., p.63

And,

The Democratic party will resist all attempts at renewing in Congress or out of the agitation of the slavery question under whatever shape or color the attempt may be made." Inasmuch as the whole excitement at this time was occasioned by the violation, in the most aggravating form, of this pledge, the Democrats were at disadvantage in the debates that followed.
ibid., p.63. The Baltimore statement.

Now, it is true without doubt that the US Constitution did not deal with the matter of slavery in US territories and newly admitted States. Then too, when the US Constitution was ratified the only territory claimed by the United States that was not already a part of the ratifying States was the Northwest Territory in a region of North America where the institution of slavery could never be sustained economically. Important in the above context was that Congress under the Articles of Confederation had already made it clear that Congress could intervene in the management of US territories and that slavery was clearly excluded under Artile VI of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 -- an ordinance t was later adopted by the US Congress in 1789 by An act to provide for the government of the territory, North-west of the river Ohio. One should not be surprised then, that the first formal meeting of the Republican Party took place in Jackson County, Michigan -- a State that was carved out of the Northwest Territory.

Of course, intervention in a US Territory with no governance of its own that was not designated by Congress is not the same as interference in an already formed State. Simply the argument being made by the Democrats was that non-intervention with regard to slavery in the territories of the United States is assumed, and that there existed a Constitutional right to the people of each territory to choose its own destiny with regard to slavery. This misnomer is what Abraham Lincoln clarified in his address to the Young Men's Central Republican Union of New York in February of 1860. It is this address that would eventually propel him onto the national stage. In 1856 John C. Frémont, the Republican Party presidential candidate, carried only 11 States; in 1860 the same party carried seventeen!

In regard to this question of territorial intervention Lincoln concluded in his speech:

But enough! Let all who believe that "our fathers, who framed the Government under which we live, understood this question just as well, and even better, than we do now," speak as they spoke, and act as they acted upon it. This is all Republicans ask - all Republicans desire - in relation to slavery. As those fathers marked it, so let it be again marked, as an evil not to be extended, but to be tolerated and protected only because of and so far as its actual presence among us makes that toleration and protection a necessity.
Abraham Lincoln, 27 February 1860, Cooper Union, New York City, NY. Source: US National Park Service

In effect, Lincoln was now declaring that slavery was evil and that tolerance toward slavery was a necessity, in the same manner that Thomas Paine had once concluded that government is a necessary evil.

Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one ...
Thomas Paine. Common Sense, Of the Origin and Design of Government in General. With Concise Remarks on the English Constitution. February 14, 1776. Source: Common Sense

What is, of course, particularly disturbing is when Lincoln decided that a necessary evil to be tolerated would no longer be tolerated and extinguished by still another necessary evil. In short, we must ask ourselves why was slavery tolerable when it was a part of the Union, but suddenly tolerable when it was not? Common sense would have made clear that it should be left unto its own demise, as it had voluntarily freed our government from its necessary toleration. This is where Lincoln abuses the power of his office that is designed to serve the people of the United States to dictate the morality of another nation -- namely, the Confederate States of America. Our government has not ceased dictating the morality of the world ever since.

Where in our founding documents is the US Government given the authority to dictate the morality of another nation -- let alone that of another State.
Where in our founding documents does it state that one people has either right or duty to dictate the morality of another people?

The Issue of Secession

The remaining question is, of course, whether any of the States of the United States had the right to secede. And, in this matter Mr. Lincoln took it upon himself to decide. The reasons for this decision have been summarized into five by the National Parks Service:

  • Physically speaking, we cannot separate.
  • Secession is unlawful.
  • Secession is the essence of anarchy.
  • We are not enemies, but friends.
  • Secession will destroy democracy.

Under the assumption that these are an accurate assessment of Lincoln's true thoughts, let us examine each of them separately. Before we embark upon this journey let us pause to consider, though, a few important facts that should have been obvious to everyone of any knowledge and authority at the time of secession.

In and of itself, the Constitution was well-equipped to handle the entry of new States into the Union. The existence of slavery under the current economic and legal conditions of the era did create a problem, however.

Firstly, unlike northern agriculture that was seasonal in nature and could not sustain a slave population, southern agriculture was perennial and could. Simply speaking, large plantations manned with slaves were not economically feasible in the North. With the exception of several strategically located cities that were highly commercial in nature the only industries in the South that were not agricultural were local and catered to their respective local populations.

Secondly, families tended to be large and the inheritance laws in most States of the United States were not automatic. Rather, than bequeathing the deceased father's land to the eldest son -- primogeniture, a way of insuring the maintenance of an estate over time --, the family farm was divided among the widowed wife and children. How this division took place was often individually decided in a will that was legally attested by a notary. Thus, there was a built-in economic motivation for sons and daughters to strike out on their own and capture new wealth in the cultivation and development of still unexplored land.

Thirdly, in the North manufacturing and seasonal crops worked well together, for one could shuttle between the shop or factory and the farm as the season required. Although slaves were traded among their owners in the South, the same slaves tended to occupy and cultivate the same land year after year. They were not free to commute.

Fourthly, it was difficult for the North to believe that the South was not wasting valuable land. After all, they argued, voluntary labor was surely more productive than involuntary labor, and for the same number of freemen and slaves, the freeman could make better use of the land. In contrast, slave owners tended to be wealthier than those who did not own slaves, and there was little incentive to make them free. As a result, Northerners viewed the South as immoral, wasteful, and unpatriotic. Southerners, in turn, viewed the North, as envious, self-righteous, and lacking in social sophistication and understanding. In effect, there was a built-in attitudinal divide.

Fifthly, there were the Abolitionists a small minority of people who, like the pro-life activists of today, were willing to break the law and risk their own liberty and livelihoods in order to achieve their moral objectives. These moral advocates could be found in both the North and the South, but had a larger voice in the North where they came under less political pressure.

Sixthly, there was the problem of representation. Although slaves were counted in the census -- albeit as reduced persons --, they were not allowed to vote. In fact, they were not considered citizens of the United States as was clearly demonstrated by the Supreme Court decision in Dred Scott vs John Sanford. In some southern States there were as many or more slaves as their were masters and freemen. This meant that slave masters and freeman in the South had a disproportionate say in what occurred in the Lower House of Congress. Still, there number in Congress was far smaller as the population of the South including slaves was much smaller than that of the North. Of the ten largest cities in the United States only two of them were in the South including New Orleans and St. Louis with populations of somewhat over 160,000 inhabitants. The remaining eight were located in the North including cities like New York City with over 800,000 residents and Philadelphia with close to 570,000 residents. This meant that the only way in which the South could be sure to maintain the status quo in the South was with equal representation in the Senate. This meant, in turn, that for every new State admitted into the Union, one should be free and one slave. By 1860, however, the balance had already shifted in favor of the North. There were now 19 free states and 14 slave.

Slave and Free States Electoral Outcomes in 1860 by Descending Order of Population

Virginia
  • Population: 1,596,318
  • Freemen/Slave: 2.25

  • Candidate: John Bell
  • Political Party: Constitutional Union
  • Electoral Vote: 15
* Missouri
  • Population: 1,182,012
  • Freemen/Slaves: 9.28

  • Candidate: Stephen A. Douglas
  • Political Party: Democratic
  • Electoral Vote: 9
* Kentucky
  • Population: 1,155,684
  • Freemen/Slaves: 4.13

  • Candidate: John Bell
  • Political Party: Constitutional Union
  • Electoral Vote: 12
Tennessee
  • Population: 1,109,801
  • Freemen/Slaves: 3.03

  • Candidate: John Bell
  • Political Party: Constitutional Union
  • Electoral Vote: 12
Georgia
  • Population: 1,057,286
  • Freemen/Slaves: 1.29

  • Candidate: John C. Breckenridge
  • Political Party: Democratic
  • Electoral Vote: 10
North Carolina
  • Population: 992,622
  • Freemen/Slaves: 2.00

  • Candidate: John C. Breckenridge
  • Political Party: Democratic
  • Electoral Vote: 10
Alabama
  • Population: 964,201
  • Freemen/Slaves: 1.22

  • Candidate: John C. Breckenridge
  • Political Party: Democratic
  • Electoral Vote: 9
Mississippi
  • Population: 791,305
  • Freemen/Slaves: 0.81

  • Candidate: John C. Breckenridge
  • Political Party: Democratic
  • Electoral Vote: 7
Louisiana
  • Population: 708,002
  • Freemen/Slaves: 1.13

  • Candidate: John C. Breckenridge
  • Political Party: Democratic
  • Electoral Vote: 6
South Carolina
  • Population: 703,708
  • Freemen/Slaves: 0.75

  • Candidate: John C. Breckenridge
  • Political Party: Democratic
  • Electoral Vote: 8
** Maryland
  • Population: 687,049
  • Freemen/Slaves: 6.88

  • Candidate: John C. Breckenridge
  • Political Party: Democratic
  • Electoral Vote: 8
Texas
  • Population: 604,215
  • Freemen/Slaves: 2.31

  • Candidate: John C. Breckenridge
  • Political Party: Democratic
  • Electoral Vote: 4
Arkansas
  • Population: 435,450
  • Freemen/Slaves: 2.92

  • Candidate: John C. Breckenridge
  • Political Party: Democratic
  • Electoral Vote: 9
Florida
  • Population: 140,424
  • Freemen/Slaves: 1.27

  • Candidate: John C. Breckenridge
  • Political Party: Democratic
  • Electoral Vote: 3
New York
  • Population: 3,880,735
  • Candidate: Lincoln
  • Political Party: Republican
  • Electoral Vote: 35
Pennsylvania
  • Population: 2,906,215
  • Candidate: Lincoln
  • Political Party: Republican
  • Electoral Vote: 27
Ohio
  • Population: 2,339,511
  • Candidate: Lincoln
  • Political Party: Republican
  • Electoral Vote: 23
Illinois
  • Population: 1,711,951
  • Candidate: Lincoln
  • Political Party: Republican
  • Electoral Vote: 11
Indiana
  • Population: 1,350,428
  • Candidate: Lincoln
  • Political Party: Republican
  • Electoral Vote: 13
Massachusetts
  • Population: 1,231,066
  • Candidate: Lincoln
  • Political Party: Republican
  • Electoral Vote: 13
Wisconsin
  • Population: 775,881
  • Candidate: Lincoln
  • Political Party: Republican
  • Electoral Vote: 5
Michigan
  • Population: 749,113
  • Candidate: Lincoln
  • Political Party: Republican
  • Electoral Vote: 6
Iowa
  • Population: 674,913
  • Candidate: Lincoln
  • Political Party: Republican
  • Electoral Vote: 4
New Jersey
  • Population: 672,035

  • Candidate: Lincoln
  • Political Party: Republican
  • Electoral Vote: 4

  • Candidate: Stephen Douglas
  • Political Party: Democratic
  • Electoral Vote: 3
Maine
  • Population: 628,279
  • Candidate: Lincoln
  • Political Party: Republican
  • Electoral Vote: 8
Connecticut
  • Population: 460,147
  • Candidate: Lincoln
  • Political Party: Republican
  • Electoral Vote: 6
California
  • Population: 460,147
  • Candidate: Lincoln
  • Political Party: Republican
  • Electoral Vote: 4
New Hampshire
  • Population: 326,073
  • Candidate: Lincoln
  • Political Party: Republican
  • Electoral Vote: 5
Vermont
  • Population: 315,098
  • Candidate: Lincoln
  • Political Party: Republican
  • Electoral Vote: 5
Rhode Island
  • Population: 174,620
  • Candidate: Lincoln
  • Political Party: Republican
  • Electoral Vote: 4
Minnesota
  • Population: 172,023
  • Candidate: Lincoln
  • Political Party: Republican
  • Electoral Vote: 4
Delaware
  • Population: 112,216
  • Candidate: John C. Breckinridge
  • Political Party: Democratic
  • Electoral Vote: 3
*** Washington, D.C.
  • Population: 75,080
Oregon
  • Population: 52,465
  • Candidate: Lincoln
  • Political Party: Republican
  • Electoral Vote: 3
Electoral and Demographic Statistics Summary in 1860
Slave States
Free States

Number of States: 14
Electoral Vote: 122

Population

  • Confederacy
    • Free Only: 5,582,222 (61%)
    • Slave Only: 3,521,110 (39%)
    • Total: 9,103,332

  • Slave States
    • Free Only: 8,179,364 (67%)
    • Slave Only: 3,948,713 (33%)
    • Total: 12,128,077

Number of States: 19
Electoral Vote: 186

Population Total: 18,987,843

And finally, over time slavery lost its charm in the North. In the South, in contrast, social prestige was often measured by the number of slaves that a land owner could sustain. For, a large slave labor force usually reflected important economic success and greater social responsibility. Thus, not only were there competing economic interests, but there were also important attitudinal differences.

No matter, land was opportunity, and Northerners were not interested in seeing fertile land being wasted in support of large slave populations who posed a constant societal threat aggravated by a small group of moral zealots who had little respect for the law and held themselves to be morally superior to everyone else. John Brown was not hanged by Southern plantation owners, he was sentenced to death by the Union status quo. What is more, the tragedy of Bleeding Kansas was visible to all.

Although it was surely the case that many of our Founding Fathers felt uneasy about the inherent philosophical contradiction between liberty and slavery, their economic livelihoods often depended on the existence of the institution. Furthermore, there was enormous pressure on the individual slave holder to maintain his slaves. For, freeing his own slaves would place pressures on others to release theirs -- pressure that most slave owners did not want. In effect, letting go of one's slaves meant political suicide and peer denigration. In short, it was easy for those in the North to ridicule those in the South who spoke of liberty, for they were not under the same pressure, as those whom they ridiculed as hypocrites. And, in the end, what was more important: the founding of our new nation, or the immediate release of those whom it enslaved. Thus, they focused on the former, and made room for the latter at a later date.

I think a change already perceptible, since the origin of the present revolution. The spirit of the master is abating, that of the slave rising from the dust, his condition mollifying, the way I hope preparing, under the auspices of heaven, for a total emancipation, and that this is disposed, in the order of events, to be with the consent of the masters, rather than by their extirpation.
Thomas Jefferson. Notes on the State of Virginia. January 1, 1782 to December 31, 1782

Four years after the Constitution had been ratified by all of the original 13 States the cotton gin was invented. Whereupon growing cotton became a much more profitable business that placed increasing pressure, not only on the retention of slave labor, but on its proliferation. In 1790, shortly after the US Constitution had been ratified, there were only six slave States. By 1860, when the secession of southern States began, there were fifteen. The cotton gin, slave labor, increasing demand for cotton, and westward expansion made for a powerful economic and political movement that resisted the original intention of eliminating slavery.

This proliferation of slavery did not, however, remove the contradiction that it posed to the basic principles of our nation's founding. As a result, there was an attempt to redefine the nature of those who were enslaved.

The census and other authentic documents show that, in all instances in which the States have changed the former relation between the two races, the condition of the African, instead of being improved, has become worse. They have been invariably sunk into vice and pauperism, accompanied by the bodily and mental inflictions incident thereto ... while, in all other States which have retained the ancient relation between them, they have improved greatly in every respect ....
It may, in truth, be assumed as a maxim, that two races differing so greatly, and in so many respects, cannot possibly exist together in the same country, where their numbers are nearly equal, without the one being subjected to the other. Experience has proved that the existing relation, in which the one is subjected to the other, in the slaveholding States, is consistent with the peace and safety of both, with great improvement to the inferior; while the same experience proves that the relation which it is the desire and object of Great Britain to substitute in its stead, in this and all other countries, under the plausible name of the abolition of slavery, would (if it did not destroy the inferior by conflicts, to which it would lead) reduce it to the extremes of vice and wretchedness.
John C. Calhoun. Letter to Richard Pakenham, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of Great Britain. April 18, 1844.

Where before slaves of West African racial background were human beings who had become victims of a West African tradition propagated throughout the North Atlantic and beyond by the British Empire, now they were viewed as a human species à part incapable of ever being integrated as full citizens into American society and better cared for in their current state of subjugation. This new perspective, although potentially defensible so long as these slaves remained slaves and unable to participate fully in American society, was problematic once a slave was set free or escaped to freedom and was able to integrate successfully into the rest of American society -- Frederick Douglass, of some fame, is a case in point. As there were few freeman of West African extract in the North, the Southern discourse that sought to redefine those who were enslaved in the South was fairly easy to disseminate. Of course, those who were well-acquainted with former slaves were less easily convinced and would become Abolitionists who actively sought the end of slavery. Although the Abolitionists and Free Soilers were motivated differently, they could certainly agree on one very important issue -- stop the spread of slavery, if not end it altogether. Indeed, so long as the slaves remained in the South, it was easy for the Free Soilers to embellish their economic motivation with a higher call to moral apology. It was, thus, that the Republican Party was born.

Between 1800 and 1860 the slave population of the United States quadrupled in number. This dramatic increase was not foreseeable. Meanwhile the US non-slave population increased six-fold. Of this six-fold increase the North increased by about seven-fold while the South only about five-fold. This rapid change was simply not foreseeable when the US Constitution was ratified. Indeed, at the time of ratification one could find slaves in both the North and the South, and the most important centers of the slave trade were located in the North!

Then too, the acceptance of slaves as part of America's foundation was a practical compromise in principle necessary to hold the Union together against a common enemy. Certainly the British were not intent on defeating the former colonists because they held slaves, and the British were just as much a threat between 1788 and 1789 when the Constitution was formally ratified as they had been in 1776 when the thirteen colonies first joined hands in an effort to defeat them. Were there other threats in 1861 that were more formidable than the British in 1777 or 1812? To the South there was no greater threat to their way of life than their continued presence in the Union.

Many attempts were made to balance the resulting division including the aforementioned Missouri Compromise of 1820, the Compromise of 1850, the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, the Crittenden Compromise of 1860, and finally the Corwin Amendment of 1861 -- the first of two proposed 13th amendments to the US Constitution. Alas, Abraham Lincoln and his band of Radical Republicans -- a new mix of Free-Soilers and Abolitionists -- came into power with a minority of the popular vote, failed to carry a single slave State, and precipitated the inevitable.

The South understood Lincoln to be the ruse politician that he was -- a man of eloquent words who sought power. The Republican Party, on the other hand, was outspoken and adamant in its demands, and among them were devout Abolitionists. For the South the decision to secede was fairly clear and straight-forward. For the North, the decision was more difficult: let the Southern States go their own way, or compel them to heed the iron hand of Washington, D.C. It was Lincoln who made the fatal decision, and Fort Sumpter was his provoked excuse.

In 1815, after the British left our nation’s capitol in ashes, several New England States banned together in Hartford, Connecticut where they entertained the idea of secession. They were feeling the economic brunt of our second war of independence from Great Britain and were about to feel its military brunt as well.

In 1820 an important dispute broke out between the Free Soilers who wanted the newly forming State of Missouri to be slave-free and those who advocated the right of the citizens of each State to choose for themselves. This dispute ended in the Missouri Compromise.

In 1832, a decade and a half later, the South Carolina State Legislature nullified US Congressional tariff legislation that they found unconstitutional and oppressive.

Clearly, the Underground Railroad undermined certain laws of the US Constitution that were brought before the courts. Probably the most famous of such court cases was that of the Supreme Court in the case of Dred Scott vs John Sanford. Accordingly, individual States passed laws that moved in direct violation to the Constitution. This too, was a form of nullification that, if needed, could be backed up by the threat of secession.

Government as Necessary

Lincoln’s War of Consolidation

Obviously, many Americans view Abraham Lincoln as a great man. And, what patriot of liberty today could possibly justify a moral defense of slavery? There was more to Lincoln, however, than his eloquence and carefully constructed logic.

In 1861 Alexander Stephens, the newly elected Vice President of the Confederacy stood before the people of Georgia and congratulated them and the newly formed Confederacy for having made their departurefrom the Union peacefully.

It was not the intent of the Confederacy to go to war with the Union, but there was good reason to believe that war could result. in March of 1861, and his address to a the special session of Congress in which he accuses the seceded States of treason. Lincoln's singular goal was to preserve the Union at any cost and stop the spread of slavery.

In his Cooper Union's address Lincoln uses the same words to describe slavery that Thomas Paine used to describe the State in his popular political tract of 1776 entitled Common Sense -- namely, a necessary evil that should be tolerated. Toleration was never Lincoln's goal, however, because his own party wanted to prevent the spread of slavery, and he personally wanted to prevent secession at any cost. And, there was a middle ground.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 had led to much bloodshed in the newly forming State of Kansas, and the potential for massive bloodshed was clearly evident. Bleeding Kansas was a manifest premonition of what the future had in store, if one did tread carefully. Only a fool or someone blinded by his own narrow set of objectives could believe that seeking to prevent the secession of seven States with the use of force would not result in massive carnage. The North may have voted him into office to prevent the spread of slavery, but surely few voted him into office to make war.

At no time during his bid for the presidency did Lincoln ever entertain the idea of separation in a public address. Certainly his mind had not changed after South Carolina's firing on Fort Sumpter.

Lincoln provoked the South into violence refused to surrender a federal fort that was built on South Carolina soil. Nearly all of the federal property that lie on Confederate soil had been yielded without conflict and often with compensation. The Confederacy wanted only that their sovereignty be respected and their separation clean.

they were prepared to fight, were the Union to deny them their sovereignty as independent States who at yielded certain of their sovereign powers to enhance the Union of which they voluntarily formed a part, never to secede their own independent sovereignty.

his first inaugural address in 1860

Government as Good

see Week Eight

Once Considered Good ...

... government was free do what it pleased. We had let down our guard.

>Government as Good

In a Just Republic

In a just republic social justice becomes relevant when legal justice has failed. Rather that we fix the legal system than obscure the inequity with the passage of unending new laws and destroy the republic.

Under construction

Holiday Specials (2019-20)

Click the title for a fuller description of the topic, and click again to close.

September Fool's Day

Lincoln is known for having once said, among other things, that you can fool all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but never all of the people all of the time. Our national media has made great strides since the time of Lincoln, for today it can fool most of the people most of the time.

Although there are many theories about both cause and motivation regarding the tragic events of September 11, 2001, only one thing is certain: the American public has not been told the truth about what actually occurred on that fatal day. The evidence that our government and national press have lied to us is overwhelming and still being actively suppressed by the same.

History Repeats Itself

Look to the past when the future is unclear.

Halloween is a very old tradition that finds its roots in the Middle Ages. For many centuries Christianity was the business of scribes who kept the faith going through the study of ancient scriptures in languages that few people understood and nearly no one spoke. It was the economic and political success of Islam that reawakened the Christian faith as a viable tool of European states to check the spread of Islam.

After several hundred years of colonial expansion under the banner of the Church it was eventually shown that having placed one religious empire with another was just more human folly.

The Roman Empire started as a democratic republic. Our nation started out similarly. Since then, we have turned our backs on the wisdom of our forefathers and history itself. We have become foolish as a result.

Election Day Special

Are you voting to legitimize corruption?

Or, does your candidate

  • Speak out against legal counterfeit (fiat money)?
  • Demand an honest investigation of 9/11?
  • Denounce the surveillance state revealed by Edward Snowden?

In effect, if you are not voting for a candidate whom you know will keep his oath, if elected, and be true to the US Constitution, then your vote will only serve to legitimize a highly corrupt system of government that abandoned the law of the land already long ago.

A Thought for Veteran's Day

Empire in defense of liberty is an oxymoron.

School was closed. Probably it should have remained open to discuss the substance of the above subtitle. See Week Nine (2019 Fall Term)

Lincoln's Legacy

Lincoln's Legacy can be summarized in several brief, but not exhaustive, points including

  • conscription - The United States had fought two major wars since its declaration of independence from Great Britain including the War of Independence and the War of 1812. -- this is to say nothing of the many smaller conflicts with Native Americans and Canadians whose land we sought to expropriate. Important in the Lincoln context is that all of these wars were fought with volunteers. No one had ever been forced to serve against his will. We fought because we believed that it was right to fight.

  • income tax - Initially we did not bear the true cost of our government, as stolen land was entered into the public domain and then sold to private individuals as a source of government revenue. At the federal level our primary source of tax revenue were tariffs levied on the import of foreign goods and uniformly imposed taxes on the individual States. How taxes were levied in each State was up to the legislature of each State.

    In an effort to fund his War of Consolidation Lincoln sold war bonds, reintroduced government issued currency (the Greenback), and taxed the incomes of private individuals. Although the Greenback was eventually discontinued and the income tax declared unconstitutional, the National Bank Act of 1863 legalized state-sponsored counterfeit (financial pyramiding) and institutionalized insodoing the American boom-and-bust cycle. This federally sponsored banking system remained in effect until the creation of the Federal Reserve System in 1913.

  • 650,000 deaths - Including the Confederate loss of life Lincoln's War of Consolidation was responsible for the death of one out of every 52 free citizens. There was hardly an American community that was not directly harmed by the war.

  • inflationary money - During our first War of Independence against Great Britain the newly formed Continental Congress issued a medium of exchange called Continental Currency. Although this paper could be used like money, it had no market value beyond its usefulness in the exchange of real goods and services. So long as the issuer honored its pledge, however, to redeem this paper for gold and silver specie (real money with a tradable value beyond its use as a medium of exchange ) the currency could serve as useful substitute for money. In truth, Congress never intended to keep its promise; the currency was simply an artifice whereby Congress funneled real goods and services into the national treasury without having to perform the hard work of levying taxes. As the war progressed more and more of the paper was issued until everyone realized that Congress could not keep its promise, and the paper lost its usefulness as a substitute. Hence, a popular expression evolved: Not worth a Continental -- an expression used to refer to anything of little or no worth.

    Those who fought in the war sacrificed their labor in exchange for military service. Rather than producing real wealth with which to feed their families they were paid with Continental Currency whose value in the market place was diminishing over time. Accordingly, when the war ended these former soldiers were for all practical purposes financially destitute. This brought about enormous bitterness and resentment towards the Continental Congress and served as an important motivation for convening the Constitutional Convention and the formation of a new government.

    In order to insure ratification of the US Constitution those who drafted the document had not only to provide a means to make good on its outstanding financial obligations, but also to insure the American public that there would not be a second Continental Currency. As a result, the newly formed federal government was limited to the mere coining of gold and silver into money. And, the individual State governments were prohibited from doing business in anything, but gold and silver specie.

    The Greenback introduced by Lincoln was a replay of the Continental Currency, but rather than making a promise that it could not keep, the US government simply insisted by the force of legislation that everyone accept the Greenback in matters of exchange. Although the Greenback was later withdrawn, the legal basis for its issuance -- namely, the concept of legal tender (legal counterfeit) was established and forms the basis for the so-called money that we use today. Bluntly speaking, the US dollar, as you know it, is unconstitutional.

  • protectionist tariffs -- The principle cause of the secession of southern States from the Union was the failure of the Union to honor its commitment to the institution of slavery as outlined, if only in other terms, by the US Constitution.

    Among these grievous shortcomings were included the imposition of protectionist tariffs that favored northern manufacturers over southern planters. By raising the tariffs on British imports the North hoped to force the South into the purchase of inferior northern manufactured goods for a price higher than superior British equivalents. Not only did these tariffs raise the price on foreign manufactured goods, but they diminished the ability of southern growers to sell their goods to its primary European markets. In brief, European nations who saw their exports being taxed by America began taxing American exports. Thus, southern growers were hit both coming and going by taxation whose implementation and outcome was not uniform across the various States.

  • seward's little bell - At the outset of Lincoln's War of Consolidation his Secretary of State, former Governor of New York, William Henry Seward, bragged to the British Lord Lyons
    My lord, I can touch a bell on my right hand, and order the arrest of a citizen of Ohio; I can touch a bell again, and order the imprisonment of a citizen of New York; and no power on earth, except that of the President, can release them. Can the Queen of England do so much?

    Preface to the American Bastille, p. xiii.
    By the end of the war the Union's generals had been given permission to imprison whomever they deemed harmful to the Union cause against the Confederacy. Their authority was arbitrary and their victims thousands upon thousands of disloyal American citizens -- in effect, anyone who spoke up in defense of the US Constitution.

    Especially infamous among the prisons where these brave citizens spent years under the worst conditions imaginable were Fort LaFayette, New York, built on a small island of rock in the Narrows between the lower end of Staten Island and Long Island, Fort Warren, Massachusetts, located on Georges Island in Boston Harbor, and Fort McHenry, Maryland, where Francis Scott Key had written what would later become our national anthem, the Star-Spangled Banner.

    Ironically the anthem was written on September 13th, 1814 at the height of the British attacks along the eastern seaboard during the War of 1812, our second war of independence from Great Britain. Indeed, the US Constitution that these political prisoners were seeking to uphold was designed to safeguard the American people against the likes of Lincoln.

  • unending racial tension - In many ways little needs to be said in this regard, for a century and a half after the war, many of the problems caused by the war are still with us and in several ways have even worsened. Although the problem of racial tension in American society today surely has its roots in the institution of slavery, there are many other factors that contribute to this tension that never would have arisen had the slave states been allowed to secede.
The Private and Public Business of Love-Making

What you do in bed is your business. With whom you hold hands in public is the public's business.

Many Americans today appear to have tossed social custom and cultural tradition to the wind. They appear to believe that American freedom is about doing and saying whatever they want no matter what other think. And, when called out by those whom they offend, the vocabulary used to defend this freedom is often vulgar and just as, if not more, offending than the action or speech for which they were called out.

The less assertive members of American society who adhere to this same freedom, do as they wish until they are called-out and then refrain out of fear that some authority will soon descend upon them, if they do not desist.

Although these outcomes are not likely the ones intended by those who teach us not to worry about what others think, and follow our own heart, they are the logically precipitated result.

When America was founded communities were tightly knit, and social pressure kept each member of the community in line. Depending on the government to play the role of community has greatly degraded the quality of American society. It is unfortunate, but a reality with which Americans need to come to grips.

Culture and the customs and traditions that constitute it are vital, for they provide patterns of speech and behavior on which we can all rely. This makes human interaction with strangers far more pleasant and more productive.

Congress Betrayed the People ...

... by delegating its legislative power to executive agencies that have created their own tribunals.

As the university was closed on Presidents' Day this topic has not been developed. Maybe next year.

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