Quote of the Day

“It seems that April is Confederate Heritage month. Why one would want to celebrate a heritage of violent rebellion against a democratically elected government in order to perpetuate a system of chattel slavery is a bit hard for me to say.” — Matthew Yglesias

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Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.

Comments

  1. Hal says:

    Sad. I expected to see a long list of comments from the usual suspects detailing what a glorious heritage it is, and how Matt is full of sh*t.

    I guess they just don’t have they heart anymore.

  2. Ben says:

    Not as nuanced and moving as Matt’s comment, but worth a read anyway.

    Remarks of James Webb at the Confederate Memorial

  3. Tlaloc says:

    I so wish I could kick lincoln in the balls circa 1859. They wanted to go. We could have been rid that *&^%hole over a hundred years ago!

    For a smart guy he was pretty god damn dumb.

  4. floyd says:

    Simply because no matter how oppressive the winning regime is, the winner always writes the history books and lazy students always believe what they are told without inquiry.

  5. Hal says:

    Yes, because we all should know it really had nothing to do with slavery at all.

    It was really just the libertarian ideal of drugs for all. They’ve successfully suppressed the fact that our founding fathers were hemp heads and have completely buried the fact that the Civil War was all about cheap and freely available weed.

  6. jpe says:

    I assume the mullets are on full display today.

  7. Bithead says:

    ..”hard for me to say”

    I imagine it would be, since in the end, the Civil war was not about slavery, but about the constitution, which stated (at least when it was written) that each state would be free.

    Mind, I do not propose to defend slavery, that’s not the point here, and I would not in any event. The fact was and remains however, that the war was against a strong federal government… as was the Constitution itself until the end of the war. That freedom is something the strong federal government couldn’t stand for.

    What most people do not understand, (Mostly because they’re not taught this) is that the union ceased to BE a union as of the civil war. America was saved, but only in the Geographic sense. As of the Civil war, America wasn’t a union of states anymore, but a very powerful federal government… something the founders never intended.

    Moreover, the south didn’t start a rebellion. They simply chose to remove themselves from the union. In my own view, the Civil war should have been called the war for Southern independence. Then again, the victors usually get to re-label things, don’t they?

  8. Leo says:

    I don’t know. I rather think that the American Civil War was a bit different, in that the losers started immediately trying to rewrite the whole thing.

  9. sam says:

    From the Confederate Constitution:

    Section 3 – New States

    3. The Confederate States may acquire new territory; and Congress shall have power to legislate and provide governments for the inhabitants of all territory belonging to the Confederate States, lying without the limits of the several Sates; and may permit them, at such times, and in such manner as it may by law provide, to form States to be admitted into the Confederacy. In all such territory the institution of negro slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected by Congress and by the Territorial government; and the inhabitants of the several Confederate States and Territories shall have the right to take to such Territory any slaves lawfully held by them in any of the States or Territories of the Confederate States.

    They deserved to be crushed.

  10. Bithead says:

    But time would have taken care of that in any event, Sam… along the lines of ten years away. And it if wasn’t our country, what business of it is ours?

    I mean, are you should we commit an act of war on all those who mistreat their own people? Heh. OK, next stop Iran, and China. I mean, wasn’t that the complaint about Iraq?

    It’s true enough, by the time things really got going, we were suddenly fighting a war about ending slavery. But that didn’t come about, that wasn’t the reason for the war until days after the war began. Remember, gang, in Lincoln’s first inaugural, he said flatly he had no intention of abolishing slavery, or of repealing the Fugitive slave law. Lincoln himself stated that the war was not about slavery, or about the rights of blacks, but about the preservation of’ the union’. Lincoln even went so far as to bar Blacks from serving in the Military. It was only well after the war was underway did Lincoln pull an about face, and suddenly the war was about slavery. Ending slavery was a more tangible goal than ‘saving the union’, particularly given most people didn’t understand what the union was, except in the loosest of senses. Ending slavery served as a far easier to support rally cry, then the real purpose, which was to retain the vast resources of the south, under the control of Washington.

  11. James Joyner says:

    From the United States Constitution as it stood at the time of the Civil War:

    Article I, Section 2. Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all other Persons.

    Article I, Section 9. The Migration and Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

  12. Bithead says:

    At the risk of being out of line, it strikes me, James that we’ve discovered another difference between yourself and Alex, that is far deeper than a question of mere writing style.

  13. Dave Schuler says:

    Abraham Lincoln was the first president elected from the newly-formed Republican Party. Here’s a snippet from the Republican Party Platform of 1860:

    7. That the new dogma that the Constitution, of its own force, carries Slavery into any or all of the Territories of the United States, is a dangerous political heresy, at variance with the explicit provisions of that instrument itself, with contemporaneous exposition, and with legislative and judicial precedent; is revolutionary in its tendency, and subversive of the peace and harmony of the country.

    8. That the normal condition of all the territory of the United States is that of freedom; That as our Republican fathers, when they had abolished slavery in all our national territory, ordained that “no person should be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law,” it becomes our duty, by legislation, whenever such legislation is necessary, to maintain this provision of the Constitution against all attempts to violate it; and we deny the authority of Congress, of a territorial legislature, or of any individuals, to give legal existence to Slavery in any Territory of the United States.

    9. That we brand the recent re-opening of the African slave- trade, under the cover of our national flag, aided by perversions of judicial power, as a crime against humanity and a burning shame to our country and age; and we call upon Congress to take prompt and efficient measures for the total and final suppression of that execrable traffic.

    The Republican Party was founded as an abolitionist party; that the first Republican president should have the abolition of slavery on his agenda can hardly be doubted. That both those living in slave and free states believed that was the case is beyond question.

    Was the American Civil War about the Constitution? Sure. But it was also about slavery and about the differences about what sort of country we would be that had been festering for 75 years.

  14. Bithead says:

    I very seriously doubt, Dave, that the party platform means anything more then, than it does now.

  15. sam says:

    I still think they deserved to be crushed, notwithstanding JJ’s citation of the US Constitution. (After all, those weren’t marshmallows they threw at Fort Sumpter.)

    However, I have another thought on the Civil War. I recall reading something that Robert Hughes, the Australian art critic for Time Magazine, once wrote. He was discussing the South, and he said that the culture there was created by dispossessed English Cavaliers. And I thought that, well, then, in some sense the culture of the North was created by the enemies of the Cavaliers, the Puritans. So perhaps the American Civil War, in the end, was the last battle of the English Civil War.

  16. Rick DeMent says:

    I imagine it would be, since in the end, the Civil war was not about slavery, but about the constitution,

    and which constitutional principal, other then slavery, was the south ready to get in a shooting war over ?

  17. Hal says:

    and which constitutional principal, other then slavery, was the south ready to get in a shooting war over?

    Yea, I’d love to hear a good dialog about that. I keep hearing that it wasn’t about slavery, but I’ve never heard anything other than vague hand waving such as that exemplified by Dr. Bithead as to what they were actually fighting about if it wasn’t about slavery. There’s a lot of vague crap thrown about regarding federation and strong centralized government, but nothing *ever* concrete such as what policies they were struggling against which were so oppressive to the freedom of the southern states. I mean, it’s pretty clear what the US was fighting for in its war of independence from Britain. I can enumerate a whole host of concrete issues. But as James’ recitation of the ensconsment of Slavery into the US constitution implies, it seems quite incontrovertible that the South was fighting because the North wanted to outlaw Slavery and consequently, their economic base would have taken a massive hit.

    Again, I have yet to hear anything other than hand waving and see nothing other than smoke generation to the contrary.

  18. Michael says:

    The fact was and remains however, that the war was against a strong federal government… as was the Constitution itself until the end of the war. That freedom is something the strong federal government couldn’t stand for.

    That’s funny, because it was the southern states that supported a strong federal government when it came to the Mexican-American war, something the northern states were against. Everybody is against a strong federal government until their guy is in the white house, then it’s a good thing.

  19. Michael says:

    But time would have taken care of that in any event, Sam… along the lines of ten years away. And it if wasn’t our country, what business of it is ours?

    I mean, are you should we commit an act of war on all those who mistreat their own people? Heh. OK, next stop Iran, and China. I mean, wasn’t that the complaint about Iraq?

    Only it was our country, and it was our people. The southern secession was unilateral and un-negotiated, so there was no legitimate reason why the Union should have considered them an independent country. You can’t just take away half of a country and expect the government to agree.

  20. Bithead says:

    Only it was our country, and it was our people. The southern secession was unilateral and un-negotiated, so there was no legitimate reason why the Union should have considered them an independent country

    What on erth would have required them to negotiate? Remember, the idea of leaving the reason they were leaving was that in the minds of those that left, Washington was no longer an authority over them.

    If that is true, with what authority do you negotiate? Upon leaving, there was nothing to negotiate at all, and since Washington no longer had authority in the states that broke off, nobody to negotiate WITH.

  21. Hal says:

    What on erth would have required them to negotiate?

    As has been pointed out, it was a country before hand, and they decided to pick their ball up and leave. It’s a matter of opinon as to who has authority over them. For example, try it today. I doubt that merely thinking “gee the police/government has no authority over me” would go over too well.

    That’s why there’s a war. The two sides disagree. To say that they should have been allowed to pack up and leave by fiat, on their own decision, and be shocked – shocked, I say – that they wouldn’t go to war over the succession is pure lunacy on your part, Dr. B. Anyone who wants to leave has to either expect a war or negotiate. That’s just the way it is, considering that there’s always going to be two sides as to who owns what. It happened in our independence as a nation – i.e. Britian didn’t just up and say “good riddance, y’all write when you get up and running won’t you”.

    Your position is simply lunacy.

  22. Dave Schuler says:

    Bithead, I can produce thousands of quotations from speeches by Lincoln and other politicians during the 1860 election campaign as well as newspaper editorials and quotations from books. Believe me, slavery was an issue. Not the only issue but an issue.

  23. sam says:

    “And it if wasn’t our country, what business of it is ours?”

    Well, Bit, if we accept your logic, then having left, they were a sovereign country, and as such, they commenced hostilities against another sovereign country (Fort Sumpter, supra). Surly that’s a causus bellum if anything is, no?

    Look, Fort Sumpter was to the Confederacy what Pearl Harbor was to the Japanese. And I don’t mean to say that the Confederacy was like the Empire of Japan. What I do mean to say is that each event led the agressing party to be, in the words of Churchill, “ground to powder.” The South initiated the shooting war and bears the responsibility for the sequel.

  24. Michael says:

    What on erth would have required them to negotiate? Remember, the idea of leaving the reason they were leaving was that in the minds of those that left, Washington was no longer an authority over them.

    Because that land and those people were previously a part of the United States of America. If you want to remove that land and those people from the USA, you either negotiate for it or fight for it (war being an extension of politics by other means). Simply claiming that you don’t recognize a former authority anymore doesn’t cut it, because that former authority still recognizes their authority over you. It is your job to change their mind, again either by negotiation or war.

    If that is true, with what authority do you negotiate? Upon leaving, there was nothing to negotiate at all, and since Washington no longer had authority in the states that broke off, nobody to negotiate WITH.

    That’s like saying I can steal your car, and then say you have no rights to the car anymore, because it is now my car, and you don’t have rights over my things.

  25. Hal says:

    That’s like saying I can steal your car, and then say you have no rights to the car anymore, because it is now my car, and you don’t have rights over my things.

    Exactly. I want to try this out with Dr. B’s property and tell him that I simply don’t recognize his authority as a sovereign entity.

  26. Bithead says:

    It’s a matter of opinon as to who has authority over them. For example, try it today

    Well, yes, but as I’ve pointed out and to our detriment, the situation has changed rather markedly as to the extent of the authority of the federal government over the states.

    As to the rest of the comments directed my way, I can only point out that the arguments about slavery back in the day only made sense within the context of being a part of the Union, thereby being strictly a secondary concern, since the question was, did Washington have the authority to outlaw it? That authority was, prior to the war, questionable at least *** given the constitutional view of states rights… and that assumes the south was a part of the Union, thereby subject to Washngton.. As of the withdrawal from the Union of the souhern states, Washington had no more say whatever on the matter, any more than they would about any other nation, regardless of it’s historical ties.

    As to the intention of the north prior to the war to eliminate slavery, does anyone suppose that had Washington not reacted militarily to the south and let them go their way, that the north would have actually given up it’s slaves before another 10 to 20 years went by? I submit they would not have, though it would have happened eventually. The public just didn’t have the will for it, until the war came along. It was only when we had troops in the feild, and Lincoln talking about ’saving the union’ that it became the northeast’s moral imperative, and a subject gathering support that it never would have enjoyed, absent the war.

    I also submit that had the country known about the massive shift of power away from the states that was about to occur, they’d have suggested we let the south go their way, that loss being the far lesser of two evils.

    ***(Else the subject would never have come up, being already decided)

  27. Bithead says:

    That’s like saying I can steal your car, and then say you have no rights to the car anymore, because it is now my car, and you don’t have rights over my things.

    No, it’s not, because that land dind’t belong to the federal government, it belonged to the states. Until you understand that, the whole concept of the way the union was originally formed, will not any sense to you.

  28. Bithead says:

    Well, Bit, if we accept your logic, then having left, they were a sovereign country, and as such, they commenced hostilities against another sovereign country (Fort Sumpter, supra). Surly that’s a causus bellum if anything is, no?

    That’s certainly an arguable position though one could also argue that the attack upon Fort Sumpter was in response to Lincoln’s sending a large naval expedition to Charlston.

  29. Michael says:

    No, it’s not, because that land dind’t belong to the federal government, it belonged to the states. Until you understand that, the whole concept of the way the union was originally formed, will not any sense to you.

    The federal government could tax the land, control the transportation of people and goods through the land, raise armies from among those people, and build institutions and fortifications on the land. I submit that, to a great extent, the land did belong to the federal government. Otherwise, the Constitution was but a treaty between independent nations, who could come and go as it suited their interests. Instead it was a Union, like a marriage, and you cannot unilaterally dictate the terms of your divorce.

    And it’s not like the Civil War was the first time the federal government went against the wishes of some of the states to do what was good for the nation. Ever since George Washington the federal government has been imposing it’s will on the states.

  30. Bithead says:

    I can produce thousands of quotations from speeches by Lincoln and other politicians during the 1860 election campaign as well as newspaper editorials and quotations from books

    Again, Dave, read his first inagural.

  31. Bithead says:

    The federal government could tax the land, control the transportation of people and goods through the land, raise armies from among those people, and build institutions and fortifications on the land.

    So long as those states wanted to be members,correct.

    Otherwise, the Constitution was but a treaty between independent nations, who could come and go as it suited their interests.

    Exactly so. And, so it was.

  32. Bithead says:

    And to further that point, perhaps Lincoln himself can address this issue:

    In 1861 Abraham Lincoln in his inaugural address said, and I quote “When the people shall grow weary of their constitutional right to amend the government, they shall exert their revolutionary right to dismember and overthrow that government.”

    What do you suppose those states in the south were doing? They weren’t even trying to oerthrow the government per se, rather they were charting their own course.

    Again, we can argue (and even agree!) on the morality of slavery, but we do the truth no favors when we mislabel things.

  33. Michael says:

    So long as those states wanted to be members,correct.

    And, so it was.

    It was voluntary to enter into the Union, but not to leave. Once you enter, your assets become a part of the nation and the nation’s assets become a part of your state, you can’t then leave without doing harm to the other states in the nation.

    To give an example:
    Before the southern states seceded, a New Yorker could sell his goods in Georgia without tariffs, he could buy goods from Georgia without tariffs, he could travel freely to Georgia and, if he wanted to, he could stay there indefinitely. Once Georgia seceded, the New Yorker no longer had those rights.

  34. Michael says:

    What do you suppose those states in the south were doing? They weren’t even trying to oerthrow the government per se, rather they were charting their own course.

    The southern states did not represent a majority of “the people” in the United States, and therefore had no democratic rights to impose their will on the rest of the nation.

  35. Bithead says:

    The southern states did not represent a majority of “the people” in the United States, and therefore had no democratic rights to impose their will on the rest of the nation.

    Under those conditions, they didn’t need to represent the will of the majority of the people in all the states… just the people inside the states which withdrew.

  36. Michael says:

    Under those conditions, they didn’t need to represent the will of the majority of the people in all the states… just the people inside the states which withdrew.

    No, because their actions affected citizens in the northern states as well, as demonstrated by my example, so the choice was not entirely their to make.

  37. sam says:

    I’d like to take back the harshness I’ve exhibited in this thread. I do the believe the South should have been defeated, but “crushed” and “ground to powder” were uncalled for. Maybe we can end the thread on this story that Shelby Foote told, about the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

    Surviving Union and Confederate soldiers of the battle met at the battlefield for a commeoration. As part of the event, they were to renact Pickett’s Charge. In due course, the old Confederates lined up across the field from Cemetary Ridge and the old Union soldiers took up their positions. At the signal, the Confederates began to advance as they had done 50 years before. But as they came on, a moan went up from the Union side, and the old Union soldiers rose up and ran down onto the field and embraced the old Confederates, saying “No, no, no.”

    The Civil War, whatever its causes and justifications, was the worst thing that ever happened to us — Americans killing Americans.

  38. Hal says:

    The Civil War, whatever its causes and justifications, was the worst thing that ever happened to us — Americans killing Americans.

    Amen. I just wish we could let this festering wound heal and move on.

  39. DBrown says:

    The war is still going on and the South is wining this time.

  40. Bithead says:

    No, because their actions affected citizens in the northern states as well

    Not really. Look deeper into what started that ball rolling. What you describe are called ‘consequences”.

  41. Michael says:

    Not really. Look deeper into what started that ball rolling. What you describe are called ‘consequences”.

    The difference being that the northern states and abolitionists used the democratic process to get their way, the southern states made a unilateral decision that effected the norther citizens, that goes against the principle of majority rule. Call them consequences all you want, that doesn’t change anything.

  42. Bithead says:

    And that would be a concern to the end result, how?
    If you’re read the history of this country prior to the war, particularly the formal complaints from the states as they left the union, you’ll find that they’d been trying for some time to go through the process.

    Deciding that it no longer served their interests, they decided, as Lincoln said, to exert their revolutionary right to dismember and overthrow that government.

    The consequences you so lightly set aside, are in fact the one remaining recourse that any state had, prior to the war, to exert any pressure on the federal government. The federal governments’ fear of those consequences, was what kept them in line. Now that’s removed, there’s nothing to keep the government from getting huge… which, you may notice it has done, since that time.

  43. Bithead says:

    Afterthoughts;
    By your lights, Micheal, the American revolution shouldn’t have occurred due to the fact that all people’s interests were not represented… those supporting the Brits got ignored.

    And I’ll repeat the one line you ignored in all of this, in hopes of getting you to focus on it:

    …had the country known about the massive shift of power away from the states that was about to occur, they’d have suggested we let the south go their way, that loss being the far lesser of two evils.

    And with that I reserve the balance of my time.

  44. Reader says:

    It was voluntary to enter into the Union, but not to leave. Once you enter, your assets become a part of the nation and the nation’s assets become a part of your state, you can’t then leave without doing harm to the other states in the nation.

    To give an example:
    Before the southern states seceded, a New Yorker could sell his goods in Georgia without tariffs, he could buy goods from Georgia without tariffs, he could travel freely to Georgia and, if he wanted to, he could stay there indefinitely. Once Georgia seceded, the New Yorker no longer had those rights.

    I will only add that this example provides a clear statement of the perspective of those that believe in a strong federal government that is in no way subservient to the states. However, the Federal Government’s authority still comes at the will and whim of the states, who have the power as a majority to abolish the Federal organization if it is pleased to do so. Not the other way around.

    Other points…

    To say that the States upon entry to the Union give up their sovereignty is odd. To what point, then, do we maintain the fallacy of statehood?

    There is no doubt that the presence of states within the Union provides great freedom within the Union to move about freely, but that is simply a privilege of arrangement… having that go away is a change in circumstance. People get impacted by change all the time. Those impacts are serious considerations to make when deciding to make such a dramatic change, which should certainly be an argument for deciding not to, but it is not an argument I can accept for unilaterally forbidding such an action.

    Of course, the Supreme Court was kind enough to set a precedent in this discussion, although it is to this day considered a bad decision by some experts (Texas v. White).

    What I wonder is if, under the arguement of impact to other and the government(s), any person has the right to renounce their citizenship. Seems like maybe they don’t…

  45. Michael says:

    However, the Federal Government’s authority still comes at the will and whim of the states, who have the power as a majority to abolish the Federal organization if it is pleased to do so. Not the other way around.

    Yes, the federal constitution can be changed with the support of the majority of the states. But then, as now, the federal government still had authority over the states on several issues. Until the constitution is amended to say otherwise, that is the agreement the states make with each other, to be governed by a common authority.

    To say that the States upon entry to the Union give up their sovereignty is odd. To what point, then, do we maintain the fallacy of statehood?

    I didn’t say the states gave up anything, the residents of those states agreed to become citizens of the union, and to add their property to the union. Doing so meant accepting the federal government’s authority over your property as outlined in the federal constitution. Again, this is the agreement you are making with the other states of the union.

    There is no doubt that the presence of states within the Union provides great freedom within the Union to move about freely, but that is simply a privilege of arrangement… having that go away is a change in circumstance.

    Reader, you are a citizen of the United States of America, you are not a citizen of any particular state. As such, you have as much right to any other state as you do your home state, and if anybody decides to remove some of your rights in another state, they are taking something away from you.

    What I wonder is if, under the arguement of impact to other and the government(s), any person has the right to renounce their citizenship. Seems like maybe they don’t…

    You can renounce your citizenship and leave the country, because the government only has authority over you by your consent or presence. But you can’t say that any land you own is no longer a part of the United States, because that land has been voluntarily shared with the rest of the union, and you can’t take that back.

  46. Hal says:

    All well and interesting arguments – in the abstract. However, it’s the actual issue, not the principle, which is the problem.

    Say that we have a nation formed under Sharia law. Say that part of nation – the majority of the nation – is democratically moving to eliminate forced rape as a punishment for women. In response to this, a portion of the nation decides to succeed – on the principle of federalism and autonomy of the states, naturally.

    The point is that what is the line in the sand, the straw that broke the camel’s back, the issue which pushed them over the edge was SLAVERY. There were hundreds, if not thousands of other issues which had exactly the same abstract impact that y’all are arguing above. The south had no apparent problem with those issues. Rather, the problem was that slavery was going to be abolished in the country, and they couldn’t brook with that.

    You can argue, in retrospect, as you are wrt states rights, individuals rights and bizarro rights (the rules Bithead believes are in play). But when you let every other issue slide and choose SLAVERY as your stand – the issue you’re going to fight and war against your brother’s for.

    Well, it says everything about your principles. Like the thought experiment I proposed above, if your rallying cry is to preserve slavery, then no matter your lofty principles that you provide in retrospect, the foundation of your argument is rotten to the core.

  47. Bithead says:

    However, it’s the actual issue, not the principle, which is the problem.

    No, Hal. These are really two different issues and two different principles are in play. one of them is states rights, and the other is the rights of the individual.

    Clearly, slavery involves the latter. Trouble is, however, that you’re blowing up one valid principle to shortcut your way to another, which ends up in the end beinga solution for neither.

    What you’re really doing by overiding the principle of states rights to get to the abolishment of slavery (In pursuit one may kindly assume, of the principle of individual rights) is giving up the idea of principle, in favor of the idea of arbitrary actions to get to a desired outcome.

    The solution itself has becoe a problem, in that the size of government is well out of control, which will end in NOBODY”S indiviual rights being respected… and to a large degree, this is already occurring. As I quoted Heston as saying, the other day:

    There is now no aspect of American life, public or private, that the federal government does not invade, instruct and finally coerce to its will. Farm and factory, home and school, university and research center, club and playground—all are overlaid with a spidery network of laws, guidelines, restrictions and Draconian penalties that stifle the spirit, the energy, the creative capacity of what was once the freest nation on earth. In this hemisphere, now that Ortega and Noriega have fallen, the collectivists’ sentiments discredited around the world fly best, I fear, in Cuba and Washington, D.C.

    I submit to you this is a situation that would never have occurred, had the individual states’s rights been respected as laid out in the pre-war constitution.

    The elimination of slavery was certainly a desired outcome. It speaks well of those who pursued it. The problem was the unprincipled shortcuts taken to get there… the result of which we still haven’t come to grips with.

  48. Hal says:

    What you’re really doing by overiding the principle of states rights to get to the abolishment of slavery

    Well, first off, who cares? It’s exactly like saying “What you’re really doing is overriding the principle of states rights to preserve forced rape as a punishment in Sharia law.” That is precisely the argument you’re continuing to use. It’s morally reprehensible even if the principle is right. History is replete with people making flowery and scholarly arguments for all sorts of reprehensible and despicable things – Yoo on torture is only the most recent example of such obvious BS being dressed up in high principles.

    Secondly, any process which is democratic is not “overriding”, it’s called democracy. To claim otherwise, which is the premise of your argument, is simply BS. In a democracy, there are winners and there are losers. The losers don’t just get to unilaterally withdraw simply because they lost. And simply losing in a democratic process doesn’t mean the side that one was using unprincipled shortcuts.

    The solution itself has becoe a problem..

    You are arguing ex post facto, which is a third grade playground debate tactic, but is completely immaterial.

    The problem was the unprincipled shortcuts taken to get there… the result of which we still haven’t come to grips with.

    What unprincipled shortcuts? Your mere assertion that things were done incorrectly is not evidence. As has been repeatedly pointed out to you, the process was proceeding in a democratic fashion – it was the south that decided to take an unprincipled shortcut, take their ball and go home. You can argue all you want from the premise that the constitution was a treaty amongst nations, but again you’re basically in the same league as David Duke – fine company for an intellectual argument, but they’re your bedfellows. All your wacky theories and ex post facto reasoning isn’t going to change the fact that it was treason in defense of slavery.

  49. Michael says:

    What you’re really doing by overiding the principle of states rights to get to the abolishment of slavery (In pursuit one may kindly assume, of the principle of individual rights) is giving up the idea of principle, in favor of the idea of arbitrary actions to get to a desired outcome.

    I’m not really sure what point you’re trying to make here Bit, are you basically saying that any federal law is an infringement on state’s rights, and that the constitution didn’t originally give the federal government this authority?

    The solution itself has becoe a problem, in that the size of government is well out of control, which will end in NOBODY”S indiviual rights being respected… and to a large degree, this is already occurring.

    I submit to you this is a situation that would never have occurred, had the individual states’s rights been respected as laid out in the pre-war constitution.

    Again, are you saying that state laws cannot or should not be over-ruled by federal law? If so, why bother giving congress legislative authority at all, if adherence to those was strictly voluntary in the states?

  50. Bithead says:

    I’m not really sure what point you’re trying to make here Bit

    Clearly….

    are you basically saying that any federal law is an infringement on state’s rights

    Any which go outside the constitution, in it’s original meaning, yes.

    Again, are you saying that state laws cannot or should not be over-ruled by federal law? If so, why bother giving congress legislative authority at all, if adherence to those was strictly voluntary in the states?

    Ever haerd of the 10th amendment?

  51. Michael says:

    Ever haerd of the 10th amendment?

    The 10th amendment doesn’t give state law supremacy over federal law, it just delegates powers not specified in the Constitution to the Congress. So long as a federal law is constitutional (i.e. within the constitutional powers of Congress to pass), then no state law may take precedence over it.

  52. Reader says:

    you are not a citizen of any particular state

    My state’s (Iowa) constitution says otherwise.

  53. Hal says:

    My state’s (Iowa) constitution says otherwise.

    LoL. I guess you have a passport to visit Colorado, right? If not, then you’re just using “citizen” in the sense that “we’re all citizens of the world”.

    Do you literally believe you’re a “citizen” of Iowa in exactly the same sense you are a “citizen” of the United States?

  54. Reader says:

    Do you literally believe you’re a “citizen” of Iowa in exactly the same sense you are a “citizen” of the United States?

    Indeed I do. If not, what exactly is the point of having a state government at all? Why have any state laws, or state officials? Why are there extradition laws between states?

    What makes one a citizen of the United States? A passport? A Social Security Card?

    I vote in Iowa, pay taxes in Iowa, and enjoy the benefits and protections offered by Iowa. When I travel outside of Iowa, the driver’s license issued by Iowa is respected not just within the United States but also in many countries as identification, proof of age, and proof of my ability to drive a car. If someone in my family is killed, I expect the state of Iowa, not the United States, to do justice. The state of Iowa grants me extensive protections that the United States does not and will not provide. I have privileges in tuition rates at state schools not enjoyed by those from other states. I enjoy rights to hunt and use state lands to a degree not enjoyed by those from outside the state.

    I owe loyalty to both the state of Iowa and the United States of America.

    What else is there to being a citizen?

  55. Michael says:

    If not, what exactly is the point of having a state government at all? Why have any state laws, or state officials?

    But you also have county and municipal governments and laws, do you consider yourself a citizen of your county and municipality as well?

    Why are there extradition laws between states?

    Because no state is subservient to another, but all are subservient to the union. In order for one state to make another take some action, the federal government acts as the common authority.

    If someone in my family is killed, I expect the state of Iowa, not the United States, to do justice.

    Only if your family member and the killer were in Iowa. Interstate crime is usually a federal matter. Again, this is just a delegation of responsibility, you can take your case all the way to the US Supreme Court if you wanted to, because you are a citizen of the union.

    The state of Iowa grants me extensive protections that the United States does not and will not provide. I have privileges in tuition rates at state schools not enjoyed by those from other states. I enjoy rights to hunt and use state lands to a degree not enjoyed by those from outside the state.

    Your state can pass laws that supplement US laws, but not ones that contradict them. Similarly, it can choose to spend it’s tax revenue on residents of the state. I’m not sure about limiting access to public lands to residents, that seems outside the authority of the state, what exactly does Iowa do for residents in that respect?

    What makes one a citizen of the United States? A passport? A Social Security Card?

    Birth or naturalization.

  56. Hal says:

    Reader, obviously hierarchical organization seems to be something you simply don’t comprehend. As Michael points out above, the relationship between levels in the hierarchy aren’t symmetric. I have to say that this kind of idea – that of hierarchical organization of human civilization – is quite basic to the understanding of pretty much everything political, and if you are under the impression that your “citizenship” of Iowa qua Iowa is equivalent to your citizenship of the USA qua USA, then it will be hard to carry on a meaningful conversation regarding the issue.

    As Michael points out above, literally *everything* you are pointing to in defense of this belief is due to the fact that Iowa is a state in a much larger organization, and these rights you speak of as “citizenship” are not given by Iowa, but by the federal government, through its agency in Iowa and other states.

    That you seem to believe otherwise is rather disturbing.

  57. Reader says:

    But you also have county and municipal governments and laws, do you consider yourself a citizen of your county and municipality as well?

    Of course.

    Birth or naturalization.

    Exactly. Nothing extraordinary has to happen for you to be a US citizen if you are born somewhere in the United States. A birth certificate (usually issued by a municipality) is adequate.

    Citizenry in a state is similar, although the process of naturalization has been nicely made unnecessary and instead only residency is required to gain citizenship within a state (or municipality).

    I think where we are seeing things differently here is in the meaning of “citizen”, and the implications of citizenship. Without doubt being a US citizen has great meaning and offers us significant rights and resopnsibilities. But as citizens of our states and cities, we also enjoy rights and have responsibilities not provided by the United States. To simply say they are “delegated” is unflattering to the Framers who were careful to ensure that the balance of delegation and state identity were intertwined. If specific rights and responsibilities are simply delegated, one would expect some consistency to them, but there is not, nor is there an intent for them to be. The intent of delegating is to provide the states with the power to manage their own affairs in areas that have no direct impact on federal responsibilities.

    The states should not be misunderstood to be an extension of the US Federal Government, but (as appropriate) are the embodiment of it. There are situations where the US Government speaks as one voice, and others where 50 voices speak.

    It is worth remarking that the US Congress has in some cases bypassed the spirit of the Constitution by forcing states to conform to its whim on areas that are “delegated” through extortion (by withholding Federal road money and such).

  58. Hal says:

    I think where we are seeing things differently here is in the meaning of “citizen”, and the implications of citizenship.

    Reader, all you’ve done is simply replaced the notion “member” with the word “citizen”. Your definition is so broad as to essentially be meaningless in this discussion.

    If specific rights and responsibilities are simply delegated, one would expect some consistency to them

    There is certainly a high consistency in the way States handle, say murder and a host of other crimes that are delegated to the state authority. The fact that this is delegated is clear from the notion of appeal which has clear delineations of authority at each level of the hierarchy. The reason some appeals stop at the state supreme court and don’t proceed to the federal court system is because the system has delegated authority in well proscribed areas.

    The intent of delegating is to provide the states with the power to manage their own affairs in areas that have no direct impact on federal responsibilities.

    Obviously. But this isn’t the only reason. Delegation is also a very effective means of distributed control. Centralized systems have well known problems which are overcome by decentralization. This is where the variation comes in which you believe is evidence that there is no delegation. The US is highly diverse and the framers realized that solving local problems locally and global problems globally makes for a very nimble system which allows diversity to thrive. But this doesn’t mean the authority isn’t delegated. Indeed, it’s proof positive that the states only have authority which is delegated from the federal system.

    There are situations where the US Government speaks as one voice, and others where 50 voices speak.

    Then you are simply making a distinction without a difference.

  59. Michael says:

    I think where we are seeing things differently here is in the meaning of “citizen”, and the implications of citizenship. Without doubt being a US citizen has great meaning and offers us significant rights and resopnsibilities. But as citizens of our states and cities, we also enjoy rights and have responsibilities not provided by the United States.

    Ok, I suppose that is within the definition of “citizen”, though I’ve never heard it used that way in the US. Usually people claim US citizenship, and only residency in their state and city. Certainly I, as a US citizen and Florida resident, have more rights in Iowa than a Mexican citizen and Iowa resident. Similarly, I can be a citizen of both the USA and Canada, but I cannot be a resident of both Iowa and Florida.

    The intent of delegating is to provide the states with the power to manage their own affairs in areas that have no direct impact on federal responsibilities.

    I won’t go so far as to claim knowledge of the intent of the constitution, but it does seem to be structured in such a way that the states were given authority so long as what they did would not effect other states, that power being given to the federal government. It really was more of a state A vs. state B split where the federal government was a referee, than a states vs. federal split.

  60. Reader says:

    Thanks, Michael, I think you’re spot on.