“I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.” –Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural
“During the term of the Supreme Court [Judge Nelson] had very carefully examined the laws of the United States to enable him to attain his conclusions, and from time to time he had consulted the Chief Justice upon the questions which his examination had suggested. His conclusion was that, without very serious violations of the constitution and the statutes, coercion could not be successfully effected by the executive department [against the southern states].” –Judge Campbell in Papers of the Southern Historical Society, February 1874
“Who are the parties to [the Constitution]? The people — but not the people as composing one great body; but the people as composing thirteen sovereignties…no state is bound by it, as it is, without its own consent.” –James Madison, Elliot’s “Debates”, vol. iii
“To go back to the very beginning, the British Colonies never constituted one people. Judge Story, in his “Commentaries” on the Constitution, seems to imply the contrary, though he shrinks from a direct assertion of it, and clouds the subject by a confusion of terms.”
“[The constitution] was never submitted to “the people of the United States in the aggregate,” or as a people. Indeed, no such political community as the people of the United States in the aggregate exists at this day or ever did exist. Senators in Congress confessedly represent the States as equal units.”
“…the vital and essential point of inquiry now is, by what authority the Constitution was ‘ordained and established.’ Mr. Webster says it was done ‘by the people of the United States in the aggregate.’ Mr. Everett repeats substantially the same thing; and Mr. Motley, taking a step further, says that ‘it was ordained and established by a power superior to the states — by the people of the whole land in their aggregate capacity.’ The advocates of this mischievous dogma assume the existence of an unauthorized, undefined power of the ‘whole people,’ or ‘people of the whole land,’ operating through the agency of the Philadelphia Convention, to impose its decrees upon the states. They forget…this Convention was composed of delegates…of distinct states…and their action had no force or validity whatever…until approved and ratified by a sufficient number of states.”
“If, then, we can conceive, and admit for a moment, the possibility that, when the Constitution was under consideration, the people of the United States were politically ‘one people’ — a collective unit — two deductions are clearly inevitable…each geographical division… would have been entitled to vote according to its relative population; and…the expressed will of the legal majority would have been binding upon the whole…Now, neither of these principles was practiced or proposed or even imagined…no majority, or majorities, of States or people had any control whatever upon the people of another State. The Constitution was established…between the States, and only between the states so ratifying the same.”
“When, in after times, the passions of the day shall have subsided, and the evidence shall have been collected and compared, the philosophical inquirer, who asks why the majority of the stronger section invaded the peaceful homes of their late associates, will be answered by History: ‘The lust of empire impelled them to wage against their weaker neighbors a war of subjugation.'”
Jefferson Davis, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government
Jefferson Davis’s book, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, is not an apology for slavery. It is an extremely well-reasoned, classically articulate, and comprehensively documented history of the real causes of the Civil War. It is the narrative of how the states created the federal government, rather than vice versa, including the newly admitted states, which were invited into the union as equal partners in continuing to establish and regulate the federal government as their servant. This is why it was a big deal to be admitted as a new state. A new state was one more regional government which the federal government was subject to. The original states would have been undermining their own position if they had not accepted the new states as coequals in drawing boundaries around federal power. Each and every state was sovereign.
In arguing that the states were sovereign, before and after Lincoln succeeded by violence and terror to strip them of their sovereignty, either Jefferson Davis is the greatest liar in American history, or his opponents are. It has to be one or the other. A concomitant dichotomy is that either Davis and many others in the South, after the fact, tried to recreate the main cause of the war, referred to as the “lost cause” (states’ rights), or, anti-southern historians have reinvented the North’s actual reasons for going to war, making it the prohibition of slavery. Nothing could be more clever than northern and liberal historians veiling their own revisionist history by accusing the south of reinvention. You should decide for yourself who actually changed their story by reading Davis’ book, which no doubt liberals and the Lincoln cult would love to suppress. You have already been exposed, throughout your government education, to the cult’s point of view.
In Davis’ narrative the north had no moral or legal basis for the military invasion of 1861. It could not be rooted in the history of the states, their relationships, and finally their mutually agreed upon constitution. The north was institutionally racist, like the south, and had asserted state sovereignty and the right of secession during the ratification process and after it. The north grew silent about state sovereignty, and its own flirtations with secession, only after it started killing people in the south, off of whom its own remonstrations and history echoed.
The Constitution was, in fact, a compact between the states which explicitly accepted the institution of slavery. This is, in part, why the war was not and could not be initiated legally, and in the first place, to end slavery. Every half educated American already knows that Lincoln did not initiate his military subjugation of the South in order to end slavery and that most northerners had little interest in freeing the slaves let alone inviting them into their states. They may also know that there is no explicit right of secession in the Constitution. But what they very often do not know is that the reason there is no explicit right of secession in the constitution is that state sovereignty, as such, includes the right to withdraw, and was taken for granted while being embodied in the delegation clause and the Tenth Amendment after explicit debate about the right of secession. The problem with an explicit right of secession is that it would have required too many explicit conditions — too many constraints on secession. James Madison agreed that the best way to handle this well-understood right, as the logical implication of state sovereignty, was implicitly. He may have been proven wrong, but only because justice in 1861, became the interest of the stronger, not an honest account of history.
The whole process of creating and ratifying the constitution of 1789 was explicitly based upon state sovereignty. Several states reserved their right to secede in their bills of ratification. Massachusetts, which threatened to leave after the federal government was duly constituted, was given explicit leave to do so by Jefferson Davis, among others. President Buchanan, as he vacated the white house, pointed out that no power to invade the states for any reason had been delegated to the federal government by the constitution. This was power which Lincoln bestowed upon himself with the blessing of his empire building, plutocratic Republican Party. It is all aptly summarized by the fact that the states created the federal government and were not finally subject to it. The federal government was their device for doing what the states agreed it should do, and nothing more.
This is exactly what Hamilton, Story, Webster, Everett et al, and finally Lincoln, began to deny well before the onset of the war with a patently bizarre and inconsistent account of the text and history of the constitution. The claim they made is quite simple and so implausible that Jefferson Davis and many others in both the north and south could hardly believe it was being proposed by honorable men. They essentially claimed that the federal government created the states. A permutation of this claim was that the federal government was created by the “whole people” who supposedly required and then ratified the constitution themselves. What Jefferson Davis shows in his five hundred page, first hand, comprehensively documented history of the constitution and the South’s ill-fated reliance on it, is that the whole idea that the people in the abstract, rather than the states in the concrete, created and ratified the constitution, is metaphysical and historical nonsense. The men who created and exploited this myth knew very well it was nothing but an invention for manipulating and threatening a section of the country whose interests threatened theirs.
There are several very painful and key moral realities in American history:
- Slavery was a huge mistake, a genuine form of corporate immorality.
- The failure to prepare the slaves for freedom through orderly compensated emancipation was as immoral as enslaving them in the first place. It made them vulnerable to a whole new and much more powerful plantation — that of the central government.
- The Lincoln administration had no moral or legal right to invade the south militarily because of the whole history of the states’ legal relations with England and one another.
- Lincoln’s military invasion of the south destroyed the union, which by its very nature must be voluntary, and established the tyranny of the central government.
In 1861, the federal government made it clear to us, the people of the states, that anyone who thinks that the federal government is ours to abolish can and will be killed without legal or moral justification. This is sometimes referred to as ‘murder.’ The America of the Declaration of Independence was murdered, in a pornographically bloody fashion, in 1861. We are not living in the America of the Declaration. We are not free. The government is not us, and has not been us even in principle since 1861. We are just now starting to make the government us again. Our elected county sheriffs are demonstrating this by threatening to arrest federal agents who attempt to directly control the people of their counties. It is my sincere hope that this is just one dimension of an inevitably successful counter-revolution.
Since Davis’ comprehensive documentation of his historical points is so overpowering, we must ask ourselves whether he could have made this stuff up. But of course we are talking about historical documents which were and are on record. No one has denied his documentation. All they can do is question his interpretation of it. But as the narrative accumulates, this becomes more and more difficult. To be sure, there is no verification or falsification of any account of history to the extent that it describes metaphysical objects — past intentions and other mental states of historical actors both individual and corporate. But what is so ironically powerful about Davis’ narrative is its moral authenticity which includes more concern for the destiny of the ex-slaves than the north and its central government have ever demonstrated.
As the wards of the government schools, we have been taught since the middle of the last century that Lincoln and his cohorts were the moral giants. The histapo (the historical gestapo) had taken over. Prior to that point in time strong criticisms of Lincoln, north and south, were still protected and respected by a wide-spread belief in free speech. Now the histapo is facing internet pitchforks wielded by increasingly skeptical and free minds — the sort of minds that liberals are supposed to promote. A great deal of “revisionist” history about Lincoln and his war is now for sale atop the grave of the east coast publishing establishment, suggesting that what has actually been revisionist is the history produced by the Lincoln cult.
Here’s a few questions that every American student should be required to research on his own:
True, False, or Neither-Clearly-True-or-False?
1. Lincoln was an atheist, or at best, a deist, until the day he died.
2. Lincoln was a white supremacist until the day he died.
3. Lincoln had no legal authority for invading the southern states.
4. Lincoln had no moral authority for invading the southern states.
5. Slavery could have been abolished without a bloody civil war.
6. The civil war had to be fought to achieve the Republican Party’s political and economic goals.
Interestingly, and ironically, if the act of researching each of these questions were to result in a conclusion of ‘neither-clearly-true-or-false’ this would leave Lincoln in a condition of vivid moral and legal ambiguity, which all by itself, is a devastating judgment given the undeniable nature of his program — total war and terror.