17 February 2014

Happy President's Day!





Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States that by the accession of a Republican Administration their property and their peace and personal security are to be endangered. There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed and been open to their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that—

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.

Those who nominated and elected me did so with full knowledge that I had made this and many similar declarations and had never recanted them; and more than this, they placed in the platform for my acceptance, and as a law to themselves and to me, the clear and emphatic resolution which I now read:

Resolved, That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of power on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend; and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.

I now reiterate these sentiments, and in doing so I only press upon the public attention the most conclusive evidence of which the case is susceptible that the property, peace, and security of no section are to be in any wise endangered by the now incoming Administration. I add, too, that all the protection which, consistently with the Constitution and the laws, can be given will be cheerfully given to all the States when lawfully demanded, for whatever cause—as cheerfully to one section as to another.


-- The Great Emancipator, First Inaugural Address, 1861


8 comments:

Methodist Jim said...

It is too bad that South Carolina and six other states had already declared succession before Lincoln's first inaugural. It is also too bad that a mere 35 days after it, General P.G.T. Beauregard ordered Confederate troops to fire on Ft. Sumter and begin the Civil War.

History might have been much different if southern states had chosen to abide by the election results of 1860, an election that those states certainly participated in, but lost, rather than to attempt to opt out of the result, after the fact, and the country.

Methodist Jim said...

Of course, if my comment is beside the point then so too was your post.

thetimman said...

Of course this is all beside the point. By seceding, which any state retained the right to do by way of its inherent sovereignty and the lack of giving up that part of its sovereignty in the Constitution, the seceding states abided by the election. If they did not, then a coup d'état would have been the response.

As for Fort Sumter, that too is a red herring. Imagine if the Chinese occupied Scott Air Force base. I don't think you would think that the US would act unlawfully to expel them forcibly. It is the right of any nation to expel foreign troops from its soil.

The bottom line is that your case, and mine, stands or falls on whether the Southern states had the legal right to bow out of the union of states created in 1789.

That they did is the opinion of Jay, Hamilton, Madison, Jefferson and the majority opinion of the founders, and of the time of secession. Secession and nullification had been claimed as an option by other states too, one of the earliest of which was Massachusetts.

Victors write the history, though. But the foundations of our growing police state were laid when Lincoln invaded the southern States, an act proscribed in the Constitution he claimed to defend and which act he promised in his inaugural address he would not do. As quoted, he said that regardless of pretext it would be among the gravest of crimes.

X said...

I always say, if you're not free to leave, you're not free.

dulac90 said...

Methodist Jim makes a good case for not voting.

Methodist Jim said...

If you plan not to abide by the results dulac, then no, don't vote.

Barto of the Oratory said...

Lincoln was a lawyer, and a very good one. He had a very successful law practice for decades. He became wealthy from the law. He was well-read in the writings of the Founders. He was known for his fairness, modesty, temperance, and honesty his interpretation of difficult legal and historical matters. That doesn’t make his view correct or unassailable.

His view isn’t even his view. It was shared by many in the U.S.

During the war, Lincoln hung a picture of President Andrew Jackson in the White House. President Jackson was a Southerner, a slave-owner, a Democrat, an Indian fighter, an all-around tough hombre, and an avid anti-Secessionist shut down an incipient secession movement in his time with threat of federal troop intervention.

In my opinion, there is no consensus view about secession among the Founding Fathers. Most never even addressed the issue. Neither the Articles of Confederation nor the Constitution had any provision addressing secession.

But Section 8 of the Constitution does have this power granted to Congress: “To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections.”

Lincoln and the U.S. Congress said over and over that what they were doing in the South with the U.S. Army and the state militias was using the Constitution’s grant of power to use military power to “to execute the Laws of the Union” and to “suppress Insurrections.”

If the Southern rebel view of the Constitution had been correct, then that provision of the Constitution would have had no meaning and could have never been used in any instance. Why, Lincoln and others asked, why would the Founders have put a provision in the Constitution that, on principle, could never be used?

Lincoln and others had another argument, based on history. If the one party to a united democratic republic could just get up from the table and leave any time the vote doesn’t go their way, then the monarchists who said the American experiment in self government would have been proved correct. That was Lincoln’s point in his Gettysburg Address. The U.S. gov’t was fighting to preserve government by peaceful deliberation and fair votes, not to end slavery.

The Southerners left the Union because election of 1860 showed them that they wouldn’t be winning the Congress and the White House anymore, since anti-slavery new immigrants settled in the North and West.

Barto of the Oratory said...

The situation in the U.S. after the election of 1860 is similar to how, after two Obama victories, many Republicans worry that with their current platform of unfettered Capitalism they can’t win Congress or the White House anymore.

Too few Americans earn their money from capital gains. Too few living wage jobs are being created. The middle class is disappearing, not growing.

The Republican Party will have to have policies that benefit hard working U.S. citizens who get their money by labor as well as benefiting those who earn their money via capital gains.

The Southern leaders of 1860 refused to consider changing their party platform in order to win election, and they refused to be subordinate to Northerners who would dominate in elections, so they had no choice but to bolt.

Today’s far-right billionaires and their politician surrogates (Cruz, Paul, Ryan, Rubio, et al) are also moving to some sort of action akin to what the Southern rebels did, all under the rubric of “liberty” just like the Southern rebels.

In the past (1980 to 2008), Republicans could win elections by playing the Pro-Life card or the Homosexuality card. But neither of those issues were hardly mentioned in the election of 2012 by Mitt Romney. When House Republicans shut down the government for 2 weeks in 2013, it was NOT to end the murder of innocent children, which has totaled 55 million so far, and counting. It was over Obamacare, which so far hasn’t killed anyone. They've never shut down the gov't over the Abortion Holocaust--not even for one day. Thus, the ruse that the Republican Party is a Pro-Life party is no longer effective.

Republicans can’t even argue against Gay Marriage, since Gay Marriage is 100% in line with the radical Libertarianism that now dominates the far-right Republicans. Ayn Rand’s principles cannot condemn Gay Marriage, but rather condemn all opposition to Gay Marriage.

What lovers of God need is a party that follows Catholic moral doctrine on all issues, social issues, sexual issues, life issues.

Instead, we Catholis in America only get a choice between the doctrines of 2 different Russian atheists:
--Vladimir Ilyich Lenin and
--Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum (Ayn Rand).

How did the U.S. end up being conquered by Russia? Is that what the Cold War was for? I thought John Paul II the Great had led us in victory against the menace of Russia?

In my opinion, this would have never come about if the Vatican II Council had never happened. With God’s Church disabled, Satan’s kingdom has expanded greatly.