States’ Rights: How they were once free

Restoring America One County at a Time

Chapter 4: State’s Rights

4.1 Freedom and State’s Rights: How it used to be

The last chapter dealt with the primary issue of decentralizing government. The goal is to decentralize as much as possible, ultimately leaving individuals as free as possible and dealing only with local units of government. We also saw how America once had this ideal, how it was lost, and we talked about ways to begin taking it back. Now it’s time to talk about the important role of State’s Rights.

A vital lynch pin in American history related to the protection of local government is the old notion of State’s Rights. State’s Rights is a vital check on national tyranny, a link in true federalism, and a truer representation of the way American was settled and founded. Now I’ve already said that State’s Rights is not a good enough solution to national tyranny. But we need to note that if we recognize and restore their original role, States could provide 1) a necessary weakening of centralized tyranny, and 2) an umbrella of protection against the central government under which local governments can (or must) begin to work independently of federal regulation and interference. In fact, States could provide the needed impetus for local communities to develop greater independence. In short, even if not sufficient or ultimate, State’s Rights may be a necessary step along the way. More importantly, it is vital for understanding just how bad federal tyranny has become. For these reasons I include a chapter on it in this project.

As I said in the last topic, the American colonies were originally settled as feudal land grants, chartered by the English crown. Government was established based on fiefs of private property, owner control, and very clear contractual agreements between levels of government. It is necessary here to remember that each colony was established as a separate ownership, separate charter, separate governments, separate jurisdictions. The operative word in regard to the colonies—later “State”—was “separate.” When the colonies declared independence, they established themselves as sovereign States, not a single nation. This history forms the basis for the old claims about State’s Rights. They have been largely ignored and maligned, but the argument is both viable and vital. Let’s take a brief look.

We have already covered much of the history regarding the nationalist takeover of this land. We’ll only summarize here what we’ve already covered, and add a little. Within three decades of the ratification of the Constitution—within the generation of those who debated—virtually all the fears of the anti-federalist opponents of the Constitution had come true. Power had been centralized at the national level in regard to the judiciary, the military, taxation, legislation, commerce, and much else. Nevertheless, while political power had been centralized in reality from day one, popular sentiment remained starkly divided. The majority of common Americans assumed the State’s rights view, while the victorious party in the Constitutional battle favored the Nationalistic view which was in place. The Jeffersonian party called “Democratic Republicans” represented the majority, while the Federalist Party controlled the day.

The debate over State’s rites ultimately hinged upon the interpretation of the nature of the Declaration of Independence. The anti-federalist (and thus, later, Jeffersonian) side noted what seemed like common sense: once the colonies “dissolved the political bands” that connected them to the British Crown, they immediately became thirteen “Free and Independent States.” These thirteen countries—as we would understand their position today—recognized their need to band together for strength and thus “united,” or confederated. In this unity they declared their independence, and in this unity they vowed to support each other in defending it. The same group that drafted the Declaration immediately set about writing a constitution for the arrangement, and the resulting document was called the Articles of Confederation. Finished in 1777, this “Confederation” of separate States was ratified formally in 1781. It stated clearly in Article II, “Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.”

The nationalist side of the debate, nevertheless, emphasized the unity at the expense of the plurality. Their response to the anti-federalists was that “the colonies declared their independence not individually but unitedly, and that they had never been independent of one another.”(1)

This argument is clearly seen in the debates during the ratification period. Perhaps the most famous remark comes from Mr. “Liberty or Death” himself, Patrick Henry. He complained of the Convention,

[W]hat right had they to say, We, the People[?] My political curiosity, exclusive of my anxious solicitude for the public welfare, leads me to ask who authorized them to speak the language of, We, the People, instead of We, the States? States are the characteristics, and the soul of a confederation.  If the States be not agents of this compact, it must be one great consolidated National Government of the people of all the States. . . .

The people gave them no power to use their name. That they exceeded their power is perfectly clear.(2)

This argument threw down the gauntlet on the issue of nationalism. Everyone knew the Constitutional Convention had been resolved by Congress “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation,”(3) and this meant honoring the sovereignty of the States. But this was the very thing the forces behind the Convention wished to change. They got their way, but only at the disdain of what everyone clearly agreed upon: this move squarely contradicted the Articles of Confederation. And thus in doing so, they had to provide some justification for why the Articles should not only be revised, but completely trashed and replaced.

Thus arose the new argument that the Articles of Confederation “were a defective instrument of a preexisting union”(4) which departed from the true spirit of a single national people as allegedly expressed in the Declaration, and that the newly proposed Constitution was returning to that principle. The new position was expressed eloquently, for example, by General Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, who urged the Constitution on the South Carolina legislature:

The separate independence and individual sovereignty of the several states were never thought of by the enlightened band of patriots who framed this Declaration; the several states are not even mentioned by name in any part of it,—as if it was intended to impress this maxim on America, that our freedom and independence arose from our union, and that without it we could neither be free nor independent. Let us, then, consider all attempts to weaken this Union, by maintaining that each state is separately and individually independent, as a species of political heresy. . . .”(5)

After this position won the day, the victorious Federalist party (and its historical successors: the National Republicans, the Whigs, and the Republicans) used this argument as a means of suppressing the “political heresy” of States rights.

The most vehement elocution of this position appeared when National Republican John Quincy Adams gave a two-hour lecture to the New York Historical Society in 1839—the Jubilee of the Constitution. Adams wrote,

[A] convention of delegates from eleven of the thirteen states, with George Washington at their head, sent forth to the people an act to be made their own, speaking in their name and in the first person, thus: “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty, to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” This act was the complement to the Declaration of Independence—founded upon the same principles, carrying them out into practical execution, and forming with it one entire system of national government.(6)

He followed a few pages later with this further explanation:

It is not immaterial to remark that the signers of the Declaration, though qualifying themselves as the Representatives of the United States of America, in general Congress assembled, yet issue the Declaration, in the name and by the authority of the good people of the colonies—and that they declare, not each of the separate colonies, but the United Colonies, free and independent states. The whole people declared the colonies in their united condition, of right, free and independent states. . . .

But there still remained the last and crowning act, which the People of the Union alone were competent to perform—the institution of civil government for that compound nation, the United States of America.(7)

Adams carries on for pages extenuating his argumentation to the finest details of the situation. And yet for all of its detail and rigor, it is easy to get the feeling he was protesting too much. For all of his preaching to the choir, it is important to remember that this particular choir was composed of a minority of the population—a controlling, wealthy, entrenched minority, but a minority nonetheless. The Democratic-Republican party had grown so overwhelmingly popular that the Federalist faction was forced into oblivion—its nationalist sentiments only allowed to live on as they reemerged within a faction of the Democratic-Republicans called the National Republicans. This was Adams’ party. Regardless of how institutionally victorious the nationalists’ cause had been, the sentiments of State’s rights still gripped a majority of freedom-loving hearts across America. A very tense situation was brewing in which major popular sentiment wished for State’s rights and more local control, while the elites such as Adams continued to preach vehemently the necessary status quo of Union and thus federal government domination.

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The plan of government now proposed [the Constitution] is evidently calculated totally to change, in time, our condition as a people. Instead of being thirteen republics, under a federal head, it is clearly designed to make us one consolidated government. . . . This consolidation of the states has been the object of several men in this country for sometime past. Whether such a change . . . can be effected without convulsions and civil wars; whether such a change will not totally destroy the liberties of this country—time only can determine.(8)

Time told. While the old debate between nationalists and State’s rights advocates was settled on paper in Philadelphia with the Constitution, that settlement was not fully manifested until it was written in blood at Gettysburg. At that site, Lincoln gave an eloquent eulogy for State’s rights, if only in passing: “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation. . . .”

That was the heart of the debate, which Lincoln, victorious at Gettysburg, was affirming. The “fathers” had not confederated several States, no. The brought forth a single, one, “a new nation”—or as the anti-federalists had so often warned, “one consolidated government.”

Of all of the major advances that the Federalist party touted as benefits of the new Constitution, not one was ever carried out successfully, eventually, without the force of arms. The Civil War was only the climax of that movement.

Despite how things were eventually settled, the nationalists’ argument in favor of the primacy of the government of the Union was not nearly as sound as Adams, Lincoln and company would have us believe—for at least a few reasons.

First, The language of the Declaration of Independence makes it clear that the States, though united for a particular purpose, still viewed themselves as plural independent sovereignties in doing so.

While the Declaration contained language of “the Right of the People” and of “one people”—thus favoring the Federalist side—it nevertheless concluded by speaking of the new independence not of a single nation but of the “free and independent States” in the plural:

these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.

“These united Colonies are . . . Independent States” is a very odd phrase if, in fact, the goal had been to create a single government.

So often do the details make the difference. In fact, it is of great importance that we notice just how even the capitalization of a single letter changes the whole nature of the discussion. In that final paragraph of the Declaration, the original text begins, “We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America. . . .” The same text also refers to “these united Colonies.” Note in both cases that the word “united” is not capitalized; it is, therefore, a mere adjective and not a proper name. The phrase is not referring to a single government or entity called “The United States of America,” but rather to the coming together of the “Colonies” or “States of America.” Yet, when Adams tells the story, he argues that the assembly which drafted the Declaration were “qualifying themselves as the Representatives of the United States of America.” He emphasized “not each of the separate colonies, but the United Colonies.”(9) Thus did the assembly’s mere adjective “united” become a proper name “United” in the mind of the nationalist—and this was the basis of his reasoning. Adams thus imposed his nationalist view on the Declaration’s own words. In other words, he had to deny those Representatives’ clear and very definite conclusion in order to charge them with not concluding their job.

Second, it is helpful in this regard also to understand the usage of the term “State” in the Declaration. Today Americans generally think of a “state” only as one of those divisions within the nation of the United States. We tend to consider a state simply a secondary unit of government below federal or national government. A “state” is less than a “nation.” But at the time of the Declaration this was not so. A “State” was regarded as a free and independent, stand-alone, unit of government subject to no other body. A nation was considered a lesser group, often based only a common language. Noah Webster said in his 1828 dictionary under “NATION”: “It often happens that many nations are subject under one government,” and such a “whole body of people united under one government, whatever may be the form of the government” defined a STATE.

The Declaration did not declare the colonies a free and independent nation, or even a free and independent State, but in the plural, “Free and Independent States.” And in calling Britain herself a “State” as opposed to a “nation” as we would view it today, the Declaration seems to equate each of the American “States” with her status, and thus exalts each to the status of what we would regard as nations today. Thus it says that “as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do”—all things that mere constituent parts of a single state may not of themselves rightly do.

Finally, the nationalist argument was an ad hoc novelty, conceived of only as a justification of the Constitution. It was not heard or explicated by anyone before the Convention or ratification process. The State’s rights doctrine, however, was immediately expressed after the Declaration in the Articles. These were not challenged at the time, and no one objected to them on the grounds that the colonies were actually acting as a united whole.

Whatever else can be said in defense of having a single, powerful, centralized national government is to the side here. America was not originally settled that way, the colonies did not declare their independence that way, the original instrument of government written by the same people who wrote the declaration did not confederate in that way, and thus State’s rights seems to be the original American way. Whatever undesirable associations became associated with State’s rights at a later date must be set aside from the issue itself for the purposes of this discussion.

For further detailed discussion of State’s rights, I recommend the book by James Jackson Fitzpatrick, The Sovereign States: Notes of a Citizen of Virginia (Chicago: Henry Regnery Co., 1957). Overlooking Fitzpatrick’s support of segregation, his scholarship in regard to the issues is very good, and his writing is very warm and engaging.

Now we have already discussed a lot about how State’s rights have been trampled and lost over the years. There is still more to tell about this story, however. In the next discussion, we will cover some of the important but not well-known aspects of this story.

Endnotes:

  1. Herbert J. Storing, The Complete Anti-Federalist, 7 vol. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981), 1:13.()
  2. Storing, 5:211.()
  3. See Journals of the Continental Congress, 32:74.()
  4. Storing, 1:13.()
  5. Storing, 1:82n40.()
  6. John Quincy Adams, The Jubilee of the Constitution (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, Inc., 2011), 39.()
  7. Adams, The Jubilee of the Constitution, 42.()
  8. Storing, 2.8.4.()
  9. Adams, Jubilee, 42.()

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91 comments
K.L. Robbins
K.L. Robbins

Cromwell, You are correct the South did fire on Fort Sumter. Your murdering President sent a fleet to reinforce/resupply the fort knowing that the South would keep its word to do so. The Confederate Constitution a far superior document to the national Constitution forbid the slave trade. Do you even know what you are doing? The Constitution does not speak to secssion, Did you know that Lincoln believed in it. Since the Constitution is silent on the subject how can their be strong (Constitutional ) arguments, did you know that New England threaten to secede. The united States was born of secssion. The risk was to the North. The Confederate set tarrifs at 10% or less, in the North it approached 40 %. This is why Lincoln attacked the South-MONEY! Greed

K.L. Robbins
K.L. Robbins

No Cromwell, truth is you wanted other readers to believe that Russell was a Southerner. Even the term Plantation has been made to appear evil by yankee apologist. Plantation System? come on! R.L. Dabney was a leading theologian of the era. He was an outspoken critic of the yankee empire. Of course he was not infallible. Show me one man who is perfect! You ignore his work as all court magicians do. Truth is you and your two chums came to this site to disrupt discussions about states rights because ya'll want an empire. Notice I did not use the disrespectful yankee term "you guys". President Jefferson Davis stated after the war that what the South had fought for would surface again,it has thats why you rage.Read Psalm 2. I waste no more time with you.

Brother of the King
Brother of the King

Warning: What is about to follow is Theonomic/Christian Reconstructionist, so it may not sound agreeable to all commenters. Another reason why I disagree with the whole states' rights doctrine (at least the modern version of it) is because of its basis in what American Vision calls Two-Kingdoms Theology. This may sound strange, but I'll try to explain it. Most CRs will agree with me that Two-Kingdoms Theology is a form of dualism, and I will base my argument on this. Looking from the lens of TKT, in Christ's Kingdom there are four basic "elements": Opressed, Opressor, Savior, and King. The Opressed are the people of the Kingdom. The Opressor is Satan. The Savior and King are Jesus Christ. The Savior sacrifices himself to save the Opressed from the Opressor, and gets crowned the King of the Kingdom for His sacrifice. Now, in order to complete the dualistic picture and make their theology more consistent, Two-Kingdoms Theologists have to transfer the same "elements" into the kingdom of the state. And here's how they do it. The Opressed in the kingdom of the state are the people of the kingdom. The Opressor becomes highest level of government, or the central or federal government. The lower levels of government become the Savior in the kingdom of the state. They (the lowers levels of government) "sacrifice" something (I don't know what it is) to "save" the people from the Opressor. And for their "sacrifice" they get crowned the new king of the kingdom, receiving all the power and the glory of the kingdom of the state. This my explanation for why the states' rights doctrine exists today, because of the Two-Kingdoms Theology-minded conservatives. Now, you might ask, why did the Two-Kingdoms theologists choose the federal government as the Opressor? Well, think about the history of the whole Baptist/fundamentalist/premillenialist movement. It pretty much started in the 1930s during the FDR regime, when the federal government was slowly but suredly cranking out more and more bureaucracies. Also, don't forget that Hitler and Mussolini began their regimes about that time as well. So, that is why they looked down upon the higher levels of government back then and picked the highest level of government as the "opressor".

K.L. Robbins
K.L. Robbins

Cromwell: Lets speak about Nathaniel Russell ,born in Bristol Rhode Island he yas a YANKEE. He came to Charleston S.C. in 1765 as an agent for Providence R.I. merchants. Seems to me that it was R.I. that did not want the Constitution because they believed it would stop their very lucrative business in the Slave Trade.

K.L. Robbins
K.L. Robbins

Cromwell: You are not pointing out that slave trading was (abundent) in the south . What you attempted to do was say the slave trade was an all Southern business. The Confederacy was not involved in the slave trade. The North on the other hand was was trading in slaves all throught the war. You claim over and over again that slaves brought to America were kidnapped by southerners brought to America. Do you not know about New England Slave Ships. Come on Cromwell. You should read R.L. Dabney-A Defense of Virginia and the South. You say that you are not exactly out of line with American Vision, this may well be so, but American Vision is not the Holy Bible. You use the phrase "Logic of the Gospels" you should instead read and obey words of the Bible. You will see very clearly Our Lord Jesus Christ never condemned slavery. He gave rules to regulate slaves and master. Your great sin Cromwell is that you refuse to have Jesus Christ rule over you. You cannot accept his words because you will not believe him.

K.L. Robbins
K.L. Robbins

Brother of the King, Cromwell, aCultureWarrior. What do these strange names you use mean. Are they your real names? Did you just make them up? Why don't you just use your real names? I think you lack courage!

K.L. Robbins
K.L. Robbins

Brother of the King: I would think someone as bright as you could remember where in which book you read about Peter and Cornelius (slave owner) both had a vision. Peter preached the Gospel to Cornelius God told Peter that what he had made clean was clean. Cornelius was still a gentile. As I said before his race,gender,or position did not change. He still owned slaves. The difference was he and his household received the holy Ghost. You must read 1 Corinthians 7:20-22.

K.L. Robbins
K.L. Robbins

Cromwell: You have much truth to learn. You will not find it at Wallbuilders.

K.L. Robbins
K.L. Robbins

For those who want a Christian understanding of slavery the following article will provide a good deal of information. http://www.reclaimingwalther.org/articles/cfw00002.htm Slavery is an issue that God haters have used in this country for almost its entire existence, to spread hate and discord. It will continue to work, until men submit to the sovereignty of God. Since the War of Northern Aggresion that replaced the republic with an empire we have been sinking deeper into humanism. The Civil Rights movement which began in the 1960's has been an accelerant to our decline into humanism. States Rights can not exist in an immoral culture. We cannot change the culture until the theology changes. The South will continue to be the target of hate until it is destroyed. Americans are being forced to accept a new law system God's Law is being replaced.

K.L. Robbins
K.L. Robbins

Bro: You state the South broke the moral law. Which moral law?

aCultureWarrior
aCultureWarrior

Bill Evans writes: "Since Jesus Christ was incarnated into a world in which slavery was virtually everywhere. Surely he would have addressed it? NO? What about Paul, I know that he talked about slave-master relationships, would you kindly site the reference where either Christ (Who is afterall GOD) or Paul, his disciple, call slavery sin or enjoin Christians to free slaves?" I found this article very informative: "Defending the Bible’s Position on Slavery" http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=1587

K.L. Robbins
K.L. Robbins

Which of you three said that you can not legislate morality? Ever heard of the ten commandments. What about Blue Laws, What about rape laws, what about laws against sodomy. What do you think laws do? Laws determine right or wrong, except in modern America.

K.L. Robbins
K.L. Robbins

Brother of the King: I will ask you again When did the South Deny the Law of God???? Be specific, which law?

K.L. Robbins
K.L. Robbins

Brother of the King: In your comment you state that in the new Testament their is no distinction between Jew and Gentile. Did you read the entire verse or repeat something you read somewhere else. Here is the verse Galatians 3:28, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free,there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." This verse speaks of grace not the elimination of race,gender or position.

K.L. Robbins
K.L. Robbins

Cromwell: The slave trade was not rooted in the South. But in New England. In 1636 the Desire first slave ship built in America was built at Marblehead, Massachusetts. Its first cargo was 2 women, 15 boys they were Pequod Indians. By 1754 Boston had 4489 slaves. You must read about the Atlantic Triangular slave Trade. Yankees up to their noses in slaves,slaves and more slaves. You should broaden your reading list. Seriously NO! Have you read the New Testament? Start with Matthew It just might change your life.

K.L. Robbins
K.L. Robbins

Joel McDurmon, you have written an excellent series on the state of freedom in America, how we arrived at this point, and a solution to take us back to our christian roots. It's my opinion however, this will not work. In this bayonet republic in which we live, just the mention of States Rights brings out the abolitionst God Haters. They rant, they rave, they quote out of context. The one thing they never do is point out plain scripture where God condemns slavery. In their arrogant self-righteousness they do what God haters have always done. They declare that they will not allow God to rule over them. The state is their god. An added point I will make about these people and their ilk, that I have picked up through the years, is that many rely on David Barton for their knowledge of history. Holy Scripture is indeed truth. Men are known by their fruit.Their fruit smells of hate.

aCultureWarrior
aCultureWarrior

(Note to Jimmy D: revise the reply format). mark dobert writes: August 20, 2011 at 4:30 pm And what poltical house is that? I am a Christian and not an american. I will never give my loyalty to a gov’t that does the things it does to us. There is no fixing this gov’t because it has all of the power it needs to control us and the world and we as Christians gave it to them freely just as the Germans did to Hitler. As far as I’m concerned this gov’t will collapse when too many people are sucking off of it and they become totally dependant upon it. Then God will slam the door on them for not worshipping Him and worshipping the state instead. When this happens you, Crom, and Cult won’t give a hoot who I am or what the feds will be doing to solve it. Your local people will hopefully get together and start something that will serve your area well as will I in the area I live in. Our county system of gov’t is based upon the 12 tribes of Israel and their poltical system of electing tribal elders. This the system God gave and it worked just fine until they demanded that God give them a king and that He did. They paid for it with high taxes, indentured slavery, a military draft, and tyranny. This is what we got for disobeying God by having a strong federal gov’t that snoops into everyone’s business including foreigners who should be left alone just as our FF’s intended us to do. The more we think we’re are our own gods and take over all of God’s work, the more tyranny He’ll give us and thus the US and the Fed were born and now are flourishing. My poltical house is in order. I won’t honor them that don’t honor Him. Daniel didn’t, Esther didn’t, neither did Shadrack, Meshack, nor Abednago. And they made out quite nicely for it too! Try it out yourself and see. Stop thinking politics will save you. Think local…the libs do." mark: A "Christian" would never back Ron Paul and the things that he wants legal: things that God speaks against. You're obviously afflicted with what many Libertarians have: a HATRED of government.

Brother of the King
Brother of the King

Just because the constitution nowhere directly says, "No state of the United States or any part thereof shall have the right to secede," or something of similar words, doesn't mean that Constitution allows secession. In fact, it doesn't. To claim a "right" to secession, is to claim a "right" to nullify the Constitution itself. We argue so much against liberals for their disregard of the Constitution (nullification of the constitution), but yet conservatives today call for a no-different disregard (or nullification) of the Constitution, secession. The only difference is that their nullification of the Constitution is on the state level, instead of the federal level. And no, the risk was for the South, because if the tariffs continued, their slaveocracy regime would have gone down the drain. Just read the speech that Alexander Stephens, the Confederate VP, made in Savannah, Georgia on the eve of the Civil War. In it he clearly states why they seceded and formed the Confederacy: to preserve the "institution" of slavery. In fact, the reason why they started slavery was because of a lust for money, and nothing, not even the God-given rights of man could stop them. So, to claim that Lincoln supported secession and was just in it for the money is just bogus. Also, the Revolutionary War was not a secession movement. In fact, there was no secession in it. But, I will save that argument for later.

K.L. Robbins
K.L. Robbins

Man! What kind of KOOLAID do you drink? Read the scripture. Read the SCRIPTURE.

Blockade Runner
Blockade Runner

Whatever else anyone may have to say about slavery, I think we can all agree on the following: a. We have all effectively been reduced to serfdom on Uncle Sam's neo-feudalistic plantation. So it would appear that the national government merely favors equal opportunity bondage. b. Only a naive individual would justify a fratracidal bloodbath, that advocated total war against civilians, and resulted in nearly a million casualties, in the interest of securing the abolition of african slaves, and in the interest of which, the chief executive virtually trampled the constitution. c. Men and nations together are guilty before God of numerous inequities and crimes. Personally, I favor secession as the only historically-proven method of pushing the reset button. Thus allowing us to learn from our mistakes, and apply the lessons in a new experiment in limited government and individual freedom under God. Our present national government has, in ways too numerous to site, arrogantly and wickedly abandoned any claim to legitimacy within the context of God's design set forth in Romans chapter 13. Deo Vindice!

Cromwell
Cromwell

he lived about 60yrs of his life in Charleston and was just one prominent merchant involved the slave trade. Similar to the Plantations of the day he supplied slaves and also sold their goods(Indigo, Rice)....they too weren't all originally born in SC, most of them learned the Plantation system in the Carribean(Sugar Cane) and brought it with them to America. Dabney was not infallible and this was an issue it would've done Reformedom well had he not engaged it the way he did. His work is widely ignored thanks to it, and this will remain so as long as his apologist don't acknowledge. Same for those that think DiLo is a credible historian on the subject and continue to engage in the "Lincoln was evil, South was innocent" narrative.

Cromwell
Cromwell

Many Southern Merchants DID engage in the slave trade, its one way they made their fortunes among the many things they imported, bought and sold. I already mentioned Nathaniel Russell, a Southern Merchant who owned ships that did exactly this. I think eventually he gave it up. Secondly, the Slave Marts where Slave Owners took Slaves and Bought and Sold them, uprooting them to other parts of the south, which was a big business for awhile....took place in the South and is by definition an "Slave Trade", it was no different than Cattle.

aCultureWarrior
aCultureWarrior

Are you making fun of my momma and daddy's use of imagination in naming me K. L. Robbins?

Cromwell
Cromwell

To Further drive my point home, and to show how big a dishonorable hack 'historians' like Tom DiLorenzo are, below is an out of context quote(like many many more just like this he's used, to make Lincoln out to be a pro-slavery racist). and it is true that Lincoln did, in political rhetoric anyway, ally with racist....but to abolish slavery for practical political reasons. See this recent article by DiLo: http://www.lewrockwell.com/dilorenzo/dilorenzo206.html Here is the Full quote, I'm bolding/underlining only the portion DiLo uses in his attempt to paint Lincoln as the real 'pro-slavery' bigot, also note DiLo re-worded this to remove Judge Douglas from the bolded portion below: I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position. I have never said anything to the contrary, but I hold that, notwithstanding all this, there is no reason in the world why the negro is not entitled to all the natural rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I hold that he is as much entitled to these as the white man. I agree with Judge Douglas, he is not my equal in many respects – certainly not in color, perhaps not in moral or intellectual endowments. But in the right to eat the bread, without leave of anybody else, which his own hand earns, he is my equal, and the equal of Judge Douglas, and the equal of every living man. to read more from this debate, and find out who the "Real Lincoln" really was and at the same time who the "Real DiLorenzo" is, see here: http://books.google.com/books?id=jUJzBE6q0GcC&pg=PA539&dq=%22I+as+much+as+any+man+want+the+superior+position+to+belong+to+the+white+race%22&hl=en&ei=jMFSTrbcH8bq0QGHnZnwBg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCwQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false Lincoln may have been campaigning on the Federal Government abolishing slavery, you can argue this was a violation of State's Rights....but its not factually true that Lincoln was this evil guy who in fact was pro-slavery. Take any quote from a Neo-Confederate like DiLorenzo....and research it, you'll find more of the same dishonorable work.

Cromwell
Cromwell

I'm very aware the North had slavery before they outlawed it, participated in the slave trade, etc. like most of the world. I haven't wrote anything to claim the North was particularly righteous, just that its a myth that the Confederacy wasn't involved in the slave trade, that slavery was not a central issue to them and the main cited reason for leaving Congress, seceeding and forming their new Constitution. I was merely pointing it out and the Slave Trading that was abundent in the South at the time of the Civil War. Something the Republican party had been abolitionist about for decades before, following the beliefs of the Northern and Southern Founding Fathers and the Logic of the Gospels. I'm not exactly out of line with American Vision in stating Southern Slavery was not Biblical either, to quote from Douglas Wilson's Black & Tan: Having said all this, I want to grant that a very plausible argument against slavery comes from the acknowledged wickedness of the slave trade. For example, Gary Demar has argued that because the Bible prohibits man-stealing (Exod. 21:16; I Tim. 1:10), Christians could not consistently participant at any point in the process that resulted from the man-stealing. “He who kidnaps a man and sells him, or if he is found in his hand, shall surely be put to death” (Exod. 21:16). The South was very much involved in the Slave Trade, from the time of actually kidnapping and bringing them into port, to the 1800's after it was outlawed, where they took American born slaves(descendants of the original) to the "Slave Marts" in the Merchant cities and bought and sold them.

Cromwell
Cromwell

The Southern leaders at the time of the war called it a "Civil War" not "War of Northern Agression", this was invented later on with the Neo-Confederate historical narrative. The Southern delegation of Congressmen, who "took their ball and went home" followed with stupidly firing the first shots at Fort Sumter, all made Slavery a central issue in their farewell statements....as did the Southern States in their Secession declarations. http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=92 Confederate VP Alexander Stephens, shortly after Confederacy formed, March 21, 1861, after acknowledging the Southern Founding Fathers(Jefferson, etc) wanted slavery abolished: Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. . . . and the idea of a government built upon it. . . . Our new government [the Confederate States of America] is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid – its cornerstone rests – upon the great truth that the Negro is not equal to the white man. That slavery – subordination to the superior [white] race – is his natural and moral condition. This – our new [Confederate] government – is the first in the history of the world based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. 32 (emphasis added) btw, some northerners did agree with the Southern Democrats....they were Northern Democrats....see link.

Brother of the King
Brother of the King

They denied the moral law of God. I still can't understand why you don't see that. If they (the state of Texas) claim that the idea that a law higher than the constitution exists, is a revolutionary idea, that should obviously hint to anybody that they don't acknowledge any higher law. If they don't acknowledge any higher law than the constitution, they don't acknowledge that the moral Law of God exists, because if it does, it has to be higher than the constitution. And if you deny the moral Law of God, you deny God Himself.

Brother of the King
Brother of the King

You can't legislate morality into people. In other words, you can't through government law, make people moral. You can however (and should legislate) morals (i.e. the Decalogue and all its subpoints). That is the duty of government: to enforce the Law of God in its entirety.

aCultureWarrior
aCultureWarrior

Ron Paul and his Libertarian followers. And yes, the law is a moral teaching. It either says, "thou shalt not", or thou shalt".

Brother of the King
Brother of the King

Yes, but does Jesus make any distinctions between Jews and Gentiles in the NT? Also, remember when Peter (in Acts I think it was) was given the vision of the unclean animals? The vision told him that he was not to make distinctions between Jews and Gentiles, and that he was to go to the house of Cornelius and preach the Gospel to him. There is also case in the NT, when Paul arrives at the church in Jerusalem and sees that Peter has divided (or has allowed a division between) Jews and Gentiles, and he immediately gives Peter a tongue-lashing for it.

Cromwell
Cromwell

There were LOTS of Southern Merchants in the Southern Port Cities who Imported on their ships into the South and sold their Slaves at the Slave Marts. You can visit these southern port cities(Charleston, Savannah) and visit much of this. The idea that it was "Northerners" and "Europeans" that did this is a total myth and part of the neo-confederate narrative. The Slave Trade and kidnapping of humans(menstealers) is forbidden in multiple places in the Bible. Southern slavery was not rooted in 'indentured servitude'. Here is one of the Slave Marts, used at the time of the War. http://www.charleston-sc.gov/dept/content.aspx?nid=1469

Brother of the King
Brother of the King

Mark, in the OT, only two kinds of slavery were allowed. (1) If a brother (a Jew) owed you a huge debt that he was not able to pay you monetarily, he could become your slave for up to seven years, serving you in order to pay back his debt. He was not to be separated from his family during that period, and you were to provide him with food and shelter. You could not sell him as an animal, either. And, you were not to treat him harshly. (2) Gentiles that were captured, who did not ask to adopt Jewish customs and law, could be kept as slaves indefinitely. #2 does not apply today in the NT, because in the NT, there is no distinction between Jews or Gentiles.

Cromwell
Cromwell

The one thing they never do is point out plain scripture where God condemns slavery. seriously? You don't see the American form of slavery condemned in the Bible? The slave trade it was based on and what not? With the Slave Marts in the port cities where the slaves were imported by our Merchant companies and sold after being kidnapped in most cases? It sure wasn't indentured servitude, and has plenty of condemnation in the Bible.

Cromwell
Cromwell

but it was the South, not the North, whose congregational delegation 'took their ball and went home' from Congress, with Slavery abolition the central reason why in their stated reasons for doing this. It was the South, not the North who stupidly fired the first shot at Fort Sumter. It was the South, not the North who showed who they were win the Conderate Constitution and their other attempts to bring back the International/African slave trade during the same time. The Constitution wasn't clear on the Secession issue, with strong constitutional arguments both ways(like many other issues in the early years). The North could've chose to allow secession, which would've been risky for the North and the South Geo-politically. However, the South could've also not chose the route they did.

K.L. Robbins
K.L. Robbins

What you wanted to do was make other readers believe that Russell was a Southrener. R.L. Dabney was a leading theologian of the era. He is not ignored he is hated by folks like you. You say that Dabney was not infallible, You show me one man that is infallible, do you not know that only our Lord Jesus Christ was perfect. Dabney was an outspoken critc of the yankee empire.

Cromwell
Cromwell

Here's a Neo-Confederate challenge: Take the 'quotes' used by DiLorenzo in his Lincoln book and find the original source and read it them in context. There is a reason he is considered a hack historian and on the fringes, he's a liar. Same for Tom Woods, several months ago Woods got into a debate with Mark Levin on War Powers. The Rockwell clique have apparently shifted away from saying a 'formal declaration' with the word declaration has to be used.....Woods writes up a piece about the Barbary Wars, which is used on Wikipedia at the moment(it should be removed) to claim that Jefferson had Congressional Authorization to launch the Barbary Wars and invade Lybia. In it he states the following: "Immediately prior to Jefferson's inauguration in 1801, Congress passed naval legislation that, among other things, provided for six frigates that 'shall be officered and manned as the President of the United States may direct.' In the event of a declaration of war on the United States by the Barbary powers, these ships were to 'protect our commerce & chastise their insolence — by sinking, burning or destroying their ships & Vessels wherever you shall find them.'" Knowing a few things about our history and Constitutional law on the subject, I smelled a rat...so I researched this above quote. This "Immediately prior" he's using was the Naval Act of 1794....7 yrs before Jefferson took office, and before Adams took office, while George Washington was still President. Additionally, it says nothing about forming the Marines and NOTHING about invading the City-States of Tripoli and others who were the State Sponsors of Islamic Terrorism. No, Jefferson did that entirely on his own command as CinC in 1801, Congress later acknowledged the conflict and Funded it the following year. If you read the original Naval Act, you'll see how he pieced something together, along with the obvious I note above on how he mis-leads his readers.....something he's been charged of many times and again, like DiLorenzo why he's considered a hack historian and a liar.

Patrick Narkinsky
Patrick Narkinsky

Blockade Runner -- that is simply untrue if you look at the primary sources. Most of the southern states declared explicitly that defense of slavery was their primary reason for secession. "Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world." -- Mississippi I reviewed the ordinances of secession from Georgia and South Carolina and Virginia, and all make it very clear that slavery is the issue. The notion that the issue was anything but slaver is revisionist in the first degree.

Blockade Runner
Blockade Runner

Grant is quoted thus, "If I thought that we were fighting to free african slaves, I would have surrendered my sword and joined the other side." When asked why he kept his family slave until the war's end, he commented famously, "good help is hard to find." BTW R.E. Lee in his memoirs stated, "We fought only to insure the survival of a republican form of government inherited from our forefathers." Lee had emancipated all of his family's slaves prior to hostility. The radical abolitionists were candid in many of their own sermons and writings in their intention to 'destroy the union.' In the original draft of the 13th ammendment, the South was offered perpetual slavery if they remained in the union. The confederacy in response offered to end slavery in exchange for a peaceful transition. Lincoln refused peace emissaries from the CSA, while undertaking the trap to lure the confederacy into 'firing the first shot,' which in hindsight Beauregard and Davis were wrong to do. BUT, Lincoln had pledged NOT to reenforce federal installations in sovereign southern territory, and then proceeded to leak information that he was doing precisely that. The South had every right to force the capitulation of Sumter prior to it's reenforcement, thus avoiding a protracted affair and the violation of their sovereignty and the interruption of trade. The federal armies routinely and upon orders from the highest level, waged genocide on southern women, children and africans, burned food, slaughtered needed livestock, destroyed, homes, churches and hospitals. Washington's policy was nothing less than 'total war.' The most cruel commanders were promoted. The Southern armies were subjected to harsh military discipline to even any crime against civilians or private property. But you're saying that the north was doing the Lord's work, is that about right? I could go on for days, but then Cromwell isn't concerned about facts. It may be an academic point with you sir, but my family and state lived through it.

aCultureWarrior
aCultureWarrior

Does the righteous government's threat of the sword not keep the would-be murderer or rapist "moral", by not committing those ungodly acts Brother? Are you confusing an immoral heart with immoral actions?

Cromwell
Cromwell

one note: the particular Slave Mart linked above came about in early 1800's thru Civil War when shut down by the Union army. Before they sold in public auctions(for slave trade) the Mart linked above was formed once the South turned into the buying/selling of slaves in 1800's up-rooting and sending slaves across to other slave states like cattle.

Bill Evans
Bill Evans

Neither the American colonies nor the states united under the Articles of Confederation or the Constitution FOR the United States, was a theocracy that was bound in any way to uphold the organisational or cultural restrictions placed on Israel. Even the application of moral laws in the OT are still contested and debated today. BTW.....the Confederate Constitution only reinserted the fugitive slave laws that were already inacted in the United States. It did go beyond the U.S. Constitution however....it OUTLAWED importation of slaves. It also did not forbid slave owners from voluntarilly emmancipating them, as many, such as R.E. Lee and N.B. Forrest did. It did protect the property rights of slave owners, however, because under this peculiar scheme, slaves were not citizens, they were both people and property. Not inconsistent with the concept of 'bondservant.' In fact, it might surprise you to know that I am a slave as we speak.....I have been bought with a price, redeemed by the One to Whom I owe complete obedience, even to the point of martyrdom. Ya'll need to get off this string....we are all either slaves of sin or bondslaves of Jesus Christ....

Bill Evans
Bill Evans

Since Jesus Christ was incarnated into a world in which slavery was virtually everywhere. Surely he would have addressed it? NO? What about Paul, I know that he talked about slave-master relationships, would you kindly site the reference where either Christ (Who is afterall GOD) or Paul, his disciple, call slavery sin or enjoin Christians to free slaves? The south was the most biblically routed culture in the world in the 1860s, it would have been 'talked to death' by the preachers, had it been condemned anywhere. Slavery was not about racial inferiority, it was about the reality that africans were brought to this continent, (not by ships flying the flag of the confederacy) and yet could not speak english, could not read, had no property, did not share our culture, did not share our faith....they were just alive. (which is more than they would have been if they had not been traded instead of murdered in their homeland.) Kindof like the hispanics today...used by big agra to do the work, except now UNITED STATES INC. condones their second class citizen status as they labor on uncle sam's work farm.

Brother of the King
Brother of the King

Crom, look at it this way. If you can't legislate morals or even enforce them, you can't have laws against murder, rape, kidnapping, and etc. It's moral not to murder your fellow man, not to kidnap his children, and etc. If you claim that the government cannot enforce these morals as laws, then what is the job of the gov't in the first place?

Cromwell
Cromwell

The Slave Trade was rooted in the South, Southern Merchants brought Slaves into Port, took them to the Slave Marts and sold them at auction, about $40k/each in modern dollars. This was not Indentured Servitude which is the main slavery that was OK in OT. The Slave Trade and kidnapping('menstealers') is condemned in the Bible.