The Doctrine of State’s Rights by Jefferson Davis

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Andersonh1

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I found this article quite interesting. It was published after Davis had passed away the previous year, and shows among other things that up until the end of his life, Davis remained interested in setting out his views of US history and standing up for the Confederate soldier. It is always interesting to me to get a glimpse of what he believed about what he had lived through and led.


This piece originally appeared in the North American Review, February 1890.
To DO justice to the motives which actuated the soldiers of the Confederacy, it is needful that the cause for which they fought should be fairly understood; for no degree of skill, valor, and devotion can sanctify service in an unrighteous cause.​
Davis invokes the memory of George Washington, and says that Washington was a genuine rebel. And he looks back to the revolution against Great Britain for the foundational principles which he believed the southern states exercised in secession.

We revere the memory of Washington, not so much for his achievements in arms as for his self-abnegation and the unfaltering devotion with which he defended the inalienable rights of the people of all the United States. This made him first in peace, first in war, and first in the hearts of his countrymen, and for this the great English poet wrote: “But one were worthy of the name of Washington.” Yet he was what no Southern soldier in the War Between the States could, with truth, be called–a rebel–and, without much extravagance in the figure, was said to have fought the battles of the Revolution with a halter round his neck. Had there been no inalienable rights, or had they not been violated, he could not rightfully have been absolved from his allegiance to the crown, or conscientiously have felt that he had not broken his faith as subject to the lawful powers of the British Government, in taking up arms against it.​
--------------------------​
The permeating principle was that every people had the right to alter or abolish their government when it ceased to answer the ends for which it was instituted. Each State decided to exercise that right, and all of the thirteen united to sustain it. Great Britain denied the existence of the asserted right and a long war ensued. After a heavy sacrifice of life and treasure, the Treaty of Paris was negotiated in 1783, by which Great Britain recognized the independence of the States separately, not as one body politic, but severally, each one being named in the act of recognition.​
After some examination of the nature of state sovereignty prior to the adoption of the Constitution, Davis lays out the bottom line:
In the face of the Declaration of Independence, and of the Articles of Confederation, and of the Treaty of Paris, he who denies that in 1783 each State was a sovereign, free, and independent community must have much hardihood or little historical knowledge.​
Next he examines the adoption of the Constitution.
 

Andersonh1

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Davis continues, and like so many of us here, wonders about the status of the perpetual union:
After the independence had been gained for which so much was risked and no little lost, when the condensing pressure of war was removed, the fact became apparent that it was impracticable to administer the general affairs of the Union without the possession of additional powers. In 1787 a convention met to amend the Articles of Confederation, and ended by proposing a new form of government which was to be submitted to the States, and, if ratified by nine of them, should go into effect as between the States so ratifying it. If only nine consented, what was to become of the other four, and what of the plighted faith to a perpetual union?
The Articles of Confederation had specified unanimous consent "of every state." But not only did two states not ratify the Constitution with the other eleven, at first, but Rhode Island had not even participated in its creation. So we have a perpetual union, but two former members were no longer in it.
We are not left to speculation with different numbers; the case did actually occur. Eleven States ratified; two refused: what was to be done? The expedient of raising an army to coerce North Carolina and Rhode Island into an acceptance of the Constitution or new form of government seems not to have occurred to any one of that day, and the situation was especially embarrassing because the thirteenth article provided that the union should be perpetual, and that no alteration should be made in any of the Articles of Confederation, “unless such alteration be agreed to in a Congress of the United States, and be afterwards confirmed by the legislature of every State.”​
According to Davis, the solution was to "disregard the pledges of prohibitions" of the Articles, leave the old Union and form a new one, leaving open the possibility that some states would not do so. Ratification was not sent to state legislatures, creations of the states, but to the highest authority, that of the people of each state.
An easy escape from the dilemma was found; it was to disregard the pledges and prohibitions of Article Thirteen, secede from the confederation styled the United States of America, and form a new government with the same style as the old one. It was anticipated that some of the State legislatures would not confirm this procedure; therefore it was provided by the last article of the proposed new Constitution that the “ratification of the conventions of nine States” should suffice for its establishment “between the States so ratifying the same.”​
How did they justify disregarding the supreme law of the land, the AOC?
Mr. Madison, in The Federalist, to the question, On what principle the confederation, which stands in the solemn form of a compact among the States, can be superseded without the unanimous consent of the parties to it? answers: “By recurring to the absolute necessity of the case; to the great principle of self-preservation; to the transcendent law of nature and of natures God, which declares that the safety and happiness of society are the objects at which all political institutions aim, and to which all such institutions must be sacrificed.”​
 

Andersonh1

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The Constitution was thereby established and in place as the new supreme law of the land. Davis here tackles the notion that this was done by "one people", i.e. "the people of the United States as one body politic." We're getting to the fundamental portion of his arguments here:

Though the States by a voluntary compact created a general government and delegated to it enumerated powers, reserving all else to themselves, it has been attempted to deduce from these limited grants a supremacy for the agent over the States, and, consequently, to deny to the States of the Union the sovereignty they possessed as States of the confederation. No one has attempted to show by what grant of the Constitution it can be claimed that the States have surrendered their sovereignty, and it seems absurd to assume that by implication the great object for which our fathers staked all save honor could have been lost.​
Davis says that the founding fathers did not leave the question of state sovereignty open for debate, but put "safeguards" in place in the form not only of specific grants of power in the body of the Constitution, but also in the form of the 9th and 10th amendments.

But they were too watchful to leave the question open for argument. Therefore, though the body of the instrument was thought by its framers to be sufficiently explicit in its limitation of the powers of the general government to those expressly delegated, yet, in an abundance of caution, almost contemporaneously with the ratification of the compact, two amendments were proposed and adopted in the following words:​
“Article IX. The enumeration in the constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”​
“Article X. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”​

He saw as absurd the idea that the 10th amendment refers to all the people of all the states, and he makes some fair points:

Consolidationists, with more zeal than reason, have argued that the last two words in the tenth amendment referred to the whole people. But this is surely untenable; the only people known to the system were the people of a State or commonwealth; they only had been represented in the Congress or in the convention which framed the Constitution. To them that instrument had been submitted; by them it had been ratified. The expression fairly construed must mean the State governments, and the people of each State who held rights they had reserved from the control of their State government. Furthermore, the obvious purpose being to guard against the usurpation of undelegated power, it would have been worse than superfluous by reservation to provide protection for the whole people against themselves.​
Where does sovereignty lie, in the American Union?

If the people of the States, in forming a Federal Union, transferred their sovereignty, or any part of it; to whom was the transfer made? Not to the people of the United States in the aggregate, for there was no such political body. The Articles of Confederation in their front declared that each State retained its sovereignty, freedom, and independence; that could only mean the people in their organic character. In like manner the original constitution of Massachusetts declared: “The people inhabiting the territory formerly called the Province of Massachusetts Bay do hereby solemnly and mutually agree with each other to form themselves into a free, sovereign, and independent body politic, or State, by the name of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts.” In the debates of the convention which formed the Constitution, as they are found reported in Elliotts “Debates,” there is abundant proof that the men who prepared the instrument recognized sovereignty as belonging to the people of the individual States; that there was no purpose to transfer it to the Federal Government, or to regard it as being divisible. The States intrusted to the Federal Government, as their agent, some of the functions of sovereignty, but the performance of these by authority of the people of the States did not involve a violation of a cardinal feature in the American theory; that sovereignty belonged alone to the people, and the resolutions of ratification of the Constitution by the States show whether the purpose was to transfer the power or only to authorize its use.
Davis discusses the resolutions, and Virginia in particular offers some insights. For those who claim that Virginia was referring to all the people of all the states, Davis asks a question that I myself have asked in past discussions: who exactly did Virginia have the authority to speak for? The answer is obvious.

As had been done by Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and South Carolina in ratifying the Constitution, Virginia required certain amendments as a more explicit guarantee against consolidation, and accompanied the proposition with the following declaration: “That the powers granted under the Constitution, being derived from the people of the United States, may be resumed by them whenever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression, and that every power not granted thereby remains with them,” etc., etc. For whom were the delegates commissioned to speak? Only for the people of Virginia. By whom had grants been made? By the States severally, and the assertion could only mean that to each of them all undelegated power remained. Indeed, there was no other repository from which it could have been drawn; therefore no other in which it could have been said to remain.​
 
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Andersonh1

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Davis discusses who "the people" actually are.

New York was the eleventh State to assent to the compact of union, and her ratification was made more than seven months after that of Delaware, and was accompanied by a declaration of the principles on which her assent was given, from which the following extract is made: “That the powers of government may be reassumed by the people whensoever it shall become necessary to their happiness; that every power, jurisdiction, and right which is not, by the said Constitution, clearly delegated to the Congress of the United States, or the departments of the government thereof, remains to the people of the several States, or to their respective State governments, to whom they may have granted the same,” etc.​
Here, even more distinctly than before, is answered the question as to who were THE PEOPLE by whom the powers might be reassumed. Provision had been made for several modes of amending the Constitution by the joint action of the States, and if it had been the will of all the States to reform, or even to dissolve, the government, they would not have been obstructed, as they were under the Confederation, by a pledge to perpetual union or by a prohibition against any alteration of the Constitution except by unanimous consent of the States. Therefore, unless the right to reassume was asserted as belonging to any State being a party to the compact, the declaration was useless and seemingly without an object. Reassumption is the correlative of delegation.​
By the published debates of the general convention of 1787 which prepared the Constitution, and of the State conventions to which it was severally submitted fer approval or rejection as each should decide, and by the resolutions of ratification, it is clearly demonstrated that they did not surrender their dearly bought, most prized sovereignty, freedom, and independence, or commit the absurdity of attempting to delegate inalienable rights.​
 

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Davis notes that both a national government and state coercion were rejected by the Constitutional Convention. Davis was a firm believer that the Constitution was a Compact between sovereign states. He then moves to the subject of secession, and he wishes the Constitutional Convention had come out and made the right plain:

A compact was made between independent States by which expressly enumerated powers were delegated to a government instituted for their common benefit, which was a partnership without limitation. No mode of terminating it was specified, but Mr. Madison, than whom none was better informed of the opinions and purposes of the members of the convention, in the number of The Federalist heretofore quoted (which was an argument to justify secession from the confederation) wrote:​
It is an established doctrine on the subject of treaties that all articles are mutually conditions of each other; that a breach of any one article is a breach of the whole treaty; and that a breach committed by either of the parties absolves the others, and authorizes them, if they please, to pronounce the compact violated and void. Should it unhappily be necessary to appeal to these delicate truths for a justification for dispensing with the consent of particular States to a dissolution of the Federal pact, will not the complaining parties find it a difficult task to answer the multiplied and important infractions with which they may be confronted? The time has been when it was incumbent on us all to veil the ideas which this paragraph exhibits.​
It is unfortunate that the convention should have thought proper to veil the delicate truth and did not in plain terms announce the right of a State to secede from the Union whenever it should cease to answer the ends for which it was established, viz., to insure domestic tranquility and promote the general welfare. Our past history distinctly shows how reluctant any State would be to sever her connection with the Union; and may it not reasonably be inferred that, if the right to withdraw had been recognized, there would have been additional care not to give just cause for the exercise of that right?​
 
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Andersonh1

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Davis notes that secession was threatened or considered a number of times in the decades after the adoption of the Constitution, and that it was not a strictly southern belief. He also defines who secession is designed to protect:

....the doctrine of State rights is not that of a section, but is that of a minority, seeking the protection of State sovereignty from the real or supposed aggression of a usurping majority.​
Davis dismisses the notion that secession is not a right because it's not spelled out in the Constitution as evading the question or ignorance of history. It is "puerile" to ask from where in the Constitution States get their power.

In vain have we asked by what clause of the Constitution the States surrendered their sovereignty and, by consequence, a State lost its right to secede; and the nearest approach we have had to an answer has been the inquiry, Where is the right of a State to secede set forth in the Constitution? This marks either an evasion of the issue or extreme ignorance of the history of the Union. The States delegated all the rights and powers which the general government possesses, and they agreed with each other that no State should exercise certain functions which were intrusted to the Federal Government as their agent; therefore it seems not less than puerile to ask from what part of the Constitution the right or power of a State was derived. Every power, function, or right which the States did not agree to delegate to their common agent remained with them. No one of ordinary information and intelligence can deny that the States were sovereign, free, and independent when they entered into the compact of Union. If they had not been sovereigns, they would not have been competent to form that treaty; and as none have even attempted to show where or how their sovereignty was lost, it must be regarded as among the reserved powers of the States, and hence, still being sovereigns, they had the same legal power and right to secede from the Union which they had exercised in acceding to it.​
 
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Andersonh1

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Davis returns to discussing secession as a protection of the minority from the majority, and he discusses some of the abuses of the Southern minority by a sectional majority in the North.

.... I must insist that while each State retained its sovereignty it had a shield against the despotism of a majority in its power to withdraw to the precincts of its own dominion; and this, if the majority were heedless of every appeal to justice and their compact, was the only remedy which seems to have been left.​
-----------​
In 1861 all the plans proposed to restrain the majority had failed.​
Davis here has reached the period of history in which he was a participant, and he discusses the efforts to find compromise. It was Northern representatives who would not bend, not Southern representatives like himself and Toombs. Davis described Lincoln as a purely sectional candidate, and Lincoln's declaration that the Union could not continue to exist half slave and half free as an "offence against the Constitution." This is an interesting notion and I have not heard anyone approach Lincoln's comment in quite the same way.

....Mr. Lincoln had been put forth on purely sectional grounds and did not receive a single Southern vote. He had announced that the Union could not continue to exist half slave and half free. What then? Was the Union to be dissolved? Was slavery to be introduced into the Northern or to be abolished in the Southern States? The declaration was an offence against the Constitution, and neither branch of the proposition could be executed without a palpable violation of it.​
 

unionblue

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Davis returns to discussing secession as a protection of the minority from the majority, and he discusses some of the abuses of the Southern minority by a sectional majority in the North.

.... I must insist that while each State retained its sovereignty it had a shield against the despotism of a majority in its power to withdraw to the precincts of its own dominion; and this, if the majority were heedless of every appeal to justice and their compact, was the only remedy which seems to have been left.​
-----------​
In 1861 all the plans proposed to restrain the majority had failed.​
Davis here has reached the period of history in which he was a participant, and he discusses the efforts to find compromise. It was Northern representatives who would not bend, not Southern representatives like himself and Toombs. Davis described Lincoln as a purely sectional candidate, and Lincoln's declaration that the Union could not continue to exist half slave and half free as an "offence against the Constitution." This is an interesting notion and I have not heard anyone approach Lincoln's comment in quite the same way.

....Mr. Lincoln had been put forth on purely sectional grounds and did not receive a single Southern vote. He had announced that the Union could not continue to exist half slave and half free. What then? Was the Union to be dissolved? Was slavery to be introduced into the Northern or to be abolished in the Southern States? The declaration was an offence against the Constitution, and neither branch of the proposition could be executed without a palpable violation of it.​
Jefferson Davis in CYA mode after the war and still trying to confuse slavery as the cause of Southern secession.
 

Andersonh1

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Jefferson Davis in CYA mode after the war and still trying to confuse slavery as the cause of Southern secession.
That's all you get from his lengthy discussion? To the contrary, not only do I see slavery included in the discussion, but a reason can also be found, given by Davis, as to why it might have been a concern to the non slave-owning population of the south. Did you pick that up?

Not to mention, nearly everything he says here can be found in his pre-war comments and writing, if not consolidated into a comprehensive argument as it is here. Davis is consistent in his views over much of his life from what I can tell. He doesn't change his tune after the war.
 
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Andersonh1

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I'd rather keep the discussion here focused on what Davis actually said and not get dragged off into yet another "no, it was really about slavery!" discussion. To the extent that Davis does actually talk about slavery and the part it played in the decisions to secede, it's a fair topic, but I don't want to get sidetracked.

After running through the history that he believes supported a state's right to withdraw from the Union in the same way they entered it, and why they could do that, Davis steps up to defend the Confederate soldier:

Now we have reached the point of inquiry as to what was the moral duty of a citizen of a seceding State in 1861.​
Davis argues here that it was understood that a man's first allegiance was to his state, and the allegiance to the Union was because his state was a member of the Union. With the southern states having exited the Union in the same way they entered it, by state conventions, and having formed a new Union, the people of the South stepped up to defend their states. Davis uses his most forceful language here, and he clearly still felt strongly about how events had played out.

The wish of all, and the general expectation, was that the separation should be peaceable. For this purpose one of the first acts of the Confederate Government was to send commissioners to the United States Government to adjust all questions which would naturally arise in a dissolution of partnership. Our overtures were rejected, as I feared they would be, for the question was ever ringing in my ears, “If we let the South go, where will we get a revenue?” With continued assurance of peaceful intention the Federal Government made ready for war.​
At the call of their States, the people of the South, with unexampled unanimity, volunteered to defend their hearths, their altars, and their inalienable rights. Gray-haired sires and beardless sons were in the same ranks; but preparation had not been made to arm and equip them, and they had little more than their brave breasts to offer for defence against threatened invasion. Vainly had the South relied on the Constitution as a shield; it was crushed by the mailed hand of a factious majority–the evil which Mr. Madison, in the tenth number of the Federalist, described as that which had covered with opprobrium federation as a form of government.​

As he ends the article, Davis here does not here simply say that the South thought it was right. He still believes they not only thought it, they were right.

I make no excusatory plea that the men “thought they were right when,” at the call of their sovereign State, they staked all save honor in defence of the rights their fathers left them. If they were not right, then patriotism is an empty name, and he who looks death in the face under its sacred inspiration may be a traitor. If it be treason for a citizen to defend the State under whose protection he lives, even against the Federal Government, the Constitution has placed him in the cruel dilemma of being, in the event of conflict between his State and the United States, necessarily compelled to commit treason against one or the other. This surely cannot be the condition to which our fathers reduced us when they entered into the compact of union. Allegiance is everywhere due to the sovereign only. That sovereign, under the American system, is the People–the People of the State to which the individual belongs; the People who constitute the State government which he obeys; the People who alone, as far as he is concerned, ordained and established the Federal Constitution: the People who never delegated their sovereignty, and therefore retain the power to revoke all agencies created by them.​
If the sovereign abolishes the State government and ordains and establishes a new one, the obligation of obedience requires the citizen to transfer his allegiance accordingly: there may be joint, but cannot be divided, allegiance; and this fact controlled the action of officers of the army and navy of the United States when continuance in the Federal service came in conflict with the ultimate allegiance due from each to the sovereign State to which he belonged.​


 

unionblue

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I'd rather keep the discussion here focused on what Davis actually said and not get dragged off into yet another "no, it was really about slavery!" discussion. To the extent that Davis does actually talk about slavery and the part it played in the decisions to secede, it's a fair topic, but I don't want to get sidetracked.

After running through the history that he believes supported a state's right to withdraw from the Union in the same way they entered it, and why they could do that, Davis steps up to defend the Confederate soldier:

Now we have reached the point of inquiry as to what was the moral duty of a citizen of a seceding State in 1861.​
Davis argues here that it was understood that a man's first allegiance was to his state, and the allegiance to the Union was because his state was a member of the Union. With the southern states having exited the Union in the same way they entered it, by state conventions, and having formed a new Union, the people of the South stepped up to defend their states. Davis uses his most forceful language here, and he clearly still felt strongly about how events had played out.

The wish of all, and the general expectation, was that the separation should be peaceable. For this purpose one of the first acts of the Confederate Government was to send commissioners to the United States Government to adjust all questions which would naturally arise in a dissolution of partnership. Our overtures were rejected, as I feared they would be, for the question was ever ringing in my ears, “If we let the South go, where will we get a revenue?” With continued assurance of peaceful intention the Federal Government made ready for war.​
At the call of their States, the people of the South, with unexampled unanimity, volunteered to defend their hearths, their altars, and their inalienable rights. Gray-haired sires and beardless sons were in the same ranks; but preparation had not been made to arm and equip them, and they had little more than their brave breasts to offer for defence against threatened invasion. Vainly had the South relied on the Constitution as a shield; it was crushed by the mailed hand of a factious majority–the evil which Mr. Madison, in the tenth number of the Federalist, described as that which had covered with opprobrium federation as a form of government.​

As he ends the article, Davis here does not here simply say that the South thought it was right. He still believes they not only thought it, they were right.

I make no excusatory plea that the men “thought they were right when,” at the call of their sovereign State, they staked all save honor in defence of the rights their fathers left them. If they were not right, then patriotism is an empty name, and he who looks death in the face under its sacred inspiration may be a traitor. If it be treason for a citizen to defend the State under whose protection he lives, even against the Federal Government, the Constitution has placed him in the cruel dilemma of being, in the event of conflict between his State and the United States, necessarily compelled to commit treason against one or the other. This surely cannot be the condition to which our fathers reduced us when they entered into the compact of union. Allegiance is everywhere due to the sovereign only. That sovereign, under the American system, is the People–the People of the State to which the individual belongs; the People who constitute the State government which he obeys; the People who alone, as far as he is concerned, ordained and established the Federal Constitution: the People who never delegated their sovereignty, and therefore retain the power to revoke all agencies created by them.​
If the sovereign abolishes the State government and ordains and establishes a new one, the obligation of obedience requires the citizen to transfer his allegiance accordingly: there may be joint, but cannot be divided, allegiance; and this fact controlled the action of officers of the army and navy of the United States when continuance in the Federal service came in conflict with the ultimate allegiance due from each to the sovereign State to which he belonged.​


Davis is trying very hard to tie a pretty ribbon around a dark period in our nation's history.

I don't blame him for offering all the excuses and diversions to explain why the attempt at rebellion was something else, that it was noble and the Confederate soldier was brave and patriotic, etc., etc.

But he's trying, in usual lengthy and dense style to place the excuse of state rights to center stage and drive off all other considerations, especially the main reason, to a dark, "stage left," maneuver out from in front of the floodlights of history.

I simply don't have to believe how the play has been rewritten by him.

Unionblue
 

Andersonh1

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Davis is trying very hard to tie a pretty ribbon around a dark period in our nation's history.

I don't blame him for offering all the excuses and diversions to explain why the attempt at rebellion was something else, that it was noble and the Confederate soldier was brave and patriotic, etc., etc.

But he's trying, in usual lengthy and dense style to place the excuse of state rights to center stage and drive off all other considerations, especially the main reason, to a dark, "stage left," maneuver out from in front of the floodlights of history.

I simply don't have to believe how the play has been rewritten by him.

Unionblue
So we have one vote for "distraction". But the Jefferson Davis I've read about was consistent throughout much of his life, and did not offer excuses. This was the same man who refused to ask for a pardon or take the oath of allegiance to the United States because he did not believe he was wrong to do what he did. But he is offering a false reason, in your view? It doesn't make sense, and doesn't fit with the man's pattern of behavior. He's writing here exactly what he believes to be the truth.
 
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unionblue

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So we have one vote for "distraction". But the Jefferson Davis I've read about was consistent throughout much of his life, and did not offer excuses. This was the same man who refused to ask for a pardon or take the oath of allegiance to the United States because he did not believe he was wrong to do what he did. But he is offering a false reason, in your view? It doesn't make sense, and doesn't fit with the man's pattern of behavior. He's writing here exactly what he believes to be the truth.
It fits exactly with a behavior who desperately wants to be judged by his own fantasy, and not the reality of history.
 

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It is evident that Jeff Davis and the southern states had a different view of the Constitution than Lincoln. Davis and other southern politicians believed in the Compact Theory of the Constitution. The Compact theory maintains that the Constitution was a compact which consisted of a voluntary agreement among the 13 sovereign states to create a federal government. The compact was voluntary and the states retain their sovereignty and have the right to secede from the Union if the compact is violated. However, Lincoln believed in the contract theory which argues that the Constitution was established directly by the people, not by the states, and that it constitutes supreme law, not a mere compact. This difference in political philosophy was one of the reasons for the war.
 

Andersonh1

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It is evident that Jeff Davis and the southern states had a different view of the Constitution than Lincoln. Davis and other southern politicians believed in the Compact Theory of the Constitution. The Compact theory maintains that the Constitution was a compact which consisted of a voluntary agreement among the 13 sovereign states to create a federal government. The compact was voluntary and the states retain their sovereignty and have the right to secede from the Union if the compact is violated. However, Lincoln believed in the contract theory which argues that the Constitution was established directly by the people, not by the states, and that it constitutes supreme law, not a mere compact. This difference in political philosophy was one of the reasons for the war.
Certainly you could not get a wider contrast between Lincoln's view that the states were never sovereign vs. Davis who believed that they were sovereign since they had declared independence and had never relinquished that sovereignty.
 
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unionblue

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Certainly you could not get a wider contrast between Lincoln's view that the states were never sovereign vs. Davis who believed that they were sovereign since they had declared independence and had never relinquished that sovereignty.
Contrast is often a product of fantasy and desperation, as Davis demonstrates in his own desire to have as much contrast as possible in his beliefs prior to and after the Civil War.
 
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