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Thomas Jefferson, Secession, and States Rights

Discussion in 'Civil War History - Secession and Politics' started by Mike Griffith, Jan 19, 2017.

  1. jdmnw

    jdmnw Cadet

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    (Don't know if anyone here has responded to this since I haven't been through all 18 pages, but...)
    According to Constitutional Scholar and Yale Professor Akhil Reed Amar, the wording was changed because they couldn't be sure which states would ratify the Constitution and join the Union. It seemed presumptuous to assume anything. See America's Constitution ~ A Biography ~
     
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  3. jgoodguy

    jgoodguy Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    Page 33
    p1.png
    Also Page 21
    p2.png
     
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  4. jdmnw

    jdmnw Cadet

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    I also get a tad concerned when anyone, but especially someone who is held up as a Constitutional Scholar, makes a statement like the following:

    The premise of the Constitution, however, was that states would still hold all rights not expressly given to the federal government. (Underlining and red coloring added).
    If he's referring to the Tenth Amendment (which I believe he is), it says no such thing. Instead it says

    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.​

    The word "expressly" does not appear anywhere in the amendment. In fact, Madison went to great lengths to keep it out:

    http://americanvision.org/10598/james-madisons-big-hypocrisy-limited-government/
    http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/amendXs6.html

    FWIW, I searched both the Constitution and the Bill Of Rights for "express" or "expressly" and didn't find either.

    I've mentioned him before, but I think a much more reliable and knowledgeable Constitutional Scholar is Professor Akhil Reed Amar:

    Akhil Amar

    I don't know how many times (or even if) Turley has been favorably cited by SCOTUS, but Professor Amar is at plus 30 and counting.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 20, 2017
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  5. CW Buff

    CW Buff Sergeant

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    Excellent catch.

    I'm only moderately familiar with Amar, but from what little I know I agree with you completely. He's high on my list of authors I want to read.
     
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  6. OpnCoronet

    OpnCoronet Major

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    It was recognized(or at least professed to be recognized) that the ultimate power to govern, was vested in those to be governed(gov't by consent of those to be governed). This applied not only to the Federal gov't, but also that of the States themselves.

    Under the Constitution, Some powers or authority were properly vested in the gov'ts chosen by the people to govern themselves, state legislatures, but, in some cases, questions of ultimate discretion of the use of such power and/or authority, could only be properly vested in the ultimate source of all gov't, i.e., the people that are to choose the gov't and laws by which they will be governed.

    As noted by Madison himself, the Constitution had to be ratified by the people, rather than state legislatures, because changing the form of gov't of the Union, they already existed in, was forbidden by some state constitutions.

    State Legislatures were subject to consent of the people of their state, as the Federal, was by the consent of the people of their Union.
     
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  7. jgoodguy

    jgoodguy Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    IMHO there were several 'schools' of thought during the convention and ratification and several different cases can be made, but the preponderance of evidence is that the nationalistic schools was the dominant one through Jefferson's administration so the founding and foundation is nationalistic. States Rights have waxed and waned from then on, but States Rights seem to go overboard when problems come up. Even Jefferson was nationalist for example the Louisiana Purchase and the Embargo Act.
     
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  8. OpnCoronet

    OpnCoronet Major

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    It seems to me, that whatever the differing schools thought existing at the time, in practical terms of the actual operation of the Federal gov't and its courts, it was mainly the Federalist arguments that both looked to, for their inspiration; even if they did not always admit it, or perhaps were not even aware of it.
     
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  9. CW Buff

    CW Buff Sergeant

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    I think it can be said that both parties (and perhaps all parties) had a different take on where the line between state and federal authority was when they were in power vs out of power. But it can also be said that both parties remained true to their nature, to some degree. In other words, Democratic-Republican transgressions (LA Purchase, embargo), while nationalistic, were not as extremely nationalistic as Federalist transgressions (Alien Sedition Acts). The latter was clearly infringing on civil rights proclaimed within the Bill of Rights, which Federalists had claimed were not even required because those Fed had not enumerated powers to infringe upon them.

    Human nature, the Achilles heal of all government.
     
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