Thomas Jefferson, Secession, and States Rights

48th Miss.

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To not digress too much, though I felt Tom deserves a bit of a counter view. Though Thomas Jefferson was a very real and very flawed man in many ways he also contributed greatly to our political philosophy and system as can be imagined in the Declaration of Independence. There are many genius bit of ideas and knowledge expressed by him including his active efforts to separate Church and State (and being the origin of that phrase). There are many more contributions of the same nature from him. This does not wash out the multiple bad things he did.

Just a side note. His letter was about not having a national religion not taking God out of Government. They held church in the captital.

Now back on track
 

OpnCoronet

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What Thomas Jefferson political thinker, might believe, or do, in any particular situation, is not proof of what Thomas Jefferson, President of the United States of America, would, or could do, in the same situations.

After all, he claimed to be a strict constructionist in reading the Constitution, which led him to exceed his powers as President, if he really believed he was strictly interpreting the Constitution and his powers under it.

I have always wondered at those he cite Jefferson as some kind of expert on the interpretation of the Constitution and its intent, when he did not participate in the debates over the intent or writing of the Constitution.
 

OpnCoronet

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In regards to the rights of the states. What Rights did other states have in relation to those who want to secede from their common Union?
 

Carpetbagger

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I draw attention to the context that Jefferson says he "deplores" the deaths. He says that the deaths of innocents are to be regretted, but no more so than those in battle. The Terror was hardly a military campaign, but a frenzied program that was the direct result of the excesses of the Revolution that targeted anyone it saw as possibly disloyal. Passing the deaths of the innocent off as merely the cost of freedom and not a horrific crime perpetrated by a despotic regime is an extraordinary measure of self-delusion on Jefferson's part.
Well, I disagree with your interpretation, but this has taken the thread far off course. I'll just leave it knowing I've cleared up that Jefferson did not actually say anything so callous about the Reign of Terror and that your view is a matter of supposition, not fact.
 

StephenColbert27

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Well, I disagree with your interpretation, but this has taken the thread far off course. I'll just leave it knowing I've cleared up that Jefferson did not actually say anything so callous about the Reign of Terror and that your view is a matter of supposition, not fact.
I stand by my interpretation, but you are correct. This is off-topic, and should be continued elsewhere.
 

OpnCoronet

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The record seems clear that Thomas Jefferson believed in the right of secession. In 1803, Jefferson said he did not care if America split into two confederacies:











To me the entire body of writings of Jefferson, can leave a reader a bit hazy on the exact details of his idea's of the who, what, when, where and why, it could be done within the law.

However, the matter is moot, because the march of history, has proved Jefferson as wrong as his bellow Virginians, et. al., in 1861.
 

jgoodguy

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To me the entire body of writings of Jefferson, can leave a reader a bit hazy on the exact details of his idea's of the who, what, when, where and why, it could be done within the law.

However, the matter is moot, because the march of history, has proved Jefferson as wrong as his bellow Virginians, et. al., in 1861.
IMHO one can take any of the founding fathers quotes and show secessionist or nationalist tendencies. Things were a bit vague at first, IMHO, but as they gained experience in government, the consoldationists won the day.
 

KeyserSoze

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The record seems clear that Thomas Jefferson believed in the right of secession. In 1803, Jefferson said he did not care if America split into two confederacies:

Whether we remain in one confederacy, or form into Atlantic and Mississippi confederacies, I believe not very important to the happiness of either part. Those of the western confederacy will be as much our children & descendants as those of the eastern, and I feel myself as much identified with that country, in future time, as with this; and did I now foresee a separation at some future day, yet I should feel the duty & the desire to promote the western interests as zealously as the eastern, doing all the good for both portions of our future family which should fall within my power. (Letter from Jefferson to Dr. Joseph Priestly, January 29, 1804, http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/presidents/thomas-jefferson/letters-of-thomas-jefferson/jefl161.php)​

He expressed the same view in 1804:

The future inhabitants of the Atlantic & Missipi States will be our sons. We leave them in distinct but bordering establishments. We think we see their happiness in their union, & we wish it. Events may prove it otherwise; and if they see their interest in separation, why should we take side with our Atlantic rather than our Missipi descendants? It is the elder and the younger son differing. God bless them both, & keep them in union, if it be for their good, but separate them, if it be better. (Letter from Jefferson to John C. Breckenridge, August 12, 1803, http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/presidents/thomas-jefferson/letters-of-thomas-jefferson/jefl159.php).​

Jefferson told James Madison, in 1799, that if the federal government continued on its present course, Kentucky and Virginia should be “determined” to “sever ourselves” from the Union:

I will in the mean time give you my ideas to reflect on. That the principles already advanced by Virginia & Kentucky are not to be yielded in silence, I presume we all agree. I should propose a declaration or resolution by their legislatures on this plan. 1st. answer the reasonings of such of the states as have ventured into the field of reason, & that of the Committee of Congress. Here they have given us all the advantage we could wish. Take some notice of those states who have either not answered at all, or answered without reasoning. 2. Make a firm protestation against the principle & the precedent; and a reservation of the rights resulting to us from these palpable violations of the constitutional compact by the Federal government, and the approbation or acquiescence of the several co-states; so that we may hereafter do, what we might now rightfully do, whenever repetitions of these and other violations shall make it evident that the federal government, disregarding the limitations of the federal compact, mean to exercise powers over us to which we have never assented. 3. Express in affectionate & conciliatory language our warm attachment to union with our sister-states, and to the instrument & principles by which we are united; that we are willing to sacrifice to this every thing except those rights of self-government the securing of which was the object of that compact; that not at all disposed to make every measure of error or wrong a cause of scission [separation], we are willing to view with indulgence to wait with patience till those passions & delusions shall have passed over which the federal government have artfully & successfully excited to cover its own abuses & to conceal its designs; fully confident that the good sense of the American people and their attachment to those very rights which we are now vindicating will, before it shall be too late, rally with us round the true principles of our federal compact; but determined, were we to be disappointed in this, to sever ourselves from that union we so much value, rather than give up the rights of self government which we have reserved, & in which alone we see liberty, safety & happiness. (Letter from Jefferson to James Madison, August 23, 1799)​

Although Jefferson added that he wrote these things “hastily,” that does not change the fact that he said that the people of Kentucky and Virginia should be “determined” to leave the Union rather than “give up the rights of self-government.” And, clearly, Jefferson did not think it would be unconstitutional to leave the Union.

Jefferson repeated his support for secession to William Crawford—17 years later:

If any state in the union will declare that it prefers separation with the 1st alternative, to a continuance in union without it, I have no hesitation in saying, “Let us separate.” I would rather the states should withdraw, which are for unlimited commerce & war, and confederate with those alone which are for peace & agriculture. I know that every nation in Europe would join in sincere amity with the latter, & hold the former at arm’s length by jealousies, prohibitions, restrictions, vexations & war. (Letter from Jefferson to William Crawford, June 20, 1816)​

Two things to note here: One, this was in 1816, 17 years after he suggested the possibility of secession to Madison. Two, He’s talking about a scenario where he would not agree with the state’s reasons for wanting to leave and would not want to see the state leave, but would still be willing to let it go anyway.

Jefferson did not buy President Washington’s arguments in defense of his decision to send militia troops into western Pennsyvlania to put down the “Whiskey Rebellion” in 1794. He regarded Washington’s arguments as “shreds” from Aesop’s fables. He also stated that no civil war should be waged without Congress’s approval:

And with respect to the transactions against the excise law, it appears to me that you are all swept away in the torrent of governmental opinions, or that we do not know what these transactions have been. We know of none which, according to the definitions of the law, have been anything more than riotous. There was indeed a meeting to consult about a separation. But to consult on a question does not amount to a determination of that question in the affirmative, still less to the acting on such a determination; but we shall see, I suppose, what the court lawyers, & courtly judges, & would-be ambassadors will make of it. The excise law is an infernal one. The first error was to admit it by the Constitution; the 2d., to act on that admission; the 3d & last will be, to make it the instrument of dismembering the Union, & setting us all afloat to choose which part of it we will adhere to. The information of our militia, returned from the Westward, is uniform, that though the people there let them pass quietly, they were objects of their laughter, not of their fear; that 1000 men could have cut off their whole force in a thousand places of the Alleganey; that their detestation of the excise law is universal, and has now associated to it a detestation of the government; & that separation which perhaps was a very distant & problematical event, is now near, & certain, & determined in the mind of every man.

I expected to have seen some justification of arming one part of the society against another; of declaring a civil war the moment before the meeting of that body which has the sole right of declaring war; of being so patient of the kicks & scoffs of our enemies, & rising at a feather against our friends; of adding a million to the public debt & deriding us with recommendations to pay it if we can &c., &c. But the part of the [president’s] speech which was to be taken as a justification of the armament, reminded me of parson Saunders' demonstration why minus into minus make plus. After a parcel of shreds of stuff from Aesop's fables, and Tom Thumb, he jumps all at once into his Ergo, minus multiplied into minus make plus. Just so the 15,000 men enter after the fables, in the speech. (Letter from Jefferson to James Madison, December 28, 1794, http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/presidents/thomas-jefferson/letters-of-thomas-jefferson/jefl108.php, emphasis added)​

This is critical because it argues powerfully against the view that Jefferson believed the federal government had the right to coerce a state. He said that George Washington provided no valid justification for “arming one part of the society against another.” He also objected to “declaring a civil war the moment before the meeting of that body which has the sole right of declaring war.”

Jefferson rejected the nationalist version of the founding of the Union in the Kentucky Resolutions, of which he was the principal author:

That the several States composing, the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but that, by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a general government for special purposes — delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving, each State to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self-government; and that whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force: that to this compact each State acceded as a State, and is an integral part, its co-States forming, as to itself, the other party: that the government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; but that, as in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress. (Jefferson’s copy of the Kentucky Resolutions, Article 1, October 1798)​

Jefferson wanted a limited government system where, among other things, the states would retain many rights:

I am for preserving to the States the powers not yielded by them to the Union, & to the legislature of the Union its constitutional share in the division of powers; and I am not for transferring all the powers of the States to the general government, & all those of that government to the Executive branch. I am for a government rigorously frugal & simple, applying all the possible savings of the public revenue to the discharge of the national debt; and not for a multiplication of officers & salaries merely to make partisans, & for increasing, by every device, the public debt, on the principle of it's being a public blessing. I am for relying, for internal defence, on our militia solely, till actual invasion, and for such a naval force only as may protect our coasts and harbors from such depredations as we have experienced; and not for a standing army in time of peace, which may overawe the public sentiment; nor for a navy, which, by its own expenses and the eternal wars in which it will implicate us, will grind us with public burdens, & sink us under them.

I am for free commerce with all nations; political connection with none; & little or no diplomatic establishment. And I am not for linking ourselves by new treaties with the quarrels of Europe; entering that field of slaughter to preserve their balance, or joining in the confederacy of kings to war against the principles of liberty. I am for freedom of religion, & against all maneuvres to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another: for freedom of the press, & against all violations of the constitution to silence by force & not by reason the complaints or criticisms, just or unjust, of our citizens against the conduct of their agents. (Letter from Jefferson to Elbridge Gerry Philadelphia, Jan. 26, 1799, http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/presidents/thomas-jefferson/letters-of-thomas-jefferson/jefl125.php)

And where in any of that is Jefferson's opinion that secession can be done arbitrarily and unilaterally without any discussion or any negotiations?
 

Rebforever

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To me the entire body of writings of Jefferson, can leave a reader a bit hazy on the exact details of his idea's of the who, what, when, where and why, it could be done within the law.

However, the matter is moot, because the march of history, has proved Jefferson as wrong as his bellow Virginians, et. al., in 1861.
It wasn't moot in 1860.
 

jgoodguy

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It wasn't moot in 1860.
To me the entire body of writings of Jefferson, can leave a reader a bit hazy on the exact details of his idea's of the who, what, when, where and why, it could be done within the law.

However, the matter is moot, because the march of history, has proved Jefferson as wrong as his bellow Virginians, et. al., in 1861.

Lets endeavor to discuss Jefferson during his lifetime.
Thanks
 

Andersonh1

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Whether we remain in one confederacy, or form into Atlantic and Mississippi confederacies, I believe not very important to the happiness of either part. Those of the western confederacy will be as much our children & descendants as those of the eastern, and I feel myself as much identified with that country, in future time, as with this; and did I now foresee a separation at some future day, yet I should feel the duty & the desire to promote the western interests as zealously as the eastern, doing all the good for both portions of our future family which should fall within my power. (Letter from Jefferson to Dr. Joseph Priestly, January 29, 1804, http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/presidents/thomas-jefferson/letters-of-thomas-jefferson/jefl161.php)​


The future inhabitants of the Atlantic & Missipi States will be our sons. We leave them in distinct but bordering establishments. We think we see their happiness in their union, & we wish it. Events may prove it otherwise; and if they see their interest in separation, why should we take side with our Atlantic rather than our Missipi descendants? It is the elder and the younger son differing. God bless them both, & keep them in union, if it be for their good, but separate them, if it be better. (Letter from Jefferson to John C. Breckenridge, August 12, 1803, http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/presidents/thomas-jefferson/letters-of-thomas-jefferson/jefl159.php).​


Jefferson repeated his support for secession to William Crawford—17 years later:

If any state in the union will declare that it prefers separation with the 1st alternative, to a continuance in union without it, I have no hesitation in saying, “Let us separate.” I would rather the states should withdraw, which are for unlimited commerce & war, and confederate with those alone which are for peace & agriculture. I know that every nation in Europe would join in sincere amity with the latter, & hold the former at arm’s length by jealousies, prohibitions, restrictions, vexations & war. (Letter from Jefferson to William Crawford, June 20, 1816)​

One thing I take from these is this: regardless of Jefferson's views on unilateral secession, he did not assume that every bit of territory or every future state HAD to be a part of the original Union. The possibility of a second union of states, or of an adjustment to the original as national or regional interests should change over time, was fine with him. I mean, look at this quote: I would rather the states should withdraw, which are for unlimited commerce & war, and confederate with those alone which are for peace & agriculture. If that's not endorsing secession based on regional interests, what is it?​
 

jgoodguy

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One thing I take from these is this: regardless of Jefferson's views on unilateral secession, he did not assume that every bit of territory or every future state HAD to be a part of the original Union. The possibility of a second union of states, or of an adjustment to the original as national or regional interests should change over time, was fine with him. I mean, look at this quote: I would rather the states should withdraw, which are for unlimited commerce & war, and confederate with those alone which are for peace & agriculture. If that's not endorsing secession based on regional interests, what is it?​
Endorsing is strong for what I see. Justifying his Louisiana Purchase against a bunch of what if purveyors might be a better description. See my post #4.

Link
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jgoodguy

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It's Complicated.

Jefferson's Empire: The Language of American Nationhood
By Peter S. Onuf


Jefferson IMHO had a too ideal view of nationhood. An enlightened empire without concentrations of power of a united virtuous citizenry with common interests living in a consensual union of self governing States. Perhaps an admiration of secession can be drawn out somehow, but if so, it was secession that killed Jefferson's Enlightened empire.
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MattL

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I see the statement:

"I would rather the states should withdraw"

and that seems quite strong... but as usual it's important to look at the full context of such a statement, here is just some of the surrounding context

https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/03-10-02-0101

----
... every society has a right to fix the fundamental principles of it’s association, & to say to all individuals that, if they contemplate pursuits beyond the limits of these principles, and involving dangers which the society chuses to avoid, they must go somewhere else for their exercise; that we want no citizens, & still less ephemeral & Pseudo-citizens on such terms. we may exclude them from our territory, as we do persons infected with disease. such is the situation of our country. we have most abundant resources of happiness within ourselves, which we may enjoy in peace and safety, without permitting a few citizens, infected with the Mania of rambling & gambling, to bring danger on the great mass engaged in innocent and safe pursuits at home. in your letter to Fisk, you have fairly stated the alternatives between which we are to chuse; 1. licentious commerce, & gambling speculations for a few, with eternal war for the many: or 2. restricted commerce, peace, and steady occupations for all.   if any state in the union will declare that it prefers separation with the 1st alternative, to a continuance in union without it, I have no hesitation in saying ‘let us separate.’ I would rather the states should withdraw, which are for unlimited commerce & war, and confederate with those alone which are for peace & agriculture. I know that every nation in Europe would join in sincere amity with the latter, & hold the former at arm’s length by jealousies, prohibitions, restrictions, vexations & war. no earthly consideration could induce my consent to contract such a debt as England has by her wars for commerce, to reduce our citizens by taxes to such wretchedness as that, laboring 16. of the 24. hours, they are still unable to afford themselves bread, or barely to earn as much oatmeal or potatoes as will keep soul and body together. and all this to feed the avidity of a few millionary merchants, and to keep up 1000. ships of war for the protection of their commercial speculations. ...
----


Specifically I find his word usage very interesting, as usual he is a very deliberate speaker:

if any state in the union will declare that it prefers separation with the 1st alternative, to a continuance in union without it, I have no hesitation in saying ‘let us separate.’

Notice what he's talking about is far less about secession and more about his issues with "licentious commerce, & gambling speculations for a few, with eternal war for the many."

Note how he oversells the two options... you either have 1, the above, or:

"restricted commerce, peace, and steady occupations for all"

Well when you put it that way lol. I wonder which I would agree with. Jefferson certainly wasn't above exaggeration and overselling his points.

Also notice how he's basically saying that those States that prefer separation, with #1, rather than stay in union, he would say "let us separate." That seems a far cry from supporting unilateral secession. I mean he's literally giving the other States his own endorsement to separate. Additionally he's giving it context, he's saying if said States want to keep what he thinks is a horrid system (that he wants nothing to do with) let them leave, he's not giving universal approval for secession here, he's giving a specific scenario endorsement for them to leave from him, under specific conditions.

Would he give them his endorsement and support to leave if they differed on something else? Who knows. Would you disagree with secession if his side wasn't amiable to the idea? Who knows.
 

jgoodguy

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I see the statement:

"I would rather the states should withdraw"

and that seems quite strong... but as usual it's important to look at the full context of such a statement, here is just some of the surrounding context

https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/03-10-02-0101

----
... every society has a right to fix the fundamental principles of it’s association, & to say to all individuals that, if they contemplate pursuits beyond the limits of these principles, and involving dangers which the society chuses to avoid, they must go somewhere else for their exercise; that we want no citizens, & still less ephemeral & Pseudo-citizens on such terms. we may exclude them from our territory, as we do persons infected with disease. such is the situation of our country. we have most abundant resources of happiness within ourselves, which we may enjoy in peace and safety, without permitting a few citizens, infected with the Mania of rambling & gambling, to bring danger on the great mass engaged in innocent and safe pursuits at home. in your letter to Fisk, you have fairly stated the alternatives between which we are to chuse; 1. licentious commerce, & gambling speculations for a few, with eternal war for the many: or 2. restricted commerce, peace, and steady occupations for all.   if any state in the union will declare that it prefers separation with the 1st alternative, to a continuance in union without it, I have no hesitation in saying ‘let us separate.’ I would rather the states should withdraw, which are for unlimited commerce & war, and confederate with those alone which are for peace & agriculture. I know that every nation in Europe would join in sincere amity with the latter, & hold the former at arm’s length by jealousies, prohibitions, restrictions, vexations & war. no earthly consideration could induce my consent to contract such a debt as England has by her wars for commerce, to reduce our citizens by taxes to such wretchedness as that, laboring 16. of the 24. hours, they are still unable to afford themselves bread, or barely to earn as much oatmeal or potatoes as will keep soul and body together. and all this to feed the avidity of a few millionary merchants, and to keep up 1000. ships of war for the protection of their commercial speculations. ...
----


Specifically I find his word usage very interesting, as usual he is a very deliberate speaker:

if any state in the union will declare that it prefers separation with the 1st alternative, to a continuance in union without it, I have no hesitation in saying ‘let us separate.’

Notice what he's talking about is far less about secession and more about his issues with "licentious commerce, & gambling speculations for a few, with eternal war for the many."

Note how he oversells the two options... you either have 1, the above, or:

"restricted commerce, peace, and steady occupations for all"

Well when you put it that way lol. I wonder which I would agree with. Jefferson certainly wasn't above exaggeration and overselling his points.

Also notice how he's basically saying that those States that prefer separation, with #1, rather than stay in union, he would say "let us separate." That seems a far cry from supporting unilateral secession. I mean he's literally giving the other States his own endorsement to separate. Additionally he's giving it context, he's saying if said States want to keep what he thinks is a horrid system (that he wants nothing to do with) let them leave, he's not giving universal approval for secession here, he's giving a specific scenario endorsement for them to leave from him, under specific conditions.

Would he give them his endorsement and support to leave if they differed on something else? Who knows. Would you disagree with secession if his side wasn't amiable to the idea? Who knows.
Good analysis
 

jgoodguy

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Thomas Jefferson to William H. Crawford, 20 June 1816
letter refereed to in #34
in your letter to Fisk, you have fairly stated the alternatives between which we are to chuse; 1. licentious commerce, & gambling speculations for a few, with eternal war for the many: or 2. restricted commerce, peace, and steady occupations for all.   if any state in the union will declare that it prefers separation with the 1st alternative, to a continuance in union without it, I have no hesitation in saying ‘let us separate.’

This is the referenced letter.
Enclosure: William H. Crawford to Jonathan Fisk, 8 December 1814

Dear Sir.

Your letter of the 9th of Oct. reached me on the 5th inst. From the letters & News Papers which I have Recd by the Fingal, & the Ajax, public spirit Seems to be good, every where, but in old Massachussetts.
The attempt to form a New England confederacy under the pretext, that the general government Refuses them protection, when they have labored assiduously to prevent the execution of the measures which were calculated to afford that protection, approaches the confines of treason. The execution of their threat to with hold their taxes, & to apply them for their defence, will be an overt act which will Rend the veil which their hypercritical canting has hitherto thrown over their insidious measures. Their mode of calling a convention is certainly irregular & unconstitutional.
I do not believe that they will 1 minorities. There is therefore no danger of Rebellion or treason. The Essex Junto disappointed in all their Schemes of ambition; convinced of their incapacity to carry the People with them in their treasonable views, will not dare to act, but will continue to Snarl and Shew their teeth.
 

MattL

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Thomas Jefferson to William H. Crawford, 20 June 1816
letter refereed to in #34


This is the referenced letter.
Enclosure: William H. Crawford to Jonathan Fisk, 8 December 1814

Very good reference.

So maybe it's just me but I see Jefferson say two things in these two examples:

1) The threat of unilateral secession and acts like "The execution of their threat to with hold their taxes, & to apply them for their defence" and "Their mode of calling a convention is certainly irregular & unconstitutional"

2) He is in support of another group seceding with the agreement and endorsement of his faction

Maybe I'm missing something but it seems he's vehemently apposed to unilateral secession, even the convention to discuss such a thing (not unlike the Southern states that became the Confederacy), but he was fine with an agreement of secession when both sides clearly can't agree on differing directions but both agree on a split.


Obviously it's hard to completely compare different historical events with similarities but are obviously different, as is the case always. Though that's my impression from reading his words.
 

jgoodguy

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Very good reference.

So maybe it's just me but I see Jefferson say two things in these two examples:

1) The threat of unilateral secession and acts like "The execution of their threat to with hold their taxes, & to apply them for their defence" and "Their mode of calling a convention is certainly irregular & unconstitutional"

2) He is in support of another group seceding with the agreement and endorsement of his faction

Maybe I'm missing something but it seems he's vehemently apposed to unilateral secession, even the convention to discuss such a thing (not unlike the Southern states that became the Confederacy), but he was fine with an agreement of secession when both sides clearly can't agree on differing directions but both agree on a split.


Obviously it's hard to completely compare different historical events with similarities but are obviously different, as is the case always. Though that's my impression from reading his words.

We appear to be in good company in being confused.

Historical reputation
Although many historians and others are embarrassed about his contradictions and have sought to knock him off the democratic pedestal ... his position, though shaky, still seems secure.
 

OpnCoronet

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It wasn't moot in 1860.




The Virginian's of 1860 were just as wrong as Jefferson in 1809, from the perspective of 1865.

From the perspective of 1860, there was no more proof that Jefferson was right, than the proof that he was wrong.

From the perspective of 1809, Jefferson's thoughts on the Constitution, should not be counted as the equal of those who were actually present at the Framing of the Constitution and participated in the effort to get its adoption, as written and framed.
 

jgoodguy

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The Virginian's of 1860 were just as wrong as Jefferson in 1809, from the perspective of 1865.

From the perspective of 1860, there was no more proof that Jefferson was right, than the proof that he was wrong.

From the perspective of 1809, Jefferson's thoughts on the Constitution, should not be counted as the equal of those who were actually present at the Framing of the Constitution and participated in the effort to get its adoption, as written and framed.
IMHO consolidation nationalism evolved from several competing options. Jefferson's was one of them. There is an ideal theory of States Rights that Jefferson and many founding fathers held outside of the Hamilton type Federalism, which in my view was not a majority view at the convention and my biased view more oriented toward protecting the moneyed classes than anything else. Running a country is a practical exercise and the ideal theories foundered in the sea of practicality.

The Whiskey rebellion ended the ideal of both the Hamilton experiment and the ideal State experiment. One cannot depend on States nor can one trample over voters.
 
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