Shock: Establishment Observer Opposes Nullification

Dean Clancy of FreedomWorks tweets this morning, “Our modern-day nullifiers & secessionists base their hopeless agenda on the mistaken ‘compact’ theory of the Union. States aren’t sovereign.” (UPDATE: Clancy notes that he is not speaking for the organization.)

We must stand in breathless awe at the extraordinary courage it must have taken to attack “nullificationists and secessionists,” who are of course some of the most popular people in America.

One small error creeps into Clancy’s sentence. The compact theory of the Union does not in fact claim that the “states are sovereign.” No governing body is sovereign in the American system. The peoples of the states are sovereign.

Now some people may be so impertinent as to demand something other than Dean Clancy’s ex cathedra pronouncement before they reject Thomas Jefferson’s theory of the Union in favor of the view held by a D.C. pressure group.

After all, the compact theory rests on the crazy idea that the creators of something precede the thing created, logically and temporally. Thus compact theorists actually think the bride and groom come before the marriage; we are evidently instead supposed to believe that first there is a marriage, and the marriage in turn creates the bride and groom.

(I present the evidence for the compact theory in chapter 4 of my book Nullification, which for a limited time you can get for a mere ten smackers. Here’s the gist of the compact theory.)

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  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.mccandliss Brian McCandliss

    What do you expect from someone who believes that states can be sovereign both individually AND collectively, just because (he claims) that the Constitution says so? Clearly he subscribes to the Marxist notion of the abstract entity of the corporate-state, rather than the democratic principle of the state extending from the individual rather than vice-versa.

    The phrase “people of the state” is singular by pertaining to individuals in the delegating sense, with the state proceeding from the individual and not vice-versa; thence we see the concept of inalienable rights, since the people, being both equal and inalienable, own the land of the state in common, while owning themselves in particular. Thus they collectively determine the laws, but agree NOT to alienate any person in so doing.
    Protecting such inalienable rights is the intended purpose behind the system of dual-republics, both state and federal, but both of which only hold DELEGATED authority by the People themselves, who hold SOVEREIGN authority over the state itself; thus if the government runs amuck, the people of the state can convene to overrule it by virtue of their being the ruling sovereigns OF that state (since again, sovereignty exists solely within the individual, who simply delegates authority to underling government agents by virtue of that); and thus, sovereign jurisdiction pertains solely to the land in question, and extends only by formal declaration of war or letter of marque; just like a New York state policeman cannot unilaterally serve warrant on a thief who fled to Toronto.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.mccandliss Brian McCandliss

    Tom Woods

    The compact theory of
    the Union is just about one of the most persuasive theories I have ever
    encountered.

    There is no “Union” in the sense claimed by Unionists, i.e. that there was one nameless and mysterious “phantom union” originating
    from the United Colonies formed by the Articles of Association, and which
    supposedly becamea single nation in 1776.

    I cover this in my video in detail.

    Why would the states
    have ratified the Constitution one by one?

    Because they lacked the unanimity that Articles of
    Confederation required in order to
    change them (under Article XIII), and so they needed the sovereign authority of
    the People of each individual state
    in order to overrule and abolish the articles by seceding from the
    Confederation entirely

    As Madison stated in Federalist 40, the Constitution’s nine-state
    ratification requirement in Article VII, was to prevent any one state from
    being able to block its adoption by the other states.

    If the “phantom union” was truly a single nation, and not
    simply an international association of sovereign nations, then the people of one
    state would have no power to thus unilaterally break from it and “alter and
    abolish their government and elect a new one.”

    In contrast, the sovereign rulers of a nation can do anything; the sovereign binds the law,
    the law cannot bind the sovereign; for the sovereign makes the law.

    Why did the
    Declaration speak of free and independent states?

    They not only spoke of “Free and Independent States,” they
    did so in the context 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.”

    That’s plain English, and there’s no need to break it down. Only sovereign States can do those things; subordinate
    states cannot; and the notion that they collectively sovereign while being individually
    subordinate to some nameless “phantom union” is schizophrenically asurd.

    Why did the states
    perform actions we associate with sovereignty?

    To be specific, they expressly retained their “freedom,
    sovereignty and independence” under the Articles of Confederation

    Why did Britain
    acknowledge the independence of individual states?

    Correction: they acknowledged the freedom, sovereignty and independence of the
    states individually.

    To wit from the 1783 Treaty of Paris on September 30, 1783, Article
    1:

    “His Brittanic Majesty acknowledges the said United States,
    viz., New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence
    Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware,
    Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free
    sovereign and independent states, that he treats with them as such, and for
    himself, his heirs, and successors, relinquishes all claims to the government,
    propriety, and territorial rights of the same and every part thereof.”

    That is quite plain; they are not a single sovereign state,
    but sovereign states—i.e. sovereign
    nations each with their own respective land, not collective.

    These are just a few
    of the difficulties the nationalists have to overcome.

    As I mention above, this is why Yale Constitutional Law professor
    Akhil Reed Amar, in his works, claims that the states were sovereign nations
    unto themselves, but relinquished
    that sovereignty in the “fine print” of the Constitution—specifically Article
    V, when he states that unlike under the Articles of Confederation, the
    states agreed to be bound by amendments to the Constitution even if they voted
    against the Amendment via the ¾ ratification-clause.

    Of course this is absurd poppycock, since sovereign nations
    can only be bound on a voluntary basis regardless of any wordings between them,
    unless they expressly relinquish their sovereignty to become a single nation;
    and the Constitution contains no such
    express manifestation, regardless of how charlatans may twist words (like
    Wilson’s denying the First Amendment as “you
    can’t shout fire in a crowded theater,” or Lincoln’s claim of “the Constitution
    is not a suicide-pact” and “you can’t heckle a tightrope-walker” etc.)

    No, any person literate in international law, would find no
    such intent to combine sovereignty between signatory-nations to the
    Constitution.

    The New York Times reference is shorthand for a phenomenon that practically
    defines the D.C. right: we’ll adopt safe forms of resistance, which challenge
    none of the assumptions of the regime, and we’ll attack or demonize people who
    do register such forms of oposiiton.

    There’s no danger in simply telling people the truth, i.e.
    that each state is a sovereign nation unto itself by law, and that the People
    of each state are its ruling sovereigns. That’s the truth, and you either use it or
    lose it.

    There is nothing to be gained by going the route of Gandhi or
    Thoreau via passive resistance and civil disobedience, when Washington and
    Jefferson already made them individual
    sovereign nations, years before the 10th Amendment or anything else
    in the Constitution even existed.

    As sovereign ruling citizens of separate nations aka (sovereign
    states), we are not simply disagreeing with the federal government over how they
    interpret over laws of a nation, as do most “states’ rights” advocates; we are
    the ruling sovereigns of nations under hostile occupation and conquest by an
    illegitimate pseudo-state. Therefore
    until people realize and learn this one simple fact, then they’ll continue to be slaves to ignorance who blame
    each other since they think they’re free.

    What if Poles under Hitler agreed, along with other nations, that
    Poland was the proper sovereign territory of of Germany by law, but they simply
    disagreed with Hitler’s enforcement of
    the Weimar Constitution? Or that everyone agreed that Kuwait was a proper
    district of Iraq, but he simply abused their nation’s charter as well?

    I’ll tell you: Poland would still be part of Germany, and
    Saddam Hussein would still reign over Kuwait.

    You can’t oust a conqueror ‘s might while conceding his
    right!

    So the Tenth Amendment crowd is just spinning in circles, essentially claiming
    that they have the right to petition the federal government for redress of
    grievance; I.e. In asserting non-existent rights under the
    Tenth Amendment, they’re re-inventing the
    wheel via simply claiming rights that already exist the First Amendment.

    Meanwhile as they declare the already-existing right (and
    useless) right to simply petition the
    federal government, they miss the power
    to enforce the Constitution by actual
    sovereign authority of a state’s People to overrule
    it.

    Thus I am forced to observe that states are either sovereign
    nations, or they are nothing; a national
    Constitution is no Constitution. As Madison wrote in his 1800 Report on the
    Virginia Resolutions:

    ————–

    It is indeed true that the term “states” is
    sometimes used in a vague sense, and sometimes in different senses, according
    to the subject to which it is applied. Thus it sometimes means the separate
    sections of territory occupied by the political societies within each;
    sometimes the particular governments established by those societies; sometimes
    those societies as organized into those particular governments; and lastly, it
    means the people composing those political societies, in their highest
    sovereign capacity. Although it might be wished that the perfection of language
    admitted less diversity in the signification of the same words, yet little
    inconvenience is produced by it, where the true sense can be collected with
    certainty from the different applications. In the present instance, whatever
    different construction of the term “states,” in the resolution, may
    have been entertained, all will at least concur in that last mentioned; because
    in that sense the Constitution was submitted to the “states;” in that
    sense the “states” ratified it; and in that sense of the term
    “states,” they are consequently parties to the compact from which the
    powers of the federal government result.

    “However true, therefore, it may be, that the judicial department is, in all
    questions submitted to it by the forms of the Constitution, to decide in the
    last resort, this resort must necessarily be deemed the last in relation to the
    authorities of the other departments of the government; not in relation to the
    rights of the parties to the constitutional compact, from which the judicial,
    as well as the other departments, hold their delegated trusts. On any other
    hypothesis, the delegation of judicial power would annul the authority
    delegating it; and the concurrence of this department with the others in
    usurped powers, might subvert forever, and beyond the possible reach of any
    rightful remedy, the very Constitution which all were instituted to preserve.”

    And so it has.

  • http://tomwoods.com Tom Woods

    This is 100% uncomprehending. McCandliss thinks he is refuting me, or that I myself am adopting the nationalist view. He is answering rhetorical questions as if they were seriously posed. I do not know where to begin.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.mccandliss Brian McCandliss

    I’m afraid this “firewalls” notion implies a single-nation theory, since separate nations by definition do not need them, and single nations cannot use them. Rather, a national Constitution is NO Constitution, as Madison and Jefferson observed, since there is no means for any state to enforce it other than appeal to the same government that breached it– a catch-22 if ever one existed.
    This is why Lincoln found it necessary to phrase his denial of such breaches a rhetorical question which none could answer twice from a state of freedom, while Jackson likewise limited a state’s recourse to the Supreme Court or the sword.

    But all evidence proves that each state is sovereign nation by law, and thus any union between them can only be voluntary, while the Constitutional limitations are simply the formal demarcations thereof– not a subjective grounds for appeal to their new masters’ whims.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.mccandliss Brian McCandliss

    “The People” are the citizens of each state, and they authorize delegates to speak for them by right of their sovereign jurisdiction over the state in question.
    Under the Unionist view, this defaults to the federal government, since the Constitution naturally makes no provision for any such “People of the nation,” since the union ISN’T a nation and never was, and never will unless the individual states manifestly express it as an act of sovereign will.
    So far, they didn’t, so it’s not.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.mccandliss Brian McCandliss

    Because federalism implies separation among the individual districts; however sovereign states imply separate nations, and federalism between them must therefore be 100% voluntary.

    This makes Lincoln into perhaps the most deranged lunatic in history, and so it’s like telling Al Queda the truth about Mohammed, wish similar responses starting with abject denial.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.mccandliss Brian McCandliss

    “Federalism is contrasted with “nationalism” which implies one,
    massive, central government with no (or extremely limited) state
    governments. ”

    No, it implies a single sovereign STATE.
    Of course it’s impossible for individual subordinate states to form one collective sovereign state, but power renders logic obsolete; this is indeed the Matrix in which we find ourselves after swallowing the Red Pill; even Keaneu Reeves could figure that one out.
    “WHOA!”

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.mccandliss Brian McCandliss

    >>Right. “Limited government federalism” is wanting to have cake and eat
    it too. There’s just no way that a supreme central authority (which
    federalism advocates) can be limited.

    No, that’s supreme NATIONAL authority.
    Supreme federal authority is limited by the nations forming the federal republic in question, which is therefore VOLUNTARY, and so the ruling sovereigns of any state (i.e. the People of the state) can choose to NULLIFY or overrule any of the precepts or laws between them.
    This is what differentiates a federal republic from a treaty, i.e. if one nation violates one term of the treaty, then the entire treaty is lost; but if one nation violates the terms of a federal republic, then the republic remains in force but only that particular term is abrogated for all sides.
    However since the American Union involves sovereign states which are supremely ruled by the respective PEOPLE and not their state government, then this is unlikely to happen, since overruling any federal law requires the People of the state to convene and nullify the law in convention.

    However in any event, it is the THREAT of nullification that enforces the Constitution, since otherwise it would cost both sides if either side breached it.

    And this is precisely why the Union BROKE DOWN only after Jackson DENIED this national soveriegnty of the states under the law he passed in 1833– specifically 4 Stat. 632 (1833), enacted by the 22nd U.S. Congress, expanding Presidential power
    ection 5 deals with States, or portions within a state, who employ to use whatever force necessary
    to suppress States who obstructed the execution of U.S. federal law, or interfere with the process of any Federal court.

    This law effectively revised history and made an international federal republic into a NATIONAL one.

    Am I the the ONLY who knows this?

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.mccandliss Brian McCandliss

    Neoconservatives believe that the Constitution changed under the Lincoln administration… retroactively, to change historical facts from the year 1776.
    Thus like the the term “neoconservative” itself, the movement defines an oxymoron.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.mccandliss Brian McCandliss

    Since we’re levelling, Woods is the fair-weather hero who’s AFRAID to say that the sates are sovereign nations.
    Note he will claim he will never come out and say it plainly, but here only claims that he doesn’t NOT say it– in the finest manner of professional brinksmanship; and in doing so, he gets in the way of those of us with the courage of our convictions, while he hides behind long-winded books and fancy degrees, claiming the defense that it’s buried deep somewhere in the text, when it SHOULD be on cover. Then he wants us to buy his book to prove him right.
    Paltry, sir, you are a disgrace.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.mccandliss Brian McCandliss

    Lincoln simply enforced legal precedent set under Jackson 28 years prior: specifically, the “Force Law,” aka 4 Stat. 632 (1833), enacted by the 22nd U.S. Congress, consists of eight sections expanding Presidential power to subject states to military coercion for enforcement of federal law.
    This law singly usurped the national sovereignty of every state, and set legal precedent for the force that Lincoln used 28 years later in succeeding generations which had by then fully accepted that sentiment.
    And thus the end of freedom came not with a shout but with a whisper, as few in the non-seceding states rose up in protest; and those protests in turn were short-lived under Lincoln’s reign of terror and censorship– which are the REASONS that the first casualty of war is truth.

  • Solid Snake

    Except they don’t. “representatives” can only represent themselves. http://mises.org/Community/blogs/brainpolice/archive/2008/04/28/the-myth-of-quot-the-rule-of-law-quot.aspx

  • Anonymous

    Say a man sneaks into my house at night, wakes me with a gun to my head, and then asks my wife for the location of her jewelry box.
    Am I still sovereign over my property?
    Yes, or no?

  • Anonymous

    Legal precedent is not something to be enforced.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.mccandliss Brian McCandliss

    I’m asking Tom Woods, because I would like to get his word on record one way or the other.

    The problem with the libertarian movement, i.e. they claim to uphold the Constitution, but will not directly say that each state is a sovereign nation unto itself, in the sense of other sovereign nations like France or Italy; and by failing to do so, they tacitly concur with the Union-nationalists who claim that the Union is a single nation.

    In essence, this also concurs with Hitler’s claim in Mein Kampf:

    ———————————————
    “What is a federated state?

    By a federated state we understand a league of sovereign
    states which band together of their own free will, on the strength of
    their sovereignty; ceding to the totality that share of their particular
    sovereign rights which makes possible and guarantees the existence of
    the common federation.

    In practice this theoretical formulation does not apply
    entirely to any of the federated states existing on earth today. Least
    of all to the American Union, where, as far as the overwhelming part of
    the individual states are concerned, there can be no question of any
    original sovereignty, but, on the contrary, many of them were sketched
    into the total area of the Union in the course of time, so to speak.
    Hence in the individual states of the American Union we have mostly to
    do with smaller and larger territories, formed for technical,
    administrative reasons, and, often marked out with a ruler, states which
    previously had not and could not have possessed any state sovereignty
    of their own. For it was not these states that had formed the Union, on
    the contrary it was the Union which formed a great part of such
    so-called states. The very extensive special rights granted, or rather
    assigned, to the individual territories are not only in keeping with the
    whole character of this federation of states, but above all with the
    size of its area, its spatial dimensions which approach the scope of a
    continent. And so, as far as the states of the American Union are
    concerned, we cannot speak of their state sovereignty, but only of their
    constitutionally established and guaranteed rights, or better, perhaps,
    privileges.”

    –Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf,” Volume II, Chapter 10, “Federalism a as a mask [for sovereign nations]”

    http://www.redbrick.dcu.ie/~emperor/MK/mkv2ch10.html

    ——————————–

    Thus Hitler concurred with this same unionist view, citing American history as precedent for following suit in taking over the Germanic states such as Austria and Netherlands under the same claim of proper national authority.

    As stated, there can be no “states’ rights” under that false view, but only revocable.privileges; for the states have no sovereign to enforce them against the “federal” government which is actually the ruing sovereign power over the “nation” in question.
    That’s just plain logic.

    Thus whenever a libertarian” claims “states’ rights,” they must FIRST proclaim each state to be a sovereign nation unto itself; for otherwise, these “rights” are mere token privileges, and their claim has no meaning under the Tenth Amendment, but is simply a petition to the government for redress of grievance under the FIRST Amendment.

    if they fail to do so, they consent by their SILENCE to the view of the nationalists, including Hitler.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.mccandliss Brian McCandliss

    Actually legal precedent is REQUIRED to enforce any claim of law.
    This is why German officials could not be punished for war-crimes after WWI, i.e. since there was no precedent in Germany; and this was their defense.
    Meanwhile they WERE punished after WW2, because precedent had been established after WW1; and the Nuremberg tribunals cited that precedent in upholding the prosecutions, against the defense of simple Vae Victus.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.mccandliss Brian McCandliss

    Federal not national.

    “Each State, in ratifying the Constitution, is considered as a sovereign body, independent of all others, and only to be bound by its own voluntary act. In this relation, then, the new Constitution will, if established, be a federal, and not a national constitution.”

    –James Madison, Federalist No. 39

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.mccandliss Brian McCandliss

    I’m not refuting anything, I’m trying to resolve confusing regarding the nature of the states– vs. state *governments.*

    This distinction is vital, since state governments are subordinate to the federal government under Article VI of the Constitution, while the state itself– i.e. the People of the state “in their highest sovereign capacity,” as Madison lays out in his 1800 Report on the Virginia Resolutions– are supremely sovereign as a separate nation.
    Madison wrote this Report in response to objections by other states, to the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions; these states were rejecting the notion that state *governments* were at liberty to interpret the Constitution, and unilaterally flout federal law on their own authority by declaring it in breach thereof.

    Madison’s Report was written specifically to clarify his meaning, to explain that the state governments did NOT have this authority, but only the state’s sovereign People– who after all were the parties to the Constitution, being the ratifiers thereof.

    To wit, the relevant portion of Article VI reads as follows:

    “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States
    which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall
    be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of
    the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in
    the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

    “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and
    the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial
    Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound
    by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test
    shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under
    the United States.”

    Note carefully the above: ” Judges in every State shall be bound thereby,” “”The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and
    the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial
    Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound
    by Oath or Affirmation”.
    Here, this means that the People of each state, in ratifying the Constitution, bound their respective state and federal government officials to obey federal law.

    Nullification of federal law, in contrast, was wholly the privy of the State’s PEOPLE– just as when they ratified the Constitution by nullifying and abolishing the Articles of Confederation.
    As Madison wrote in Federalist No. 40:
    —————————
    “In one particular it is admitted that the convention have
    departed from the tenor of their commission. Instead of reporting a plan
    requiring the confirmation [of the legislatures] of all the states, they
    have reported a plan which is to be confirmed [by the people,] and may
    be carried into effect by nine States only. It is worthy of remark that
    this objection, though the most plausible, has been the least urged in the
    publications which have swarmed against the convention. The forbearance can only
    have proceeded from an irresistible conviction of the absurdity of subjecting
    the fate of twelve States to the perverseness or corruption of a thirteenth”.
    ———————–
    (Brackets in original source).

    Here, the term “the tenor of their commission,” refers to the fact that the original Convention’s purpose, was strictly to revise the Articles of Confederation. However again required unanimous consent of all states in Congress, as per Article XIII of that document; and as noted here, Madison explains the desire to abrogate that requirement.

    Again, this exceeded the power of any state’s officials in Congress, and therefore the Constitution instead had to be ratified by the *People* of each ratifying state.

    However it bears mention once more, that they did not relinquish their state’s sovereignty as a nation by doing so; but they did RE-DELEGATE their state governments as subordinate to the federal government.
    And therefore, it is essential to distinguish states vs. state *governments,* lest one falls prey to this misconception that Article VI.

    This likewise relates to the pitfall of the Corporate State, since the Constitution does not name any *sovereigns,* i.e. the person or persons who are the supreme rulers of the state.
    As Madison noted in Federalist 39, these were to be the People of each individual state, who thus had the sole power to ratify the Constitution. Those uninformed of this fact, will thus default to the current Corporate State mindset, i.e. that sovereignty exists in the state itself, or in the whole “People of the United States” in common misinterpretation of the Preamble phrase.

    Under such myth, effective sovereignty effectively defaults to the sitting 545 officials in the federal government: i.e. the 435 representatives and 100 senators, 9 Justices of the US Supreme Court, and the president; together these form an oligarchy which wields absolute power among themselves, subject to no rule but their own; meanwhile the actual People retain only the power to replace their local federal delegates in Congress and the president, while the power itself resides in that office.

    Even if every single citizen were to Convene a straw-vote to exercise sovereign will among themselves, such a “national referendum,” though unanimous, would have absolutely zero legal effect; for the Constitution, being federal and not national, naturally makes no provision for such.

    And thus, the notion of “government by the people,” is merely a myth to give the illusion of freedom to actual subjects of what is actually an imperial pseudo-state; as in the words of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote, “there are no people more hopelessly enslaved, than those who falsely believe themselves to be free.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.mccandliss Brian McCandliss

    “Marriage DOES create the bride and groom.”

    I know what you’re saying, but allow me to expand in a legal view:

    Marriage is a contract, i.e. a promise that the law will enforce.

    The law CANNOT enforce a promise between sovereign nations; this is why Jefferson wrote in the Kentucky Resolutions, 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.”

    Lincoln, meanwhile, distorted the facts (as usual) in his First Inaugural Address, paying lip-service to the law:

    “If the United States be not a government proper, but an association of
    States in the nature of contract merely, can it, as a contract, be
    peaceably unmade by less than all the parties who made it? One party to a
    contract may violate it—break it, so to speak—but does it not require
    all to lawfully rescind it?”

    This begs the question, since here Lincoln ignores that states would be necessarily sovereign in order to thus “contract” with one another; and sovereign states, as Jefferson notes, have no common judge among them.
    And thus, the answer to his question is in the negative.

  • Anonymous

    I have no problem with this statement…
    “Actually legal precedent is REQUIRED to enforce any claim of law.”
    I have a problem with this statement…
    “Lincoln simply enforced legal precedent set under Jackson 28 years prior.”
    Law or claims of law may be enforced. Legal precedent may be set. There is a difference. “Lincoln simply enforced legal precedent” does not make sense. Neither does this…
    “Lincoln simply enforced legal precedent enforced under Jackson 28 years prior.”
    Executing and/or enforcing law is the President’s business. Establishing legal precedent is not. Legal precedent is a judicial concern as were the examples you gave regarding war-crimes of WW1 and WW2.
    It doesn’t matter if it was 28 or 128 years between Jackson and Lincoln. Jackson neither enforced nor set precedent by subjecting states to military coercion. He never did use military coercion to subject states.
    Neither did Lincoln enforce federal law. You mentioned the “Force Law,” aka 4 Stat. 632 and its consisting of eight sections. The eighth section was a sunset clause. It was nonexistent for a quarter century by the time Lincoln engaged military coercion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.mccandliss Brian McCandliss

    I see you’re not getting this. It’s quite simple:

    1. Congress originally accepted that states were sovereign (popularly, not legislatively).
    2. In 1833, Jackson set legal precedent by signing the law, which held that states subject to military coercion.
    3. For 28 years, Congress accepted the idea that it had the power to military coerce the states.
    4. In 1861, Lincoln ordered military force, and Congress upheld it.

    Thus, the erosion of state sovereignty was a gradual process which took place over several decades; Lincoln did not simply take office and strike down state sovereignty were it existed the day before.

    “Executing and/or enforcing law is the President’s business. Establishing legal precedent is not.”

    No, presidents can also sponsor bills in Congress, and they must sign bills into law when there’s less than a 2/3 majority.
    Jackson did both with the Force Bill, sponsoring it through Congress in his Nullification Proclamation, and signing it into law– thus making him the first president to officially deny the right of states to secede.

    Libertarians singly blame Lincoln for striking down state sovereignty out of the blue, but there was a lot more history to it than this.

  • Anonymous

    I do not wish to digress here on the growing number of tangents along the way. I’ll stick to first and last. At first I merely meant to clear up ambiguity presented by you in a sentence that implied the enforcement of legal precedent. I intended to establish and make clear the difference between legal precedent and law. The details of their respective definitions are unimportant to me at the moment but for the recognition that they are different, and you have shown adequate recognition of such difference thusfar.
    At last you made reference to libertarians and Lincoln. I personally don’t know any libertarians that singly blame Lincoln as such, and I personally don’t know any libertarians who don’t recognize the rich history of those similar to Lincoln that preceded Lincoln. I simply am unaware of any such libertarians, have never met any as such, and therefore can’t give you any names. However, I do know of a small [but growing] number of libertarians who see Lincoln as one who rose above his predecessors in effectively subjecting States to general government. I have met some and can even give you names. I’ll start with my own.

  • Guest

    Those who authorized the constitution were few and those men are dead anyhow. Men long dead cannot bind those not yet living into “involuntary contracts”

  • G. Molinari

    Those who authorized the constitution were few and those men are dead anyhow. Men long dead cannot bind those not yet living into “contracts”