…in fact, it never really was.
One of the most common objections I hear in any discussion about States’ rights, Nullification and Interposition is, “Well, what about Jim Crow and segregation?” (p.s. Jim Crow laws existed in Union states such as California and North Dakota, so it’s not just the South) For a while, my most common reply was, “OK, so you’re going to shoot down the entire concept of Nullification, which resisted the Alien Sedition Acts, Fugitive Slave Laws, overreaching federal drug laws, a Big Brother national ID card, etc. over one abuse of it?” To be honest, in my personal opinion, there has been a second, that of sanctuary states and cities in violation of federal immigration law, but that is again my personal opinion. It is interesting, however that many big government types in DC in both parties who would bring up Jim Crow actually like those sanctuary states and cities. In addition, there is a recent potential third, as North Carolina Governor Beverly Purdue (I could make a series of jokes about her being “chicken,” but I’ll save that for friendly gatherings) proposed suspending Congressional elections in 2012 to “focus on the economy.”
However, one should look at Jim Crow and segregation as a legitimate concern when discussing Nullification. After all, the federal government Constitutionally banned slavery after the Civil War, which was one good thing to come out of an awful war (again, in my opinion, the only good thing, which could have come about in more peaceful ways). The Reconstruction begun under Lincoln and Johnson took a more vengeful turn during the Radical Reconstruction. Congress refused to seat elected representation from the South. When southern states passed black codes attempting to deny blacks voting rights, and in some cases reimpose a de facto slavery, the federal government intervened, eventually dividing up the South into military occupied zones. It was an ugly mess, and from freedom’s point of view, nobody was right.Details