Historical Ignorance: The War of 1861 Established Federal Dominance

The victors of war write its history in order to cast themselves in the most favorable light. That explains the considerable historical ignorance about our war of 1861 and panic over the Confederate flag. To create better understanding, we have to start a bit before the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.

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The Founders Urged Resistance, not “slavish” obedience

“That the doctrine of non-resistance against arbitrary power and oppression is absurd, slavish, and destructive to the good and happiness of mankind.”
– North Carolina Ratification Document

Short version – violations of your liberty shouldn’t be met with anything but resistance. We call it nullification – by states, localities and individuals.

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Did the Civil War End State Sovereignty?

The short answer to your question is that the Civil War had no effect on state sovereignty and nullification, at least not legally. Some people may point to the Fourteenth Amendment as evidence that the federal government acquired expansive new powers over the states, but that argument doesn’t hold weight when scrutinized closely.

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Thomas Jefferson on the Military Draft: “The last of all oppressions”

Sometimes it comes down to the question of what is more important, the rights of individuals or the existence of the nation state? In this case, in the face of serious difficulties faced by the colonists in their war against the British Empire, Jefferson came down on the side of individual liberty.

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Matthew Lyon: The Sedition Act’s First Victim

The freedom of speech is one of the most fundamental rights we possess.  This basic natural right is not contingent upon laws or social traditions.  Essentially, it is nothing short of inalienable and universal between all peoples at all times.  However, in practice, it seldom observed as such.  From the early Tolerance Act of 1689 to current “Free Speech Zones” across American universities, men have tried to quell this freedom.

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George Washington on Political vs Commercial Relations with Foreign Nations

As the military leader of the American Revolution and the country’s first president, Washington is a highly revered figure. His Farewell Address from the office of the President is a timely reminder of a tradition of a non-interventionist American foreign policy which was potent in the early years of the new Republic. This passage comes…

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James Monroe writes to Thomas Jefferson on State vs Federal Governments

Written May 4, 1801 The Writings of James Monroe. Edited by Stanislaus Murray Hamilton. 7 vols. New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1898–1903. There is a subject to which I wish to engage yr. particular attention. Before I came into this office I was of opinion that the correspondence between the Executive of…

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Lessons from the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions

America has had a long tradition of political discourse.  Enough so, that a whole governmental system was developed with strong recognition of our disagreements. Throughout American history, men of great courage stood up for what they thought was right, even when others scorned them. Most notably were the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798 and 1799, respectively.

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