One review for my 9 Presidents Who Screwed Up America complained about my inclusion of Abraham Lincoln. The crime? My “originalist” position falls apart when I start talking about secession. You see, to this fellow, the Constitution says nothing about secession, which means it is an implied power.
After all, if it doesn’t say you can do it, you can’t do it.
That’s right, except the Constitution is intended to restrict the powers of the general government not the states. Outside of Article 1, Section 10, the powers of the states are limitless, including the power of secession. It is not prohibited by the Constitution, making it a reserved power. After all, the states created both the general government and the Union and therefore can leave if it necessary.
If this guy understood federalism and the way the Constitution was sold to the states during ratification, he would know that. But I bet he received his history from someone who subscribes to the AHA or some other mainstream nationalist history teacher.
This is a teachable moment which is why I covered it in Episode 108 of The Brion McClanahan Show.
It is also important to note that with people like this running around, we certainly live in Hamilton’s America, even though he argued against this guy’s interpretation of the Constitution in 1788. We all know he lied, or at least you would if you read my forthcoming How Alexander Hamilton Screwed Up America.
Brion McClanahan holds a Ph.D. in American History from the University of South Carolina and a faculty member at Tom Woods’ Liberty Classroom. He is the author or co-author of four books, The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution, Forgotten Conservatives in American History (with Clyde Wilson), The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Founding Fathers, and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Real American Heroes (forthcoming, November 2012). Find him on Facebook and YouTube.