Checks And Balances? I Don’t Gotta Pay Attention To No Stinkin’ Checks And Balances

by Al Benson Jr.

The title of this article is a paraphrase of the words spoken by the Mexican bandit in the movie Sierra Madre. I used this as a title because it displays that checks and balances in the Constitution sounds really great to the unitiated , but let’s face it, they don’t really work. And the question I closed my most recent article with was “If the checks and balances in the Constitution don’t really work, then what else in the Constitution doesn’t really work either?” That is a question we really need to start to grapple with.

That checks and balances don’t really work has been amply demonstrated by the activities of recent presidents who, basically, do just what they want and almost no one dares to call any attention to it in such a way as to make any difference.

Back in 2006 writer Charlie Savage of the Boston Globe noted that George W. Bush “has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress if it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.” If you or I disobeyed all these laws we’d find ourselves in the slammer for life, but for the president, if he doesn’t happen to agree with them, it’s perfectly okay to ignore or disobey them. Do we have a situation here where all the animals in the barnyard or equal, only some are much more equal than others? Guess you could say that. Where was Congress and the balance of powers while all this went on? The article I took that fact from was written by a Louis Fisher, and he asked: “Does the United States have two sets of laws, one publicly performed by Congress and the other conducted after the fact by executive officials? Is the second superior to the first?” That’s a good question. Most people don’t think to ask it. But the answer is; of course it is. Anyone who knows how this country is run anymore knows that. It may not be legally superior but in practice it’s superior.

As an aside, look at how much the Christians supported Bush both times he ran. His candidacy both times was a big “lovefest” for the Christians. Bush could do no wrong. He was our secular messiah par excellence and most of the church loved him. Of course they, as usual, didn’t bother to do any homework; they just bought the propaganda, and I have to admit, I bought some of it too, in regard to his cabinet member, John Ashcroft, who was supposed to be a Christian. I wrote an article defending him, but as time went on and I watched him grabbing for more and more power, I was forced to write another article stating that I had been wrong about him and that he had succumbed to the lure of government power. Checks and balances didn’t stop Ashcroft from grabbing for all the power he could get.

Recently I also read an article by Rick Santorum, published on http://www.redstate.com back in July of 2012 and labeled Abuse of Power. There are times that I don’t agree with Mr. Santorum. I think his practice of conservatism is not always up to the par of his rhetorical conservatism. But having said that, I think that what he wrote in this particular article was pretty much on target.

Santorum noted several things. He observed: “While the Constitution is quite clear about the distinct and separate rolls for each of these branches, President Obama has shown difficulty in remembering that his role as President is, by design, quite limited. His administration has a tendency to ignore the law, circumvent the Constitution and checks and balances, and outright defy Congress.” So what does Congress do about this? Outside of some political hot air, mostly nothing. If Obama has the slightest concept of the president’s actual role he has willingly put it aside to fulfill the wishes of the ruling elite that engineered his way to the White House. Checks and balances? That’s for the rubes that don’t know how the system really works!

Continuing on, Santorum noted: “After signing Obamacare into law in 2010, the Obama administration immediately began circumventing checks and balances. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius began to wield legislative authority, granting waivers to companies and establishing new bureaucracies. Secretary Sebelius has set new budgets and new guidelines for implementing Obamacare, wholly without Congressional oversight.” Why didn’t Congress speak up? The Executive Branch just routinely by-passed Congress and Congress just sat it out? How does checks and balances work properly when one branch of the federal government is in collusion with the other to do what they basically both want?

Then there was that Supreme Court decision that said Obamacare was legal and legitimate and that it was really okay for the feds to force the public to buy something from a third party whether they wanted it or not. In April of 2012 Obama started to issue subtle warnings to the Supreme Court that they “should not” overturn his health care law. Unfortunately, in an egregious violation of the supposed checks and balances, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court did an about face and suddenly sided with the four liberals (socialists) on the court and handed down a “decision” that told us Obamacare was, indeed, constitutional. Folks, I submit that this is all “checks and balances” in living color! This is how it works out in practice, and it’s a whole different ballgame than what the “history” books have told us. The feds get to further whatever their current agenda is because all branches of the federal government work in collusion with one another–and the public gets a stick in the eye–as usual.

And then Santorum noted a situation that I followed when it occurred. He said: “In July of 2010, President Obama’s Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the state of Arizona for enforcing immigration laws rather than partnering with Arizona and other states to enforce federal immigration laws already on the books. Arizona was just enforcing the law that Obama refused to enforce. We need our congressional leaders to bravely stand up to the President and remind him of the basic Constitutional principle that was designed to protect our freedoms.” But was it? Or are we only supposed to be under the illusion that it does? Again, where was Congress to enforce the proper checks and balances?

Supposedly in the next week or so, El Presidente will unveil his thrilling new agenda to legalize millions of illegal aliens who are in violation of federal law by simply being here. Do I think he will try to amnesty them? I do. It will be his reward to them for being illegal. Do I think Congress will try to stop him? The House might. The Senate under “Dirty Harry” Reid will totally ignore the law and give Obama carte blanche to just do whatever he wants. Another shining example of how checks and balances really doesn’t work.

Advertisements

Was Liberty the Real End? Not Hardly!

by Al Benson Jr.

Gary M. Galles has been a professor of economics at Pepperdine University. Awhile back he wrote an article for http://www.freedomforallseasons.org which was entitled The Anti-Federalists Were Right. Galles noted in his article that: “Anti-Federalists opposed the Constitution on the grounds that its checks on federal power would be undermined by expansive interpretations of promoting the ‘general welfare’ (which could be claimed with every law) and the ‘all laws necessary and proper’ clause (which could be used to override limits on delegated federal powers), creating a federal government with unwarranted and undefeated powers that were bound to be abused.” In the light of subsequent history it’s hard to argue with that analysis. Can anyone say “Obamacare”?

Gary North, in an article on mises.ca/ wrote quite plainly that: “The Constitution was deliberately designed to centralize power vastly beyond what the legitimate constitution–the Articles of Confederation–allowed. The Federal government in 1787 was weak. In 1788 it was vastly stronger. The newly created Federal government immediately did two things. It accepted responsibility to pay off state debts. This was Alexander Hamilton’s proposal. He proposed it specifically to centralize the government by granting enormous profits to the investment class that had bought state debts for practically nothing. The Wikipedia article on this consolidation of federal debt is accurate in its discussion of Hamilton’s motives.” Sounds as if Hamilton had more than real liberty as the “direct end” of his agenda.

It was noted that: “Hamilton’s economic plan had multiple goals. First, the debts and honor of the nation would be secured…By selling bonds to pay the debt, bondholders would have a direct financial interest to help the new United States government survive and thrive…The plan would also create a bureaucracy of agents across the country who would be tied to the Federal government instead of the individual states. Assuming the debts of the states would likewise couple financial elites in those states to the national government and less to state governments, thereby reducing the risk of secession. Hamilton’s plan was called the ‘debt assumption plan,’ and it was a radical idea in 1790.” You can see from this one paragraph that Hamilton, from the beginning, was always the consummate collectivist and centralist, trying to tie everyone’s interests to the Federal government instead of to the states. And he sought to reduce the risk of secession, so he must have felt that secession was a legitimate option which he wanted to steer the states away from.

Madison and Jefferson initially opposed this, but, as Gary North observed: “When Madison and Jefferson opposed the plan, Hamilton bought them off by promising to support the swamp today known as Washington D.C. as the nation’s capitol. This was done at a private dinner with only the three in attendance. Jefferson later wrote about it.” I read one account that noted that, while Madison was still opposed to the idea, and might speak out against it, he would not do such very strenuously. How little has changed in Washington since 1790! Covert “dinners,” midnight voice votes in Congress, it was and is always the same game, and the public is always on the receiving end of the shaft.

Gary North noted the outcome of this grand bargain. “The Treasury Department quickly grew in stature and personnel, encompassing the United States Customs Service, the United States Revenue Cutter Service, and the network of Treasury agents Hamilton had foreseen. Hamilton immediately followed up his success with the Second Report on Public Credit, containing his plan for the Bank of the United States–a national, privately-operated bank owned in part by the government, which became the forerunner of the Federal Reserve System.” Do you begin to see where Hamilton was going now? The Bank of the United States–privately operated, owned “in part” by the government. One with a suspicious mind might be led to ask who owned the part the government didn’t. And since much of this is not included in the “history” books, are we forced to conclude that this is a question some would prefer not to be asked? After all, if you can’t trust your government… But you can see from this that our problems with bankers did not begin in 1913. That was chapter two.

As to Hamilton’s motives, North observed: “By 1791 Hamilton had created a vast Federal debt and the nation’s first central bank, owned privately. He had planned it from the beginning. That was why he promoted the Constitution. This is why he wrote most of The Federalist Papers. The anti-Federalists predicted accurately what was coming in 1787. It came. There was a conspiracy in Philadelphia in 1787. It was successful…To understand the expansion of Federal power in 1788, consider this. In 1786, the Federal government’s total army was 1,200 men. It was too small to come to the rescue of the state of Massachusetts in putting down Shay’s rebellion. This was a rebellion by rural counties against the state government’s decision in 1786 to pay off state debts in silver, collected from the counties. The governor and most of the members of the legislature had bought these debts for pennies in fiat currency. Now they were about to get very rich at the expense of rural taxpayers, who had little silver. A lot of counties revolted. That was the trigger that got George Washington to attend the (Constitutional) Convention, which he had previously refused to agree to attend. He had been completely misinformed about the motives of the protest. A former general of his sent him letters that concealed the politics of the revolt.” So Washington had no idea that the real reason for the rebellion was that the state government was stealing from its citizens. North continued: “In 1794, Washington personally led an army of 13,000 to crush a tax revolt in Western Pennsylvania…Because so few men volunteered, the Federal government imposed a draft. This was the whiskey rebellion. The revolt was against Hamilton’s 1791 tax on whiskey–a tax used to raise revenue to pay off Federal debts at face value–debts that the holders had purchased for pennies…Do you begin to see a pattern here? Centralized power? I guess you could say that. Seems the new Federal power was being used to help make the big money boys even richer at the expense of the rural farmers. I suppose you could label that as the 1794 version of redistribution of the wealth. And Hamilton was in on the ground floor. Beginning to connect the dots here?

And North has told us that what Hamilton could not accomplish on his own, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall, who was also a Federalist, did manage. Among his other “accomplishments” he managed to find time to squeeze in the writing of the opinion for McCulloch v. Maryland in 1819. This was an authorization for the privately-owned Second Bank of the United States to exercise a government-granted monopoly over our monetary system. The last half of chapter one!

North began the conclusion of his article with this: “The Constitution was from day one an instrument to consolidate Federal power and expand it. The Constitution has proven to be a weak reed in every attempt to slow down the expansion of Federal power. It has proven utterly impotent to roll Federal power back as little as a decade, ever.” Mr. North is pointing out the exact same thing I have been saying in regard to the fact that the checks and balances in the Constitution that are supposed to keep one branch of the government from overreaching and acting in the affairs of another branch just simply do not work. They are not effective and, given North’s analysis, you have to wonder if they were ever meant to be effective, or if they were only ever meant to be a cover seeming to do what they are not really doing.

Obama is now threatening Congress that if they refuse to legalize millions of illegal immigrants then he will just take executive action and do it himself. After all, he has a pen and a phone. It’s up to Congress to deal with this, not the dictator, (excuse me, I meant president–a slip of the fingers on the keyboard). For him to usurp the power of Congress goes against the vaunted “checks and balances” between branches of government that are supposed to be there for our protection. Suppose Obama just unilaterally decides to go and do this “because he can?” Do you know what Congress will do? Nothing!!! Oh, they’ll make a little fuss, a little political bloviation to try to save face, and that will be the end of it. Obama will do what he wants to do because, in the end, the Constitution won’t stop him.

Folks, we’ve been had since way back in 1787 and it’s about time we woke and and realized it. Do I think that will happen? Maybe in a couple hundred years, if we can rear up enough Christian-schooled and home schooled kids with the truth. Maybe.

Was Nationalism Sold To the Country As Federalism?

by Al Benson Jr.

It seems that, under the Articles of Confederation, there were states rights, as each state was considered sovereign and independent. However, with the ratification of the new constitution, that seems to have disappeared. Historian Clarence Carson has noted that, regarding the Articles of Confederation: “This bent, or tradition can be traced to many sources. Americans were, above all, a people of the book–the written word–the Bible. There was the Puritan idea, too, of the Covenant, an agreement between man and man and between man and God…Colonists had drawn their own political agreements, such as the Mayflower Compact and the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut…Once the colonies had broken away from England, the only historical allegiances that remained were to the states and localities…At any rate, there should be no doubt that the government of the United States under the Articles of Confederation was brought into being by the states.”

Some delegates saw the new Constitution as potentially tyrannical and refused to sign it. It seems that statesmen in those days had a far clearer view of things than do our present politicians, who I will not dignify by calling them statesmen.

George Mason of Virginia was unwilling to sign. The major objection was that the new document did not contain a bill of rights and there were objections in several state conventions to ratification being enacted too hastily without such being made part of the document. Patrick Henry argued, and rightfully so, in the light of history, that a specific bill of rights was essential. He observed that governments regularly and automatically assumed powers that were not prohibited to them. Can anyone in our day deny this truth? We have a Commander-in-Chief that regularly rules the country by executive fiat when he can’t get a usually-willing Congress to go along with something he has been instructed to ram through. And Congress never seems to complain. They sit back and let him do it. In our day the Executive Branch of government regularly usurps powers denied to it and the courts ignore the whole situation, giving the Executive and Legislative branches a wink and a nod as our rights are stolen. So much for checks and balances–another bill of goods we have been sold.

Added to all this was the continuing problem of differing views of the Constitution, which seems to have been a major problem back before the War of Northern Aggression.

In his book The Confederate Constitution of 1861 Marshall DeRosa noted that: “Within the context of American federalism does sovereignty reside in the people in their national or state capacities? To be more precise, does the U.S. Constitution establish an association of sovereign individuals within their respective states or a national community of sovereign individuals the states notwithstanding?” It seems that within the ‘more perfect Union” there has always been this tension. DeRosa noted that by 1861 this tension had become a major cleavage so that the Constitution “rather served as a vehicle for dissension and separation.”

DeRosa observed that: “This was most certainly the case by 1861, as Northerners insisted on a model of federalism consisting of a national community of individuals, with sovereignty being a national phenomenon–that is, nationalism–whereas Southerners adhered to a model consisting of a community of states.”

John C. Calhoun, while he was still alive, (he died in March, 1850) noticed that a transition was taking place wherein the old Federal Republic was being transformed into a consolidated democracy, which placed sovereign authority at the national level while taking power away from the states. That trend continued, with William Henry Seward claiming that the Constitution had established a national community of individuals and not a community of states. Seward was from New York.

And this thought has occurred to me–is it just possible that what Calhoun observed as a transformation was, in fact, actually there in seed form at the very beginning?

According to DeRosa, Seward claimed that: “the States are not parties to the Constitution as States; it is the Constitution of the people of the United States. But even if the States continue as States, they have surrendered their equality as States, and submitted themselves to the sway of the numerical majority…” There is no way I can agree with Seward’s blatant nationalism, but, what if that was really the intent from the beginning? What if nationalism was sold to the Southern states surreptitiously as federalism and, outside of a few men like Patrick Henry, hardly any grasped that? While that may sound far out to some, is it any further out than the idea of a group of men eagerly signing up for a “Union” they could not secede from only 13 years after they had experienced the same situation with Great Britain?

You have to wonder what would make men yoke themselves and their states again to a bondage they had only recently fought a war of independence to get away from. You have to wonder if some of these delegates had in mind something other than the freedom and liberty for both states and individuals that Patrick Henry envisioned.

An educated pastor once said to me “You have to wonder if there were some anti-Christs in that (constitutional) convention.” At the time, I did not grasp the enormity of his assertion. Now I have begun to.

Is the Constitution Really Inimical To States Rights?

by Al Benson Jr.

A lot of years ago now, when I first became involved in conservative and patriotic endeavors, I can recall many patriotic folks saying that we needed to get our government “back to the Constitution.” While I believe that would be a step in the right direction, away from the rogue government we have now with its Marxist proclivities, I am not sure that, in the long run, this would solve all our problems. Although for a little over a decade I believed that myself, so I am not faulting in any way those that believe it. However, over the years, events have changed my thinking.

For many years, when I first got involved in all the events that have shaped the direction I have gone in, I had a good friend, and sometimes mentor, Pastor Ennio Cugini, of the Clayville Church in North Scituate, Rhode Island, half a country and a whole culture away from where I am now. Pastor Cugini had a radio broadcast in Rhode Island called “The Victory Hour” which he used effectively and vigorously to expose the machinations of Communists, socialists, and various New World Order types, both in government and in the churches (yes, they were and are in the churches). He was also an avid reader of history. You have to be in order to deal effectively with what has gone on in this country for over two centuries. This is where so many Evangelicals fall by the wayside. Their grasp of our history is like the Platte River in our West, a mile wide and an inch deep.

I recall talking with Pastor Cugini on the phone one time, way back in 1980. My family and I were living in Indiana at the time. Pastor Cugini was telling me about a book he had just read, Patrick Henry–Patriot and Statesman by Norine Dickson Campbell, published all the way back in 1969. It was basically a biography of Patrick Henry, but towards the end of the book, actually starting on page 322, she delved into Mr. Henry’s views on the U.S. Constitution and why he was such an ardent foe of the ratification of that document in Virginia. Just that fact alone startled me, because none of the history books I could recall reading ever went into any of that. Nowadays, I am not surprised, but then I was. I had yet to grasp the truth the the “winners write the history books.” In fact, the “history” books never mentioned much at all about Patrick Henry. About all you ever got from them was a brief commentary about his “liberty or death” speech and then they pretty much dropped him out of the historical narrative (if you can call it that).

After hunting around I managed to find a copy of Miss Campbell’s book. It was the last copy the bookstore had, and over the years I have only seen one other copy. If it hasn’t been reprinted it should be. After reading her book I can understand why it didn’t get lots of coverage. In a nut shell, even in 1787, Patrick Henry was politically incorrect! And many of the Federalist mentality (it’s still out there) have never forgiven him.

Pastor Cugini told me something in that phone conversation I have never forgotten. He said that, while political conservatives wish we could simply get back to following the Constitution, he had concluded, from Henry’s comments included in the book, that “the Constitution is the problem.” Miss Campbell’s book gave a lot of Henry’s reasons for his opposition to it, as he put them forth in Virginia during his opposition to ratification.

Henry was downright prescient in his predictions of what would happen to this country if the Constitution was ratified. One of his most prophetic statements was that the Union that was cobbled together by the Constitution would not last 100 years. He was right on–it didn’t It didn’t last ninety years.

Henry had a problem with the wording of the Preamble, where it said “We the People” which he felt should have read “We the States” because it was the states that eventually ratified the document. He also noted, correctly, that the delegates from the various states that assembled in Philadelphia in 1787 did not have instructions from their states to form a new government–all they had been delegated to do was to amend the Articles of Confederation–and so they far overstepped their instructions in what they ended up doing. Miss Campbell’s book on Patrick Henry is excellent. If you can find a used copy in a book store or on Amazon.com grab it before someone beats you to it.

A more recently published biography of Patrick Henry has been written by David J. Vaughan and is entitled Give Me Liberty. Mr. Vaughan echoed much of what Miss Campbell had earlier stated. He wrote: “Although the federal Convention that met in Philadelphia in May of 1787 was authorized only to revise the existing Articles of Confederation, the delegates devised an entirely new constitution that was subsequently sent to the states for ratification. Those that favored the new Constitution were named ‘Federalists’ while their opponents were called ‘Anti-Federalists.’ These labels were apt to be misleading, however. In fact it would be more accurate to name the pro-Constitution faction as ‘nationalists’ and the opposing group as the true ‘Federalists.’ For it was Henry and those of similar sentiments who espoused the true sentiments of federalism–a federation of independent and sovereign states…”

Vaughan also noted that the pro-Constitution group, led by James Madison, felt a stronger national government was needed. He said: “The national government, they believed, needed the power to tax and to regulate commerce…The way to give energy to the national government was to give it power, but this required a change in its form. The Anti-Federalists, (or Federal Republicans as they often called themselves) were led by Henry of course. In general the Republicans were united on the principle of confederation…In effect, Henry charged the Constitutional Convention with illegal proceedings. And he was right.”

Part 2–More About Secession the “History” Books Haven’t Told Us

by Al Benson Jr.

It has been accurately asserted by author Gene H. Kizer Jr. that: “The arguments for the right of secession are unequivocal. There is the constitutional right based on the Compact Theory, and the revolutionary right based on the idea that a free people have a right to change their government anytime they see fit. The Compact Theory views the Constitution as a legal agreement between the states–a compact–and if any one state violates the compact, then the entire agreement becomes null and void. Northern states unquestionably violated the Constitution on a number of grounds including Personal Liberty Laws on their books, as well as by deliberately harboring fugitives from justice by protecting the sons of John Brown who were wanted by Virginia for murder at Harpers Ferry. Northern states also made a mockery of the Constitution’s Preamble which states clearly that the Constitution was established to ‘insure domestic tranquility’ and ‘promote the general Welfare.’ Certain prominent Northern leaders with the acquiescence of states like Massachusetts were utterly at war with the South and doing everything they could to destroy the domestic tranquility of the Southern states by encouraging slaves to murder white people, poison wells, destroy property and commit other acts of rapine. John Brown himself had been encouraged and financed by the North.”

I have, in the past, written about a group called The Secret Six, which financed Brown’s terrorist activities in both Kansas and Virginia. Of this group all, save one, was from New England and that one was from New York. An excellent book to read regarding this dismal period in our history is Otto Scott’s The Secret Six–The Fool as Martyr which is a biography of John Brown, and therefore deals with those that financed him in some detail. Another good work in this area worth reading, if you can find it is The Road to Harpers Ferry by J. C. Furnas. A couple years ago in my little newsletter The Copperhead Chronicle I did a series of biographical sketches on the Secret Six. Quite an interesting little group. One of them, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, a Unitarian minister made the statement “I am always ready to invest money in treason…” I mention all this to demonstrate that the North had indeed broken the Constitutional Compact.

Walter Williams, a distinguished professor of economics at George Mason University has written on the secession question on a number of occasions. In his understanding secession is indeed legal. He noted at one point that before the War Between the States a constitutional amendment was proposed by some Northern congressman that would prohibit secession. He then points out that there would have been no point in offering such an amendment if secession had already been unconstitutional. You do have to admit that he has a point.

A few years ago the late Joe Sobran, (whom I assume that most people who read have heard of), wrote an article that appeared on http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org in which he noted that: “Our ultimate defense against the federal government is the right of secession. Yes, most people assume that the Civil War settled that. But superior force proves nothing. If there was a right of secession before that war, it should be just as valid now. It wasn’t negated become Northern munitions factories were more efficient than Southern ones.” And Sobran further observed, and I have to agree with him, that: “The original 13 states formed a ‘Confederation’ under which each state retained its ‘sovereignty, freedom and independence’.” The Constitution didn’t change this; each sovereign state was free to reject the Constitution. The new powers of the federal government were ‘granted’ and ‘delegated’ by the states, which implies that the states were prior and superior to the federal government. Even in The Federalist, the brilliant propaganda papers for ratification of the Constitution…the United States are constantly referred to as ‘the Confederacy’ and a ‘confederate republic,’ as opposed to a single ‘consolidated’ or monolithic state. Members of ‘a confederacy’ are by definition free to withdraw from it.”

Sobran noted that while Hamilton and Madison sincerely hoped secession would never happen, they didn’t deny that it was a possibility, and even if Madison didn’t like or agree with it, that doesn’t make it illegal.

Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1816: “If any state in the Union will declare that it prefers separation…to continuance in union…I have no hesitation in saying, ‘let us separate’.” Donald W. Livingston, a professor of philosophy at Emory University, and president of the Abbeville Institute, wrote in an article published in Chronicles magazine in October, 2010, that: “A state cannot retain sovereignty unless it has it, and in joining the Union no state renounced sovereignty. What motivates the nationalist theory is not an honest look at the historical founding of America, but political ambition legitimated by the philosophical theory of the modern unitary state. This ambition appears forcefully in Hamilton, who argued at the Philadelphia Convention for a president for life, a senate with members for life, appointed by the president, and state governors appointed by the president–in other words, monarchy by another name.” You have to wonder if any of those “you can’t get out of the Union no matter what” folks have something of this sort in mind. Those that seek to deny people their rights usually do have an agenda.

More About Secession the “History” Books Haven’t Told Us

by Al Benson Jr.

There are some that continue to claim the Southern states had no right to secede just before the War of Northern Aggression. And it seems that as more truth continues to surface about the right of secession the more loud and strident their denials become.

I recently read an article on the Internet by Gene H. Kizer Jr., author of the book Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War Between the States. Mr. Kizer noted some interesting facts. He wrote about the Hartford Convention that I have written about previously. He observed: “The States’ Rights Hartford Convention of New England, aggrieved by the financial losses of New Englanders in shipping during the War of 1812, met in 1815 and seriously discussed seceding from the Union. The Convention selected representatives to go to Washington to present its grievances to the government. It even chose a military leader should its grievances be ignored, and made arrangements for a second convention, if necessary, to make specific plans to secede. Commissioners were sent to Washington but upon arriving found that the War of 1812 had ended, therefore it was not necessary to air their grievances. The Journal of the Hartford Convention bristles with references to state sovereignty, and uses States’ Rights language such as the right of a state to decide for itself when a violation of the Constitution occurred.” As little as our “history” books deal with all of this, you’ve got to admit these folks were serious.

Mr. Kizer also mentioned an article written by Mr. H. Newcomb Morse, which appeared in the Stetson Law Review. Mr. Morse’s article was entitled The Foundations and Meaning of Secession. Mr. Morse wrote that the War of Northern Aggression didn’t prove that secession was illegal, and the reason was that: “…many instances both preceding and following the War support the proposition that the Southern states did have the right to secede from the Union. Instances of nullification prior to the War Between the States, contingencies under which certain states acceded to the Union, and the fact that the Southern states were made to surrender the right to secession all affirm the existence of a right to secede.” You have to ask yourself the question–if there had been no right to secession then how could they surrender it?

And Kizer noted that: “Morse argues that because the Constitution did not forbid secession, then every state acceding to the Constitution had the implied right to secede from it. He says that if men of the caliber of Madison, Hamilton, Wilson and the others meant to forbid secession they definitely would have said so, and the omission of a prohibition on secession in the Constitution is strong proof that the right of secession existed and was presumed.”

And, again, you have to ask yourself, how, only 13 years after the end of the War for Independence, would the founders again lock themselves into a political situation identical to the one they had just fought a war with Great Britain to extricate themselves from? If you think about that, it doesn’t make much sense.

Then there is something I have written about in the past–the reason the North did not put Jefferson Davis on trial after his two years of unnecessary imprisonment. They wanted to try him for treason, but the best legal minds in the North realized, after looking at the evidence, that secession was not treason and that David would probably be found not guilty and they’d all end up with political egg on their faces and so they backed off.

Albert Taylor Bledsoe wrote a ground-breaking book called Is Davis A Traitor? In that, he dealt with the Constitution as a compact which he said the states had acceded to, or agree to. Bledsoe made this point to show that if the states acceded to the terms of a compact, they could secede from that compact if the terms of it were broken by one of the other members. That word “accede” is one lots of folks of the “perpetual Union” theory really dislike. Basically the word accede means to agree with, not to surrender to. Bledsoe stated that at one point, Daniel Webster had said that “the states acceded to the Constitution was’unconstitutional language’.” And Bledsoe said that was Webster’s position because if states had acceded to the Constitution then it was only logical they could secede from it. So he noted that discrediting the one word “accede” became very important to Webster. However, the word “accede” was not unconstitutional language.

Mr. Kizer, in his article, stated that: “Webster had attacked the word ‘accede’ as something invented by proponents of the Constitution as compact. His intention was to discredit his opponents by discrediting the language they were using, but his plan backfired. Bledsoe points out that Webster’s attack on the word ‘accede’ by calling it a ‘new word’ was ill-founded and incorrect because’accede’ had precisely been ‘the word of the fathers of the Constitution’ with Washington ‘at their head.’ They had all used the word ‘accede’ in reference to states joining the Constitution, and of course, the converse of the word ‘accede’ is secede’.” I can remember when I did the research for my booklet The Theological and Political Implications of the Doctrine of Secession several years ago I came across several quotes by Washington where he mentioned this or that state acceding to the Constitution.

To be continued as the Lord allows.

“Perpetual Union”–If you can bamboozle enough people into believing it

by Al Benson Jr.

In his rather convoluted thinking, Abraham Lincoln stated that: The Union is much older than the Constitution. It was formed, in fact, by the Articles of Association in 1774.” Some historians have noted that this association of the colonies before the Articles of Confederation was adopted, was a body that could only suggest certain courses of action, none of which had the force of law–a deliberative body–nothing more. Such facts made no difference whatever to Abraham Lincoln. They didn’t fit his agenda and so he ignored them. As far as he was concerned, it was all “the Union” even though his ethereal version of it existed in his mind before the documents that founded the Union existed. Walter Kennedy and I noted in Lincoln’s Marxists on page 109 and following, which is chapter 5 entitled Lincoln’s Mystical View of the Union that this was Lincoln’s mindset.

Sad to say, this seems to be a rather strong tack in the Yankee/Marxist mindset in general. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Salmon P. Chase also seemed to lean strongly in this direction with his view of the Union.

John Niven, in his book Salmon P. Chase–a biography also noted: Had the Confederate States by their secession from the Union given up their former identity as Sumner, Stevens and other radical politicians argued? If they had, then it would logically follow that secession was a lawful act and the Union had existed only at the sufferance of the states, an argument Lincoln dismissed as an abstraction…

It has been argued that “The South never really understood the Union.” That may be true–at least they never understood it in the sense that the Yankee did. Had they truly done so, I would submit that the Southern states never should have ratified the Constitution to begin with. Christian statesman Patrick Henry warned his fellow Virginians with common sense arguments and logic of the dangers of Virginia’s ratification of the Constitution. Virginians did not heed his words. They should have. And yet, maybe some of the mud stuck against the wall, for in Virginia’s ratification ordinances it was stated: We the delegates of the people of Virginia, duly elected…do, in the name and behalf of the people of Virginia, declare and make known, that the powers granted under the Constitution, being derived from the people of the United States, may be resumed by them, whenever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression. New York’s ratification statement pretty much says the same thing. And their ratification ordinances were accepted with this language included in them.

In other words, some states ratified the Constitution with the proviso that, should things not work out in this new union, they had the right to leave. That was the Southern understanding of this new Constitution, and it would seem that some Northern folks had the same understanding. I agree with them. Yet, suffice it to say, Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase, after the War of Northern Aggression (or could we call it the War of Marxist Revolution?) took a view totally opposed to that truth, as had Lincoln. Should anyone really be surprised? After all, the winners always get to redefine the “history.”

Chase noted, in 1869, that the Constitution in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union composed of indestructible States. He felt that once a state or territory got into the Union, that was it. It was there for eternity unless its status was determined by a revolution, or “consent of the states.” Chase noted the language in the Articles of Confederation about a “perpetual Union.” That term, “perpetual” did not appear in the new Constitution, but rather the new document referred to a “more perfect Union.” Chase apparently took that to mean “more perpetually perfect.” If Chase was aware or either Virginia’s nor New York’s ratification terminology he kept silent about it. After all, those ratification ordinances contradicted his “indestructible Union” tomfoolery.

And Chase was, apparently, more than ready to accept more broad, sweeping powers for the federal government. In 1866 he observed: That the war had changed the government and the powers of government were essentially different from what they were before the war. Now there was an understatement if ever I saw one, and yet a revelation as well. He’s telling you, right flat out, that the war gave the federal government more and expanded powers–probably not constitutional ones–but not to worry, Chase’s Supreme Court would remedy that little problem.

To be continued.