View single post by barrydancer
 Posted: Mon Nov 23rd, 2009 05:15 pm
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barrydancer
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ThomasWashington wroteThere you have it-- right from the horse's mouth. He's plainly saying that a congressional majority could constitutionally do these particular things, since the Constitution didn't "expressly say" it couldn't -- and that there wasn't a damned thing that the southern states could do about it."

Well, that is how a representative democracy works, isn't it?  For good or ill, if the majority has the votes, they can pass the laws.  As the North's population grew, the South lost a great deal of it's power and influence in Congress.   Couple that with the (irrational) fear that they would soon be losing billions of dollars in human property, and they decided to take their ball and go home.

What he's saying makes perfect sense to me.  The constitution gives congress the power to legislate for the territories.  It doesn't address slavery, as he says, in any way, or any other specifics for that matter.  Like many other powers listed in the constitution, the framework is laid, and later law is to flesh it out.  If a majority in congress vote to exclude slavery from a territory, which congress is given the authority to govern, is that not constitutional?


As for returning fugitive slaves, he is again correct.  The constitution itself doesn't say who is to return a fugitive, only that he/she must be returned.  Again, the framework is laid, and a number of acts expanded upon this.  Does the Federal government have the power to mandate that all states must return fugitives, regardless of state law?  What about personal liberty laws?  Which were trampled on by the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850?  If the states are all sovereign entities, don't they have that right?   Or is sovereignty only exercisable by the South, when laws are passed that they don't like?

Do you see the problem here?  If all 13, 25, 50, 100 states are individual, sovereign nations, then the Federal government and the constitution itself are a meaningless farce.  How can any law or regulation be binding if every state reserves the right to ignore it based on their own sovereignty, or leave the Union whenever it likes?  I maintain that when they ratified the Constitution each state gave up its claim to be a separate nation.  Georgia, New York, etc. could have said "No thank you" and gone on their merry way.  By agreeing to become part of the whole, however, they gave up that status as a nation unto themselves.  They retained sovereignty over their domestic affairs, those not specifically prohibited by the Constitution.  They HAD to give up status as a separate nation, otherwise the Constitution doesn't work.  How could the Constitution prohibit Alabama or Connecticut from negotiating their own separate treaties with Russia or France, for example, if each state retained all the status and powers of a sovereign nation?
 That's how I see it.  Your mileage may (and obviously does) vary. 

HankC wrote: For some one claiming that slavery was not a cause of the Civil War, you sure bring it up a lot... I'm sorry... is that supposed to be an argument? It isn't. The war was caused, because the Union attacked the Confederate states after denying their sovereignty, and demanding that they roll over and pay tribute.

I'm sure that would be news to Robert Anderson and the garrison at Sumter.  And what tribute are they being demanded to pay?  The taxes and tariffs that are required of them by federal law?

Last edited on Mon Nov 23rd, 2009 05:25 pm by barrydancer

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