States' Rights in Theory and Practice [Lecture 2 of 10] Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

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States' Rights in Theory and Practice [Lecture 2 of 10] Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

alright here we are after lunch and unfortunately that’s fun I’ve got to make the talk after lunch much livelier especially since happy ahead turkey thanks a lot Lew Rockwell for choosing a turkey sandwiches of all thing with them whatever that stuff is in there that makes you go to sleep so we’re gonna carry on with from from last time and shift gears a little bit sort of give a accounting of early American history brief overview from the point of view of the Virginians who take the view of the Union that Randolph and others in the Virginia tradition did that whom I mentioned last time a few loose ends to tie up from the the previous lecture would be the following I mentioned an answer to someone’s question that there’s a there’s an important port and pamphlet to read by Richard bland from 1765 that lays out a very interesting perspective on what the status of the colony of Virginia was and the title of that is an inquiry into the rights of the British colonies so nothing particularly difficult about that but I just couldn’t remember it looked it up the other thing is I was talking to mark Thornton at lunch and he said maybe I ought to say a little something about what happened what became of the Alien and Sedition Acts after all and so I think I will just mention that as I as I said in the in the talk the Alien and Sedition Acts were set to expire on the the last day of that administration which by the way helps to also suggest perhaps the partisan nature of it because as soon as a new president comes in he won’t be able to use them and those acts any longer so Jefferson of course B is elected in 1800 and he allows the Alien and Sedition Acts to expire and he lets everybody out of jail who had been imprisoned under under them and that’s the end of that Jefferson wins a tremendous victory in 1800 and sometimes called the revolution of 1800 it’s interesting to note though that Jefferson had not as I said been eager to appeal to the Supreme Court on this matter and not only because of his views on current review versus judicial review but also because of the simple fact that the Supreme Court in his day he believed would be likely to uphold the legislation and it’s interesting that a little over a century later when there was sedition legislation passed during World War one the Supreme Court in fact did uphold it as being acceptable during wartime I I always tell my students of a case during World War one where you had a Christian minister from Vermont who wrote a pamphlet in which he argued that it would be wrong for a Christian to take part in that war and he distributed this pamphlet to a grand total of five people and for that offense he was sent to prison for fifteen years so you know the Supreme Court ain’t gonna help ya a whole leg of a lot in that time and times like that and finally just tying up one last thing over lunch we were talking about how funny it would be if all of a sudden on the op-ed pages and the television news programs and political commentary all of a sudden people started talking about nullification like all of a sudden the word just kept being used and over and over again and you know I don’t expect that to happen but I did point out that what I mean think about the way a lot of people get their names put out there as potential presidential candidates it’s mainly because major media people start talking them up like Larry King starts talking them up for big prominent politicians start talking them up for example how else can we account for how Elizabeth Dole was ever a presidential candidate I mean was anyone ever sitting around saying my gosh if I can’t vote for Elizabeth Dole what kind of country is this but no one right but it’s just that a few people started saying you know I think Elizabeth Dole would make a great president and of course Bob Dole comes out and said you know I think Elizabeth that’d be great nobody would have thought of her until they were proud and then of course well of course Elizabeth Dole the same way that I don’t think on their own a lot of people would have said you know what we got to invade Iraq for heaven’s sake it’s a terrible danger its defense a budget is almost a quarter of 1% of our own and we’ve really got to crack down it’s not the sort of thing that people would have just thought of automatically they think of it because everybody talks about it you think of course you’re gonna be crazy not to pay for that so there’s some kind of herd mentality out there seems to me why can’t we use the herd mentality for you know for something good so let’s let’s start talking about nullification that’s as much as we can if any if nothing else we’ll drive people crazy the bad guys crazy Murray Rothbard used to say that even even though we might not win in the short run and we might have a lot of setbacks and defeats nevertheless is just so much darn fun fighting against the bad guys and so you know you got to

take comfort from that ok I think something I don’t know if any of you were here for Joe Salerno seminar a couple weeks ago I’m gonna make a couple references to it later in the week I watched a little bit of it over the webcast and it’s not that I want to wish Joe ill man I wish him every good wish in the world and he’s a wonderful guy and he deserves every good thing it sure would have been a lot easier on me though if he’d given a really crummy seminar you know because I’m by comparison I could have a it’s just an average seminar would seem great but Joe naturally has to give this brilliant genius seminar thanks a whole lot so anyway we’ll see we’ll see we’ll see how I can do maintaining the standard well what I’d like to start with is a guy again you’ve not heard of and we don’t hear much about but a guy whose material I’d like to I’d like to encourage a renaissance in and that is this fellow able up shirt ups Hur and I want to look at him in the first part of this talk in relation to these issues of the states and the federal government because he’s excellent and what I want to focus on in particular is an issue I’ve covered in the past in various various forms and and it’s this you know what what was the nature of the Union the Federal Union of the United States and this is a this is a debate that goes on in the 19th century it really begins to solidify into a full-fledged debate around 1830 with the Webster Haines debate with Daniel Webster arguing against Robert Haines they’re both senators one Massachusetts won South Carolina and they’re talking about what is the nature of the union and Webster is taking what has sometimes been called the nationalist position in fact Webster gives a famous speech several years later called the Constitution not a compact among sovereign states so he’s arguing exactly the opposite of what we’ve seen so far Webster takes that view Webster this has been a this has been called the nationalist theory because for Webster the United States is fundamentally one we at its root it’s one entity it is not a collection of states it’s not a confederation of state is not a league of states it is a single whole that happens fortuitously to be divided into States but this is not of any hugely practical significance he doesn’t say the states have no lives that they are to be utterly demolished by the central government but certainly they don’t have a right of secession certainly they don’t have independent existences of their own that’s that’s Webster’s view that he expounds at great length in the 1830s and with great rhetorical effect Webster was in the top tier of American orders and you know he wins some interesting historical point I think he’s wrong but he’s not an idiot and-and-and he’s not an ineffective speaker by any means so this nationalist view thinks of the United States as being composed of a single American people taken in the aggregate rather than as individual states composed of separate people’s whereas this this other view that Upshur maintains that calhoun takes that Thomas Jefferson took is sometimes called the compact theory because it views the United States as being fundamentally plural United States the United States are was the common way of speaking because the emphasis was on the plurality that it’s more than one it’s not just one entity and so according to the the compact theory if you believe in the compact theory a lot of the stuff we looked at earlier follows logically because if you believe that actually the United States is not a single whole that began as a single whole one nation one people but actually began when self-governing sovereign states came together voluntarily to join a confederación what follows from that or we can follow from that is that nullification is allowed because if the states rather than the federal government the state of the fundamental units of the United States and they maintain their sovereignty and their rights of self-government well then at least it makes sense you don’t have to agree with it but at least it’s a sensible conclusion to say the states have the right to protect themselves against abuse through a mechanism like nullification whereas for a nationalists if you said the states are going to nullify a federal law that to them would just be simple insubordination they would not view that as a sovereign state protecting itself from encroachments by a an overweening federal government they would just look at it this way you got a big map of the United States from the point of view of a compact theorist a nullifying state is exercising its sovereign prerogatives to defend its people against an unconstitutional law the Nationalists pretty much views the states as just kind of arbitrary boundary lines so from their point of view a group of people in some arbitrary boundary line are refusing to obey a law so it’s just a big insurrection it’s just an just a random sampling of

individuals rather than a single sovereign whole resisting from within the Union and what also – what also can fall over in the compact theory is the idea of secession because if the United States is a plurality of states each of them having its own its own life then it’s at least not a crazy step to say that that that state would also have the ultimate decision and so as much as it could join the Union it could also withdraw from it whereas again if you believe that the United States is a single whole and you are a nationalist then you would tend not to think that but if if you had secession going on you would again view that simply as a revolutionary insurrection you couldn’t even conceive of the idea that this is a sovereign people withdrawing its consent and not wishing to be governed into that structure any longer this is why the end of the semester after I’ve explained this distinction to my students was a distinction that is often just passed over no one wants to talk about it and we you know inevitably something about the Pledge of Allegiance comes up either you know there’s always something about is it is it legitimate or should under God be in there and I asked them well you know on the basis of what we’ve learned this semester apart from whether the idea what they should have a pledge of allegiance or not the question would be what do you think is would be most objectionable to say something like Thomas Jefferson about it would it be the under God part which is added later maybe but probably not because what would be the worst of the worst part than that would be the indivisible part and they all start think oh my gosh is this treason America my mana I can’t believe I’m talking about this in the classroom but you know I wanted to think they should think about these things well the the the key theorists I would say of this nationalist view would be not only Daniel Webster but also Joseph’s story a great American jurist an effect story is one we’re gonna look at and really really develop stories one of the great legal minds the 19th century he wrote his commentaries on the Constitution of the United States in 1833 and he takes this nationalist position you might say John Marshall a longtime Supreme Court Chief Justice takes this position as well now I was at a conference not long ago sponsored by Liberty fund they have these colloquia invitation-only colloquia where they have about 15 people and a discussion leader and somebody else and we get together and you talk about some readings for a weekend at a nice hotel and nice restaurants and everything I think it’s like one of the few outposts of civilization that’s still out there where you get together and and they pay you to do this and I unfortunately haven’t been at one in a long time but they’re great wonderful wonderful events I remember going to one of them and I got up to go to the restroom and then I returned to the to my table at the dinner and the waiter was waiting to put the napkin back on my lap and I thought you know historians can’t afford this kind of treatment most of the time so I appreciate it but at that event we were talking about the Webster Haim debate which was a major debate over this very issue it started off as a debate over the disposition of the public lands and it eventually developed into a full-scale debate over the nature of the union and there’s an excellent collection of documents on this subject on the Webster hain debate by Herman bells of University of Maryland that Liberty fund puts out and the the weekend was devoted to covering that subject and most of the people they are supported Daniel Webster the nationalist view and I was thinking just I don’t have Clyde Wilson and me who are arguing for for for Haines and the other side and what limiting to me was that the Webster side more or less conceded to us that all rights strictly speaking historically you guys have the better argument but Webster’s Webster’s argument savers more of poetry and and this sort of thing and I thought well I don’t think you can really like overturn a whole settled order on the basis of poetry right I mean you have to have a rigorous argument so I was totally unmoved by by their their claims well offshore oat as I said my a previous talk in 1840 he wrote a book called a brief inquiry into the true nature and character of the federal government being a review of judge story’s commentaries on the Constitution of the United States okay that’s the title we’ll just call it the brief and Currie okay that’s up sure’s book and it’s short it’s probably 150 pages it it was recently brought back into print by an extremely obscure legal press and it was super expensive and then it’s fallen out again it’s basically not not read anymore but I don’t know why that is but I do know why that is it’s not saying what people wanted to say but it’s a fascinating and really really excellent treatment of this stuff because Upshur goes take stories book stories commentaries in which in which very

often story is trying to build up theoretical edifice to support the nationalist theory and he really dismantles it and not in a way that’s that’s just obnoxious or crude but you know in a way that’s very sophisticated and intellectual now one of the positions that the nationalist folks have typically taken and of course by the way this of course this culminates in Lincoln who considers secession although he does make a comment about secession being okay in 1848 he does more or less view the Union as being one single indestructible that our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation in 1776 Lincoln would say even though of course it was 13 separate states yet Comte this all culminates in Lincoln a common theme that you hear throughout these guys is that the United States that the people who compose what we call the United States in the as early as the colonial period began to constitute one people at some point in that colonial period Americans began to in some ways coalesce into a single people and it’s from this idea of Americans as constituting a single people it’s on that base that they build this sort of super structure of this nationalist theory that it’s it’s wrong to place too much emphasis on the powers of the states given that Americans were very very early on one people so so here’s what Joseph’s story says developing this idea he says although the colonies so of course he’s talking about from 1607 the settlement of Jamestown all the way up to the 1770s although the colonies were independent of each other in respect to their domestic concerns they were not wholly alien to each other on the contrary they were fellow subjects and for many purposes one people every colonist had a right to inhabit if he pleased in any other colony and as a British subject he was capable of inheriting lands by descent in every other colony the commercial intercourse of the colonies too was regulated by the General Laws of the British Empire and could not be restrained or obstructed by colonial legislation so this is some evidence that that he is adducing that you in fact do have one people here and so that it’s not a long stretch to look at the United States as being a single whole fundamentally likewise John Jay who was the first Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court said all the people of this country were then referring to the colonial period subjects of the king of Great Britain and owed allegiance to him and all the civil authority then existing or exercised here flow from the head of the British Empire they were in a strict sense fellow subjects and in a variety of respects one people now this is all very loose language though because we have John J saying in a variety of respects one people Joseph’s story saying for many purposes one people okay well how about some specifics and how exactly were they one people well up sure is going to develop this and look into is this true or not and he and he looks at the evidence adduced by story and JT says every one of these historical facts is the result of the relation between the colonies and the mother country and not the result of the relation between the colonies themselves and he goes on to say that although these facts that we’ve just heard do indeed prove a unity between all the colonies and the mother country and show that these taken together are in the strictest sense of the terms one people I am at a loss to perceive how they prove that two or more parts or subdivisions of the same Empire necessarily constitute one people and to make that clearer he gives us this example he says so far as the rights of the mother country are concerned they existed in the same form and to the same extent over every other colony of the Empire that is the right to make commercial legislation for the colonies etc did this make the people of all the colonies one people if so the people of Jamaica the British East Indian possessions and Canada are for the very same reason one people to this day if a common allegiance to a common sovereign and a common subordination to his jurisdiction are sufficient to make the people of different countries one people it is not perceived why the people of Gaul Britain and Spain might not have been one people while Roman provinces now Upshur defines the term people like what would it mean to be one people he says this way says we’re speaking of a political corporation the members of which Oh a common allegiance to a common sovereignty and do not owe any Allegiance which is not common who were bound by no laws except such as that sovereignty may prescribe who oh to one another reciprocal obligations who possess common political interests who are liable to common political duties and who can exert no sovereign power except in the name of the whole now let us look at the American colonies and see if in any way they could

they could be described as one people true each of the colonies owed allegiance to the British king but this was not a common allegiance of a single people to a common head it was an individual allegiance held separately by each colonial government it does not amalgamate them because each one of them separately is loyal to the British king each of these colonial governments furthermore possessed powers of legislation and were in no way subject to any other colony in the enactment of laws so they could enact laws without the consent of Georgia or the Carolinas and so on and they were not bound by the laws of another colony so this seems to be a fairly major way in which they are not one people they paid no taxes to another colony they did not serve in the militia of another colony they didn’t vote in its elections there was no official capacity in which the colonies could act politically as one people and in fact one of the points I make in my first chapter my book is that very often when that when the colonies were invited to join intercolonial Confederations either to guard against Indian attacks or you know for whatever purpose they were extremely reluctant to do so and they did so only with the with grave reservations so that’s an additional additional consideration their distinctness is evident either even in Britain’s dealings with them they were they were not established at the same time they were established under an authority that applied to them themselves alone they had many of them had their own charters they had different organization different types of governments their charters and various times in their histories were altered in different ways in ways that affected individual colonies but without regard to any other and so Upshur concludes thus they were separate and distinct in their creation separate and distinct in the forms of their governments separate and distinct in the changes and modifications of their governments which were made from time to time separate and distinct and political functions and political rights and in politic duties separate not one people a multiplicity of peoples in fact at one point later on in American history long after the colonial period into the into the 19th century john c calhoun and one of the great compact theorists actually said that strictly speaking there is no such thing as the american people there is no such thing there are the people of Massachusetts the people of Vermont people of South Carolina but there is no such thing as the American people okay September 1774 we have a meeting of the First Continental Congress this is several months after the British have imposed the coercive acts which were intended really to punish the colonies both for the Boston Tea Party and and other insubordination and for Joseph’s story the First Continental Congress represents a general national government it was organized with the consent of the people acting in their primary sovereign capacity well let’s look at that the First Continental Congress what exactly was it what we have here is a meeting where delegates from the various colonies were sent to discuss what should our response be to this intolerable British action against us what should we do with these coercive acts and they they developed a series of responses but was this in fact a government this First Continental Congress and does it did it in fact represent the maturation of one people well according to story the United the the United colonies in this case must be considered as being a nation de-facto as a result well let’s look let’s look at more detail as to what the First Continental Congress of September that began September 1774 what did it consist of what was it well what you have there are delegates from New Hampshire Massachusetts Connecticut Rhode Island parts of New York New Jersey Pennsylvania parts of Delaware Maryland Virginia South Carolina North Carolina was not represented until mid-september giorgia not at all it’s arguable that New York was not represented as a colony but merely as different parts of New York one gentleman from Georgia was admitted but he did not vote because he was not a representative of his colony he was just a guy from one part of of Georgia and Upshur accounts for that he says he says the fact that Georgia was in effect not represented New York was sporadically represented he says this what why that would be why this was not a concern to people he says in point of fact B Congress the First Continental Congress was a deliberative and advisory body and nothing more and for this reason it was not deemed important or at

least not indispensable that all the colonies should be represented since the resolutions of Congress had no obligatory force whatsoever it was appointed for the sole purpose of taking into consideration the general condition of the colonies and of devising and recommending proper measures for the security of their rights and interests now he goes he goes on to conclude that given that the acts of the of the First Continental Congress appeared in the form of resolutions rather than in the form of laws and commands that they were recommended to their constituents like each each colony had sent delegates those delegates recommended these measures to their constituents whenever they thought were to their advantage but commanded nothing each colony were a part was a perfect liberty to act on these recommendations or not to act on them however they might you know how as they may think proper so this does not demonstrate to us a governing structure that derives from one people or constituting a general or national government it had no more powers than than what they could recommend to the various colonies they were not they had no no sovereign authority to behave in this way of that they were merely an advisory body that could that could make offer counsel but not beyond that so this so it does not prove what story wants it to prove it what it actually shows is that the colonies are still just as independent as before just as distinct as for even if for certain limited purposes they may wish to to collaborate even then they do so not at the command of a single sovereign government but just simply as their own as their own good judgement will inform them this okay likewise let’s finish this up sure goes on to note that the the First Continental Congress decides they’re going to meet again next year so there’d be a second Continental Congress which there was following the battles of Lexington and Concord in May of 1775 they they met again that’s the Second Continental Congress and then they just don’t go out of existence it stays functioning in two you know and throughout the the war for independence and it’s a it’s a structure that you I guess we have to for shorthand call it a government we should understand that it’s not like the US government under the Constitution it has one branch it has a it has a basically a legislative branch and even there they have no coercive powers over the colonies now becoming States once they recognize their independence that we’ll just call them States but still colonies in 1775 they have no powers of coercion over them so once again we don’t have a single people operating in some originally sovereign way we have instead a multiplicity of states once again sending delegates the first recommendation to send deputies to this General Congress was issued to the colonies as such each colony acted for itself choosing its own delegates did not interfere the choice of any other colony and when they met they governed they voted by colony each colony got one vote no matter how great their population or how many delegates they sent they got one vote again emphasizing that the fundamental unit is the colony they get you get one vote for that certainly if if this were if this were a national government if this Second Continental Congress and the Congress that followed were a national government this would not this would not be the would not have function this way that would would not have granted such such centrality to the to the individual colonies in the government until the adoption of the Articles of Confederation which were not does not adopt until 1781 this is the document that as you know precedes the Constitution until that time Congress the Congress that was established the Second Continental Congress are simply the Congress had really no powers at all other than advising the colonies other than openly deliberating did not claim sovereignty of any kind it was an occasional body renewable although de facto they may have exercised this or that power it needs to be remembered that during a time of great danger in the in the colonies it was thought that this may not be the time to wax philosophical about the functions of government but it was understood that whatever measure this government may take was again up to the discretion of the colonies to to agree to or or not but what’s significant is that there is nothing in the powers that were exercised by this Congress around the time of the war for independence even

prior to to the to the Declaration and then shortly afterward and and before the Articles Confederations so from 1775 to 81 nothing that is done by that government or that institution that that Congress is inconsistent with the idea of the state’s retaining their absolute liberty and independence it’s true that as story would point out that this Congress did assume the right to declare war and make peace to authorize captures to institute appellate prize courts to direct and control all national military and naval operations to form alliances and make treaties to contract debts and issue Bills of credit on national account but these powers were not by any means exclusive to the Congress and in fact when the troops were raised or the vessel or vessels of war were commissioned or various military operations were conducted the colonies these were done by the colonies in their own separate manner Ticonderoga according to his up sure points out was taken by the troops of Connecticut before the Declaration of Independence Massachusetts and Connecticut fitted out their own vessels the crews against English ones in October 1775 the South Carolina followed suit New Hampshire authorized her executive branch to issue letters of marque and reprisal which again these are these are the functions of sovereign entities so as Upshur concludes these examples suffice to show that in the conduct of war Congress possessed no exclusive power and that the colonies or that later States retained and actually asserted their own sovereign right and powers to that matter they prove that Congress exercised no power which was considered as abridging the absolute sovereignty and independence of the states interestingly for example another thing that shows the limits of the powers Congress had although the Congress was allowed to issue Bills of credit they couldn’t make them legal tender they couldn’t punish counterfeiters of them they couldn’t bind the states to redeem them and they could receive ambassadors but they had no power to extend to ambassadors that protection that ambassadors typically enjoy under international law that they would typically receive from the government of a sovereign nation they had no authority to extend that protection to them so there’s an interesting case of a fellow named DeLong shop who entered the house of the French Minister Plenipotentiary in Philadelphia and threatened to commit violence against the Secretary of the French Legation the Consul General of France and later in fact did assault and beat this guy in the public street for this offense the long hump was indicted and tried in a Philadelphia Court and punished well the question was the question arose whether the authorities of Pennsylvania should in fact deliver up this man to the French government and let the French government deal with him however they wish but at no time do we see the federal government being thought of as possessing any authority over this matter or that in any way was it appropriate or proper to refer this to the federal government even though as I’ve said offering protection to diplomats from other countries is considered to be a power that resided that you know follows from sovereignty and that follows from a sovereign government well it doesn’t occur to people that the government they have meets those criteria they think instead of the of the more local government okay oh and finally we have this point that although the the powers that were at times exercised by this Congress were substantial nevertheless the states did not always just sit back and accept them so for example the Congress for a long time wanted the power to lay in embargo but the states denied at that power and it could not be undertaken now we also know from the evidence of the way that certain treaties have been drafted that the 13 American colonies and then after 1776 states were viewed as being 13 separate sovereignty so in the Treaty of alliance with France 1778 we are told that an alliance has been struck between on the one hand the most Christian King and on the other hand the United States of America to win New Hampshire Massachusetts Bay Rhode Island Connecticut so on and so forth and all of them are mentioned by name we see the same formula used in a Treaty of Amity and commerce with the States General of the United Netherlands and in early 1780s and another one another treaty with Sweden now it’s true that you can see in another treaty with the Netherlands 1782 concerning recaptured vessels you can see the term instead of reciting all the states the term the United States of America has the style that they’re using and in some other treaties you can see that but in effect these two were considered to be

equivalent ways of speaking that the United States of America our Massachusetts New Hampshire Connecticut Rhode Island etc now of course a gret wouldn’t when the treaty is established with Great Britain establishing American independence we have his Britannic majesty acknowledges the said United States to wit New Hampshire Massachusetts Bay Rhode Island Connecticut New York New Jersey Pennsylvania all the way down all of them to be free sovereign and independent states that he treats with them as such well whatever the case may be in terms of the relation of the states to that Second Continental Congress that then stays in in power the fact is that once the 1781 comes along in the and the Articles Confederation are drafted there’s no question about the the status of the states there because right in the Articles Confederation expressly says that each state retains its sovereignty freedom and independence and every power jurisdiction and right which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States in Congress assembled so so there it is okay so there it is that the the sovereignty of the states is absolutely acknowledged in that document so in effect that is what in fact what we see in there is that it is said that the states retain their sovereignty freedom and independence which strongly indicates that it’s something they must have been possessing all this time because because they retain it under this document so that’s that’s a that’s sort of an overview of how Upshur looks at the status of the colonies during the colonial period and the sort of government that’s established first and Second Continental Congress and then artisan Federation what he sees or multiplicity of jurisdictions that are in no way amalgamated in a way that you could make them considered legitimately considered to be one people he says the history does not speak in that way now a figure that is of some importance but it doesn’t get much mentioned any longer and yet he has something rather interesting to say on this is arrestees brownstone I don’t know how many people know who arrests he is Brownson is I don’t have the copy of his book right here arrestees Brownson was a it’s probably the best-known Catholic convert in the United States in the 19th century and he’s and given a lot of his writing he sometimes been compared to Cardinal Newman who was the great you know English scholar and and convert to Catholicism as well he sometimes been compared to Newman Newman admired him and spoke very well of him but Brown of being the way he was constantly denounced Newman all the time so unfortunately was not mutual but Bronson published something called browse ins quarterly review for a long time he his his thinking he’s one of these guys who starts off sort of as a transcendentalist and he becomes a traditional Catholic arguing that the Pope has the right to depose secular rulers I mean goes from one extreme to the other then he takes that back he’s sort of a little bit of a of a wanderer ideologically but if you unit but their bits have been a lot of books written on him Arthur Schlessinger but you know if Arthur Schlessinger likes him he’s got to be great like I mean you’ve got to drop everything and read them but Schlessinger says that you know some of the most interesting political thought was taking place in articles in browsers quarterly review well toward the end of his life around 1875 he wrote a book called the American Republic do not buy this book I wrote the introduction to an edition that came out two years ago and I’m actually telling you not to buy it I like my introduction now that’s a nice not sure you should you should rush out and get it immediately okay you should rush out and get it I don’t want that getting back to the publisher that I’m discouraging the sales but I mean it’s a fine book it’s it’s just a frustrating book really I find so frustrating book and so I had to write the introduction for this new edition that came out a couple years ago and what I found is this about Brownson and it says a lot about the I think the the nationalist theory of the Union and when I mentioned the Liberty fund conference that I went to and that people who supported Webster and argued that the the United States was a single home the single aggregated people and they said that okay maybe the history doesn’t lean this way but it seems so much more poetic and and pleasant well in a way that’s the tact that Brown is largely going to take incidentally in case anybody is secretly wondering doesn’t the you know doesn’t the Constitution say we the people of the United States do ordain and establish this constitution doesn’t that seem to suggest that it is a single whole it is a single aggregated people but the short answer to that is that and that was an art that wasn’t argument Dan Webster seriously put forth was that hey it says we the people it is one American people who did this together and so we should be nationalists but the point is

that originally it didn’t say that originally said we the states and it listed all the states but since you couldn’t know in advance which states were going to ratify the Constitution you couldn’t the Committee on style decided would be a little bit I don’t know kind of kind of presumptuous to put every state in there you don’t know if they’re even gonna ratify it so we have to wait wait to see what state ratified so we’ll say we the people of the United States but that was understood to mean the people of Massachusetts the people of Virginia the people of Georgia not a single people and I mean if it had been meant in that manner then certainly there would have been enormous debate over this I mean if you’re gonna fundamentally change the whole nature of American life people are going to debate that there was no debate over that anyway Bronson came to this position that in the mid mid 19th century that divine providence has ordained a certain kind of political form for the United States and he can’t he gave this inclusive divine providence has ordained a kind of political life for every country in the world and that it is the job of the Statesman to using his using his reason and in effect throwing himself into and immersing himself in the history of his people to sort of divine what that tradition is and then perfect it and defendant so every people has this separate divinely ordained type of government for them and everyone is not the same so the American system works the United States but it’s not something that you would want to export everywhere everybody every people suitable to its own circumstances and temperament has its own divinely ordained unwritten Constitution as it were well Bronson takes this position I mean you can sort of see almost even more conservative than Edmund Burke really I mean almost like Joseph de Maistre like very conservative position because once you figure out what that divinely ordained unwritten Constitution is then that’s it okay there ain’t no change of it because then you’re obviously interfering with divine providence so what is brownson choose as the divinely ordained means or mode of government for the United States he says this nationalist position where there where the United States is a single indestructible whole this is the way divine providence intended it and then he’s going to go and try and defend that position well if divine providence intends it this way then naturally secession would be considered like the height of blasphemy but this is going to be the position that brownson puts forth in great detail in his book the american republic so he suggests that the idea of the United States as a single people instead of as a collection of sovereignties formed the backbone of this unwritten divine Constitution and he argued that the American colonies had amounted to a single people although he goes he said they were only became a single people when they broke with Britain and all of a sudden they became a single people and that that that none of the original 13 colonies or of the States they eventually became none of them had ever possessed on their own the full attributes of sovereignty and for brownson he thought there was still further confirmation of his view that divine providence wants the country to be a single indivisible whole was the fact that attempt to attempts to establish the opposite didn’t work like the the southern states tried to show that the country was indivisible of it was was divisible but what happened to them they were defeated that’s that’s divine providence showing that that’s not how it’s supposed to work okay yeah I know I know I I’m I can’t believe I’m even saying these things but that’s that’s Bronson’s position and he doesn’t say he’s a super serious and important intellectual well I think he’s gonna have a problem I mean well he’s dead so it’s long to worry about this anymore but anybody’s gonna pursue this line of thought I was gonna have a problem applying it to the United States because all right you could at least you know in the case of France for instance you might be able to make a plausible argument that if you’re going to take browse ins of you and there’s a certain type of traditional type type order that France has assigned to it by divine providence you could say that the French revolutionaries certainly broke with a long-standing mission they subject they subjected man article France to a ceaseless innovation and novelty made fruitless and repeated attempts throughout the 1790s to impose new constitutions but the American case is much more difficult as much more difficult to ascertain what precisely would have constituted a revolutionary break with tradition to be condemned by brownson other other than the establishment of a monic of a monarchy or a hereditary aristocracy the point is that in the American case you can find intelligent people like story and Webster on one side of the most fundamental question in American political life is that is the u.s single whole or a collection of states and on the other side you can find super

smart people Jefferson Calhoun Upshur take the other view now if divine providence has established a single system with the US and presumably men of goodwill would be able to apprehend what that system is why would you have brilliant minds on both sides of this if if statesmen are expected to build upon the unwritten Constitution given to them by Providence just seems strange that so fundamental an issue would be the source of so much controversy you would expect the contours of this providential Constitution to be obvious to men of intelligence and goodwill and in fact even Bronson himself conceded during the war when talking about the Catholic Church in the war he said that you know many Catholics had supported the right of secession and he said that you know it’s probably okay not to forbid communion to people who believe in the right of secession because the doctrine of state sovereignty has been very widespread well why would it be even so widespread if it’s the opposite of what divine providence once then Bronson cites John Quincy Adams as someone who had argued that quote Americans were always one people and the states hold from the Union not the Union from the states and brownson says you see look there’s John Quincy Adams holding up divine providence for us well the problem with that is that I can find another quotation from John Quincy Adams this is the opposite not only did did Adams argue in 1843 that the acquisition of Texas would justify dissolving the Union but we also have this in commemoration of the concept 50-year jubilee here’s John Quincy Adams he says the indissoluble link of Union between the people of the several states of this Confederated nation is after all not in the right but in the heart if the day should ever come may heaven avert it when the affections of the people of these states shall be alienated from each other when the fraternal spirit shall give way to cold indifference or collision of interest shall fester into hatred the bands of political associations will not long hold together parties no longer attracted by the magnetism of conciliated interests and kindly sympathies and far better will it be for the people of the disunited states to part in friendship from each other than to be held together by constraint so the chief problem with Browns point seems to be that here’s even a guy he supports in favor of his view which he insists is the providential one was actually ambiguous on the question and on top of that we have all the great Americans who held the compact view you know and so given this it seems that it’s a fraught with difficulty in the very least to describe one of these as the providentially established one bronson also deals with an objection that Upshur raised don’t think he realized that up sure raised it up sure asked the nationalist folks what would have happened if you had a what would you have happened if some state had chosen not to ratify the Constitution and had just stayed out of the Union what relationship would the Federal Union have had with that state if it were really one people all the time then how could that state have an existence apart from the Federal Union what would the relationship have been and so a knop sure had wondered that and he said you know obviously if one state had refused to ratify the Constitution then it would have been an independent state and we would have had absolutely no authority to coerce it follows absolutely logically from the contact theory not to Brownson he says that if one of us if one of the states had not ratified the Constitution then it should be treated as a as a u.s. territory you know I mean you wouldn’t be in a full-fledged state of the union but be treated as a territory he says if nine states had ratified the Constitution and the other four had stood out and refused to do it which was within their competency they would not have been independent sovereign states outside of the Union but territories under the Union well like how can you by like I mean I don’t know if I need to refute this or not but it seems sort of odd but since in Brown ‘sons view the states and the Union were coeval and one could not exist without the other it was impossible to conceive of some of the states and join independent existences apart from the Union brownson believe the American people were one so a state that had refused to ratify the Constitution would not by that omission have separated itself from the political order to which he believes it is inextricably bound it would rather have become a territory of the United States and given the Providence according to him has established the American people as an indivisible whole no other answer appears to be available to him well Upshur has an even greater difficulty to raise he says suppose you know what would have happened if one of the colonies had refused to agree to the Declaration of Independence and preferred instead to remain under British Authority Upshur asks could the other colonies have rightfully compelled

it to unite with them in their revolutionary purposes on the ground that hey you’re part and parcel of one people right so you have no right not to declare independence we’re all one people so you are gonna fight against Britain with us and up sure takes the position that no to the contrary the recusing colony would have possessed a status during the conflict no different from that of Canada having declared war the other colonies may well have considered the people of this colony of loyalists to be their enemies but they would have had no right to treat them as traitors to what purpose then inquired Upshur were the people of the colonies one people if in a case so important to the common welfare there was no right in all the people together to coerce the members of their own community for the performance of a common duty there goes the theory of the one people if you’re in this situation and you have absolutely no right in any way to coerce a fellow colony that refuses to fight against Britain then in what way can you be called can you be called one people well anyway so that in effect that’s a sort of an overview if that’s the way that gives you at least a flavor of how Upshur isn’t really a a spokesman for this Virginia Virginia inspired tradition would have looked at American history to defend the the compact version of the Union and this is the type of argumentation that can be used later on when Lincoln gives the Gettysburg Address and and and really puts forth the nationalist view in that that short succinct treatment this is the type of argumentation could refer to to say that Lincoln is simply wrong to say that there was one nation brought forth in 1776 there’s nothing about any of that history that would indicate that instead you have 13 separate sovereignties okay I’m going to now given that given that the title of this talk is states rights in theory and practice I think that’s enough theory for last a good long time but now now we get to Mike now we get to the fun fun part because here’s stuff that you don’t hear covered much when dealing with states states rights questions because there’s this desire excuse me there’s a desire the part of some people to portray states rights as a barbaric backward terrible theory though that is a you know it’s advanced only by people who support slavery segregation oppression you know whatever murder whatever and and no one you know no rational person would support it no good-hearted person everybody you should favor federal supremacy all that and so you don’t get well the only time you hear states rights mentioned it is the southern states want to protect slavery that’s all you hear and incidentally the southern states were perfectly willing to use the federal government to protect slavery time and time again so I mean let’s let’s bear that in mind but what I want to do is look at some of the northern states some of the ones that we’re most angry at the South later on and see what they were up to and I’m not going to go into the standard stuff that you could read about for example in because you should just read about it Tom B Lorenzo’s book and and then I can talk about other things Tom DiLorenzo has a book on Lincoln as you all know but with the real Lincoln he’s got a chapter on secession that’s very good that talks about the fact and I’m not gonna go into these but hunger the fact that the New England states several times threatened secession they threatened it over the Louisiana Purchase you hear a little bit than threatening not a lot of people listen to them but they threatened some of them at least threaten secession over the embargo that was imposed under Jefferson that we’re going to talk about there was in at least implicit there’s an implied threat of secession at the Hartford Convention toward the end of the war of 1812 you get this okay and that indicates that you’ve got northern states that do believe in the rights and the states that that in practice they believe in the compact theory if they believe they have the right to withdraw but it said I want to look at some issues that I think are perhaps less well known and start with and this will be our last topic for today but it’ll take you know a little it’ll finish this up here I want to look at what was happening starting in late 1807 to early 1809 with this embargo that Thomas Jefferson imposed because as I say here is a totally lost aspect of American history what’s going on I mean people know about the embargo but not some of this other stuff I think what’s going on here as many of you doubtless know is that given that for years now on and off the Brit Britain and France have been at war with each other and their allies and that means that that given obviously the tremendous naval presence that the British have that if you are engaged as a neutral in trading with either of these sides you are going to involve yourself in some kind of peril because if you trade with one side the other one’s going to try to confiscate your ship and vice versa but the American position was that since we’re neutral in these wars we have the absolute right to trade you know non contraband items with

with belligerence or with anyone and when we like well that those neutral rights were to say the least not being respect so Thomas Jefferson came to the conclusion that he did not want to go to war if it could be avoided with with Britain although he thought it might be necessary because if people very very much in favor of it by 1807 but Jefferson eventually is going to impose an embargo he’s but the embargo is not going to be an embargo just on Britain and France it’s an embargo that’s going to forbid any American ship from leaving for any foreign port anywhere in the world and in case you’re wondering why would it be so broad I mean first of all the reason he’s doing this it’s a punish Britain in France the thinking is they need American commerce for their prosperity and if we cut it off then it’s gonna bring them to heel and then Jefferson said you know the beautiful thing is that they’ll ask us hey what can we do to restore commerce with the US what he wants to do and they’re gonna find out that all we’re asking is for them to treat us fairly so he he was gonna so he called this peaceable coercion peaceable Court you use economic means to try to bring these folks to heel now at first there wasn’t a huge amount of opposition of this because for one thing it’s December 1807 most of the ports are frozen you can’t be shipping much anyway it’s not a big problem but it’s the months go on as it warms up and you get to the spring of 1800 eight minutes Tate’s are obviously displeased by this because many of them make their livelihoods in one way or another in trade or you know related fields such as that and this is destroyed Nisour destroying their livelihoods absolutely destroying and ruining them now given that Americans were great smugglers and from the colonial period to then they were classic smugglers some estimates have it that as much as half of American trade nevertheless persisted thanks to smugglers but still it was it was a tremendous disability and the New Englanders were very upset about it and it may seem that they’re being unreasonable because after all isn’t Jefferson imposing the embargo really for them I mean he’s trying to vindicate the rights of American neutrals on the high seas so what’s the problem well the problem is that that American ships could at least they could take out insurance against possible capture or harassment by the British or French and they could more or less live with it while they had to but this was absolutely shutting everything down and ruining them well Jefferson is one of these people who sit used to save everything you know never threw everything anything away all right we all know people like this never throw anything away well Jefferson saved the letters people wrote to him in fact there’s one historian who’s collected the various letters that came in to Thomas Jefferson published them as a book and he would get letters asking you know can you find me a job somewhere I mean maybe I could work in a Customs House or whatever or or even saying you know maybe you could lend me a couple of bucks I’m kind of short and the funny thing is Jefferson would sometimes put money in an envelope and mail it back to the person and he generally as long as you weren’t just abusing him like Thomas Jefferson you’re a big jackass if as long as you weren’t saying that he would more or less try to answer you but he saved them saved all the letter I mean it’s just really you know I mean it is as late as in the 1920s Warren Harding used to answer the front door of the White House like a totally different world here well anyway I don’t know what condition he was in when he opened the door of course but anyway so so Thomas Jefferson saved all these letters well the letters he gets during the embargo are pretty bad for example Jefferson is getting this letter mr. president if you know what is good for your future welfare you will take off the embargo another one look at the situation in the country when you took the chair and look at it now I should think it would make you sick with despair and hide yourself in the mountains and then he says he says another another person says take off the embargo be ashamed of yourself and never show your head in public company again my gosh I love it I’d love to say to some president never show your head public company again and then my favorite one I have agreed to pay four of my friends $400 to shoot you if you don’t take off the environment I mean that’s one thing that the government is actually very efficient at I mean today you’d be halfway through that first sentence and you’d be in jail basically all right so that’s the kind of frustration that you have in New England that at that time and as I said you even begin to hear at least some talk of of secession now what’s interesting about this embargo first of all is that sometimes we have this image of Jeff I mean certainly this is no question Jefferson’s low point is enforcing this embargo but he did not micromanage the embargo is the image

people have of Jefferson being involved in this on a day to day basis he really wasn’t and I’m not saying this just special pleading for Jefferson because I like him he should have done this but the person who mainly enforced the embargo was Albert Gallatin the Secretary of the Treasury and the irony of that is that Gallatin you know had been arguing for months against the idea of an embargo is a stupid idea it’s terrible it’s obviously not going to change the behavior of of those who are harassing us and it didn’t all it did was alienate New England entirely and destroy New England commerce that’s all it did had none of the desired effects so Gallatin was totally vindicated he’s the one put in charge of enforcing the embargo and Jefferson really doesn’t want to be involved in the day-to-day activity of it so there’s a letter there’s a letter from Jefferson at one point where he’s saying that he’s he’s just not feeling well he says I’ve got like one hour a day where I feel okay and during that hour I’m too busy to think about this embargo I got he’s complaining of headaches so he he’s we’ve got letter after letter of him saying to Gallatin you know you I trust you you take care of this you keep an eye on it whatever over and over again and whenever Gallatin would try to go up to him and say well I don’t know what to do in this case Jefferson would more let’s say I’m a couple headaches remember headaches I don’t talk to you so gals gonna figure this out on his own and I’m not sure what to do and so when Gallatin there was at one point his life I’m sorry I can’t remember if it was a child or if some family member died during the embargo one of his family members died and given the embargo was so reliant on on the the direction the overall direction of Gallatin while gals us you know in mourning and whatever the embargo is supposed to be going on and Jefferson doesn’t know the first thing about it really so he writes a letter to Gallatin like much sooner than really ought to be after this relative has died saying I’m you know I know things are really difficult for you but the embargoes kind of fallen apart over here maybe it might give us some advice to staudte so I mean Port Jefferson right you know he’s this isn’t his sort of thing well the the obnoxious aspect one of the above the embargo wasn’t simply that you know it it cut off trade you know in international trade but it was that you could have your ship seized confiscated by the government on the mere suspicion that you were intending to violate the embargo now you know mere suspicion is not exactly probable cause and so this was liable to tremendous abuse it seemed to some people to be a violation the Fourth Amendment is supposed to protect the people against unreasonable searches and seizures and so naturally you get that tremendous opposition well a federal district court in 1808 ruled that the embargo was constitutional and it was a case that was initiated by the federal government it was involving a ship that violated the embargo and they were seeking the forfeiture of that ship and the defense tried to argue that the federal government has the power to regulate interstate and foreign commerce but that power cannot be on visit these are their words cannot be understood to give a power to annihilate so in other words if the federal government has the power to regulate interstate and foreign commerce does not give it the power to annihilate farc foreign commerce so the embargo according to the defense was unconstitutional but the court rejected this and instead began that going down the path of taking the Commerce Clause and interpreting it very broadly and began arguing that quote the great impending peril of the times which by which they met British and French assaults on American commerce meant that the Commerce Clause quote must take a still more expanded range so the embargo is constitutional what’s significant here is that even though a federal court ruled the embargo constitutional the New England states did not consider that to be the end of the of the story Oh a federal court has ruled let’s all bow down and wave incense before it they didn’t say that to the contrary they continued pressing the point in early 1809 the Massachusetts Senate which described the Union as a confederation of equal and independent states with limited powers dealt with this question did the fact that a federal court had found the embargo to be constitutional did that settle the matter I mean are we all are we all done arguing absolutely not said the Massachusetts Senate they they they said and that were true that the measures of government once passed into an act the constitutional the constitutionality of that act is stamped with the seal of infallibility and is no longer a subject for the deliberation or remonstrance of the citizen to what monstrous lengths might not an arbitrary and tyrannical administration carry its power where such doctrines sound what species of oppression might not be inflicted on the prostrate liberties of

our country if such a doctrine were true our Constitution would be nothing but a name nay worse a fatal instrument to sanctify oppression and legalize the tyranny which inflicts well both houses of the Massachusetts legislature describe the embargo acts as being quote in many particulars unjust oppressive and unconstitutional and they said while this state maintains its sovereignty and independence all the citizens can find protection against outrage and injustice in the strong arm of the state government and the embargo they said was quote not legally binding on the citizens of this state and although the massachusett no time did they say we have to just obey this law and deal with it what they did say was quote all parties aggrieved that they simply said that all parties aggrieved by the operation of this act should abstain from forcible resistance but in effect that more or less says just try to ignore it the best you can interestingly during this crisis a New York congressman who expressly called into the discussion the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions of 1798 said why should not Massachusetts say take the same stand when she thinks herself about to be destroyed so there’s a reference there to the principles of 98 okay again a idea that has just disappeared there it is a Connecticut congressman said if any state legislature had believed the Act to be unconstitutional would it not have been their duty not to comply and then he added that the state legislators and then these are his words whose members are sworn to support the Constitution may refuse assistance aid or cooperation unquote if they think a federal act is unconstitutional and state officials could do likewise the Connecticut governor spoke this way whenever our national legislature is led to overleap the prescribed bounds of their constitutional powers on the state legislatures in great emergencies devolves the arduous task it is their right it becomes their duty to interpose their protective shield between the right and liberty of the people and the assumed power of the general government well there’s Madisonian interposition connecticut goes on to say this General Assembly are decided in the opinion and do resolve that the acts of force said are Grievous to the good people of this state dangerous to their common liberties incompatible with the Constitution of the United States and encroaching upon the immunities of this state and that resolution went on and in fact directed the executive obviously the executive branch and forces trusted with the enforcement of the law instructed executive officials in the state not to offer quote any official aid or cooperation in the execution of the Act aforesaid and quoting just one more time from Connecticut we have this statement resolved that to preserve the Union and support the Constitution of the United States it becomes the duty of the legislators of the states in such a crisis of affairs vigilantly to watch over and vigorously to maintain the powers not delegated to the United States but reserved to the States respectively or to the people and that a due regard to this Duty will not permit this assembly to assist or concur in giving effect to the aforesaid unconstitutional Act passed to enforce the embargo and finally Rhode Island when the when the embargo was at its conclusion declared that the legislature of Rhode Island had the duty quote to interpose for the purpose of protecting the people of Rhode Island from the ruinous inflictions of usurped and unconstitutional power unquote again to interpose there is the language of the principles of 1798 now I’ve been for a number of years now been teaching American history having to use a textbook there is no textbook that I know of now I’m happy to be corrected that uses any of these quotations or makes any reference to the principles of 98 in connection with this but it goes to show this is an on-going idea it’s not just something that Jefferson and Madison thought of and then everybody was embarrassed by it nobody talked about it anymore even the very section of the country that had been most vocal in their opposition to it ten years later is now saying hey Virginian Kentucky resolutions hey all the cool kids are interested in the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions all of a sudden what a wonderful and glorious thing well there’s much more to be said in the future which we’ll be doing tomorrow like things involving disputes in the war of 1812 and Daniel Webster’s beautiful speech about why conscription

is incompatible with Liberty and all this and and the National Bank and how they try to stop it just glorious examples of the states and I mean there’s still States after all we can’t get that excited about them but the fact that they stand up and get right in the face of a big federal behemoth it’s such a glorious thing to see when today they’re absolutely demoralized and ground down they don’t dare to say anything they don’t dare to resist and they don’t want their highway money taken away or whatever you know it reminds you there used to be people who were courageous and politically creative rather than simply referring every single matter to be decided by Washington DC well having said that I will take any any kind you have any comments on this or a question I’ll happily take them okay I have one two and then three sure right yeah exactly that’s right that’s right but I think I think the amount of the analogy is apt between and again just repeating the question that between NATO and being a an entity that nobody confuses with a country but that has a but nevertheless is an alliance that serves certain purposes are in a corporate way but then at the same time is you know consists of smaller independent militaries and so I think that is an apt comparison and did you have a question yeah I mean in some ways I think up shoes definition of a people is a little unsatisfying it’s because I mean you can be a people you know apart from political you know boundaries in this and that but I I mean I I’m not really sure how to answer that because my main concern is that you that that unwarranted extrapolation from cultural come from you know cultural commonalities not be drawn so that we I would just be concerned that people like story would say well look you know we all speak the same language and we all have this and that in common so in effect in some mystical way we are in fact one people I mean you know in a certain sense you know I may feel a kinship with people who share these different qualities of mind but but you know living in them in a political age you know when the conclusion ever since the 19th century to be drawn from this is that therefore we should have our own state together you know just makes me just want to not talk about this whole line of thought because I don’t like I don’t want to encourage them okay yes yeah I mean I I think because that is an argument that’s raised against them actually that that’s an argument that Upshur raises the the question being you know if the Nationalists believe there is one people all this time then really what’s the point of drafting the Articles of Confederation or the or the or the Constitution than having it ratified whenever one couldn’t just if the if the First Continental Congress had been established by the Fiat of the whole abide by the the will of the whole people then couldn’t the fee out of that organization that Continental Congress couldn’t they just have imposed something like why would they have to go through all these awkward channels I think maybe the argument they would use would be that you do want to get the broadest possible consent for the political order that you’re establishing and so at the very least you would want to you would want the people to be able to debate it and discuss it so that they can feel like it’s not something wholly alien to them and it’s not something that was imposed without their input and you know this would make it function

more smoothly if they felt that it was something you know that emerged in some way from their own will but but I wonder if some of the more extreme ones might secretly say that you know that’s really the only you know it’s just just to give people a sense of belonging I mean have them debating things and discussing and becoming politically aware but I don’t know what really going to take this thing totally seriously that there’s already one people there it does seem to lead to what you’re saying I dr. Prince right what’s right no it’s the president’s discretion as to how you know I mean like there would be specific specific types of hard cases that would be involved like there would be some people who were just so financially burdened by that that Gallatin would say well can’t you make an executive exception for such-and-such so I mean it was open to being micromanaged by the executive but basically it is you know it is congressionally authorized but it’s it leaves it leaves a tremendous discretion for the executive to deal with individual cases yes and that was repealed and so nobody went into West Florida and tarred and feathered anybody right so right right well I’d love to talk about is are there hurricanes like everywhere in Florida or their parts and you could be safe there any parts you can be safe in Florida because we’ve actually thought we thought about moving there and oh no Lawrence Vance is from Pensacola he’s shaking his it’s okay yes sir well I mean I again I know the song but all of West Florida right now I’m thinking of for southern rights hurrah right Here I am going on the record singing that that there goes my career other thoughts comments or whatever yes to enforce this you know I mean yeah I guess like a customer please you know what I’d have to look into that because it’s an excellent question and I don’t want to say something that might actually just be me speculating so I mean I’m sure I can find this out in you know in no time okay yes but right yeah well I mean someone asked me earlier today about you know from a from a Spooner right position you know if you if you don’t consent to the constitute in the first place then who that cares about any of this and part of the answer I gave is that given that you know most of the world is not coming at life from this perspective it you know it does but recite I think you know if if your particular historical tradition you know in in some ways does buttress a pro Liberty position then you should make it another of the arguments in your arsenal cuz some arguments appeal to some people some organs appeal to others I mean it’s like if you’re trying to if you’re a missionary and you’re trying to convert somebody to let’s say Christianity I mean some arguments work with some people some dummy emotional arguments work with some people like look at how beautiful Christ’s life was and people get weepy and they love that other people say but look at how logical it is the saint and some would say it makes perfect sense that God should have become man because and that works for other people you know so I feel like whatever argument works you know should work but I guess my quotient just simply be all I want to say to my fellow Americans basically is that you don’t have to sit you don’t have to sit you know it’s this supine abject you know pathetic way and sit here and accept all these you know federal mandates and incursions in your life when we have you know states that you know miss states are institutionally they’re more powerful than just scattered individuals that have resisted in the past you know given that the states exist they are institutional

mechanisms that exist and they can be used as we’ve seen to keep the federal government in check then anything that can be used to keep the federal government in check I favor using then of course we have to keep that thing in check and believe me we’ve got to keep an eye on the state government too but it seems to me that this is another angle that you know we could legitimately take I mean I think I mean I know that Rothbart himself typically you know was a localist you know I mean like he would he believed in natural rights but he believed in the local enforcement of those rights just simply on a as a practical matter because you know it would be as I’m gonna say tomorrow if the Mafia is giving you a problem as stephan kinsella would say it’s not necessarily the best idea to go say well I’ll go get a much bigger mafia to protect me from the smaller mafia I mean in the short run that might seem wise but in the long run maybe not so I don’t know I said I’ll try think of a better answer but that’s the best I can do okay all right anything yes yeah well I can actually link you to a and and maybe I’ll try to get the URL tonight to a critique of my treatment of nullification that was written by one of the one of the people associated with the Claremont Institute and you can people let’s come on now let’s be nice and and you can sort of see the types of arguments that they that they make I mean because they’ll you know they’ll quote things that Madison did say but you know the fact is I you know I have a I have an all-purpose Madison for any any occasion and that doesn’t settle anything and if if we’re just gonna sit here and appeal to Authority when that authority you know contradicts himself frankly I think that can be shown that’s not that’s not helpful so I think I think there’s that and what they say you know they they just I I think I think it’s more of an emotional thing that secession and nullification just seem chaotic to people or they seem out of the mains that they are out of the mainstream you know so there’s this thinking that most only we could just I think the Claremont people think that if only we could just enforce the Constitution and we could get people who believe in natural rights to be elected then that would be the way of dealing with it and I don’t remember the name of the program but I was on one of these sort of right-wing EE radio shows a few months ago and the whole thing ended up being this big long argument about the states have a right to secede my absolutely insisted they did and I said look you don’t even have to want to secede to at least believe that they have a right to secede and that it can be a useful constraining force against the federal government this guy said well that’s just crazy I could never believe that and I said well what strategy do you propose for you’re gonna have this federal government how do you want to restrain it and I kid you not he said well you know we just need to vote for good people and so since it was his show and I felt like you know you know he’s nice enough to have me on as a guest I’m not gonna be a wise guy or a jerk but what I wanted to say was well how’s that strategy been working out for you is that been working okay you know it doesn’t sort of answer itself like this hasn’t worked so let’s keep trying it and then see what happens like you know or you’re crazy to bring up nullification it’s a session well I mean when everything you’ve tried has not only not worked but the situation has gotten worse but you know exponentially maybe