The South is
rising again. Before I go any further, let me clarify. Sadly, too
many in our country possess the superficial and ignorant perception
that the only impetus behind southern secession was to perpetuate
the abhorrent practice of slavery. Therefore, when they hear such
a phrase, their kneejerk reaction tells them this must be about
race. I assure you, it’s not.
When the North
invaded the South during the 1860s, it was to deny the southern
states the ultimate expression of their sovereignty – the ability
to withdraw from a union they had voluntarily joined. Interestingly,
secession was a right that the northern New England states had contemplated
using themselves in the 1804 Hartford Convention when they felt
the national government had become too oppressive.
Lincoln’s views on government were clearly expressed in his
famous “House Divided” speech when he articulated to the
south that he would not allow different states to take different
sides on different issues. We would, “become all one thing,
or all the other.” With all due respect to Mr. Lincoln, this
was a radical departure from the Founders’ view of federalism
and good government. And as a consequence, things got really ugly.
So what does
any of this have to do with our current situation? As it turns out,
more than you might think. For instance, in light of our current
situation, consider the following words:
then, Mr. President, are the true friends of the Union? Those who
would confine the federal government strictly within the limits
prescribed by the constitution; who would preserve to the states
and the people all powers not expressly delegated; who would make
this a federal and not a national Union…And who are its enemies?
Those who are in favor of consolidation; who are constantly stealing
power from the states, and adding strength to the federal government;
who, assuming an unwarrantable jurisdiction over the states and
the people, undertake to regulate the whole industry and capital
of the country.”
something you just heard on C-SPAN from Mike Pence, Jim DeMint,
or Michael Steele, doesn’t it?
those were the words of the famous South Carolina Senator Robert
Hayne in his epic debate with Senator Daniel Webster in 1830. To
those who say that history doesn't repeat itself, all evidence to
the contrary. For as Americans have lined up and taken sides in
the current dispute over the nationalizing of healthcare (the equivalent
of 1/6 of the country's economy), it's important for us to note
that this is but another chapter in the longest standing argument
in American history.