Wilson observed that the War Between the States established the federal government as the final judge of its powers. To be more accurate, let’s say that the war openly brought out the big guns, used them, and raised to the surface the exercise of federal power that was already latent or had been going on for decades in a less conspicuous or thorough-going manner. Thank you for that blog, Tom.
The rule by guns, not the Constitution, means that the powers of the federal government are limited by nothing except the resistance of those under its rule and certain remaining forms and customs that are still observed under that Constitution. And both of these mean that as time passes and as the federal government extends its powers and subverts these forms and customs, it becomes more and more of a tyranny. And it means that the Constitution comes more and more to exist in form only while dying in substance.
Each of us is his own medical examiner and dates the death of the Constitution at different times. Jim Davies makes a good case for taking the date back to 1789 to 1803. Before Wilson, Lysander Spooner thought that the Constitution was a dead duck. Certainly Lincoln inflicted mortal wounds on the Constitution from which it could not recover, if it were not already dead.
We can now see, with the benefit of history, that the Constitution would, in time, lapse into mere form. Eventually, for even the most lenient medical examiner who thinks it still has a breath of life, it will expire altogether, and for many Americans and for most practical purposes, it already has expired, as both Bush 2 and Obama have made clear.
The War Between the States extended and heightened regressive, repressive, oppressive, and tyrannical political and social processes that had been instituted earlier. These are being realized and amplified as time passes. The federal government still rules by guns, fear, threats, and prisons. These cower the people. Progress in America is running backwards. This is the result of killing the Constitution and replacing it with a federal government that is the final judge of its own powers.7:38 am on March 27, 2012 Email Michael S. Rozeff