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Secede and Decentralize: An Open Letter to Clinton Supporters – Article by Justin Murray

Secede and Decentralize: An Open Letter to Clinton Supporters – Article by Justin Murray

The New Renaissance HatJustin Murray
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Dear Clinton Voters:

I know this election has been painful for you. Many feel betrayed and even believe yourselves no longer living in the country you thought you were. Reflect on that pain and frustration for a moment. Now recognize how you feel now is how an equally large, possibly larger, number felt for the past eight years. Those who are of a liberty bent feel it all the time, no matter who ends up in office. Reflect on it, feel it, understand it, own it.

Before you get the wrong idea, this is not my attempt at rubbing in your face the loss of your candidate or an endorsement of President-elect Donald Trump. If anything, I share your pain and frustration, just for an entirely different reason. What you’re feeling, this hopelessness, this feeling that you’re no longer represented, this feeling that people other than you are now able to dictate your way of life, this is all a result of the massive expansion of the Federal government. Elections have long ceased being voting for someone you think represents the lifestyle you want to live and are, in practice, an exercise on determining whether or not you get to impose your preferred lifestyle on someone else.

This is the nature of elections, especially the “first past the post” method utilized in the United States. This system is, by its nature, one where one group of people enjoys the ability to effectively dictate to those who did not win how they will be living their lives over the next term period. The effect of this on voter frustration, which manifests as cultural divisiveness, only gets magnified the more powerful that government becomes. A weak federal government would produce little divisiveness because there is little to be divided over. A strong Federal government would produce significant divisiveness since there is much to be divided over. It also goes to say that an absolute government would create absolute division while the absence of government would not produce a division because there isn’t any risk of having your life dictated by distant populations. When we add in factors of geographic distance and cultural diversity, we end up with a horrible mud-slinging process where people actively dislike both candidates and the electorate openly attacks one another over the political process, completing the division process. These issues won’t go away with vague calls of being civil, coming together or getting along. One group or another will always feel put out and ignored since those in office only truly represent those that got them elected.

However, you need not despair. The liberty movement has the answers you seek to not only distance yourself from future risk of being dictated to by distant populations and political heartache but also be able to more quickly and nimbly get policies and lifestyles you prefer without having to fight someone else for it.

Option 1: Demand Your Representatives Shut Down DC

Nothing Obama signed into law or created through regulatory diktat had to be done at the national level. Not the Affordable Care Act. Not raising minimum wages. Not identifying tax rates. Not regulatory agencies. Not even food stamps and various other welfare programs. None of it has to be done in Washington DC. All of it can be done at your State level and even locally. To prove a point, Colorado had an opportunity to form the nation’s first European-style single-payer health care system. Had that referendum passed, residents of Colorado could have been able to copy the Canadian model of medical care delivery. And it would have been entirely legal and done so without having to collect the opinions of 320 million people or impose it on residents of other States that would not have wanted it.

However, as noted in the linked article, the referendum was opposed on grounds that it could not be sufficiently paid for. This is not because of the common argument that the entire nation needs to be tapped to afford it. Colorado is wealthier than the national average, so Colorado would realistically end up having to pay residents of other States if such a scheme went national. So why is this law fiscally impossible in today’s environment? It is mainly because the Federal government is already taking all those resources for itself.

On average, the Federal government consumes 50 percent of all the taxes paid in this country. This means that, if the average holds for Colorado, and the State is likely further disadvantaged because of the higher income bracket, residents are sending $1 in taxes to the federal government for every $1 in taxes that are collected from them that go to the State or Local governments. In other words, Colorado residents have no say in how half their tax resources are used. Worse, Colorado residents would likely do a better job administering the exact same programs and do so for less because most Federal programs do little more than return the money back to equivalent State agencies. This means your State is having to cover the overhead of 2.7 million Federal employees whose sole purpose is to take money from your State then give it back again with orders on how to spend it.

By eliminating these programs wholesale on a national level and utilizing your existing State systems, you can avoid any disruptions in the programs and also enjoy a less expensive process. Instead of the Federal government collecting its pound of flesh, you will send it to your State capital. This not only allows you to continue the policies and even amend and adjust them more readily without having to convince up to 59 other Senators, hundreds of House representatives and a sitting president, along with an unknown and distant bureaucracy. All you need to do is ask your State representative, who is probably far more available to talk to than the senator you send to DC. With an added bonus, the people living the next State over aren’t going to feel threatened by your political philosophy because they are safe knowing that whatever system you decide to live under does not apply to them if they so choose not to.

Option 2: Secession

This is a more extreme process, but it is also just as valid and allows for more culturally compatible people to have a stronger option at self-determination. This strategy further removes the chances of having a central power structure usurping the wishes and desires of your more culturally compatible group by incompatible groups elsewhere. If one looks at the 2016 election map:

us_2016_election_map

We can find that, at minimum, save for a couple of orphans in the form of New Mexico, Denver, Minneapolis, and Chicago, the United States as it stands is perfectly set up for a secession movement to split the nation into at least three separate entities.

This would allow a greater level of freedom for residents of these three newly formed entities. Further, this split is more than possible from economic size. For the purposes of this exercise, I’ll name the three new nations Cascadia (Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada and let’s throw Hawaii in there), New England (all the blue colored States from Virginia through Maine), and the United States (everyone else). If the USA split into these three entities, here is how the top 20 nations by GDP would look:

us_3_countries

These new nations would rank second, fourth and sixth in world GDP and two of them, USA and Cascadia, are one decent year of growth away from jumping up a rank.

An additional benefit of secession is the ability to further harmonize the new nation with more desirable trade practices, immigration policy, foreign policy, military spending, court systems, and monetary policy. These decentralized entities even have the option of altering how the government itself works, such as dispensing with individual State identities, removing the Electoral College and applying a direct vote system or even converting into a European-style Parliamentary system. Secession allows for even greater self-determination missing in today’s system.

Or you could continue operating as-is and hope enough swing voters decide they want to go back to your philosophy so you can take your turn again imposing your lifestyle on someone else and taking the risk of playing backseat where you truly have no representation or real say in how you live.

In any case, the liberty movement can be a strong ally to allow you to avoid having to live through another Donald Trump term and forge your own destiny without all the strife and divisiveness that goes with a modern American election cycle.

Justin Murray received his MBA in 2014 from the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland.

This article was published on Mises.org and may be freely distributed, subject to a Creative Commons Attribution United States License, which requires that credit be given to the author.

Platform Adoption Statement #2 of the Nevada Transhumanist Party: Electoral Reforms

Platform Adoption Statement #2 of the Nevada Transhumanist Party: Electoral Reforms

The New Renaissance HatG. Stolyarov II
November 9, 2016
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NTP-Logo-9-1-2015The following sections are hereby added to the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform. Pursuant to Article I, Section XXV, these sections are not officially considered part of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Constitution at this time, but shall have equivalent standing to the Platform Sections within that Constitution. It will be possible to officially amend the Nevada Transhumanist Party Constitution to include these statements during periodic biennial filings of Certificates of Continued Existence with the Nevada Secretary of State.

Section XXXI. The Nevada Transhumanist Party advocates Constitutional reform to abolish the Electoral College in the United States Presidential elections and render the plurality of the popular vote the sole criterion for the election of President. While the original intent of the Electoral College as a deliberative body to check the passions of the poorly informed masses and potentially overturn the election of a demagogue may have been noble, the reality has not reflected this intention. Instead, the Electoral College has enabled votes from less cosmopolitan, less tolerant, more culturally ossified and monolithic areas of the country to disproportionately sway the outcome of Presidential elections, to the detriment of individual liberty and progress.

Section XXXII. The Nevada Transhumanist Party advocates greatly shortening the timeframe for electoral campaigns. The current two-year election season, combined with voters’ short memories, renders it possible for both genuine merits and egregious transgressions of candidates to be forgotten by the time of voting. Longer campaign seasons also perpetuate the “horse-race” mentality on the part of the media and result in the search for contrived election drama in order to drive views and campaign contributions. The ensuing acrimony, misinformation, and outright violence are detrimental to the fabric of a civilized society. Election seasons should be as short as possible, to enable all relevant information to be disseminated quickly and be considered by most voters within the same timeframe as their decisions are made.

Section XXXIII. The Nevada Transhumanist Party advocates abolishing all staggered party primaries and for all primary elections to be held on the same day across the entire country. With staggered party primaries, individuals voting later – solely because of the jurisdiction in which they reside – find their choices severely constrained due to the prior elimination of candidates they might have preferred. The staggered primary system tends to elevate the candidates who are least palatable to reasonable voters – but have the support of a vociferous, crass, and often violent fringe – toward frontrunner positions that create the pressure for other members of the political party to follow suit and reluctantly support the worst of the nominees.

Section XXXIV. The Nevada Transhumanist Party supports replacing the current “winner-take-all” electoral system with proportional representation, ranked preference voting, and other devices to minimize the temptations by voters to favor a perceived “lesser evil” rather than the candidates closest to those voters’ own preferences.

Section XXXV. The Nevada Transhumanist Party supports the right of any jurisdiction to secede from the United States specifically in opposition to policies that institutionalize racism, xenophobia, criminalization of dissent, and persecution of peaceful persons. The Nevada Transhumanist Party does not, however, condone any secession for the purposes of oppressing others. Therefore, the secession of the Confederate States in 1860 was illegitimate, but a future secession of a State may be justified in reaction to violent crackdowns by the federal government against individuals based on individuals’ national origin or ancestry.

Thomas Jefferson versus John Marshall on the Nature of the American Union (2006) – Article by G. Stolyarov II

Thomas Jefferson versus John Marshall on the Nature of the American Union (2006) – Article by G. Stolyarov II

The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
July 26, 2014
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Note from the Author: This essay was originally written in 2006 and published in two parts on Associated Content (subsequently, Yahoo! Voices) in 2007.  The essay earned over 1,900 page views on Associated Content/Yahoo! Voices, and I seek to preserve it as a valuable resource for readers, subsequent to the imminent closure of Yahoo! Voices. Therefore, this essay is being published directly on The Rational Argumentator for the first time.  
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~ G. Stolyarov II, July 26, 2014

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Thomas Jefferson’s Views on the American Union as a Compact Among the States

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Early American political thought about the Union’s nature was divided into two radically different perspectives. One of these was expressed by Thomas Jefferson’s 1798 Kentucky Resolutions, which viewed the Union as a loose compact of the states, whose legislatures could overrule and judge the constitutionality of the federal government’s actions. The South Carolina Declaration of Causes (1860) and the Mississippi Resolutions (1861) developed this position-using Jefferson’s premises to justify Southern states’ secession from the Union.

Jefferson portrayed the Union as voluntarily entered into by the states; the states were “not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government” (KR, 153). The Union was created by the ratification of the Constitution, which served as a “compact” by which the states “delegated… certain definite powers” to the general government (KR, 154). The government’s exercise of powers not expressly granted to it by the Constitution was thus illegitimate. For Jefferson, the Constitution both defined and limited the Union’s nature and essence.

To keep the national government one of limited and expressly delegated powers, Jefferson warned that it should not be “the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself” (KR, 154), since that would allow the government to define the scope of its powers and dissociate these powers from their original source – the states. The states – as parties to the Constitutional compact – have no common judge among them; hence, “each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of the infractions as of the mode and measure of redress” (KR, 154). Jefferson acknowledged state legislatures’ right to judge federal actions’ constitutionality.

The South Carolina and the Mississippi legislatures agreed with Jefferson that the Union was a compact among the “free and independent states,” whose sovereignty was asserted in the 1776 Declaration of Independence (SCDC, 310). In 1787, deputies sent by the states affirmed the “Articles of Union”-the Constitution-which defined the Union and required the states’ consent to take effect (SCDC, 311). The South Carolina Declaration emphasized that – while only nine out of thirteen states needed to ratify the Constitution for it to be adopted-those that refused to ratify it would have remained “separate, sovereign states… exercise[ing] the functions of… independent nation[s]” (SCDC, 311). Via the Tenth Amendment, the Constitution assured that all powers not expressly delegated to the national government were left to the states or the people, while the federal government remained “limited to the express words of the grant” (SCDC, 311).

In the Southern legislatures’ view, the Constitution established the “law of compact” (SCDC, 311), which required mutual reciprocity of obligations on behalf of all parties to the Union. If any party – such as the Northern states – refused to fulfill its Constitutional obligations and infringed on the rights of the other parties, the Union was dissolved and “the ends for which this government was instituted have been defeated” (SCDC, 312). The Mississippi Resolution asserted that whenever the compact is thus destroyed, “parties to the compact have the right to resume, each state for itself, such delegated powers” (MR, 314) as they had formerly granted the national government. According to the Mississippi Resolution, the Northern states’ explicit unwillingness to enforce the Constitution’s fugitive slave clause justified the Southern states’ secession from the Union (MR, 315). Jefferson’s Kentucky Resolutions and the declarations of the South Carolina and Mississippi legislatures viewed the Union as a compact of sovereign states that retained broad powers and could exercise them to counter federal abuses.

John Marshall’s View of the American Union as a Direct Association of the People

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John Marshall’s McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) decision stated a view which directly contradicted Thomas Jefferson – a view of the Union as a direct association of the people – not of the states. Marshall denied states the ability to overrule federal actions. Abraham Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address (1861) reinforced this view and argued that the Union was perpetual and could not be dissolved by individual states.

Marshall’s vision of the Union differed sharply from Thomas Jefferson’s. According to Marshall and contrary to Jefferson, the Union was not a compact between the states, but an association created directly by the people. Although the Constitutional Convention’s delegates were elected by state legislatures, the Constitution itself was “submitted to the people” (MMD, 149) for ratification. The Constitutional Convention’s delegates ordained that special conventions in the states – not the state legislatures – ratify the Constitution. Marshall emphasized that “from these conventions, the constitution derives its whole authority” (MMD, 149); thus, “[the] government proceeds directly from the people” (MMD, 149). The states were only instrumental to the Union insofar as their legislatures “called a convention, and thus submit[ed] that instrument to the people” (MMD, 149).

Marshall believed that the national government was granted enumerated powers by the people and was hence free to exercise those powers “directly on them, and for their benefit” (MMD, 149), without states’ interference. Marshall’s view, unlike Jefferson’s, does not permit the states to overrule an act of Congress or to declare it unconstitutional. Marshall interpreted the Constitution’s “necessary and proper” clause to mean that “the government of the Union, though limited in its powers, is supreme within its sphere of action” (MMD, 150); it could use any means necessary to fulfill powers expressly delegated to it, and the states could not legitimately overrule its actions.

Abraham Lincoln challenged claims that the Union was founded via the Constitution. Lincoln traced the Union’s origin back to the Articles of Association in 1774; the Constitution’s purpose was not to create the Union, but merely to “form a more perfect” one (FIA, 121). The Union is not conditional; it “is perpetual,” since “no government proper ever had a provision in its organic law for its own termination” (FIA, 121). The Constitution provides no terms under which the Union might be destroyed; therefore, it will continue to “endure forever” if the Constitution is followed (FIA, 121). Lincoln developed this argument to claim that “no State upon its own mere motion can lawfully get out of the Union” (FIA, 122); any attempt at secession amounts to insurrection. Secession would only set a highly negative precedent for any minority that did not acquiesce to the majority’s decisions. Lincoln saw it necessary for the Union to maintain itself by all constitutional means-though he initially hoped to avoid bloodshed in reconciling the states.

John Marshall and Abraham Lincoln saw the Union as a perpetual association of the people – incapable of being overruled or dissolved by individual states’ actions. This view, incompatible with the ideas of those who saw the Union as a compact among the states, fueled disputes that would eventually culminate in the Civil War.

The Constitution and Sectional Discord in the 1850s (2003) – Essay by G. Stolyarov II

The Constitution and Sectional Discord in the 1850s (2003) – Essay by G. Stolyarov II

The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
July 20, 2014
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Note from the Author: This essay was originally written in 2003 and published in four parts on Associated Content (subsequently, Yahoo! Voices) in 2007.  The essay earned over 3,700 page views on Associated Content/Yahoo! Voices, and I seek to preserve it as a valuable resource for readers, subsequent to the imminent closure of Yahoo! Voices. Therefore, this essay is being published directly on The Rational Argumentator for the first time.  ***
***
~ G. Stolyarov II, July 20, 2014
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The 1850s were a time of intense escalation for a sectional conflict between the free-labor-based, industrial North and the slavery-based agrarian South. In this controversy, both sides claimed sanction for their point of view and vision of America’s political future from the country’s founding document, the Constitution. Thus, the nature of the highest law of the land turned it from a cohesive force into fuel for the coming clash between the North and South. The contents of and the omissions in the Constitution, as well as the greatly varying interpretations thereof, brought about this state of affairs.
***

Multiple interpretations of the Constitution that fed into the crisis of the 1850s had existed since 1798, when Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions proclaimed that the Constitution and the Federal Government were the products of a compact amongst the states, and that the Federal Government’s legislation possessed no legitimate connection to the interests of the people unless verified by more direct representatives thereof (Norton 225).

This was the origin of the powerful new doctrine of States’ Rights, which Southern politicians would develop over the course of the next 63 years. During the Nullification Crisis of 1832, John Calhoun and other leading South Carolina politicians argued that a state had the right to overturn federal legislation, such as a deleterious tariff, which was passed without that state’s consent (Norton 383).

Following the immense territorial gains of the Mexican War, the issue of States’ Rights in the context of the status of slavery in the new territories gained even greater prominence. Lewis Cass, Democratic Presidential candidate in 1848, proposed the doctrine of popular sovereignty to enable the residents of a given territory to decide whether or not to institute slavery in the territory and in the state that it would become. Cass’s argument hinged on the notion that Congress did not have the Constitutional authority to legislate slavery in the territories (Norton 402).

Already this philosophy conflicted with a sentiment emerging in the North and expressed in the Wilmot Proviso of 1846, which sought Congressional action for the abolition of slavery from all territories gained from Mexico (Norton 400). By 1850, old political safeguards, such as the Missouri Compromise, which were designed to quell any discord in regard to the issue of slavery’s status in new territories, had begun to atrophy as the Compromise of 1850 legislated for California’s admission as a free state and the extension of slave status to territories such as Utah, which were North of the Missouri Compromise line (Norton 405).

During the 1850s, the safeguards to the relative stability of the Union during prior decades steadily began to crumble. The Compromise of 1850 sparked hostility from abolitionists, free blacks, and an increasing number of moderate Northerners via the enactment of a draconian Fugitive Slave Act. Stephen Douglas’s Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 dealt the death blow to the Missouri Compromise by outright annulling it and granting the residents of the Kansas and Nebraska territories the ability to decide the status of slavery therein by popular vote.

What resulted was a state of quasi-war known as “Bleeding Kansas,” in which over 200 people were murdered on both sides and dishonest election practices were rampant (Norton 413). In 1857, the Supreme Court itself addressed the issue of the Constitution in the Dred Scott v. Sandford decision, ruling essentially that black Americans were not citizens of the United States and that Congress had no power to bar slavery from the territories (Norton 415). This ruling, along with the presence of a majority of Southern judges on the Court indicated that not even this ideally impartial body was exempt from the regional struggle.

The Constitution, indeed, was not a perfect a document, and some of the words and concepts therein left the political stage open to the enmity between the advocates of freedom and the slaveholders. Abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison wrote that, although the Constitution did not contain explicit mention of the words “slave” or “slavery,” it did implicitly and deliberately seek to legitimize the institution. Euphemisms such as “other persons” were used in the text, and the three-fifths clause, which counted every slave as three-fifths of a state’s inhabitant, entrenched the status of the slave as an inferior and inherently different being in the eyes of the law.

In addition, via the promise to aid states in the event of “domestic violence,” the Constitution could be interpreted to mandate Congress to suppress slave revolts (Norton 203). Such facts permitted Garrison to chastise the Constitution as an instrument of an oppressive government that violated the liberties naturally attributable to every man.

Abolitionists grew increasingly enraged in regard to the Constitution’s treatment of a slave as three-fifths of a person and the South’s disproportionate representation in the House of Representatives as a result.

To be fair, however, an alternate interpretation of the Constitution’s mentions of slavery can be argued. It was precisely because the Founders recognized the incompatibility of slavery with individual rights and wished to see its eventual extinction that they omitted any explicit references to slaves and instead unequivocally acknowledged them to be “persons.” Furthermore, the three-fifths compromise can be seen as a political necessity during the Union’s formation – as without it, there would have been little chance of getting Southern states to consent to the Constitution.

During the 1850s, while the Abolitionists in the North condemned the U. S. Constitution for its alleged support of slavery, Southern planters employed the Constitution’s perceived implicit sanction of slavery in order to claim protected or at least inviolable status for the practice.

An anonymous Georgian wrote in “Plain Words for the North” that the Constitution had recognized slavery where it existed and, since men from such regions had been pivotal in assuring the expansion of the United States into new territories, they should possess a voice in determining slavery’s status. If slaves were indeed property, as the Georgian claimed the Constitution to acknowledge, then it would be a grave injustice for Congress to prevent their mobility into land partly gained by the efforts of the slaveholders.

In the meantime, the Constitution itself did not in fact conclusively and unequivocally recognize slavery’s right to exist, as even slavery proponents like President James Buchanan seemed to recognize. In a message to Congress, Buchanan proposed an “explanatory amendment” assuring the perpetuation of slavery and reinforcing the Fugitive Slave Act. The fact that a similar clause was not present within the original document, along with the absence of a contrary clause abolishing slavery, indicated that the Constitution was ambiguous on the subject and open to a range of conflicting interpretations.

These conflicting interpretations of the Constitution further exacerbated the situation. Confederate President Jefferson Davis developed the argument of the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions to its extreme and proposed that because the Constitution was a “compact between independent states” and because the process of amendment ratification heavily emphasized state sovereignty, the individual states maintained the ultimate authority to secede from the Union when they no longer deemed the compact advantageous.

Abraham Lincoln, expressing a diametrically opposite view, declared that no state had ever existed as a sovereign entity outside of the Union and that only by virtue of the national Constitution, formed within the framework of a federal Union, could the states claim whatever rights they possessed. By Lincoln’s analysis of the Constitution, States’ Rights could not be but subordinate to the federal authority that engendered them.

Both Lincoln and Davis harbored a fundamental respect for the Constitution, but their irreconcilable interpretations thereof helped establish them as the leaders of the opposing sides in the upcoming war. Ultimately, the “proper” interpretation of the Constitution on this issue would be settled by force and by blood.

In the North during the 1850s, many Americans perceived slavery as an inherent violation of the individual liberties that the Constitution was supposed to represent. The cartoon “Forcing Slavery Down the Throat of a Free-Soiler” dramatized this sentiment by depicting Democratic politicians shoving a slave into the mouth of a resisting free man who cries “Murder!”

Forcing_SlaveryMany Northerners feared that integrating free citizens and slaveholders was another ploy by the Slave Power, a Southern oligarchy bent on extending its domain over the entirety of the United States, intending ultimately to send even the free men of the North into tyranny by unconstitutionally silencing criticism of their actions via such measures as the Gag Rule of 1836, which automatically tabled abolitionist petitions brought before Congress (Norton 400).

But no measure demonstrated the reality of the Slave Power’s existence more than the Supreme Court’s 1857 Dred Scott v. Sandford decision, which epitomized the Southern planters’ interpretation of the Constitution.

Chief Justice Roger Taney stated in a burst of historical ignorance that the Founding Fathers had never intended for black men to achieve equal status with the white population of the United States. Moreover, having won on the issue of popular sovereignty in the territories, the Southerners, with Taney as their spokesperson, were no longer content with the mere allowance of choice in the territories. Taney’s ruling amounted to an outright protection of slavery in the territories by barring Congress from limiting its spread (Norton 415).

If this were the true nature of the Constitution, then an increasing number of Northerners could not hope for it to preserve any semblance of liberty in the Union. Ruling on Dred Scott’s status as a slave, the Decision clothed the Fugitive Slave Act in Constitutional “justification” by affirming that presence in a free state did not free a slave.

Dred Scott also gave credence to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s association of Constitutional sanction with the Fugitive Slave Act when he denounced it in 1851. Emerson recognized the blatant immorality of legislation that would grant legal protection to the kidnapping of free black men and escaped slaves alike and would result in suicide for a country that deemed itself the home of freedom. Indeed, with laws and interpretations such as these, the conflict between the Northern and Southern ways of life was irreconcilable and could only erupt in blood.

South Carolina’s secession in December of 1860 set in motion the Southern interpretation of a Constitution dominated by States’ Rights, while the resulting Civil War and Lincoln’s use of 2.3 million federal troops to forcefully reunite the country demonstrated the Northern view which justified use of central authority on the grounds of national unity and individual liberty (Norton 461).

Ironically, the secession of the South permitted Northern Republicans to employ Congressional legislation (and the absence of Southern opposition) as a means to firmly establishing their own interpretation of the Constitution.

In 1865, the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified, assuring that slavery would exist no more and ending the dispute over its status in the Constitution. The Fourteenth Amendment of 1868 guaranteed that all men born or naturalized in the United States were citizens of their respective states and entitled to inalienable individual rights, thus overturning the Dred Scott Decision. Despite the fact that the contents, omissions, and possibilities for opposing interpretations within the Constitution greatly fueled the discord of the 1850s, the document was ultimately perfectible through the amendment process to the extent of assuring a just resolution to the ideological facet of the nation’s greatest inter-regional conflict.

Source

Norton, Katzman, et. al. A People and a Nation. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1994.