Friday, June 17, 2005

The American Civil War

The American Civil War combines some of the most crucial questions of politics and war. Does a state have the right to secede? Does everybody have the right to nullify national laws? Is war an excuse for the government to cancel basic rights? How far can the military go when waging war on the enemy? Are there rules of war countries must abide by?

This war touched everybody, and brought to the surface the deepest recesses of politics. It showed the truth of things.

Here's some irony, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address talked of the deeds of the founding fathers "four score and seven years ago". Strangely, those founding fathers were fighting for a government that would prevent exactly the same kind of war Lincoln was fighting.

Who failed?


Tom said...

Have you ever read Murray Rothbard's history of America "Conceived in Liberty"?

David Schantz said...

I think all people of the United States lost that one. The South was fighting to protect states rights. At the begining of the war the mayor (Jeff Thompson) of the city I live in climbed to the roof of city hall and removed the Union Flag. Later he became a General in the Confederate Army. I have posted my Question Of The Week, I hope you will stop by to answer it.

God Bless America, God Save The Republic

GeoBandy said...

Have to disagree with you on this one, Scriptor. The Founders would not have opposed the Union position in the Civil War. The Union was not formed by the states, and the states had no right to secede or nullify any federal law in any federal sphere as determined by the Constitution. The Founders were for the most part strong Federalists, and the Articles of Confederation were abandoned and the Constitution created in part to avoid states picking and choosing what their relationships with other states would be. The Constitution starts with "We the people of the United States". The states did not create, and had not the right to destroy, the Union. Patrick Henry is said to have grasped the significance of the phrasing immediately, and was outraged that the Constitution bypassed the states and derived its authority instead from the "people of the United States". Early Supreme Court decisions make it clear that this was the understanding of the Founders and the first generation of political leaders. See, for example, McCulloch v. Maryland, the state has no right or authority to tax the federal bank.