Tag

Nullification

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Left Libertarians, Dobbs, and the Ninth Amendment

Interest in the Ninth Amendment has been renewed with the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (2022), in which the Court held that the Constitution contains no fundamental right to abortion.  Many abortion proponents have turned to the Ninth Amendment in criticizing the decision.  For example, Damon Root at Reason described the decision as “an   …
William J. Watkins
November 16, 2022
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Southern Resistance to the European Concept of Sovereignty

From the 2004 Abbeville Institute Summer School. So, our friend Don Livingston asked me to bring a European perspective on the problems of the Southern decentralist tradition. Today, I want to address what I would call, “What They Were Up Against: The Modern State and Federalism.” One of the greatest errors of mainstream Anglo-American political studies, from the history of…
Marco Bassani
October 3, 2022
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John Reagan Was Right

Texas Senator John Regan was right when he argued in the chamber three months before the opening Civil War shots at Fort Sumter: “Suppose the people of the South would today voluntarily surrender $3 billion in slave property and send their slaves at their expense to the free states, would you accept them as freemen and citizens of your States?…
Philip Leigh
September 23, 2022
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“His Richest Legacy to Posterity”

From Gustavus Pinckney, Life of John C. Calhoun. The attentive reader will not have forgotten that in the letter of Mr. Calhoun in reference to his acceptance of the Secretaryship of State he made mention of a project which he had in mind for leisure hours in the home routine to which at that time he looked forward. The home…
Abbeville Institute
August 26, 2022
BlogClyde Wilson Library

A View of the Constitution

From the 2004 Abbeville Institute Summer School. St. George Tucker is a significant member of the Revolutionary generation, the Founding Generation, and he was looked to by Jefferson and Madison as the judge of Jeffersonian democracy, the man who saved the judiciary from false doctrines in his View of the Constitution and his other writings. Tucker’s View was published in…
Clyde Wilson
July 18, 2022
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The Nullification Crisis

Going back to Jefferson, you can say that Jefferson’s vision of radical Federalism was of a libertarian Federalism, based on the rights of local self-government circumscribing and limiting their agent, the Federal government, whose referent is not a single people, but the peoples of the various States. It’s strange that in the writings from the Founding period, the plural of…
Marco Bassani
June 1, 2022
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A Cascadian Confederacy?

Nearly two weeks ago, five counties in Oregon voted to approve a measure to secede from the state and join its neighbor Idaho. The counties of Malheur, Sherman, Baker, Grant, and Lake joined Jefferson and Union county who had already voted in favor of similar measures last year. According to greateridaho.org, “the ballot measures are a part of an effort…
Cole Branham
June 4, 2021
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Judicial Review? No. Nullification

“Acts of congress, to be binding, must be made pursuant to the constitution; otherwise they are not laws, but a mere nullity.” -St. George Tucker “There is no danger I apprehend so much as the consolidation of our government by the noiseless, and therefore unalarming instrumentality of the Supreme Court.” -Thomas Jefferson As a pro-life Jeffersonian, I am constantly frustrated…
Earl Starbuck
February 22, 2021
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Is it Time for America to Break Apart?

There is a question that increasingly arises, uncomfortably, in our conversations…from brief exchanges at work at the water cooler, at home with family, after church on Sunday, with our email messages to friends and associates. To watch any amount of television news these days, to switch back and forth between, say, CNN and Fox, and to listen to their interpretations…
Boyd Cathey
August 2, 2019
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The Procrustean Constitution

We have seen how Mississippi, with its campus free speech bill, totally ignored its own State constitution in favor of federal 1st Amendment arguments.  Now Texas is doing likewise in response to the San Antonio City Council’s decision to reject Chick-fil-A’s request to be a vendor in the San Antonio International Airport.  The opposition to this decision rests mostly on…
Walt Garlington
May 15, 2019
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The Southern Critique of Centralization

The Southern political tradition, in practice and theory, is one of its most valuable contributions to America and the world. The one constant theme of that tradition from 1776–through Jefferson, Madison, John Taylor, St George Tucker, Abel Upshur, John C. Calhoun, the Nashville Agrarians, Richard Weaver, M. E. Bradford, down to the scholars of the Abbeville Institute–is a systematic critique…
Donald Livingston
January 28, 2019
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What Does the Fracturing of the American Identity Mean for the Southern Tradition?

The Abbeville Institute conducted three conferences this year on the fracturing of American national identity and what means for the Southern tradition and the Southern people. The general public knows America is coming apart and that they're anxious about it, but most don't understand why because our political leaders and the national media generally suppress its origins. We wanted to…
Donald Livingston
December 17, 2018
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The Problem with Lawyers and the Constitution

On November 10, 2018, the Abbeville Institute hosted an event called The Revival of Nullification and Secession in Dallas, TX. The purpose was to educate people on the means by which we can escape the hatred and hostility that is consuming not only headlines, but our very souls. The population of these United States is split pretty much equally in…
Suzanne Sherman
December 5, 2018
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Defusing a Second Civil War Through Peaceful Secession?

Secession? Nullification? A second Civil War in the presently not-so United States of America? According to a historic and highly fascinating Abbeville Institute event that took place November 9 and 10, 2018 in Dallas, Texas, a number of influential American thinkers, political figures and activists gathered to discuss how peaceful secession and nullification could very well be one of the most important…
Matthew Silber
November 15, 2018
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The Southern Political Tradition is Winning

Nationalist Jeff Sessions gets canned and a nullifier takes his job. This is actually an odd twist of fate. A friend of mine knows Sessions personally, and he continually expressed disappointment at Sessions's actions as AG. Jeff Sessions is from Alabama and is named after two famous Confederate heroes, Jefferson Davis and P.G.T. Beauregard.  His replacement, Matthew Whitaker, hails from…
Brion McClanahan
November 14, 2018
Review Posts

From Founding Fathers to Fire Eaters

A review of From Founding Fathers to Fire-Eaters: The Constitutional Doctrine of States’ Rights in the Old South (Columbia, SC: Shotwell Publishing, 2018) by James Rutledge Roesch. Mr. James Rutledge Roesch is doing God’s work with the publication of his book, From Founding Fathers to Fire-Eaters: The Constitutional Doctrine of States’ Rights in the Old South.  Riding to the sound…
John Devanny
October 30, 2018
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A Red and Blue Coalition?

On June 20, 1816, Thomas Jefferson wrote to William Crawford: “If any state in the Union will declare that it prefers separation ... to a continuance in union, I have no hesitation in saying, ‘Let us separate.’” Jefferson thought secession can be a good thing. Lincoln in his first inaugural presented secession as something always bad: “Secession,” he said, “is…
Donald Livingston
October 15, 2018
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Nullification and Secession: Solutions or Talking Points?

Many of us in the South have maintained our faith in the Constitutional right of nullification and secession despite the efforts of massed, bloody, Yankee bayonets. But is the talk about nullification and secession an earnest effort to put forward solutions to an out of control, Deep State, supreme federal government or is it merely an exercise in heady political…
James Ronald Kennedy
September 3, 2018
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The Only Way to Drain the Swamp

“When you are up to your hindquarters in alligators—it is hard to remember that your intentions were to drain the swamp.”  This old country-boy saying seems most appropriate for President Trump as he attempts to “drain the swamp” in Washington, D.C. The continuing efforts of the ruling elite in Washington to destroy a lawfully elected president because “their” anointed candidate…
Review Posts

Zombies No More: Secession, Nullification, and the Academy

A review of Nullification and Secession in Modern Constitutional Thought. Sanford Levinson, ed. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press, 2016. The undead walk among us still, or so asserts Sanford Levinson, the editor of an important collection of essays on nullification and secession.  Levinson and company are as mainstream a group political scientists, law professors, and historians as one might…
John Devanny
April 17, 2018
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The Fighting Gamecock: Thomas Sumter

Thomas Sumter in his encounters with the Indian na­tions enters the pages of recorded history. He had prob­ably been present at the fall of Fort Duquesne and in the campaign across the Ohio River and had learned some­thing of the red man during this early service. In any case, he was chosen to accompany Lieutenant Henry Timberlake to treat with…
M.E. Bradford
November 1, 2017
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States and Cities Saying “No” to the Feds

What was amazing about watching two dozen states and several hundred cities defy Donald Trump’s decision to take the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement was that so little was made of it. It represented open defiance of the national government and a commitment to follow the principles of a treaty that our elected leader has specifically rebuked. I…
Kirkpatrick Sale
October 12, 2017
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On Tour at The Hermitage

On Labor Day, I visited The Hermitage, Andrew Jackson’s Nashville manor. As a Tennessee native, going to The Hermitage was always a goal of mine – even though for various reasons I had never been able to do so before. With a candid demeanor, I paid my $20 dollars and entered the intro museum. For reasons expressed in my book,…
Dave Benner
September 28, 2017
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10 Objections to Nullification–Refuted

Nullification, also known as State interposition, is controversial because it challenges the Supreme Court’s monopoly on constitutional interpretation. The argument behind nullification is that the States—as parties to the compact that created the federal government—have a right to interpret the Constitution and veto acts where the federal government exceeds its delegated power. Genuine nullification involves a State’s declaration of unconstitutionality…
Zachary Garris
August 31, 2017
Review Posts

Nullification

A review of Nullification: Reclaiming the Consent of the Governed by Clyde Wilson, Shotwell Press, 2016. As a young conservative, I came across ideas like nullification and states’ rights, during my studies. But they were always passed over, as if they didn’t mean anything anymore. When I read Robert Bork’s excellent book on Originalism, I never saw his unquestioned and…
Christopher McDonald
August 22, 2017
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Madisonian Nullification

This article will restore necessary context to the word "nullification” as used by James Madison in an 1834 letter called “Notes on Nullification.” First, we have to put Madison’s role in the formulation of the concept of nullification into some context of its own. As indispensable as he was to the development of our Constitution, James Madison is not the…
Joe Wolverton
July 27, 2017
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Southern Nullification and the Stamp Act

Every so often, a candid examination of current events makes famous incidents in American history altogether relevant again. In my mind no incident demonstrates this more than the Stamp Act Crisis of 1765. Few episodes in American history have so effectively proved how to confront and end the enactment of malignant and unconstitutional laws. In 1765, the standard American position…
Dave Benner
February 24, 2017
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Nullification vs. Secession?

On the 21st of this June, Americans celebrated the 228th anniversary of the nation’s Constitution, making it the world’s oldest existing governing body of laws. It was then that our founding fathers met in their effort to form a union more perfect than the one under which the thirteen sovereign states had been operating since 1781, the original Articles of…
John Marquardt
October 13, 2016
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Decentralization For Humanity’s Sake

The Roman historian Titus Livius once called Rome “the greatest nation in the world.”  He wrote those words in a time of moral and political decline, and Livy was hoping by outlining the greatness of the once proud republic, the Roman people would arrest the decline and embrace the principles that had made Rome great.  Livy argued that without understanding…
Brion McClanahan
September 9, 2016
Review Posts

Who Won the Webster-Hayne Debate of 1830?

The dominant historical opinion of the famous debate between Daniel Webster of Massachusetts and Robert Young Hayne of South Carolina which took place in the United States Senate in 1830 has long been that Webster defeated Hayne both as an orator and a statesman. According to the legend, Webster managed in the course of the debate to isolate the South,…
H. A. Scott Trask
August 30, 2016
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Q&A on Nullification and Interposition

Q: What can I read that can give me a serious overview of the true impact of the tariffs of 1828 and 1832 on South Carolina? A: I think the question of the impact of the protective tariff on South Carolina is the wrong question to ask. It is something of a diversionary tactic, for reasons I will try to…
Clyde Wilson
June 29, 2016
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Nullification to Save the Constitution

Editor's note: This article is excerpted from an 1833 4th of July Oration delivered by Henry L. Pinckney and is available in its entirety at The James McClellan Library.  This feature of our website contains over 100 primary documents on State's Rights and federalism compiled by one of the founding members of the Abbeville Institute. ....But why is it that…
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The South Carolina Doctrine

Sir, South Carolina has not gone one step further than Mr. Jefferson himself was disposed to go in relation to the present subject of our present complaints; not a step further than the statesmen from New England were disposed to go under similar circumstances; no further than the senator from Massachusetts himself once considered as within "the limits of a…
Robert Y. Hayne
June 7, 2016
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Andrew Jackson: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

‘If only I can restore to our institutions their primitive simplicity and purity, can only succeed in banishing those extraneous corrupting influences which tend to fasten monopoly and aristocracy on the Constitution and to make the government an engine of oppression to the people instead of the agent of their will, I may then look back on the honors conferred…
James Rutledge Roesch
November 3, 2015
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Jefferson’s “Rightful Remedy”

This article was originally published at Townhall.com. Victor Davis Hanson has a strange and misguided infatuation with “Confederates.” In June, his widely read National Review piece on the Confederate Battle Flag equated the Confederacy to a “racist separatist group” like Benito Mussolini’s fascist Italy, and just this week, Hanson suggested that so-called “sanctuary cities” are the new “Confederates.” Hanson’s overarching…
Brion McClanahan
October 22, 2015
Review Posts

Robert B. Rhett: Liberty Protected by Law

“The one great principle, which produced our secession from the United States – was constitutional liberty – liberty protected by law. For this, we have fought; for this, our people have died. To preserve and cherish this sacred principle, constituting as it did, the very soul of independence itself, was the clear dictate of all honest – all wise statesmanship.”–…
James Rutledge Roesch
September 22, 2015
Review Posts

Promoting Christian Sabbath or Lord’s Day Observance in South Carolina, 1827-1837

In the eighteenth century, each of the British North American colonies that later formed the United States of America had statutes that regulated the observance of the Christian Sabbath, or the Lord’s day. The two motivating concerns were, first, religious worship; and, second, commercial or business activity on the weekly rest day. While the high regard of New Englanders for…
Forrest L. Marion
September 8, 2015
Review Posts

Abel P. Upshur

This essay is published in honor of Abel P. Upshur's birthday, June 17, 1790. Today, States’ rights are remembered as a legalistic excuse for the preservation of slavery – a part of the past best forgotten. One historian scoffs at the notion of “loyalty to the South, Southern self-government, Southern culture, or states’ rights,” declaring that “slavery’s preservation was central…
Review Posts

True American Whiggery: John Tyler and Abel P. Upshur

This piece is taken from Brion McClanahan and Clyde Wilson Forgotten Conservatives in American History. Two dates changed the course of American political history. On 13 September 1841, the Whigs expelled President John Tyler from their Party, outraged over his “betrayal” of what they considered true Whig political and economic principles. Shorty over two years later, on 28 February 1844,…
Brion McClanahan
March 31, 2015
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“His Accidency:” The Indispensable John Tyler

In honor of John Tyler's birthday (March 29), I thought it proper to include a excerpt from my new book, Compact of the Republic: The League of States and the Constitution, detailing the actions of a President I believe followed the Constitution strictly and has been cast aside by history. Called “His Accidency” by his political adversaries to refer to…
Dave Benner
March 30, 2015
Review Posts

Leopold Kohr: Prophet of a Coming Decentralization?

The time is ripe for a rediscovery of Leopold Kohr. Or perhaps better: the time is ripe for the discovery of Leopold Kohr, since few have any idea who he was. A select group of readers might connect him with E.F. Schumaker, author of Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered (orig. 1973). Kohr was one of Schumaker’s instructors,…
Steven Yates
March 24, 2015
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Faithless Government

Robert Barnwell Rhett, born on December 21, 1800, is remembered as one of the foremost "fire-eaters" of the South in the years leading to the War in 1861.  He championed nullification between 1830 and 1859 in order to preserve the Union, but had decided after the election of 1860 that the Union of the Founders had been dissolved and replaced…
Brion McClanahan
December 22, 2014
Review Posts

The Transformation of American Citizenship via the Crucible of War

Citizenship in these United States has consistently been in a transformative mode. From early American settlers, through the colonial period to Statehood and nationhood, and through transition from territorial to Statehood status, citizenship was a phenomenon appreciated but not necessarily understood. It was loosely defined, but yet highly valued. This was tolerable within the framework of limited government and widely…
Marshall DeRosa
December 3, 2014
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The Underlying Realities of Obama’s Amnesty

Focusing on the cultural, political and economic long-term consequences of President Obama’s amnesty executive action obscures placing attention on a more fundamental problem lurking in the shadows of American culture and politics. That problem can best be described as political cowardness. The primary source of this pathetic state of affairs stems from the socialization of the American people regarding race.…
Marshall DeRosa
November 24, 2014
Review Posts

A National or Federal Government

Part IV of a four part series. Part I, Part II, Part III. I come now to urge my objection to the jurisdiction of the court. It goes on the ground, that it is not competent to the general government, to usurp rights reserved to the States, nor for its courts to adjudicate them away. It is bottomed upon the…
Spencer Roane
September 15, 2014
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Miss Pinckney’s Constitutional Catechism

Maria Henrietta Pinckney (1782-1836) of South Carolina was the daughter of General Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, an officer in the Continental Army and a delegate to the 1787 Constitutional Convention. Maria lost her mother at an early age and was educated at home by her famous grandmother, Eliza Lucas Pinckney. In 1830, during the nullification controversy, Miss Pinckney published a widely…
Karen Stokes
August 22, 2014
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The Dix Note and Southern Freedom

While cleaning my study the other day I ran across my copy of a $10.00 “Dix” note. This paper money was issued by the Bank of New Orleans up to 1860. Looking at my copy of the “Dix” note cause me to reflect on the disastrous changes that have occurred in the Southern economy since the days of that quaint…
James Ronald Kennedy
August 18, 2014
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Nullification

I will be giving a talk to a large group of Oklahomans today (July 25) at the Reclaiming America for Christ Conference on nullification. This is a great event and will have thousands in attendance. In light of this, I wanted to republish a piece I wrote for LewRockwell.com in 2009 on the Tenth Amendment. Nullification and real federalism have…
Brion McClanahan
July 25, 2014
Clyde Wilson Library

Nullification Reconsidered

With the destructive evil of centralized power becoming every day more evident and 10th Amendment resolutions appearing in various State capitals, publication this month of the second volume of Professor W. Kirk Wood's magisterial three-volume "Nullification:A Constitutional History, 1776-1833" is serendipitous. For the first time in a half century and long past due, serious people are beginning to search for…
Clyde Wilson
June 2, 2014
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Illegal, Unconstitutional, and Unjust

The historian Andrew C. McLaughlin in 1932 wrote that the British imperial system was characterized “by diversification and not by centralization....The empire of the mid-eighteenth century was a diversified empire” with power “actually distributed and exercised by various governments.” British colonies, including Ireland, “had long existed” as “bodies, corporate, constituent members of the Empire,” each with its own constitution and…
Brion McClanahan
April 15, 2014