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7A Constitution Found Wanting

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  • KGC4Dixie
    Aug 20, 2013
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      A Constitution Found Wanting
      From: _bernha-@..._ (mailto:bernha-@...)

      Foreign observers of the War Between the States like Edward Dicey
      clearly saw the conflict as between to cultures and countries, brought
      to arms by the failure of a written Constitution which was admittedly
      only an experiment in free government. A collection of agreed upon
      compromises from 1787 had by 1861 fully unraveled; the reluctance of
      the radical Republican party in the North to reach political
      compromise with the South led to the war and end of the Founders’
      republic. As noted below, only a State legislature may determine if
      insurrection exists and then allow federal troops within its borders
      to help quell it; federal officials waging war upon a State are guilty
      of treason against that State according to the US Constitution.

      Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman North Carolina War Between the States
      Sesquicentennial Commission _www.ncwbts150.com_
      (http://www.ncwbts150.com) "The Official Website of the North Carolina
      WBTS Sesquicentennial"


      A Constitution Found Wanting:

      “Throughout almost all English speculations on American affairs, there
      runs a constant assumption that the United States Government resembles
      our Old World Governments, and possesses unlimited powers of action,
      if only it chooses to exert them. Now the truth is that, by the very
      nature of its Constitution, the powers of the government are so
      strictly defined that in all cases not provided for by the express
      letter of the law it has no authorized means of action.

      Thus in Europe, the refusal of the Federal Government to recognize
      formally the fact that the Confederates were belligerents appeared
      dictated by a childish reluctance to acknowledge and unwelcome truth.
      In reality, it was constitutionally impossible for the North to admit
      the belligerent character of the South.

      The Federal Government has power by the Constitution to suppress an
      insurrection in the supposed interest of the insurgent State – it has
      no power whatsoever to make war upon a State. In order to keep within
      the Constitution, it was essential for the Federal Government to
      assume the theory that the insurgent States still form part of the
      Union. Yet the adoption of this theory involves inconceivable
      difficulties in practice.

      If the States are still within the Union, they must be dealt with by
      the laws of the Constitution. Thus, to quote one simple instance, the
      insurgents must be tried in their own State, by a jury taken from the
      State, and no Southern jury would ever convict an insurgent of
      treason.

      Again, all taxes, by the Constitution, must be uniformly imposed on
      all the States. It would be therefore impossible, if the war was over,
      to tax the insurgent States, so as to make them bear the expenses of
      the war. These are not theoretical difficulties, but practical and
      pressing ones.

      If the broad principle is once admitted that the welfare of the
      Commonwealth overrides all State interests and justifies any stretch
      of power, then the [Constitutional] doctrine of State rights is
      virtually defunct in the North as well as in the South….

      Added to all this, the whole nation has been taught, so long and so
      sedulously, that the Constitution is the great bulwark of their
      liberties – the grandest triumph of legislative power, that they
      cannot yet, and dare not yet, realize the truth, that this
      Constitution has been tried and found wanting.”

      (Spectator of America, Edward Dicey, originally published in 1863,
      “Six Months in the Federal States,” University of Georgia Press, 1989,
      pp. 127-128)