Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Constitution and the Issue of Slavery, A new Look at it. (part III )

The Civil war or as it is called at times the war between the States began April 12, 1861 and ended on April 9, 1865. but as it was said previously the political battles prior to the war was not about slavery itself but the expansion of the institution of slavery. This was the gist of Lincoln's “House divided” speech made on June 16, 1858 that is quoted so often and taken out of context of its intent. In it he said the following.


"A house divided against itself cannot stand." I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.

Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.”

All of you Biblical buffs might recognize that this speech as coming from Matthew 12:25. And from this speech we can see that Lincoln's was not so much concerned about slavery itself as he was concerned about the unity of the nation. Apparently, the idea of secession of some states was seen as inevitable unless there was some kind of solution to this problem that was dividing this nation.

Another attempt to prevent secession was shown when Congress tried to pass the Corwin amendment to the Constitution, 3/2/1861. Corwin Amendment supporters seem to have believed it would not have changed 1860s law other than to have restricted the Congress's future powers. It further appears that supporters regarded the amendment as simply a reiteration of principles already contained in the Constitution. President Lincoln was for this amendment. The amendment stated the following.

“No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.”

In understanding of this amendment we can see that it reveals a couple of things about the mindset of the people. First it was intended on assuring those States where slavery was legal that the U.S. Government would not interfere in their way of life thus there would be no need to secede. The second thing it reveals is that it acknowledges that all domestic affairs was strictly within the powers and authority of the States.

The federal government had no Constitutional authority or power to interfere in domestic affairs except on this specific issue as I advocated in a previous post concerning the Constitution. Even then, as we can see, based on the laws at that time the federal government could only address the issue within the authority given to it by the Constitution. It could only regulate the importation of slaves and regulate the expansion of it to new territories. This can be seen in the following wikipedia quotation as to Lincoln's understanding of the Constitution.

Outgoing President James Buchanan publicly endorsed the Corwin Amendment. Abraham Lincoln, in his first inaugural address, did not oppose the Corwin Amendment: "Holding such a provision to now be implied Constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable." Just weeks prior to the outbreak of the Civil War, Lincoln penned a letter to each governor asking for them to support the Corwin Amendment.

In my humble opinion, this is irrefutable evidence as to how the powers were meant to be divided up between the State governments and the federal government per the Constitution. Without convincing evidence to the contrary any political ideology of the Constitution that does not recognize this division of powers is a declaration that ideology takes priority over the Constitution.

25 comments:

BB-Idaho said...

The Corwin Amendment was the last of many 'compromises' that began as the US was born.
Just prior, were the
Crittendon Plan and the Washington Peace Conference. Crittendon's
amendment would have given the south everything they
demanded, but several states had already seceded. (The tenor of the times is exemplified by
Crittendon's family: one
son joined the Confederacy, one the Union-
likewise he had a grandson
in either army. One of those fascinating twists of history is that one grandson died in Custer's Last Stand'.) The constitutional legality of
the various interest groups
is certainly open to criticism. I would suggest that by firing on Ft. Sumpter, the south was in violation of Article 3, section 3.."Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them,"
but leave that to constitional scholars.
Another area of interest
is Article 1, section 8
.."Congress shall have the power to declare war":
which was only done 5 times-so we argue over the
many conflicts in which US forces have been engaged.
The Civil War, our most costly, was one of those
'undeclared', the rationale being that the
states in rebellion were not a 'country'. So the
scholars parse words and the discussion continues.
As for Lincoln's "Holding such a provision to now be implied Constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable." He was a bit premature: to be Constitutional Law, the amendment had to be ratified by 2/3 of the states...which shortly would be all that were left!

tweetey30 said...

hi there.. Never heard of this one.. But thanks for sharing it..

The Griper said...

BB,
that law was already seen as being in the Constitution. its called the 10th amendment. all this amendment would have done is express the 10th amendment in explicit terms.

as for the ratification of amendments, it takes a 2/3 majority of Congress and 3/4 majority of the States to ratify an amendment.

BB-Idaho said...

10th Amendment, a two-edged sword..
Section 10, Clause 1-
"Section 10. Clause 1. No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation.."

The Griper said...

what does section 10 have to do with whether or not the federal government can interfere in domestic affairs?

Lista said...

Griper,
Lincoln's Speech was Actually Sort of Black and White and Because of that I'm not sure that I Like it. It was almost as if he was Putting Pressure on the Entire Country to make a Decision between "One or the Other" for EVERYBODY (An Absolute). Such Pressure may have Contributed to the War.

Only the Very First Sentence is from the Verse that you Sited, Griper. The Rest is just Words of Lincoln.

In Order for me to Agree with the Last Paragraph of your Post, Griper, the Corwin Amendment would have had to have Passed and Become a Part of Our Constitution. Just being Considered is not enough. The Fact that it was "Considered" only Indicates that SOME of the Founding Fathers were in Support of it. Politicians are Required to Honor the Constitution, not Every Addition to it that was Ever Considered throughout Our History.

If State Rights and Federalism was Controversial, which it was, then the Subject of the Intent was and is Still Controversial to this Day.

From what BB said, there were Other "Compromises" Considered, though the "Crittendon Plan" Sounds more like a Total Sell Out than a Compromise.

Griper,
I'd Like to Know the Answer to the Last Question that you ask as well.

Lista said...

On Further Thought, It Seems to me that Lincoln's Words were more in Line with Federalism because he Wanted the Entire Nation to Agree to "One or the Other". State Sovereignty would have Allowed Each State to Decide Individually and Agreement would not have been Necessary.

I Don't Know. Was Lincoln Trying to Push Federalism on the States that Wanted to Secede from the Union? Was he Trying to Force Compromise that just wasn't going to Happen? If you Ask me, I would say that it was not Compromise, but the Lack of Compromise that Lead to the War, cause they Could not Settle and Agree on a Compromise.

These Issues are not at all Clear Cut.

I'll have to Read the Tenth Amendment. I'm not as Familiar with that one.

BB-Idaho said...

"what does section 10 have to do with whether or not the federal government can interfere in domestic affairs? I'm assuming that
the operative words are
'no state' and 'shall enter a confederation' and that having done so, the
states that formed the
Confederacy did so unconstitutionally; therefore their 'internal affairs' were of legitimate
interest to the nation.

Rational Nation USA said...

"I'm assuming that
the operative words are
'no state' and 'shall enter a confederation' and that having done so, thestates that formed the
Confederacy did so nconstitutionally;..."

Of course all things are open to interpretation. However BB Idaho makes a compelling argument.

The Griper said...

"the operative words are
'no state' and 'shall enter a confederation' and that having done so,..."

when a State secedes from the Union they have declared their independence and they are no longer bound by the terms of the Constitution. thus they can enter into a confederation of their choice.

Lincoln recognized this independence when he made the emancipation proclamation, thus declaring some slaves in the southern states free by executive order. if he did not recognize this independence he abused his constitutional power as president.

Lista said...

Occasionally, my Comments on this Blog are Influenced by Earlier Discussions that I have had with Griper in that a Person should not Compromise one's Principles and Remembered Griper saying at One Time that he Felt that the Civil War was Caused by Compromise and this is always in the Back of my Mind as I've been reading about the Civil War.

The Thing is, though, in the Above Post, I see both a Black and White Statement made by Lincoln and a Problem Finding a Compromise that could be Agreed upon, which Points to the Possibility of Black and White Thinking, as well as Lack of Compromise, as Being Possible Causes or Contributing Factors to the War.

On Further Thought about the Post as a Whole, I am Realizing that there was a Very Strong Emphasis on State Sovereignty at the Time of the Civil War and Perhaps a lot of the States thought that Lincoln was being rather Pushy with his Ideas in Relation to Federalism. I Wonder what would have Happened if the States that Seceded from the Union were just Left be and not Forced by War back into the Union. I Wonder, Griper, if this is Part of what you are Trying to say.

Lista said...

I don't Think that Lincoln had the Constitutional Right to Release Slaves by Executive Order, did he? Why would he have the Right to do this in Relation to States that had Seceded from the Union?

Yes, I see now that Lincoln most Definitely made some Mistakes, but then again, this is Past History, so what is done is done.

The Griper said...

lista,
when a nation invades another nation it can make any proclamation it wants to in regards to the nation invaded. for the invader rules. during the reconstruction era, the south was under the rule of the north.
we did it in germany, japan, iraq.

and past history affects the present day affairs too. thus if we don't correct the mistakes of the past then we end up justifying those mistakes as if there were no mistakes.

Lista said...

The Problem is, Griper, that we don't all Agree what those Mistakes were and our Disagreements Over the Interpretation of History, Carry Over into Our Opinions about the Present. This is Even True in Relation to More Recent History, which Republicans and Democrats Interpret Differently in Relation to who gets the Credit for what and therefore what Works and what Doesn't and Each Accuses the Other of lying in their Interpretation.

It is also Impossible to Know what the Out Come would have been if the other Path would have been Taken and that is the Path of Just Allowing the States who wanted to Secede from the Union to do so.

I'm Glad, though, that we didn't Make the Compromise that was Written in the Corwin Amendment, for it had a Certain Permanence about it that Related to the Evil of Slavery.

What I'm Hoping now is that there will not be a Compromise or Treaty Signed with the UN that Takes away so many of our Freedoms that it Starts a War between the US and the UN. That would Probably be Considered another World War. To me, this Possibility does not Seem at all Far Fetched and Unfortunately a lot of Our Leaders are too Foolish to Pay Attention to History.

The Griper said...

"The Problem is, Griper, that we don't all Agree what those Mistakes were and our Disagreements Over the Interpretation of History, Carry Over into Our Opinions about the Present."

that is the reason for debate, lista.

" I'm Glad, though, that we didn't Make the Compromise that was Written in the Corwin Amendment, for it had a Certain Permanence about it that Related to the Evil of Slavery."

no it doesn't, lista. if we could pass the 13th amendment freeing the slave then that is a good basis not thinking that there was a certain permanence.

Lista said...

I was Basing my Conclusions on the Text as you have Quoted it in your Post. "No Amendment Shall be Made......etc."

Since we Did Later Pass the 13th Amendment Freeing the Slaves, I Assume that the Corwin Amendment was never Put into Effect.

Lista said...

Ok. I did some Research. Apparently the Amendment did Pass, but the "Confederate States of America were so Totally Committed to Independence" that they Ignored the Amendment.

"This proposed amendment is technically still before the states for ratification, because it was submitted to the states without a time limit. Adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment, abolishing slavery, ended any realistic chance of its being adopted." (From the Wikipedia)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corwin_Amendment

Apparently, even though it Passed, it was Never Adopted because the Confederate States of America Ignored, rather than Accepted it.

Lista said...

Ok. So the War Broke Out Because the Confederates Rejected the Compromise. They Should have Accepted it because the End Result of the War was that they Lost Everything they were Fighting for.

The Griper said...

lista,
Ok. I did some Research. Apparently the Amendment did Pass, but the "Confederate States of America were so Totally Committed to Independence" that they Ignored the Amendment."

false. the amendment passed Congress but it never was ratified by the States.
and there was no time limit so that means that the States could still ratify it now.

Lista said...

Griper,
I Got my Information from the Wikipedia, so you are Currently Arguing with them, rather than me. The Reason why it was Never Ratified by the States is because "the newly formed Confederate States of America was totally committed to independence, and so it ignored the proposed Corwin Amendment."

This Quote is From the Wikipedia, so if it is Wrong, then the Wikipedia is Wrong. Are you Disagreeing with me Because I did not Include the Words "in Congress" in my Statement "the Amendment did Pass", or are you Disagreeing because you are so Used to Disagreeing with me and do not Know how to do Otherwise?

Your Last Sentence does not in anyway Disagree with what I said, you have just Failed to Mention that "Adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment, abolishing slavery, ended any realistic chance of its being adopted."

Forgive me, but I really do Think that you get more Caught up in Technicalities with me than with anyone else. It's as if you Like Disagreeing with me.

Maybe the Wikipedia is Wrong. Whatever. I've sort of been Questioning what they said about this Wedge Strategy in Relation to Intelligent Design and the Discovery Institute, so maybe it's not a Reliable Source. Whatever.

If you Disagree with me, though, Griper, just because you Like Disagreeing with me, then there is no way that you and I can have a Meaningful Conversation.

It's actually a little too bad if you did not Realize that you were Arguing with the Wikipedia instead of with me.

Sorry if I've got my Dander Up again. It just Frustrates me when you say "False" and yet what you say Next isn't really that Different from what I said and when an Entire Year can go by in which I don't Remember a Single Time in which you have ever Agreed with me, this Reality just Seems a Little Fishy.

The Griper said...

lista,
I am not arguing with Wikipedia nor am I arguing with you.

the reason the Confederate States ignored that amendment was the fact that since they no longer considered themselves a part of the Union anymore it had no effect on them. that is why they ignored it.

its passage tho would have affected those slave States that remained in the Union and did not secede.

Lista said...

Why did you say "Wrong" if Nothing you have Said Disagrees with what I Said? We aren't in Disagreement and yet Still you say "Wrong". I Honestly can not Remember the Last Time anything that I have Ever Said to you has ever been Considered Right. You Say "Wrong" even when you are not in Disagreement with what I am Saying. What does that Mean?

The Reason for the Amendment was as "a last-ditch effort to avert the outbreak of the Civil War." The Reason they Ignored it was because they were "Totally Commited to Independence". The more
Complete Quote is "the newly formed Confederate States of America was totally committed to independence, and so it ignored the proposed Corwin Amendment."

I'm Actually Afraid to Talk to you Right Now because I Fear that you Will Find a Way to Call this "Wrong" as well.

I'm Sorry. I Guess I'm in a Funk again and I'm Having Trouble Snapping Out of it. That's not because I'm not Taking Responsibility for my Feelings. It's just because I'm Human.

The Griper said...

lista,
i had already read that quote you used. and i never said i didn't disagree, only that i won't argue with you.

i was only correcting you on the amendment. it was never ratified by the States as it needed to be in order to take effect.

before an amendment can be added to the Constitution it must first pass Congress with a 2/3 majority vote. then it must be sent to each of the States in order for it to get ratified by 3/4 of the States.

Since by seceding from the Union the Confederacy they no longer felt they had a right to vote on the matter so in essence they ignored it. they had their own business to take care of.

BB-Idaho said...

Griper, it is difficult to
remain completely objective
in discussions about the Civil War, its causes and its results. I had to chuckle a bit, when browsing the Corwin Amendment, I ran across a
'dixiecrat site'...
"As for Lincoln’s erroneous belief that the People and not the States “created” the Constitution and the Union, that statement either calls Lincoln’s intellect or his honesty into question since those who followed his Hamiltonian vision of the nation (such as Seward and John Marshall) knew from every document, record and testimony beginning with the Founders and on into the great statesmen and legal minds of the day that such an opinion was altogether contrary to the vision of the Founding Fathers, the Founding Principles and the Constitution. Indeed, it was nothing more than a deception used by Lincoln and those who thought like him to wage unconstitutional, immoral, illegal and wicked war on several Sovereign States and their People and it continues to be used today to excuse and defend their criminality. Sherman – who though a tyrant and war criminal was not stupid – wrote that had the South won the war, Lincoln and his minions – including that General – would find themselves on the scaffold for their crimes against humanity and the Constitution. Sadly, that did not happen."
..heh, all I can say is
140 years later John Wilkes Booth is still alive and well. :)

Lista said...

You will Debate with BB-Idaho, but Apparently I'm not Worth it. You had not Said a Single Thing that Shows any Evidence of Actual Real Disagreement and this is Why I Concluded that you just Like being Disagreeable when it comes to me.

I Never Said that the Bill was Ratified. If anything, then I said just the Opposite. Can't you see that you are Seeing Disagreements that aren't even there.

"they no longer felt they had a right to vote."

Ok, that Might be a Disagreement. Where did you get that Information from? It Doesn't Make Sense because if the Purpose of the Amendment was as "a last-ditch effort to avert the outbreak of the Civil War.", then...Well, it just doesn't Make Sense. The Reason that you Gave for them Ignoring the Amendment is Different than the Reason Given in the Wikipedia.

Perhaps if you Used Words such as "Let me Clarify", whether than "Wrong". It just Comes Across like you are Talking Down to me and Trying to Make Everything that I say Incorrect. You don't do this with any one Else. You Only do it to me.

Unfortunately, you Lack the People Skills Required to Appease someone who you have Offended.

Interesting Comment, BB. I Wish I wasn't so Tired, or I'd Probably have more to say.

Followers

Words of Wisdom of my visitors

Grab This Widget

Gas Buddy

Search for gas prices by US Zip Code

 

Design by Amanda @ Blogger Buster