Monday, August 29, 2011
A sort of book report by Kate Salley Palmer
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FED UP! OUR FIGHT TO SAVE AMERICA FROM WASHINGTON
(Yes, the exclamation point is part of the title)
by Texas Governor Rick Perry
Rick Perry wants you to know that he really hates the Federal Government. (But he thinks AMERICA is great!)
The first chapter in his book is titled, “America is Great, Washington is Broken.”
He touts two organizations that I thought were different until I looked online and saw that one is actually part of the other. The umbrella organization is “Texans for Public Policy foundation,” and nestled within it is “Center for Tenth Amendment Studies.”
The Tenth Amendment contains just one sentence: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States, respectively, or to the people.”
Rick Perry seems to use “federalism” and “states’ rights” kind of interchangeably. One of his notions of “federalism” is that people who think and believe alike should all live together. I’m serious.
This is from his book:
“Crucial to understanding federalism in modern-day America is the concept of mobility, or “the ability to vote with your feet.” If you don’t support the Death Penalty and citizens packing a pistol, don’t come to Texas. If you don’t like medicinal marijuana and gay marriage, don’t move to California.”
Then, he goes into all sorts of history about the Articles of Confederation, and The Federalist Papers, and our Founders agreeing with him and all.
Then there’s a lot more stuff about how Texas works and states like Massachusetts and California…don’t. (He might want to keep those thoughts to himself in a general election…)
But! Just in case you had the notion that his type of states’ rights, or federalism, resembled the sort of thing preached by John C Calhoun and that led to The Civil War--you don’t know Rick!
Again, from his book:
[Slavery and the hindrance of the Civil Rights movement] “were inexcusable chapters in American History—particularly for the southern states most responsible. These chapters were often defined by some who championed “states’ rights,” and thus the concept of federalism has been understandably but mistakenly weakened.”
“But” (continues Perry), A “careful reading of history” shows that “active, liberty-loving states contributed to the destruction of Slavery in America.”
“By 1850,” he continues, “half of the states in America were free states.”
The Underground Railroad, he claims, was “federalism, or certainly local control, in action.”
He concludes this amazing blindness to the facts by admitting that:
“We can never know what would have happened in the absence of federal involvement because we cannot rewrite history.”
So, there it is--Governor Perry utterly rejects the notion that his position has anything to do with the original notion of states’ rights as interpreted by, say, John C. Calhoun of South Carolina.
And it ticks him off that we would even THINK such a thing.
But I found this on a site about the origins of the Confederacy (the 19th century one.)
Source: Macmillan Information Now Encyclopedia "The Confederacy."
[John C. Calhoun] “based his [States’ Rights] theory on the assumption that the people (not the government) in each state were sovereign and, in their sovereign capacity, had ratified and thus given validity to both the state constitution and the U.S. Constitution. …A state convention…could nullify a Federal law.
That law would remain null and void within the state until three-fourths of all the states had ratified a constitutional amendment specifically giving Congress the power in question.
If they should ever do so, the nullifying state would still have a recourse--secession.
Just as a state could "accede" to the Union by ratifying the Constitution, it could "secede" by repealing its ordinance of ratification.
South Carolina put nullification to the test in 1832, when a state convention declared all protective tariffs, particularly those of 1828 and 1832, to be null and void within the state.
Calhoun having resigned the vice presidency, the nullifiers sent him to the Senate to present their case. Debating him was Daniel Webster, now a senator from Massachusetts, who had switched from a state rights position to a nationalist one while Calhoun was doing the reverse.
"The truth is," Webster contended, "and no ingenuity of argument, no subtlety of distinction, can evade it, that, as to certain purposes, the people of the United States are one people."
…Slavery, according to Calhoun, occupied a special place in the Constitution, and certainly it occupied a special place in his theory of state rights. It was, he insisted, the only kind of property that the Constitution specifically recognized (though, in fact, the document did not mention slaves or slavery by name; it referred only to "free Persons" and "all other Persons" and to a "Person held to Service or Labour").
Therefore, nullification could be used to defend or strengthen slavery but not to attack or weaken it. Calhoun strenuously objected when, after 1842, several free states tried their own brand of nullification by adopting "personal liberty" laws that forbade state authorities to assist in the enforcement of the Federal Fugitive Slave Act of 1793.
…Then, when the Compromise of 1850 proposed to admit California as a free state and thus to upset the balance of free and slave states, he thought the time had come for the slave states to resort to their ultimate redress, secession.”
So…Rick Perry is right when he says that by 1850, half the states were free states.
But he seems to forget that the argument for secession was based on one of state’ rights. It was not the states’ rights crowd who fought Slavery.
If only all those slaves had just “voted with their feet…”