Monday, July 13, 2015

The Confederacy

The Confederacy seems to be in the news lately, so here's Lord Acton's thoughts on the subject, expressed in a letter to General Robert E. Lee, after the war:

"I saw in State Rights the only availing check upon the absolutism of the sovereign will, and secession filled me with hope, not as the destruction but as the redemption of Democracy. The institutions of your Republic have not exercised on the old world the salutary and liberating influence which ought to have belonged to them, by reason of those defects and abuses of principle which the Confederate Constitution was expressly and wisely calculated to remedy. I believed that the example of that great Reform would have blessed all the races of mankind by establishing true freedom purged of the native dangers and disorders of Republics. Therefore I deemed that you were fighting the battles of our liberty, our progress, and our civilization; and I mourn for the stake which was lost at Richmond more deeply than I rejoice over that which was saved at Waterloo."

Lee replied:

"I yet believe that the maintenance of the rights and authority reserved to the states and to the people, not only essential to the adjustment and balance of the general system, but the safeguard to the continuance of a free government. I consider it as the chief source of stability to our political system, whereas the consolidation of the states into one vast republic, sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home, will be the certain precursor of that ruin which has overwhelmed all those that have preceded it."

I'd say that was prescient.



LL said...

Washington and the beltway hate the Tenth Amendment most of all, now that the Press has been tamed.

LSP said...

They hate it a lot. States Rights.

LL said...

There is a general distrust in Washington DC of states which wish to do things this way or that way, which, while in keeping with the Constitution, do not conform with what the Beltway would prefer. There is a wish to homogenize the nation - and at the same time meddle with things that the federal government is charged with doing (such as defending the border and managing immigration) to the detriment of individual states.

The result of this has caused a MASSIVE, and inconceivable national debt.