Jake Jacobs
Judge Napolitano's bogus libertarian "We the People" typo & the veneration of "We the States"
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By Jake Jacobs
February 3, 2015

On a number of occasions I have heard or read secessionist-libertarian Judge Napolitano declare that "The opening line of the Constitution contains a serious typographical error: 'We the People' should read, 'We the States.'"

What would cause Andrew P. Napolitano, comrade in libertarian arms with Ron Paul, Thomas Woods, John Stossel, et.al. to make such an egregious and erroneous declarative? Could it be an inordinate emphasis on so-called "States' Rights" that causes many libertarians to an almost worship of "We the States?"

Many times Judge Napolitano talks of the Conservative hyper-reverence for Abraham Lincoln, almost making him a "fourth member of the Trinity." Napolitano's Libertarian colleague Thomas Woods speaks over and over again of the neo-conservative worship of the "Union" and the Federal government. In their teachings Woods and Napolitanno attack the defenders of Abraham Lincoln and the United States of America as a form of "treating the Union as if it were a object of religious veneration.....Union worship...a religion that is bizarre and creepy."

Judge Napolitano is so enamored with "We the States" that he even distorts the Constitution by creating a bogus typo narrative to propagate his secessionist religion. Napolitano and Woods, passionate defenders of so-called States' Rights and secession ironically treat States' Rights as if they were an object of religious veneration-a form of State worship that is bizarre and creepy. With their imbalanced defense of "We The States" they distort the historical context of 1787-91 and have a skewed view of our Federal Constitutional Republic, We The People and the United States of America. Sadly they disseminate a discombobulated cacophony of orchestrated academic chicanery that under the guise of limited government advances the tyranny of The STATE over the glory of liberty from Government control. Their 1861 defense of secession for the cause of slavery defies the Declaration of Independence's call for equality and liberty for ALL above ALL forms of government!

For some strange reason these so-called libertarians venerate States' Rights above Liberty. States have NO rights they have POWER! "We the People" have God-given rights of equality and the power to live life freely from government control and harm. The States and the Federal government do not have sovereign rights, we the people do. In our Federal Republic, no government is sovereign, we the people are.

Consistent lovers of liberty are to be vigilante 24/7/365 for the cause of life and liberty making sure that when ANY Government power destroys the people's liberty they will challenge it's tyranny and not defend it as secessionist-libertarians do with their defense of the anti-liberty Slave State Confederate Nation of 1861.

I concur 1000% with my libertarian compatriots concerns that the Federal government has illegally gone way above and beyond it's constitutional enumerated-limited powers exploding into a Central government monstrosity that daily destroys more and more of our liberties.

Like ex-Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, I too am profoundly and seriously FED UP with the Federal governments violation of The People's rights and State constitutional prerogatives and powers but I cannot stand ideally by as secessionist-libertarians distort our Founders intentions with misconstrued interpretations and bogus presentations of a proper and balanced Federal Constitutional Republic.

On November 8, 2014 in Costa Mesa, California at the libertarian Mises Circle, Judge Andrew Napolitano gave a speech titled, "The Natural Law as a Restraint Against Tyranny." While he once again brought up his bogus mantra of the "We the People" typo I found much of what he had to say spot on and educational for the cause of Liberty. In Napolitano's speech he reminded his audience that: "the Declaration is a STATUE enacted by the Congress if you go to the first book of the US Code and go to the first page you'll see the Declaration of Independence, probably the most violated STATUTE by government that we have, even though its the first and the oldest."

I couldn't agree more with Judge Napolitano on that point! The Southern Slave-State Republics and the 1861 Confederate Slave-Republic violated the Declaration of Independence's statute of equality for all over and over again.

But, let us deal with Napolitano's claim about the alleged "We the People" typo. The first draft of the Constitution was printed for the delegates to study over in early August 1787. The Preamble read: "We the People of the States of New-Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia...."

However, the Constitutional Committee of Detail with James Wilson, Gouverneur Morris et.al. realized they could not list all 13 states as they did not know what 9 would ratify the Constitution therefore they realized the necessity to drop the names of the States. Also, the overwhelming consensus by the framers was that after God, the People, as Americans, where a collective whole and were sovereign over ALL forms of government, Central and State. On September 17, 1787 the revised draft of the Preamble became the authentic, legal and official copy of the Constitution of the United States of America. It read: "We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union."

To confirm the historical correctness of "We the People" versus the bogus claim of "We the States" we find the great liberty fighter Patrick Henry attacking the words, "We The People" at the Virginia ratification debates in early June, 1788. Henry declared:

"What right had they to say, We, the people? My political curiosity, exclusive of my anxious solicitude for the public welfare, leads me to ask: Who authorized them to speak the language of, We, the people, instead of, We, the states? States are the characteristics and the soul of confederation. If the states be not the agents of this compact, it must be one, great, consolidated, national government, of the people of all states."

Patrick Henry's claim and the refutation of it, is the crux of the issue! It is the essential KEY to understanding the relationship of We The People with the perpetual Federal Union of the United States versus the "soul of confederation"- the so called States' Rights .

In response to Henry's "We the States" argument fellow liberty lovers, Virginians and Federalists James Madison, Edmund Randolph, and Edmund Pendleton articulated that the collective whole of We the People was over ALL government, both Central and State. Governor Randolph devastatingly rebutted Henry by declaring: "The government is for the people; and the misfortune was, that the people had no agency in the government before....If the government is to be binding on the people, are not the people the proper persons to examine its merits or defects?" Edmund Pendleton, president of the Virginia ratifying Convention rebutted Henry by asking:

"Where is the cause of alarm? We, the people, possessing all power, form a Government, such as we think will secure happiness. . . . Gentlemen, we have put the introduction of that method in the hands of our servants; who will interrupt it from motives of self-interest. What then? Who shall dare to resist the people? . . . But an objection is made to the form: The expression We, the people, is thought improper. Permit me to ask the Gentleman [Patrick Henry], who made this objection, who but the people can delegate powers? Who but the people have a right to form Government? The expression is a common one,and a favorite one with me. . . . If objection be, that the Union ought to be not of the people, but of the State Governments, then I think the choice of the former, very happy and proper. What have State Governments to do with it? Were they to determine, the people would not, in that case, be the judges upon what terms it was adopted."


The Father of the Constitution, James Madison countered Patrick Henry's argument by reiterating over and over again the superior power of "the people" over the states:

"There are a number of opinions, but the principal question is whether it be a federal or a consolidated government.... I conceive myself that it is of a mixed nature; it is in a manner unprecedented; we cannot find one express example in the experience of the world. It stands by itself. In some respects it is a government of a federal nature; in others, it is of a consolidated nature. Even if we attend to the manner in which the Constitution is investigated, ratified, and made the act of the people of America, I can say, notwithstanding what the honorable gentleman has alleged, that this government is not completely consolidated, nor is it entirely federal. Who are the parties to it? The people – but not the people as composing one great body, but the people as composing thirteen sovereignties. Were it, as the gentleman asserts, a consolidated government, the assent of a majority of the people would be sufficient for its establishment; and, as a majority have adopted it already, the remaining states would be bound by the act of the majority, even if they unanimously rejected it.... But, sir, no state is bound by it, as it is, without its own consent. Should all the states adopt it, it will be then a government established by the thirteen states of America, not through the intervention of the legislatures, but by the people at large. In this particular respect the distinction between the existing and the proposed governments is very material. The existing system has been derived from the dependent derivative authority of the legislatures of the states; whereas, this is derived from the superior power of the people."

In Federalist 43 Madison states that "The express authority of the people alone could give validity to the Constitution." Madison continues to argue that in the state of nature individuals surrender a very limited part of their sovereignty and power to the state in exchange for the guaranteed protection of their God given natural right to be free from government and individual harm. In like manner the States gave up a part of their power to enter into a Union whose purpose was not to enslave but to liberate and protect life, liberty and property.

Constitutional scholar Akhil Reed Amar rightfully explains that:

"By adopting a constitution – rather than a treaty, or a compact, or an instrument of confederacy, etc. – that created a new body of government designed to be senior to the several states, and by approving the particular language and provisions of that new Constitution, the framers and voters made it clear that the fates of the individual states were (severely) changed; and that the new United States was:

Not a "league," however firm; not a "confederacy" or a "confederation"; not a compact on among "sovereign' states" – all these high profile and legally freighted words from the Articles were conspicuously absent from the Preamble and every other operative part of the Constitution. The new text proposed a fundamentally different legal framework.

Patrick Henry adamantly opposed adopting the Constitution because he interpreted its language to replace the sovereignty of the individual states, including that of his own Virginia. He gave his strong voice to the anti-federalist cause in opposition to the federalists led by Madison and Hamilton. Questioning the nature of the proposed new federal government, Henry asked:

The fate ... of America may depend on this. ... Have they made a proposal of a compact between the states? If they had, this would be a confederation. It is otherwise most clearly a consolidated government. The question turns, sir, on that poor little thing – the expression, We, the people, instead of the states, of America. ...

The federalists acknowledged that national sovereignty would be transferred by the new Constitution to the whole of the American people – indeed, regard the expression, "We the people ...". They argued, however, that Henry exaggerated the extent to which a consolidated government was being created and that the states would serve a vital role within the new republic even though their national sovereignty was ending. Tellingly, on the matter of whether states retained a right to unilaterally secede from the United States, the federalists made it clear that no such right would exist under the Constitution."

New York's Rufus King at the 1787 Constitutional Convention explained the weakness of the State sovereignty under the Articles of Confederation:

"The states were not "sovereigns" in the sense contended for by some.They did not possess the peculiar features of sovereignty, – they could not make war, nor peace, nor alliances, nor treaties.Considering them as political beings, they were dumb,for they could not speak to any foreign sovereign whatever. They were deaf, for they could not hear any propositions from such sovereign. They had not even the organs or faculties of defence or offence, for they could not of themselves raise troops, or equip vessels, for war . . . . If the states, therefore, retained some portion of their sovereignty [after declaring independence], they had certainly divested themselves of essential portions of it."

James Wilson, a Pennsylvanian delegate at their 1787 Ratifying Convention affirms We the People when he declared:

"This, Mr. President, is not a government founded upon compact; it is founded upon the power of the people. They express in their name and their authority, "We the People do ordain and establish," &c., from their ratification, and their ratification alone it is to take its constitutional authenticity; without that it is no more than tabula rasa.

I know very well all the common-place rant of State sovereignties, and that government is founded in original compact. If that position was examined, it will be found not to accede very well with the true principle of free government. It does not suit the language or genius of the system before us. I think it does not accord with experience, so far as I have been able to obtain information from history.....

This constitution may be found to have defects in it; amendments hence may become necessary; but the idea of a government founded on contract, destroys the means of improvement. We hear it every time the gentlemen are up, "Shall we violate the confederation, which directs every alteration that is thought necessary to be established by the State legislatures only?" Sir, those gentlemen must ascend to a higher source; the people fetter themselves by no contract. If your State legislatures have cramped themselves by compact, it was done without the authority of the people, who alone possess the supreme power
... I have already shown, that this system is not a compact or contract; the system itself tells you what it is; it is an ordinance and establishment of the people. I think that the force of the introduction to the work, must by this time have been felt. It is not an unmeaning flourish. The expressions declare, in a practical manner, the principle of this constitution. It is ordained and established by the people themselves; and we, who give our votes for it, are merely the proxies of our constituents. We sign it as their attorneys, and as to ourselves, we agree to it as individuals."

The Federalists were not trying to create a new union but to make more perfect the 1776 "thirteen united States of America who as "one people" were to become a cohesive united Federal governing body whose primary purpose and function would be to defend and protect life and liberty. Federalists were arguing for dual and limited power sharing between the States and a Central government. A government where "We the People" advanced a sovereignty that was the vanguard of liberty and not a perpetuation of slavery or tyranny. Anti-Federalists admitted as much at the ratifying Conventions. The "Federal Farmer" warned that "when the people [of each state] shall adopt the proposed...it will be adopted not by the people of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, & c., but by the people of the United States."

When all was said and done through spirited discussions and passionate debates the over whelming majority of our Founders advocated not for the soul of a confederation as did Patrick Henry, but for a more perfect Union, a Federal Republic, for the people and by the people, not the States. When the People spoke, their representatives overwhelmingly voted State by State, 1071 for the Union, 577 in the negative. ALL 13 States with full cognition of the detailed ramifications of the new Federal Union, volitionally ratified We The People and the Constitution over "We the States."

After the bitter presidential election of 1800, President Thomas Jefferson in his 1801, Inaugural Address, in the spirit of unification, and in a very anti-secession tone deals with those "who would wish to dissolve the Union" with wonderful words of unity:

"But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists. If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it. I know, indeed, that some honest men fear that a republican government can not be strong, that this Government is not strong enough; but would the honest patriot, in the full tide of successful experiment, abandon a government which has so far kept us free and firm on the theoretic and visionary fear that this Government, the world's best hope, may by possibility want energy to preserve itself? I trust not. I believe this, on the contrary, the strongest Government on earth. I believe it the only one where every man, at the call of the law, would fly to the standard of the law, and would meet invasions of the public order as his own personal concern. Sometimes it is said that man can not be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question. Let us, then, with courage and confidence pursue our own Federal and Republican principles, our attachment to union and representative government."

In 1793 the original Supreme Court appointed by George Washington declared in Chisholm v. Georgia that "the People directly establish a Constitution by which it was their will that the State governments should be bound."

44 years before South Carolina's unconstitutional act of secession the Supreme Court in the 1816 Martin v. Hunter's Lessee case ruled that the Constitution was not an agreement between States at all but as the Preamble says, it was established and ordained by We the People. Justice Joseph Story looked to the Preamble to find the source of power in the Constitution and concluded that:

"The constitution of the United States was ordained and established, not by the states in their sovereign capacities but emphatically, as the preamble of the constitution declares, by "the people of the United States. There can be no doubt that it was competent to the people to invest the general government with all the powers which they might deem proper and necessary." (Martin v. Hunter's Lessee, 14 US 324-325).

Justice Story rejected State judicial sovereignty arguing that under Article 1, Section 10 the Constitution specifically limits the powers of State government.

In like manner in 1819, 41 years before southern secession, a unanimous Supreme Court ruled in the McCullloch v. Maryland case that "the Constitution and laws made in pursuance thereof are supreme...they are binding on the States and cannot be controlled by them." In Chief Justice Marshall's mind the numerous state conventions during the ratification process were the original source of agreeing to the Federal government's power under the US Constitution:

"From these conventions, the Constitution derives its whole authority. The government proceeds directly from the people; is "ordained and established" in the name of the people, and is declared to be ordained 'in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, and secure the blessings of liberty to themselves and to their posterity' " (McCulloch v. Maryland, 17 US 403-404).


As stated earlier, the Federalists won the ratification debates thus in Article 1 Section 10, the Federal Constitution declared that, "No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation." The Supreme Law of the Land, the Federal Constitution deemed the soul of the confederation dead and the more perfect Union of We The People- E Pluribus Unum- alive in perpetual oneness IN Liberty! To assure this union and liberty, Article 1 Section 10 declared that "No State shall, without the Consent of Congress....enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State...or engage in War, unless actually invaded." Notice, I write "union and liberty" and "oneness IN liberty."

LIBERTY is the KEY! In 1860, with the Constitutional election of Republican Abraham Lincoln, liberty hating slave-states declared that the "Negro loving Lincoln" and "Black Republicans" were out to abolish slavery the cornerstone and lifeblood of their slave-states. To preserve slavery, the liberty defying and Constitution denying slave-states joined illegally into confederation, alliance and compact in open rebellion against the United States of America.

Because they did not get their way at the polls, a disgruntled minority violated their sacred oath to uphold the rules of the Constitution. On May 5, 1789, the Senate passed its first bill – the Oath Act. That first oath, for members and civil servants, was very simple: "I do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States." In Article 6 Section 3 of the Constitution it clearly states that "the states shall be bound by oath or affirmation to support this Constitution." They swore under oath to be part of the Union forever. By illegally and unconstitutionally seceding to preserve slavery, they were breaking their constitutional oath.

In 1861, in violation of the Federal Constitution, a domestic enemy, the unconstitutional, illegal and tyrannical Confederate Slave-States of America initiated and engaged in an offensive war against the Unites States of America to perpetuate the enemy of Liberty, SLAVERY. Before Abraham Lincoln was even in office the domestic enemy-the Slave-Republic Louisiana seceded from the Union on January 26, 1861. That same day rebel forces plotted the seizure of the New Orleans Mint. The Secretary of the United States Treasury warned that "if anyone attempts to haul down the American flag, shoot him on the spot." Disregarding this command, the New Orleans Mint Superintendent, William A. Elmore resigned from federal employment, and the mint was taken over in the name of the State of Louisiana. Elmore and other mint employees, such as Treasurer A. J. Guirot, Assayer Howard Millspaugh, and Melter/Refiner Dr. M.F. Bozano, retained their former jobs after violating their oath as Federal officials to uphold the US Constitution and in treasonous fashion swore allegiance to the Confederacy. Domestic enemy Georgia, following Louisiana's rebellious example, illegally transferred its Federal mint over to the central government of the Confederacy. This aggressive, illegal rebellion occurred before the so-called first shots of the civil war were heard. The Confederate aggressive-offensive War to preserve slavery started well before Lincoln was in office and before they fired the first shots on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861.

While the Slave-State Confederates may have couched their secession with the rhetoric of freedom they were in reality calling for the freedom to enslave NOT liberate!

They were not acting in the liberty loving Spirit of 1776 but in the slavery loving Spirit of 1861. Fourscore and 5 years earlier in 1776 our Founders declared to the world that all men were created equal, liberty they argued was predicated upon that self evident truth and liberty not slavery was the cornerstone of the United States of America. Inequality, slavery, white supremacy was the cornerstone of the illegal Confederacy. The slavery-secession of 1861 was not a legitimate liberty loving revolution in the Spirit of 1776 but a tyrannical anti-Constitutional rebellion hell bent on the preservation and perpetuation of slavery.

The framers of our federal government of 1787-1789 understood the profound and inextricable bond between the 1787 Constitution, 1789 Bill of Rights, and the 1776 Declaration of Independence which declared that "ALL men were create equal." In the the last sentence of the 1787 Constitution, you read "In the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United states of America the Twelfth..."

Why did our framers put in "the Twelfth" into our Constitution? It's quite simple, they saw life, liberty and "equality for all" as the origin of the Union of the Unites States of America as beginning in 1776 which they sought to make "more perfect." To our framers "equality for all" was the very essence of liberty from tyrannical government whether it was at the federal and or state level. Our Framers also knew the hypocrisy of declaring the sacred cause of liberty and equality for all when many of them owned slaves. Thus we find that a significant number of our Founders fought to end slavery or at least they laid the ground work for what they hoped would eventually lead to it's eventual termination in the land. The Republican Party's vision was to finish the job a number of our Founders started in 1776.

Libertarianism prides itself on non-aggression and consent. According to secessionist-libertarian Thomas Woods "the non-aggression principle is the central, moral and politcal premise libertarianism." Hypocritically secessionist-libertarians like Thomas Woods, Ron Paul and Judge Napolitano defend the secession of the slave-States that did not fight for the right of people to govern themselves they aggressively initiated a terrible war for the right of white people to enslave black people without their consent and they aggressively and violently denied Americans of African heritage liberty . That is about as NON-libertarian as it gets!

Abraham Lincoln anticipated the inconsistent secessionist-libertarian argument when he saw the perversion of language by the Confederate-Slave Republic in relationship to the word Liberty when he stated in 1864:

"We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men's labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatable things, called by the same name – liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatable names – liberty and tyranny.

The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep's throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as a liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty, especially as the sheep was a black one. Plainly the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of the word liberty"

How ironic that Judge Napolitano's who likes to remind his audiences that: "the Declaration of Independence, probably was the most violated STATUTE by government that we have, even though its the first and the oldest." was violated by the secessionist wolves and hated by Thomas Woods' mentor Clyde Wilson and Wilson's white supremacist-secessionist hero ,John C. Calhoun who denounced the Declaration of Independence by declaring that "there is not a word of truth in it."

On March 15, 1833 James Madison who saw the rebellious unconstitutional politcal philosophy and activity of John C. Calhoun in action wrote these words to the great Statesman Daniel Webster who destroyed Calhoun's unconstitutional secessionist argument:

"I return my thanks for the copy of your late very powerful Speech in the Senate of the United S. It crushes "nullification" and must hasten the abandonment of "Secession." But this dodges the blow by confounding the claim to secede at will, with the right of seceding from intolerable oppression. The former answers itself, being a violation, without cause, of a faith solemnly pledged.... It is fortunate when disputed theories, can be decided by undisputed facts. And here the undisputed fact is, that the Constitution was made by the people, but as imbodied into the several states, who were parties to it and therefore made by the States in their highest authoritative capacity. They might, by the same authority & by the same process have converted the Confederacy into a mere league or treaty; or continued it with enlarged or abridged powers; or have imbodied the people of their respective States into one people, nation or sovereignty; or as they did by a mixed form make them one people, nation, or sovereignty, for certain purposes, and not so for others.

The Constitution of the U.S. being established by a Competent authority, by that of the sovereign people of the several States who were the parties to it, it remains only to inquire what the Constitution is; and here it speaks for itself. It organizes a Government into the usual Legislative Executive & Judiciary Departments; invests it with specified powers, leaving others to the parties to the Constitution; it makes the Government like other Governments to operate directly on the people; places at its Command the needful Physical means of executing its powers; and finally proclaims its supremacy, and that of the laws made in pursuance of it, over the Constitutions & laws of the States; the powers of the Government being exercised, as in other elective & responsible Governments, under the controul of its Constituents, the people & legislatures of the States, and subject to the Revolutionary Rights of the people in extreme cases.

It might have been added, that whilst the Constitution, therefore, is admitted to be in force, its operation, in every respect must be precisely the same, whether its authority be derived from that of the people, in the one or the other of the modes, in question; the author
ity being equally Competent in both; and that, without an annulment of the Constitution itself its supremacy must be submitted to.

The only distinctive effect, between the two modes of forming a Constitution by the authority of the people, is that if formed by them as imbodied into separate communities, as in the case of the Constitution of the U.S. a dissolution of the Constitutional Compact would replace them in the condition of separate communities, that being the Condition in which they entered into the compact; whereas if formed by the people as one community, acting as such by a numerical majority, a dissolution of the compact would reduce them to a state of nature, as so many individual persons. But whilst the Constitutional compact remains undissolved, it must be executed according to the forms and provisions specified in the compact. It must not be forgotten, that compact, express or implied is the vital principle of free Governments as contradistinguished from Governments not free; and that a revolt against this principle leaves no choice but between anarchy and despotism."

James Madison was expressing First Principles of truly "free governments" versus "Governments not free." Madison understood as did Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence that it is a "duty" to revolt against any tyrannical government that dares to deny equality, mankind's "Divine humanity" and the liberty of the people.

John C. Calhoun the godfather and politcal philosopher of southern secession and the guru of Jefferson Davis, Alexander Stephens, Clyde Wilson, Thomas Woods and Judge Napolitano called not for a righteous revolt against tyranny but for a rebellious secession predicated on Liberties major antagonist Slavery. Today secessionist-libertarians love to declare that slavery was a minimal or irrelevant factor in the secession of 1860-61 and that a State may leave the Union for any reason what so ever. Such was not the legal thinking of our Founders in 1787 or for that matter in 1833 with James Madison. If you read Madison's works carefully you see he believed that in extreme cases the people possessed a legitimate and legal natural right of righteous revolution for liberty but not a legal constitutional right of secession.

James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, President of the United States was concurring with Daniel Webster brilliant argument against John C. Calhoun's call for rebellious secession. In 1834 Madison wrote his politcal last will and testament titled, "Advice to My Country" in it he declared, "The advice nearest to my heart was that the Union be cherished and perpetuated." Madison feared that Calhoun's secessionist worldview might someday poison Ameirca as he lamented: "Let the open enemy to the Union he regarded as a Pandora with her box opened; and the disguised one as the Serpent creeping with his deadly wiles into Paradise." Calhoun argued that citizens derive their equality from the constitutional equality of the States within the Union but Madison, Jefferson and other framers argued sovereign individuals derived their equality from the "laws of nature and Natures God." Madison rightfully believed that John C. Calhoun's thinking would naturally lead to tyranny, anarchy and slavery the arch-enemy of liberty.

Madison agrees that in the Spirit of 1776 the people did have a right to revolution in extreme cases where life and liberty are being threatened, but that a state did not have a unilateral right to secession for avaricious, capricious, racist, tyrannical reasons or for any reason whatsoever, as was and is the argument from John C. Calhoun, Jefferson Davis, Alexander Stephens, Clyde Wilson, Thomas Woods, Judge Napolitano, Ron Paul and 1861 secessionist-libertarians. My libertarian friends say that Madison's rejection of secession but acceptance of the right to revolution is nothing more than semantics. I beg to differ as Brooks D. Simpson brilliantly explains:

"The two situations were not comparable in critical ways. The colonies of Great Britain in North America were not equal partners within the British empire or contracting agents agreeing to a contract. Their legal existence came from above (the empire); they did not form it as a founding party or join it as an independent state. Indeed, if you know anything about the coming of the Revolution, you should know that during the period 1763 to 1775 American colonists insisted that they enjoyed the rights of Englishmen while the empire said otherwise. But one looks in vain to assertions that Virginia was equal to England, for example, or that New York was equal to Scotland. The links were drawn on the individual level: that is the language of the Declaration of Independence, which was not called the Declaration of Secession. "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" refers to people as individuals, not to colonies aspiring to be states. The social contract was between individuals who established a government, not between member states. By definition, the colonists did not establish the empire, although they were a part of it.

What is clear, moreover, is that the American revolutionaries knew they were committing an act of treason ... as in Patrick Henry's comment that "If this be treason, make the most of it!" Benjamin Franklin likewise conceded that the revolutionaries should "all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately." The revolutionaries understood what they were doing and why.Defenders of secession try to deny that secession was an act of treason (after all, if secession's a legitimate constitutional right, then exercising that right can't be an act of treason). Where secession was, indeed, an act of treason depends on whether on sees secession as constitutional. In contrast, the revolutionaries grounded their argument on a right to revolution, a natural right (not a constitutional right) and accepted the possible consequences.

One can, of course, agree with Robert E. Lee that secession was nothing but revolution
(and why advocates of secession or the Confederacy would denounce Lee as a liar or stupid is best left to them to answer). But no one seriously argued that revolution was nothing but secession. Those who claim that the American Revolution was an act of secession are simply seeking legitimacy for their position at the expense of an understanding of history and political philosophy. One need not treat the content of their argument seriously one must understand instead the extent to which some people will go in their effort to make a case that pleases their personal preferences, desires, and needs."

Most of the libertarian talk of secession is a desperate desire to curb the growth of the Federal government. In many cases it is legitimate frustration with our Federal government but with illegitimate conclusions about our Framers original intent and understanding of the United States of America. Their talks may make for great speeches and sell books but in the end it is largely a waste of time. Our young people and Americans should not be taught illegitimate secession lessons they should be taught the proper, legal and legitimate Constitutional means to STOP the Federal government's unconstitutional growth and corruption. Change will not come through unconstitutional secession or pontificating on it's politcal theory. Change will come through the legitimate voice of the people working through the democratic process in our constitutional republican form of governments at both the State and Federal levels.

© Jake Jacobs

 

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Jake Jacobs

Dr. Jake Jacobs has been married for 30 years to his lovely wife Lori and has two children Joseph 26 and Anastasia 23. When he's not writing, teaching or speaking he loves watching the Green Bay Packers and enjoys his fire-pit at night, watching the Heavens declare God's Glory... (more)

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