Hayley Westenra: I Dreamed a Dream
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Of what value then are paper constitutions and oaths binding officers to their preservation, if there is not intelligence enough in the people to discern the violations and virtue enough to resist the violators? —Jefferson Davis
No medieval king or prince had a monopoly on coercion, and none was able to define the limits of his own power, not because there were not kings and princes so inclined; indeed a few got awfully close. Authority and the commensurate power were divided among various commonwealths: the Kaiser, the Church, the free cities, the competing jurisdictions, the sheer number of principalities and kingdoms.
Though the compact of the Constitution, the thirteen republics which had seceded from the Crown, created a union of constitutionally federated republics which, each according to its tradition and custom, reserved most of the authority and attendant rights which they had enjoyed since their respective inceptions and lent in stewardship, delegated and well enumerated, some rights to the general government which was their mere agent. While within the contract, the general government was established in three branches, each with checks and balances on the other, the overriding responsibility to monitor and enforce the contract lay with the states through the instrumentalities of interposition, nullification and ultimately secession. The principals of all contracts must monitor and enforce contracts. They fail to do so at their peril . In the end, the people within their respective states must be armed if the contest between the agent and the principals or among some of the principals becomes frictious unto violence.
The Hobbesian state defeated the union of constitutionally federated republics in 1865. It is a sad fact that the Hobbesian state hides itself behind the Constitution, a document whose meaning ceased to be when the union of constitutionally federated republics ceased to be. The elites which manipulate both parties trot it out - much like the Queen of England is trotted out to start parliament - and we continue to genuflect to a dead letter while the elites plot and carry out their nefarious schemes behind the crumbling parchment.
Wendell Berry has an essay “American Imagination and the Civil War,” published in the Fall 2007 issue of the Sewanee Review. It will give you a pretty good idea of what he thinks about the subject. Wendell Berry, in my opinion, is not simply an agrarian, but a Southern agrarian. I wouldn’t go around telling people that, lest Mr. Berry should receive the Mel Bradford treatment. Back to silence…Welcome to the Sewanee Review