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Old 07-26-2017, 04:30 AM
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Default Book Review: "The Union at Risk," by Richard E. Ellis

Book Review: "The Union at Risk," by Richard E. Ellis
(Apollonian, 26 July 17)

Richard E. Ellis's work, "The Union at Risk: Jacksonian Democracy, States' Rights, and the Nullification Crisis," Oxford U. Press, NY, 1987; 267 pp, 198 text, xi, notes, bibliography, index, is outstanding, essential history of the great nullification crisis of 1832-3, waged by the brave citizens of state of S. Carolina against the Tariff and psychopath Pres., Andrew Jackson, and the rest of the "unionists" and nationalists, including practically all the leading politicians of all the other states including southern states, w. exception of Virginia, whose Governor, John Floyd, stood w. S. Carolina and noted in his diary, at least, that if Jackson tried to lead troops across his state, he, Floyd, would resist.

One of the amazing traitors to Calhoun's nullification concept was no less than former Pres. James Madison who had been instrumental, along w. Jefferson, in the original Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798-9, Madison now in 1830 insisting a state had no right to nullify. One of the heroes for states rights was the venerable revolutionary, Nathaniel Macon, who upbraided Jackson telling him it wasn't possible for a sovereign state to commit "treason" as the old psychopath insisted was the case.

It's important to note this issue of nullification and secession is absolutely fundamental and must be ultimately understood within the minds of citizens, for where does ultimate sovereignty lie? Jefferson and John C. Calhoun understood the Union as creature of the states who had compacted w. one another, the famous "compact theory." Thus any constitutional conflict, esp. btwn state and federal entities, was properly a matter to be adjudicated among the states who made the union, this by means of consultation and legislation and NOT by judicial procedure as the federal union is party and hence a fed. ct. suffers for conflicted interest.

Nationalists and unionists insisted states were irrelevant, that the union was product of the citizens as a whole--which theory was pushed by Sup. ct. Chief Justice Marshall, and especially his colleague on the ct., Joseph Story, the leading theorist of this idea. Other supporters were Senator Dan Webster, John Quincy Adams, the former Pres.; the future Pres., Lincoln, and Jackson himself, at least in part, in accord w. his famous "Proclamation" of Dec. 1832 which proclamation took aback many of his erstwhile supporters, including fm the state of New York.

For loyalty to state obviously precedes loyalty to any union, and how could the original Constitution and union possibly have tried to sell superior loyalty to union against state?--why/how would any state have tolerated this? Obviously states are proper agents for the sovereign citizens, serving the citizens best.

So what ultimately happened was the basic issue of nullification was never definitively resolved, the northern states, prejudiced against nullification (and secession) becoming ever stronger, economically and politically, finally leading to the horrific war of the 1860s which left the southern states devastated, up to two million killed among millions of other casualties, the Republic and Constitution utterly destroyed. But the economic machine and prosperity was ostensibly un-affected, at least for the north, and even after the 1860s war the economic empire continued to expand to the far west of the land, and then even further to foreign lands, leading to the world dictatorship instruments of League of Nations, fm WWI and WWII United Nations (UN) of the 20th cent.

So Ellis's work much and well details the activity which took place at the time upon nullification of the federal 1832 Tariff by the S. Carolina convention. Jackson immediately denounced the action, calling it "treason," and moved to reinforce the federal installations in Charleston harbor. Calhoun, who had been the Vice President, resigned his office in order to take-up the Senate seat and work legislatively, esp. in view of the enforcement measures which were now being actively discussed, regarding raising of troops, etc. Ellis pt.s out that most of the Congress wanted to avoid bloodshed, though the northern states wanted to retain the "protection" provisions of the Tariff law.

Another substantial problem was whether tariff "protection" of the northern industries was strictly constitutional since it only protected northern interests at expense of the southern importers who had to pay the extra charges and at same time suffered retaliation of other countries upon its exports. Thus the occasion was ripe for another great legislative feat of Henry Clay for "compromise," Clay Senator fm Kentucky, who had just been defeated in the Presidential election of 1832 along w. his attempted re-chartering efforts for Bank of the US (BUS). Clay eventually worked a successful lowering of the Tariff rates. Unfortunately, the Congress also passed a "Force" bill, but it proved unnecessary as S. Carolina rescinded its nullification of the Tariff.

Ellis additionally examines the reactions of several states, including Georgia, Virginia, and New York. Georgia itself was embroiled quite heavily w. the federal gov., specifically regarding the Indian nation and control and ownership of land. The Indians had sued the state in the US Sup. ct., but the state ignored and effectively nullified the court's verdict and orders. To be sure, the states' legislators and officers much sympathized w. S. Carolina, but hesitated in the face of the details and implications of actual nullification and secession provisions, the fools.

New York (NY) state at the time was known as great base and bastion in the north for Jackson, Democrats, and states rights, though they thought less of Calhoun, S. Carolina, the south in general, and nullification. NY was also home state of the VP, Van Buren, leader, along w. Jackson, of the national Democratic party. Still there was strong support in NY, and among Democrats, for the "protection" provisions of the Tariff, but what did concern them was the President's strange "Proclamation" which was so weak on the states-rights concept and its defense, so lacking in Jackson's half-baked theorizing as expressed.

So the nullification issue was left in limbo for any resolution, but meanwhile the great economic juggernaut of the industrializing northern states steadily continued, evermore leaving behind the southern states as a kind of agrarian back-water, the south steadily losing in political influence which was ultimately crowned by Lincoln's and new Republican party election victory of 1860, carried exclusively by northern and non-slave states. When the southern slave states thereupon tried to secede, they were attacked by Lincoln, backed by the bustling northern industrial states which could not be resisted, leading to destruction of Constitution, Republic, and rights of the citizens, white citizens now reduced to only a diff. kind of slavery--debt-slavery to banking oligarchy, soon to be further consummated in the Federal Reserve system (1913) which continues to dominate to this day portending most horrendous "population-reduction" (genocide) of sinister Agenda-21 and -30 addendum.
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