New York Times: Lincoln Broke Our Constitution: Then He Remade It

I agree with Noah Feldman.

The Confederates were right.

New York Times:

“Who created the Constitution we have today? As a law professor, I’ve always thought the best answer was “the framers”: James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and the other delegates who attended the Philadelphia convention in the summer of 1787.

The Constitution they drafted has since been amended many times, of course, sometimes in profound ways. But the document, I’ve long reasoned, has also exhibited a fundamental continuity. We’ve always had one Constitution.

I no longer think this conventional understanding is correct. Over the course of several years of research and writing, I’ve come to the conclusion that the true maker of the Constitution we have today is not one of the founders at all. It’s Abraham Lincoln. …

But I’m making a stronger argument. What has become clear to me is that even before the passage of those Reconstruction amendments — indeed, as a kind of precondition for them — Lincoln fatally injured the Constitution of 1787. He consciously and repeatedly violated core elements of that Constitution as they had been understood by nearly all Americans of the time, himself included.

Through those acts of destruction, Lincoln effectively broke the Constitution of 1787, paving the way for something very different to replace it. What began as a messy, pragmatic compromise necessary to hold the young country together was reborn as an aspirational blueprint for a nation based on the principle of equal liberty for all. …”

Lincoln didn’t “save the Union.”

The Union which had existed before the war, which is the one in which the people of the states were sovereign and which was voluntary, was replaced by centralized and consolidated despotism. The very term “Union” fell out of fashion in the late 19th century because it no longer had any meaningful existence. The Reconstruction amendments empowered the federal government over the states.

The American Founding was inspired by republicanism. Federalism has nothing to do with liberalism. It holds that the people of the states, not the individual, are equal and sovereign. The Constitution died on Lincoln’s watch during the War Between the States because it was such an aggravating obstacle to Eastern industrial, commercial and financial interests. It was replaced by Lincoln’s Second Founding which was based on 19th century liberalism in which all men and corporations are created equal. The Confederates, of course, were the conservatives in that conflict and fought to preserve the original design.

As a result of our defeat in that conflict, the Constitution died with the Confederacy. The South became little more than a conquered province and internal resource colony of the budding American Empire. The South was the American version of Ireland down until World War II with the East and Midwest in the metropolitan role of Great Britain. It all fell apart for the Yankees between the World Wars due to the fact that the North was overwhelmed with European immigrants and rich Jews and rich Catholics like the Kennedy family eventually became wealthy and powerful enough to crash their country club.

FDR’s New Deal/World War II era was effectively a Third Founding. The Eastern WASPs who ruled America between the War Between the States and World War II lost their former cultural, economic and political power. We’re currently living through the breakdown of FDR’s Third Republic. It’s just that Americans like to pretend that we have always had the same government.

Note: Eric Foner and Noah Feldman have a better understanding of Abraham Lincoln than the conservative movement.

About Hunter Wallace 11893 Articles
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13 Comments

  1. Lincoln locked his enemies up without due process, even in his own party that were against his war on the South. He took away states rights and when he couldn’t subvert the laws he suspended habeas corpus so he could declare martial law. He was a tyrant among tyrants.

    • @ The Brown & Lincoln party offer nothing, they are irrelevant, C’ville people in jail, in court, they say nothing about Jan. 6 people, still in jail, the woman shot dead ,the vax mandate insanity, issue after issue, yhey offer nothing of substance, you support them you will get what you deserve,

  2. Despite the apotheosis of Lincoln after his assassination most Americans didn’t want another president with dictatorial powers. That could be why the presidents who came after him for the next 35 years are so forgettable. They tended to keep a low profile and were reluctant to exercise too much authority.

    Interesting chair that statue of Lincoln is seated on. Are those Fasces meant to represent an American version of the Roman Republic or the Roman Empire?

  3. “The Confederates were right”

    “Confederate ideology has withstood the test of Time, because it’s closer to the truth, than Yankee ideology.”

    -Hunter Wallace.

  4. >based on the principle of equal liberty for all

    Meaning freed slaves of course — so the Union, and with it important elements of both the spirit and letter of the Constitution, were destroyed to accommodate Blacks.

    From today’s perspective, and in today’s parlance, you really could not make that up.

    Also from today’s perspective: the more things change, the more they remain the same.

    • Except for the profits of long gone plantation owners the importation of blacks to the New World is a net loss and disaster for our civilization. There never was a stable multiracial society and never will be.

  5. Concise and brilliant exposition on how we got from the Founding Fathers to here. The short essay above is of massive importance.

  6. But of course kikes Feldman & Foner think Dishonest Abe was a great hero for destroying the Founders’ original America.

  7. In a Machiavellian sense, Southern leaders made a BIG mistake. They should have pre-empted the Civil War by emancipating the slaves in a peaceful and orderly way. The slaves would have no where to go in most cases, and would have stayed on as hirelings. Of course, ‘good master’ would no longer be able to sell or buy them – a small price to pay. When Czarist Russia emancipated its white serfs in the 19th century, most ex-serfs stayed on as paid agricultural workers or tenant farmers.

    The slaves would have been eventually freed anyway – that is where the tide of history was turning in the Euro-Christian world (Muslims and pagan Africans continued with slavery with impunity into the 20th century). Southern leaders should have had the foresight to make the best of the situation while they still had the power. As Rhett Butler put it in Gone with the Wind, they should not have underestimated the industrial might of the Yankee North and should not have launched this foolhardy cavalier rebellion reminiscent of the failed Jacobite uprisings in the mother country.

    • I beg to differ on the final point. Neither, Jefferson Davis or Robert E. Lee, or anyone else, with the slightest degree of knowledge of the matter, in the South, underestimated the industrial might of the North. Jefferson Davis, as Secretary of War, was largely responsible for building the military into what it was by 1860. He had established many of the frontier outposts and created the Dragoons that manned them. Robert E. Lee had been offered supreme command of the Union Army, on Winfield Scott’s recommendation, but he couldn’t bring himself to make war on his own State of Virginia (ironically, Virginia today, newly elected Governor included, has no problem making war on him postmortem over a century and half later). These men were acutely aware of the what they were facing,

      Davis sent envoys to see Lincoln, but they were rebuffed. He tendered offers to accept half of the Country’s debts, attempted to negotiate the purchase of Fort Sumter and other coastal installations, and did everything he could to bring about a peaceful separation.

      Lee’s home in Arlington was stolen from him, along with many of George Washington’s personal possessions, which were family heirlooms inherited by his wife. The Yankees interred the bodies of their soldiers so near to his home, that it was made unfit for a residence and is now known as Arlington National Cemetery. The Federal Government later settled the matter by paying $150,000 in restitution to Lee’s son, Fitzhugh.

      The Southerners should have sold their Slaves to Brazil or Cuba, which would continue to receive laborers from Africa, courtesy of ships operating out of Northern ports of the United States, for 23 years after The War to Prevent Southern Independence had ended. They would have brought a premium, because they were already domesticated. But, because the Southerners actually cared about what happened to them, they didn’t. Because it would have likely been a death sentence. Of the 10 to 12 million Africans that were transported to the New World, approximately 94% were unloaded in the Caribbean and South America. Their average lifespans were between one to two years.

      It wasn’t a foolhardy, or a cavalier, rebellion, it was an honest attempt to form a separate Government, and everything possible was done to avoid an armed conflict. Had Lincoln not suppressed the opposition in the North so effectively, there was a good chance that a peace Democrat, like George McClellan, could have brought about an end to hostilities. If foreign Governments had recognized the Confederacy, as they had with Texas, the South may been able to gain its Independence. There were numerous factors at play that could have brought about a different conclusion. Secession was a gamble, just like many other choices in life, and we lost that the war that was made on us for choosing to do it. If there is a plus, then it is the Rebel Blood that flows in our veins, and reminds us that at least our ancestors were willing to sacrifice everything for their principles, and that they were able to dust themselves off and rebuild what had been destroyed without any welfare,stipends, or charity. Those incentives would come post Civil Rights and are largely consumed by minorities that drain them dry. Many Southern White Men were, and some still are, too proud to accept them.

  8. When our enemies charge that Robert E. Lee was a “traitor,” we should reply that the real traitor was Lincoln. Treason, according to the Constitution, consists of waging war against the states of the United States. This is precisely the treason that Lincoln proposed when he called for troops to invade the deep South states. James Madison, regarded as the father of the Constitution, said it was unthinkable that the federal government would use force against states.

    Lincoln’s treason, not slavery, was the reason the upper tier of Southern states, including Virginia, pulled out of the Union. Lee spoke as a patriot when he stated that he had no affection for a Union held together by bayonets.

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