Though the War Between the States, otherwise known as the Civil War, has been over for close to 150 years, a remnant of the Confederate ideology still thrives, particularly in the South. Nostalgic for a past gone with the wind, the South continues to challenge the federal government on issues pertaining to civil rights as it relates to States’ rights and the Tenth Amendment. Emancipation, integration, civil and voting rights, Medicare, and health care reform are benchmark legislation enacted by Congress that not only defines a civilization, but emphasized the federal government’s longstanding constitutional power to impose civil standards on the States. Nevertheless, federal sovereignty remains a point of conflict for those who subscribe to the Confederate ideology; the age-old challenge on grounds of a violation of the Tenth Amendment has not changed since mid 1800s.
Historically the Confederate ideology has crippled the nation’s ability to move forward, to progress as any civilization would, regardless of its constitutionality; nonetheless this is a nation of law and precedent, therefore public policy must fall inline with the Constitution and the intent of the Framers. Why law and precedent: because the Constitution is the supreme law of the land and the Supreme Court rules on the intent of Constitution as the Framers understood it to mean. Thus, the matter must be settled with respect to the Constitution, Courts, and the Framers’ intent.
Ever since the beginning of the health care debate, which resulted in law, tensions and grumblings surrounding the powers of the federal government have been brewing. Already stoked from an electoral walloping Confederates probably would not have liked in 2006 and 2008, but a walloping Confederates should be very familiar with, the political atmosphere has turned for the worse. Vitriol and talks of secession now clouds the debate. The War Between the States has begun once again, and again the first shot was fired from South Carolina.
The United States Federal Government vs. The Southern States et al
The bulk of the disagreement with the federal government’s actions lies with the Tenth Amendment and whether the federal government has the constitutional right to regulate commerce, private property, or regulate anything that is not explicitly defined in the constitution such as education.
To answer that question a close inspection of the Framers and their actions on this topic must be scrutinized, keeping in mind that the original constitution included the Tenth Amendment which limited the role of the federal government. Therefore, any action or actions by the Framers that directly or indirectly acts on this question must be heeded.
Granted the Framers of the original constitution were not around to opine the recent health care reform law, Medicare, or integration, however, they were alive during times of slavery. In slavery times, persons who were categorized as a slave, usually people of African descent, where considered property, no different than livestock. Furthermore, the laws governing slavery also indirectly validated the proprietorial rights of slave-owners, some more than others.
Now concerning the Tenth Amendment and the 39 Framers’ perspective on the role of the federal government, 23 out of the 39 voted directly on the issue of slavery, its limitation or its abolishment, the most famous legislation being the Ordinance of 1787. Furthermore, 21 out of the 23 voted in the affirmative to prohibit slavery in some form or fashion, whether it was for control, regulation, or abolishment. In addition to the 23 who voted on the issue of slavery, out of the remaining 16 Framers, Jefferson, Hamilton, Paine, Washington and Franklin advocated for the prohibition of slavery – Washington signing the legislation into law that prohibited/regulated slavery in the states. Therefore, being the authors of the Constitution including the Tenth Amendment, had these Framers believed that the federal government or any line that divided the powers of the federal from local [state] government violated the constitution, they would not allowed these actions or laws [Acts] to pass.
It is clear based on history that Congress does have the right to regulate private property and its commerce [commerce in general], but history also indirectly affirms the federal government’s right to legislate on issues related to the freedom and happiness of all its people.
The Confederate ideology is the virus that denies this part of United States history. The Confederate ideology is not akin to a particular party, it is party to any political party that embraces that element of the South. Upon inspection of history, whether democrat or republican, anytime the leadership of any particular party is rooted in the South, senate majority leaders or House Speaker, that party holds the mantle of the Confederacy. This explains the Democrats, rather Dixiecrats, who were against civil rights and later migrated into the Republican Party, the most influential being Thurmond and Helms; and it explains why the Republican Party of today resembles the likes of the Confederacy.
For more information, including the names of all the Framers who voted directly on the regulation of slavery and a much, much better presentation that I am able to present, please visit http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/292556-1&start=26 or go to cspan.org click video library and search Lincoln’s Right Makes Might Speech by the Cooper Union and the New York State Archives Partnership Trust on February 23, 2010.
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