On Constitutional Rights, Natural Rights, Secession, and Revolution

Recently a vocal defender of Confederate heritage declared:

Rights endowed by the Creator trump those secured by the Constitution, so people have the right to secession whether there’s a Constitutional amendment or not.

This statement’s problematic. Let’s see what those problems might be …

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Almost Never Wrong

Although Keith Harris’s Cosmic America blog is now a part of blogging past, Keith is still with us, and blogging once more at the clearly-labelled Keith Harris History.

I am told he is almost never wrong.

I know this may not be news for most of you, but it will be welcome news for others. Keith is to eyewear what Peter Carmichael is to scarves, or so I am told.

In almost related news, has anyone seen Dimitri Rotov?

The Empire Strikes Back Again

Two items that will make many people smile and a few people stomp around in anger before taking their complaints to the internet:

The Daily Show takes on Andrew Napolitano’s understanding of the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln (someone should make Napolitano an honorary member of several Confederate fantasy heritage groups).

And here’s another proposal for a vanity license plate for Georgians. It’s all about heritage, after all, and if you want me to respect yours, you’ll have to respect this heritage as well.

Sebastain Page on Lincoln and Colonization

Sebastian Page, who with Philip Magness wrote a recent study on Lincoln and colonization that stressed Lincoln’s continuing interest in colonization after the release of the Emancipation Proclamation, left a rather lengthy comment on this blog. Posting it there, I’ve also decided to post it as a separate blog post to call attention to it.

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Quote(s) of the Week: February 15-22, 2014

Well, I’ve been busy with other matters, but it’s time to return to that recurring favorite, Quote of the Week. We have several.

slavery was the excuse used to frame the yankee agression with moral intent meant to keep great britian and france out of the war…..the south was right! the war aint over an will never be over until the confederacy is liberated and yankee land is nothing more than a smoking pile of ashes…the yankees invaded for one reason and one only…MONEY! without dixie the federal government couldnt collect import taxses from southern ports they invaded and killed anyone that resisted including wounded men, children and women! the yankees were liars beggars murderers rapists and theives…..and me and every other southerner will not rest until dixie is free and liberated and yankee land is burning and its people starving!

Guess he won’t be voting for William T. Sherman as Man of the Year for 1864.

the war aint over….as god is my judge i swear dixie will be free an the blood stained banner of the confederacy will be raised in richmond an every city, state an territory in the confederacy…and the sun will never set on the confederacy ever again! communism an yankee imperialism will never win against the confederacy

That’s good news for the Virginia Flaggers.

I’ve wondered why Lee didn’t station the rebel army along the north south border and just defend it…Eventually the tax money the north was taking from the south would have dried up….

Boy, wasn’t Robert E. Lee stupid?

A Dust-Up Over Lincoln and Colonization

For some time most Lincoln scholars have taken for granted the notion that the sixteenth president abandoned his notions about colonization with the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. One Lincoln scholar, Mark Neely, took great pains to dismiss an account by Benjamin F. Butler that detailed Lincoln’s continuing interest in colonization as late as April 1865.

Philip W. Magness and Sebastian N. Page have asserted that Lincoln continued to press for colonization after he issued the proclamation. Magness went so far as to challenge Neely’s treatment of Butler’s account, leaving the door open to the possibility that Lincoln did meet with Butler in a conversation where the subject of colonization might have come up. Magness also pursued the issue of James Mitchell’s role in Lincoln’s post-proclamation activities.

I found Magness’s work to be provocative, and I invited him to speak at the 2013 Benjamin P. Thomas Symposium of the Abraham Lincoln Association. At about the same time, Allen Guelzo offered a review of Magness and Page’s book to which Magness has taken exception. Basically, Guelzo dismisses a good deal of the book’s argument, while Magness suggests that certain documents whose existence are questioned by Guelzo do indeed exist.

As Magness has charged Guelzo with “professional misconduct” in offering a “willfully mendacious portrayal” of Magness and Page’s findings, this disagreement does not promise to fade away quickly. One hopes that those fireworks do not distract from the more important implication of Magness and Page’s work: that while Lincoln may have gone silent in public about colonization, he remained committed to it as an option (if no longer the only one) behind the scenes.