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Quotes Suitable for Framing: Robert E. Lee

I can only say that while I have considered the preservation of the constitutional power of the General Government to be the foundation of our peace and safety at home and abroad, I yet believe that the maintenance of the rights and authority reserved to the states and to the people, not only essential to the adjustment and balance of the general system, but the safeguard to the continuance of a free government. I consider it as the chief source of stability to our political system, whereas the consolidation of the states into one vast republic, sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home, will be the certain precursor of that ruin which has overwhelmed all those that have preceded it. I need not refer one so well acquainted as you are with American history, to the State papers of Washington and Jefferson, the representatives of the federal and democratic parties, denouncing consolidation and centralization of power, as tending to the subversion of State Governments, and to despotism.

Robert E. Lee, In a letter to Lord Acton, December 15, 1866

 

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

10 Comments

  1. “He was a foe without hate; a friend without treachery; a soldier without cruelty; a victor without oppression; and a victim without murmuring. He was a public officer without vices; a private citizen without wrong; a neighbor without reproach; a Christian without hypocrisy and a man without guile. He was a Caesar without his ambition; Frederick without his tyranny; Napoleon without his selfishness; and Washington without his reward.”
    Benjamin H. Hill on Robert E. Lee

    Identity politics buried the putrid corpse of the Democrat Party.

    Uncommon valor in fighting statues.

  2. A perfect summation of the proximate cause for the Late Unpleasantness and of its arguable effects on our original system of federalism. It’s tragic that the immediate cause for the conflict was the morally indefensible but constitutionally permitted practice of slavery.

  3. How could Gen. Robert E. Lee say such beautiful things and then lead an army to oppose the freedom of all men created equal in original innocence? Lee could not possibly have believed in our Founding Principles.

  4. Mary De Voe, I wonder if Lee, being historically sound & looking at the bigger long term picture, was fighting against the eventual enslavement of all people in the nation. The usurpation of states rights and deferral to federal powers was accomplished in this war. As a result, we are all beholden to federal powers today that are nowhere in the Constitution. With individual States, there were places to go, today, there is nowhere to go.

  5. Go to our Founding Principles: THE UNANIMOUS DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE and THE CONSTITUTION, both ratified by every state. Twelve years after our Unanimous Declaration of Independence, our Constitution was signed and ratified.
    In the our Constitution you will find Art. I sections 9 and 10, especially section 10: “No state shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation…”like the Confederate States.
    WHO are “We, the people”? “We, the people” are all past generations, the present generation and all future generations, our Constitutional Posterity” sovereign persons who institute government and comprise a nation.
    Until the Person of Jesus Christ was exiled from the public square, virtue reigned in our culture. Now, atheism is imposed, our constitutional Posterity are murdered in the womb, the addiction to the vice of lust and sodomy are called marriage, pornography is considered entertainment, evil is applauded as success, license is considered freedom, patriotism is replace by political correctness, humility is replaced with rapaciousness and savagery. Civilization?

  6. Declaration and Constitution ratified by independent nations, the thirteen colonies; and they never gave up their sovereign ability and that of their people to withdraw from the union. In fact, they were fighting a war against England precisely to establish such a fundamental right to throw off a government when it seemed appropriate to the people. No signatory country understood the Constitution as a surrender of aboriginal sovereignty.

  7. The States were never independent nations as demonstrated by one peace treaty being signed with the United States of America by the British rather than 13 treaties as originally proposed by the British and rejected by the American delegation.

    That Americans at the time perceived themselves as citizens of one nation is reflected in the Articles of Confederation:

    “Every State shall abide by the determination of the United States in Congress assembled, on all questions which by this confederation are submitted to them. And the Articles of this Confederation shall be inviolably observed by every State, and the Union shall be perpetual; nor shall any alteration at any time hereafter be made in any of them; unless such alteration be agreed to in a Congress of the United States, and be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every State.

    And Whereas it hath pleased the Great Governor of the World to incline the hearts of the legislatures we respectively represent in Congress, to approve of, and to authorize us to ratify the said Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union. Know Ye that we the undersigned delegates, by virtue of the power and authority to us given for that purpose, do by these presents, in the name and in behalf of our respective constituents, fully and entirely ratify and confirm each and every of the said Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union, and all and singular the matters and things therein contained: And we do further solemnly plight and engage the faith of our respective constituents, that they shall abide by the determinations of the United States in Congress assembled, on all questions, which by the said Confederation are submitted to them. And that the Articles thereof shall be inviolably observed by the States we respectively represent, and that the Union shall be perpetual.”

  8. “Declaration and Constitution ratified by independent nations, the thirteen colonies; and they never gave up their sovereign ability and that of their people to withdraw from the union.”

    In the Articles of Confederation Tom it is stated that the Union is perpetual. No change could be made in the articles except by amendment by Congress approved by all the states. The 13 colonies ceased to exist with the Declaration of Independence when they became states. The states had no separate existence at any time except as part of the United States of America.

  9. That’s logically impossible, Don. If the states were not fully independent to begin with after the Revolution, there would have been no need to hammer out a constitution expressly spelling out how much sovereignty the states were ceding to the federal government. I’d refer you to the Federalist/Anti-Federalist debates for ample evidence that states had to be *convinced* to *join* the union. They could, and several did, delay or defer joining. Under your theory, there would have been no need for ratification by each state of the Constitution. Clearly they were acting as separate, independent entities. The Declaration, which is aspirational and not a legally binding document, itself manifestly refers to “States,” as a plurality, not “nation:”

    these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.

    Whatever one thinks of secession, it’s beyond reasonable denial that 13 independent, sovereign entities entered into a contract ceding very specific powers, and those only, to a federal government for certain very limited joint purposes, reserving all non-specifically delegated sovereignty (cf, 10th Amendment among others).

  10. “That’s logically impossible, Don. If the states were not fully independent to begin with after the Revolution, there would have been no need to hammer out a constitution expressly spelling out how much sovereignty the states were ceding to the federal government.”

    You confuse the country with the government Tom. The Declaration of Independence created a new country with its form of government to be hammered out later.
    “We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved;”

    The states at no time had a separate existence except as part of the American union. None of the Founding Fathers thought during the Revolution that they were fighting for the independence of one colony but rather for the independence of the United States of America. None of them assumed that the American Union would not endure in peace time, hence the perpetual union referenced in the Articles of Confederation.

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