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Thread: State sovereignty

  1. #1
    Joel_Henderson Guest

    State sovereignty

    I'd like to see a debate on the sovereignty of the individual states, regarding the issue of how they are independent nations-- in contrast to the current claim of the Union (vis-a-vis the federal government) being such a valid authority, as per the Pledge of Allegiance (actually written in 1891 by a socialist named Francis Bellamy).

    This therefore requires defining the nature of the states themselves: each state was founded in 1776 as a free and sovereign nation via its People, as Jefferson expressly declared each to be "Free and Independent States... 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."

    He likewise clearly stated that their governments derived their just powers by consent of the governed, who likewise held the right to alter or abolish that government-- ie. that the People of each state were its ruling sovereigns, and that governments were simply delegated authority thereby.

    This was likewise retained in 1781 under the Articles of Confederation, against British contest; and once Britain acknowledged this sovereignty, it was never officially altered to the contrary by the Constitution or otherwise. Hence, the term "The People" as used in the Constitution, referred not simply to all individuals of the Union in the aggregate, but to the People of each state respectively.

    Naturally, this was suppressed in the Civil War, when the federal government likewise surpressed the turth regarding the sovereignty of every state-- but again, never officially altered the sovereign status of the individual states, via their people.

    This is the issue of fundamental importance in America, since the current regime has never validated its claims to sovereignty over the states; on the one hand it claims such to belong to "the People," but on the other it denies any legal power to the Union populus whatsoever; rather, it seems that the government is the ruling sovereign, and that "the People" simply have some power over its choice of staff-- but ironically only as represents their respective states.

    Likewise, as stated above, the sovereignty of the states-- each through its people- was illegally suppressed without proper authority.

    Since the "experts" have contented themselves to sit on their laurels and affirm the status quo through silence, it is therefore time for we-- the people, and thus the sovereigns-- to stand up and take BACK our rightful soveriegnty from it unlawful usurpation by our servants in government.

    In short, the USA is NOT "one nation, indivisible" as people have been indocrinated; and therefore since this is a lie, then liberty and justice are likewise an oxymoron (particularly since there are simply illegal restrictions on freedom under this illegal empire, rather than protections).

    The simple fact, is that every state, rather, is "one nation--" and is indeed is as "divisible" as its People wish, being the respective sovereign power thereof. The USA is simply a voluntary association of such nations, by law-- and that law was never changed.
    Last edited by Joel_Henderson; 11-15-2008 at 08:11 PM.

  2. #2
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    Other than the civil war, I'd have to say that the biggest hit to states rights was the ending of the states legislatures appointing members of the senate. Until then, they were the only watch dogs for the state governments. The senate was supposed to look out for the interest of the states and keep the power of the federal govt. in check. After the amendment the changed this, the FEDERAL govt. began to expand by leaps and bounds....
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  3. #3
    Archangel Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Joel_Henderson View Post
    I'd like to see a debate on the sovereignty of the individual states, the issue of how they are independent nations in contrast to the current claim of the Union being such an authority.

    This therefore requires defining the nature of the states themselves: each state was founded in 1776 as a free and sovereign nation via its People, as Jefferson expressly declared each to be "Free and Independent States... 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."

    He likewise clearly stated that their governments derived their just powers by consent of the governed, who likewise held the right to alter or abolish that government-- ie. that the People of each state were its ruling sovereigns, and that governments were simply delegated authority thereby.

    This was likewise retained in 1781 under the Articles of Confederation, against British contest; and once Britain acknowledged this sovereignty, it was never officially altered to the contrary by the Constitution or otherwise. Hence, the term "The People" as used in the Constitution, referred not simply to all individuals of the Union in the aggregate, but to the People of each state respectively.

    Naturally, this was suppressed in the Civil War, when the federal government likewise surpressed the turth regarding the sovereignty of every state-- but again, never officially altered the sovereign status of the individual states, via their people.

    This is the issue of fundamental importance in America, since the current regime has never validated its claims to sovereignty over the states; on the one hand it claims such to belong to "the People," but on the other it denies any legal power to the Union populus whatsoever; rather, it seems that the government is the ruling sovereign, and that "the People" simply have some power over its choice of staff-- but ironically only as represents their respective states.

    Likewise, as stated above, the sovereignty of the states-- each through its people- was illegally suppressed without proper authority.

    Since the "experts" have contented themselves to sit on their laurels and affirm the status quo through silence, it is therefore time for we-- the people, and thus the sovereigns-- to stand up and take BACK our rightful soveriegnty from it unlawful usurpation by our servants in government.
    Hi Joel, I first want to welcome you to the forum. We need more people who respect the Constitution as it was written here at 4 forums. Let me start by saying that I agree with your conclusions assuming your interpretation is correct regarding this section of your post: Jefferson expressly declared each to be "Free and Independent States... 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."

    I must claim ignorance to the declaration that States have the power to levy WAR. I was truly unaware of this right or power to levy war apart from the support and agreement of the Federal Government. If this is true, I'm shocked and impressed that no States have ever gone to war over border or trade disputes ever in our history. And I don't see the Civil War as falling into that category as that was 2 regions of the country (North and South) aligning against the other over a common issue, slavery. It was also fought in order to prevent secession according to my understanding.

    But I'm unaware of any 2 states every declaring war on each other, or any state declaring war on a foreign enemy. If this has happened, I would love to know about it. And doesn't this clause also mean that if certain states, like the uber liberal Massachusetts for example, chose not to support the Iraqi war for example, do they have the right to recall and with hold all of their citizens from participating in that war in opposition to the will of the Federal Government?

    Also, If states are allowed to conclude Peace, and contract Alliances, does that mean that they could arbitrarily make independent peace pacts with Iran for example, ignore the federal embargo against them, and trade hi technology components with them,directly against federal law? And how do we define the "UNITED" in United States of America if individual states have these powers to act apart from the greater good? You've raised an interesting subject here and raising issues I have never considered at all.

  4. #4
    Joel_Henderson Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by CUNxTime View Post
    Other than the civil war, I'd have to say that the biggest hit to states rights was the ending of the states legislatures appointing members of the senate. Until then, they were the only watch dogs for the state governments. The senate was supposed to look out for the interest of the states and keep the power of the federal govt. in check. After the amendment the changed this, the FEDERAL govt. began to expand by leaps and bounds....
    This is simply a single bend in "the long road down," once state sovereignty was brutally overthrown by Leviathan forces; the walls began closing in with the denial of state sovereignty during Nullification, and began approaching critical mass during Reconstruction-- and reached meltdown with the Great Depression and the World Wars.
    Global catastrophe followed, but political illiterates and nationalists just can't seem to connect the dots.

  5. #5
    Joel_Henderson Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Archangel View Post
    Hi Joel, I first want to welcome you to the forum. We need more people who respect the Constitution as it was written here at 4 forums. Let me start by saying that I agree with your conclusions assuming your interpretation is correct regarding this section of your post: Jefferson expressly declared each to be "Free and Independent States... 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."

    I must claim ignorance to the declaration that States have the power to levy WAR. I was truly unaware of this right or power to levy war apart from the support and agreement of the Federal Government. If this is true, I'm shocked and impressed that no States have ever gone to war over border or trade disputes ever in our history. And I don't see the Civil War as falling into that category as that was 2 regions of the country (North and South) aligning against the other over a common issue, slavery. It was also fought in order to prevent secession according to my understanding.

    But I'm unaware of any 2 states every declaring war on each other, or any state declaring war on a foreign enemy. If this has happened, I would love to know about it. must claim ignorance to the declaration that States have the power to levy WAR. I was truly unaware of this right or power to levy war apart from the support and agreement of the Federal Government. If this is true, I'm shocked and impressed that no States have ever gone to war over border or trade disputes ever in our history. And I don't see the Civil War as falling into that category as that was 2 regions of the country (North and South) aligning against the other over a common issue, slavery. It was also fought in order to prevent secession according to my understanding.
    You have to remember that history is written by the victors; Lincoln's war was indeed such a war, however this was termed a "rebellion" by the victors, who wished to secure their upstart claim of national authority beyond all doubt or challenge.

    Meanwhile, the states jointly engaged in war against Great Britain in 1776; thereafter, beginning in 1781, they formed federal unions, according to the Law of Nations, Book I. Section 10:-- namely under The Articles of Confederation and the Constitution respectively; such unions do not impair the soveriegnty of any state, but may simply provide for the state to restrain their powers, in keeping with voluntary agreements:

    § 10. Of states forming a federal republic.
    Finally, several sovereign and independent states may unite themselves together by a perpetual confederacy, without ceasing to be, each individually, a perfect state. They will together constitute a federal republic: their joint deliberations will not impair the sovereignty of each member, though they may, in certain respects, put some restraint on the exercise of it, in virtue of voluntary engagements. A person does not cease to be free and independent, when he is obliged to fulfil engagements which he has voluntarily contracted.

    Such were formerly the cities of Greece; such are at present the Seven United Provinces of the Netherlands, (13) and such the members of the Helvetic body.

    § 11. Of a state that has passed under the dominion of another.
    But a people that has passed under the dominion of another is no longer a state, and can no longer avail itself directly of the law of nations. Such were the nations and kingdoms which the Romans rendered subject to their empire; the generality even of those whom they honoured with the name of friends and allies no longer formed real states. Within themselves they were governed by their own laws and magistrates; but without, they were in every thing obliged to follow the orders of Rome; they dared not of themselves either to make war or contract alliances; and could not treat with nations.

    The law of nations is the law of sovereigns; free and independent states are moral persons, whose rights and obligations we are to establish in this treatise.
    These federal unions were definitely, therefore, of the first variety.
    For example, the Articles of Confederation stated the following voluntary restictions on state powers:

    Article V. For the most convenient management of the general interests of the United States, delegates shall be annually appointed in such manner as the legislatures of each State shall direct, to meet in Congress on the first Monday in November, in every year, with a power reserved to each State to recall its delegates, or any of them, at any time within the year, and to send others in their stead for the remainder of the year.
    No State shall be represented in Congress by less than two, nor more than seven members; and no person shall be capable of being a delegate for more than three years in any term of six years; nor shall any person, being a delegate, be capable of holding any office under the United States, for which he, or another for his benefit, receives any salary, fees or emolument of any kind.
    Each State shall maintain its own delegates in a meeting of the States, and while they act as members of the committee of the States.

    Article VI. No State, without the consent of the United States in Congress assembled, shall send any embassy to, or receive any embassy from, or enter into any conference, agreement, alliance or treaty with any King, Prince or State; nor shall any person holding any office of profit or trust under the United States, or any of them, accept any present, emolument, office or title of any kind whatever from any King, Prince or foreign State; nor shall the United States in Congress assembled, or any of them, grant any title of nobility.
    No two or more States shall enter into any treaty, confederation or alliance whatever between them, without the consent of the United States in Congress assembled, specifying accurately the purposes for which the same is to be entered into, and how long it shall continue.
    No State shall lay any imposts or duties, which may interfere with any stipulations in treaties, entered into by the United States in Congress assembled, with any King, Prince or State, in pursuance of any treaties already proposed by Congress, to the courts of France and Spain.
    No vessel of war shall be kept up in time of peace by any State, except such number only, as shall be deemed necessary by the United States in Congress assembled, for the defense of such State, or its trade; nor shall any body of forces be kept up by any State in time of peace, except such number only, as in the judgement of the United States in Congress assembled, shall be deemed requisite to garrison the forts necessary for the defense of such State; but every State shall always keep up a well-regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutered, and shall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores, a due number of filed pieces and tents, and a proper quantity of arms, ammunition and camp equipage.
    No State shall engage in any war without the consent of the United States in Congress assembled, unless such State be actually invaded by enemies, or shall have received certain advice of a resolution being formed by some nation of Indians to invade such State, and the danger is so imminent as not to admit of a delay till the United States in Congress assembled can be consulted; nor shall any State grant commissions to any ships or vessels of war, nor letters of marque or reprisal, except it be after a declaration of war by the United States in Congress assembled, and then only against the Kingdom or State and the subjects thereof, against which war has been so declared, and under such regulations as shall be established by the United States in Congress assembled, unless such State be infested by pirates, in which case vessels of war may be fitted out for that occasion, and kept so long as the danger shall continue, or until the United States in Congress assembled shall determine otherwise."
    Note again that these restrictions (i.e. "shall" and "shall nots") were purely voluntary, in that each state also specifically retained its soveriegnty, freedom, and independence; rather, these powers were stated to be simply delegations of power to the general government-- specifically in Article II:
    Article II. Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.
    The Constitution was similar, with key differences being the direct election of House-members by the people of each state respectively (vs. simple mass-vote for all members), and the power to levy taxes directly; however each state retained its own delegates.

    In his book America's Constitution, Constitutional Law Yale Law Professor Akhil Amar writes the following:
    "Thus in the great debate of the 1860's both Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln got some things right and some things wrong, but Lincoln was right when it counted. Contrary to what Lincoln said, it is doubtful that a new indivisible nation—as opposed to thirteen original nation-states in a classic confederacy—sprang into existence in July 1776...the United States did not become an indivisible nation prohibiting unilateral state secession—the crux of the Gettysburg contest—until 1788. Lincoln also stumbled in claiming that none of the thirteen original states had ever been sovereign."

    However this was the entire basis for Lincoln's denial of secession-- as he stated directly, in his Special Address to Congress on July 4, 1861:

    "Having never been States, either in substance or in name, outside of the Union, whence this magical omnipotence of "state rights," asserting a claim of power to lawfully destroy the Union itself?"

    In other words, if they had been outside of the Union in name and/or substance, then they would be able to assert such a claim (though "destroy the Union" is of course absurd, since each state could account only for itself; however as a point of fact, they already had "destroyed the Union" when they unilaterally first departed from the Confederation, in preparation to ratify the Constitution).

    Amar waffles extensively on this point, claiming that the states surrendered their respective sovereignty via the Constitution, basing his entire argument on the single following passage:

    In dramatic contrast to Article VII--whose unanimity rule that no state can bind another confirms the sovereignty of each state prior to 1787 --Article V does not permit a single state convention to modify the federal Constitution for itself. Moreover, it makes clear that a state may be bound by a federal constitutional amendment even if that state votes against the amendment in a properly convened state convention. And this rule is flatly inconsistent with the idea that states remain sovereign after joining the Constitution, even if they were sovereign before joining it.
    Thus, ratification of the Constitution itself marked the moment when previously sovereign states gave up their sovereignty and legal independence.
    Here, Amar use the term "state" loosely, referring to the state's government, since that is the only thing "bound" by the Constitution.
    Therefore, he claims that a state's sovereignty originally derived from simple bureacratic autonomy of its government-- rather than form its People, despite the clear premise-statement in the Declaration of Independece, that governments derive their just powers by consent of the governed-- and that the People therefore have the right to alter or abolish such, whenever.

    This expressly and irrefutably means that the People (again, of each state) are its sovereigns-- and governments are their subordinate delegates created and controlled entirely thereby.

    As such, state governments were only "bound," because the People of each state delegated power to federal government in order to so bind them-- just as Bill Gates might delegate power to the national manager of Microsoft, to bind state regional managers. This obviously doesn't mean that the manager can bind Bill Gates-- except as he allows of his own free will.

    Amar, however, doesn't seem to understand this basic premise of democratic popular sovereignty-- which is sad, but irrelevant regarding such reckless disregard of the truth.
    Therefore, while the sovereign People of each state may have have re-delegated more power to the federal government via the Constitution, than they did the Articles of Confederation, Amar falsely conflates this as an absolute surrender of sovereignty, since he thinks that sovereignty vests in government rather than in People-- and hence, he displays a gross ignorance of the basis of all democracy for some reason... a sign of pure idi0t-savantism, if not outright deception.

    Amar thereby "strains out a gnat, and swallows the elephant in the room," since he ingores (or actually does not know) that sovereignty does not derive from state governments, but solely from the People of the state itself-- and nowhere does the Constitution alter this core-origin of fundamental sovereignty in any way, by re-assigning sovereignty to any OTHER people.

    Rather, Amar defies the entire premise of popular sovereignty: i.e. that the People of a state are its ruling sovereigns—and therefore must remain such, unless and until they expressly name different persons as such. However the Constitution nowhere manifests any such an intention, and hence may not be construed to diminish the sovereignty of any state. On the contrary, each and every state-- vis-a-vis its People, rather than its government—must remain fully sovereign; and therefore they may be thus "bound" by the Constitution, only as it pleases that People, in that all government—state, federal or otherwise, is simply their delegated servant, as they have chosen to establish such by mutual agreement among themselves as self-governing individuals.

    In conclusion, therefore, Amar is wholly erroneous in both his claim of national authority of the federal government, and his defense of Lincoln based thereupon; therefore, barring any valid similar claim of national authority, the citizens of each respective state must jointly resume their full sovereignty as free nations of the world.

    Quote Originally Posted by Archangel View Post
    Also, If states are allowed to conclude Peace, and contract Alliances, does that mean that they could arbitrarily make independent peace pacts with Iran for example, ignore the federal embargo against them, and trade hi technology components with them,directly against federal law? And how do we define the "UNITED" in United States of America if individual states have these powers to act apart from the greater good? You've raised an interesting subject here and raising issues I have never considered at all.
    Again, the states are each nationally sovereign-- ever since 1776 (which Lincoln denied for this very reason); that means that they can do ANYTHING that sovereign nations can do; the United States (aka "The Union") does NOT have ANY final authority over them, except that which the People of the state voluntary give it; and as noted in the Declaration of Independence, that same People has the right to alter or abolish that relationship at any time.
    The Constitution is simply a list of voluntary agreements and restictions-- not mandatory, subject to superior oversight and enforcement, as Lincoln falsely claimed (again under the premise that they were never otherwise-- which even Amar openly admits as false); and the "war" did not change this sovereignty-- indeed such change was impossible, since it was again based on the claim that they were not sovereign.

    Hence the Lincoln-apologists (i.e. Leviathan statists) want it both ways: i.e. they want to claim that Lincoln had the soveriegn national right to supress secession; howver when pressed on state sovereignty, they want to claim the "pesky legal details" as "settled on the battlefield--" i.e. arguing brute force whenever legal arguments are not expedient.

    This is thus their grand shell-game: i.e. if you argue that Lincoln violated law, they argue the law of brute force; and if you claim Lincoln illegally acted by illegally by brute force, they argue that Lincoln acted under the law. It's the "ol' switcheroo," now you see it, now you don't-- and hence, federal sovereignty is a game of pure smoke and mirrors... but for MUCH higher stakes, i.e. global rule as the world's only reigning super-power. This is what they sought, and this is what they achieved.

    But a single fact can spoil a most interesting argument-- or the global empire upon which it is based: to wit, sovereignty is the core of all national authority, and can only be derived from law in democracy-- never simple brute force, since such defines imperial dictatorship as a matter of course.
    We were content to call this type of order an "evil empire" when practiced by others, however those without clean slates cannot throw stones, without being judged as they judge others; and hence the USA is an "evil empire" so long as state soveriegnty continues to be suppressed, just as the USSR likewise suppressed the sovereignty of its respective states-- and legally speaking, more legitimately than did the USA, since it conquered only brute-force states-- never democratic free states, as did America under Lincoln.
    Last edited by Joel_Henderson; 11-15-2008 at 08:49 PM.

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