Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on February 7, 2017
This volume of essays is red meat for readers who are interested in how to bring back republican governance to the United States of America. Each speaks to an aspect of the problem, but all provide the same solution -- secession, which is probably the most odious word in American politics. But why? Thirteen States "seceded" from British rule. They also "seceded" from the so-called "perpetual" Articles of Confederation. Why then should States not be allowed to secede from the Union in its present configuration? The vast territory over which the Union spread in 1787 was a cause for pause by the founders. No republic so large was then thought possible. The American plan was replete with misgivings about size. But look at the Union now: it spreads from shore to shore, and beyond! Federalism has given way to a monstrous centralized government, a Leviathan, in which States are largely only administrative entities, analogous to counties within a State.

I walked away from reading this volume convinced that the war over which Abraham Lincoln presided was morally and constitutionally wrong. His thoughts about secession, as stated in his First Inaugural Address, were sophistry. There is no evidence that any State entered the Union with the idea that it could not get out. In fact, Virginia, New York, and Rhode Island specifically ratified the Constitution conditionally. The document was a contract, or compact, between the States. In English law, compacts could certainly be rescinded in the event of a breach. In this case, only the State, as a party to the compact, could decide whether there had been a breach.

I would suggest that, if the reader is interested in the subject of secession, that he also read Robert F. Hawes, Jr.'s, One Nation, Indivisible?; Albert Taylor Bledsoe's, Is Davis a Traitor?; John C. Calhoun's, A Discourse on Government, A Discourse on the Constitution and Government of the United States; John Remington Graham's, A Constitutional History of Secession; and the seventh chapter of George F. Kennan's, Around the Cragged Hill. This would be an excellent beginning. These volumes will underscore the fact that the victors write history, and that often it is terribly skewed.

If you want to extricate yourself from the myths about secession, and start thinking outside the box, read Rethinking the American Union for the Twenty-First Century. Your eyes may well be opened.
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