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Thursday, August 02, 2012

Mr. Justice Scalia's Constitution

The US Constitution became law of the land when New Hampshire became the 9th State to approve in 1788 by a legislature vote of 57 to 46. Rhode Island made it unanimous in 1790 with a vote of 34 to 32.

The was a large minority of people who yet retained the idea that it was the right of the States to withdraw from this compact when necessary. The first State to set about doing so was Kentucky in 1798, followed by Tennessee, both passing resolutions of potential nullification of the agreement to join into the Union under the law of the Constitution.
Their grievance was the inactivity of the Federal government in securing free and open navigation of the Mississippi all the way through New Orleans. Since the government did soon accomplish this objective, these efforts came to naught.

In 1814, the New England States met at the Hartford Convention in Hartford, Connecticut, due to their own perceived grievances, and soon passed a resolution of nullification:




 Daniel Webster was the hero of Hartford, and this assembly was seemingly the birthplace of the spirit of sectionalism in the country.
Hodgson, in his "The Cradle of the Confederacy" writes:





We shall go no further, but must observe that there are currents flowing from the era of the Founding Fathers - a minority, true, but still a vital part of a democracy - that had a very different view of the Union and the Constitution of that Union.

I ask Mr. Justice Scalia whether we attempt to understand the minds of a few Founding Fathers, or do we add in the minorities, whose debates and discussions were as equally formative of the Constitution as the debates of the select few who have been canonized by our history books?
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2 comments:

Baysage said...

Nice little history lesson. No, Justice Scalia will not allow contrary views . . . . I thought you knew this. God has ordained him with the only correct constitutional interpretative skills. Everybody knows that.

Montag said...

Mr. Justice Scalia is a smart and good man. If he could only just leave the pretensions to greatness at home in the closet...