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  1. #1
    Shooter
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    Resistance Is NOT Futile: Forgotten Lessons from the Nullification Crisis

    Resistance Is NOT Futile: Forgotten Lessons from the Nullification Crisis


    by Josh Eboch

    Even as calls for nullification of proposed federal health care mandates have intensified on the state level, an almost hysterical effort has arisen to discredit such measures, and paint them as part of an obsolete theory with no bearing on modern politics.
    Regardless of its logical descent from our most basic founding principle, that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, nullification simply doesn’t work, critics say.
    Or does it?
    While it’s true that our system of checks and balances has been weakened substantially over the years, federalism itself has not. Divided power remains as viable a structure of government as it was the day our Constitution was ratified. Perhaps a better question is: Can nullification succeed peacefully?
    Of course! It already has. For proof, one need look no further than the truth behind a favorite parable of establishment statists, the Nullification Crisis of 1832-33.
    Over the years, that crucial victory for the sovereign states has been converted into a cautionary tale by those who wish to discourage taxpayers from ever questioning their federal masters. So distorted is the history that a recent article on modern nullification efforts in the Nashville City Paper declared
    In the Nullification Crisis of the 1830s, South Carolina passed a law nullifying federal tariffs, but the state backed down after President Andrew Jackson sent Navy warships to the Charleston harbor.
    The only problem with that story is it never happened.
    After nullifying the so-called Tariff of Abominations in late 1832, the citizens of South Carolina began making serious preparations to defend themselves with deadly force against any attempt by federal agents to collect the hated tax. What followed was a tense standoff between President Jackson and a relatively small group of determined citizens, that could easily have resulted in secession or war.
    But those citizens refused to be intimidated by Jackson’s repeated threats of violence, and they certainly didn’t surrender to warships in Charleston Harbor.
    As Wikipedia admits, it was not until the end of February 1833, when “both a Force Bill, authorizing the President to use military force against South Carolina, and a new negotiated tariff satisfactory to South Carolina [emphasis added] were passed by Congress,” that “the South Carolina convention reconvened and repealed its Nullification Ordinance.” From that point on, right up until the War Between the States, the tariff rate declined steadily.
    In other words, after putting the federal government on notice that they were prepared to defend their sovereignty, with force if necessary, the people of South Carolina agreed to abide by a new “negotiated tariff,” that they felt was fair, rather than fight a war or leave the Union; neither of which they wanted to do in the first place. A clear victory for nullification, and for peace.
    In fact, the entire episode is more or less a perfect demonstration of how robust federalism and divided power once protected liberty within our voluntary Union, by keeping the ambitions of the central government in check.
    So why the modern spin on this event as some kind of heroic, unilateral militarism by President Jackson, and a watershed moment for centralization? Well, for one, that interpretation fits with what statists would have us all believe anyway: that there is no force on Earth (including public opinion) capable of resisting orders from the national government.
    It also makes for a neat segue into the conflict that erupted 30 years later along the same fault lines of federal vs. state authority, providing a convenient way to dismiss, without debate, those who call for nullification today, by linking them with slavery and the antebellum South. At least in the eyes of an historically ignorant public.
    Yet, from the Fugitive Slave Act to REAL ID, American history is replete with examples of states successfully asserting their sovereignty in constitutional disputes with the federal government. And there is every reason to believe that they could do so again with regard to health care, should it prove necessary.
    If the proposed federal mandates are so unpopular in any given state that a majority of its people support legislation or a state constitutional amendment to nullify them, that should be a clear indicator to President Obama and Congress that the governed have withdrawn their consent. Any attempt to assert federal power in the face of such opposition will inevitably be seen by the citizens of those states as illegitimate and unjust.
    At that point, it will be up to those in Washington to decide whether they want to respect the natural laws on which our nation was founded, or whether they would prefer to wager their lust for power against the full electoral fury of the sovereign people’s wrath.

    What I'm in question of is that if Jackson did that in S. Carolina with the Navy, to what extreme will Obama use to force his agenda?

  2. #2
    Master groovatron's Avatar
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    Kinda like in the 90's when the Feds were putting all kind of pressure on New Orleans to change the drinking age from 18 to 21. New Orleans held strong untill the Feds threatened to hold back all of their highway funding....and in the bayou, that's a big deal. I suppose threats of holding back OUR tax money is modern warfare

  3. #3
    Expert CulpeperMM's Avatar
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    excellent post.

    we need to get this or something like this into the hands of our state Reps and Senators. They are somewhat ignorant of the history of nullification. the response to my one man petitions have been: "that hasn't worked in 200+ years".

    We need to make sure these folks know that our 9th and 10th amendments mean something to us.

  4. #4
    Grandmaster BloodEclipse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CulpeperMM View Post
    excellent post.

    we need to get this or something like this into the hands of our state Reps and Senators. They are somewhat ignorant of the history of nullification. the response to my one man petitions have been: "that hasn't worked in 200+ years".

    We need to make sure these folks know that our 9th and 10th amendments mean something to us.
    Agreed.

  5. #5
    Grandmaster Coach's Avatar
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    I am not against states standing up for their rights, and I am not in favor of health care. However, you descriptions of the Nullification crisis leaves the battle between John C Calhoun and Andrew Jackson out. Jackson personalized the argument to be between himself and Calhoun, and threatened to hand Calhoun first if crisis became violent. Calhoun believed the threat. It is true the tariff was reduced for years following but it was still there and it was still paid.

    This crisis was also prior to the Civil War. That war changed things considerably. Federally mandated seat belt laws, speed limits and education programs have all used the power of the purse to put the states in line. If Indiana does not do something that the Federal government wants the method will be money as we will not get any federal money. That will be the first play taken from the book.
    No one is stronger or more dangerous than the man who can harness his emotions.


  6. #6
    Master Eddie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coach View Post
    I am not against states standing up for their rights, and I am not in favor of health care. However, you descriptions of the Nullification crisis leaves the battle between John C Calhoun and Andrew Jackson out. Jackson personalized the argument to be between himself and Calhoun, and threatened to hand Calhoun first if crisis became violent. Calhoun believed the threat. It is true the tariff was reduced for years following but it was still there and it was still paid.

    This crisis was also prior to the Civil War. That war changed things considerably. Federally mandated seat belt laws, speed limits and education programs have all used the power of the purse to put the states in line. If Indiana does not do something that the Federal government wants the method will be money as we will not get any federal money. That will be the first play taken from the book.
    I agree with Coach. From personal experience it is almost a knee jerk response on the Federal Level to withhold money. I've spent a lot of time working with local government in adminstering grant money that is coming down to the county and city level from federal funding. Even so much as asking a question or pointing that a policy doesn't make sense would generate the "If you don't do it our way you don't get your money" response.
    Pedantry and mastery are opposite attitudes toward rules. To apply a
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    and in cases where it does not fit, is pedantry... To apply a rule with
    natural ease, with judgment, noticing the cases where it fits, and
    without ever letting the words of the rule obscure the purpose of the
    action or the opportunities of the situation, is mastery.
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  7. #7
    Shooter
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie View Post
    I agree with Coach. From personal experience it is almost a knee jerk response on the Federal Level to withhold money. I've spent a lot of time working with local government in adminstering grant money that is coming down to the county and city level from federal funding. Even so much as asking a question or pointing that a policy doesn't make sense would generate the "If you don't do it our way you don't get your money" response.
    And I believe it is time for the states to call them on their bluff. If they do in fact withhold funds, then the state needs to learn how to cut budgets and do without this bribe money.

  8. #8
    Expert CulpeperMM's Avatar
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    yep. tell the Washington faction to keep their filthy FRNs. the Constitution says only gold and silver are to be legal tender. That was never amended.

    If we can't pay for operations of local government locally, then we don't need it. Localities need to learn to live with in their means. We need to do away with direct federal taxation as well, so the state can hold back from funding unconstitutional nonsense.

  9. #9
    Expert nawainwright's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie View Post
    I agree with Coach. From personal experience it is almost a knee jerk response on the Federal Level to withhold money. I've spent a lot of time working with local government in adminstering grant money that is coming down to the county and city level from federal funding. Even so much as asking a question or pointing that a policy doesn't make sense would generate the "If you don't do it our way you don't get your money" response.

    What I think is just spectacular is that they are threatening to withhold the money WE gave them. It would seem to me, if it came to that, then we could escalate it ourselves. Oh, you won't give us tax money, then we won't give YOU tax money! Sure it would lead to higher state taxes, but its 6 of one, half dozens of the other.

    I guess they could threaten to withhold military aid to Indiana So we'd be on our own if Zimbabwe attacked.
    And what is a Tory? Good God! What is he? I should not be afraid to go with a hundred Whigs against a thousand Tories, were they to attempt to get into arms. Every Tory is a coward; for servile, slavish, self-interested fear is the foundation of Toryism; and a man under such influence, though he may be cruel, never can be brave. - Thomas Paine "The Crisis"

  10. #10
    Plinker
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    Fed threatens to withhold money from Indiana -- easy answer:
    Indiana no longer requires its citizens to pay Fed taxes

    Better off for us anyway then

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