Tuesday, August 24, 2010

p. 202 & 205 A New Birth of Freedom, Jaffa

Describe the split in the Democratic Party Convention held in Charleston, South Carolina in May, 1860. Note that the Democrat Buchanan rejected the successionist ideas of Jefferson Davis, seemed indifferent to slavery in the name of "the law," and counseled restraint above all else.

p. 205 Lincoln argued that the Union stood in the same relationship to the state as a state to a county, which fits with both Buchanan and Madison. Davis, on the other hand, inherited Calhoun's theory of undivided state sovereignty, which meant that an individual was bound by his promise to his state but not by his promise to the nation.

An argument: Slavery was doomed if left to popular sovereignty (this is the reason Stephen Douglas split the Democratic Party); with the new territories there would eventually be enough votes for a Constitutional Amendment against it. Calhoun understood that the South depended entirely upon favorable rulings in the Courts for slavery's survival, such as that provided by Justice Roger Taney in Dred Scott. This is much like gay marriage today where the gay marriage movement fails whenever it is left to popular vote, but survives only by way of judicial activists in the tradition of Taney.

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