Tuesday, September 14, 2010

p. 271-272 A New Birth of Freedom, Jaffa

How did the seceding states help Lincoln politically, and how did they hurt him militarily?
Read from here to the end of the paragraph on the next page.

p. 263 A New Birth of Freedom, Jaffa

In what regard can we say that "legislating morality" is the only way to secure the consent of the governed?

...Certainly the laws governing marriage and the family were as "domestic" as those concerning master and servant. The first platform of the Republican Party, in 1856, denounced the 'twin relics of barbarism, polygamy and slavery.' Jefferson, in his Bill for Proportioning Crimes and Punishment for Virginia in 1779, grouped, 'rape, sodomy, and bigamy' as felonies of equal heinousness. During the Lincoln-Douglas debates, Lincoln trapped Douglas with the inconsistency of his doctrine of popular sovereignty which presumably left the people of a territory or a state 'perfectly free' to decide for themselves what their domestic institutions would be. Yet Douglas would not accept Utah either as a territory or state unless polygamy was abolished.

It was clear to Lincoln, although not so clear to many of his contemporaries, that the 'consent of the governed' could be rightfully exercised only within the boundaries of a moral law that gives consent its validity but whose validity does not depend upon consent.

Monday, September 13, 2010

p. 256 A New Birth of Freedom, Jaffa

Did the states make the Union or did the Union make the states? What was the Jeffersonian/Madison view, and on what did they base their argument? What was the Davis/Calhoun view?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

p. 238 A New Birth of Freedom, Jaffa

What were the decisive tensions at play in Lincoln's 1st inaugural? What did he know and why couldn't he say it without destroying his chances of success?

p. 240 A New Birth of Freedom, Jaffa

What was Aristotle's complaint about the Sophists?

p. 239-240 A New Birth of Freedom, Jaffa

The economic situation of the Southern states in the Civil War was analogous to the economic position of the British during the Revolutionary War, and yet the Brits lost the Revolutionary War. "Great Britain never prosecuted the war against the American the way it would prosecute the war against Napoleon, largely because the Americans were never a threat to Britain's survival. Similarly, the Confederacy tried to present itself as no threat to the Union of the North. Its leaders spoke in terms of merely seeking independence on the same principles as their Revolutionary forebears." What was Lincoln's perspective on the situation of the Union toward the war? In what respect would a negotiated settlement with the South to avoid war have destroyed the principles of the founding, even for the North?

Read from the highlight here to the end of the first paragraph on the next page.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

p. 232 A New Birth of Freedom, Jaffa

The Civil War was not a matter of states rights vs. the national government. Make the case of that argument using the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, which Pierce, Buchanan and Lincoln all enforced. Who was Anthony Burns?

[It's always important to remember that slavery was going to die either by the mathematics of the new territories and new states passing a Constitutional amendment, or under the weight of its own economic need to expand and its failure to do so. This impending failure must have had an impact upon the often conflicting political rhetoric of the South from Stephens, to Douglas, to Buchanan, to Davis, etc.]

p. 219-220 A New Birth of Freedom, Jaffa

Absolutely astounding defense of Rev. Jacob Gruber who had spoken at a Maryland camp meeting in Hagerstown, MD on the "national sin." Gruber goes to trial and picks the ablest of lawyers who delivers a defense worthy of Lincoln himself. Who was the lawyer and what did he say?

p. 230 A New Birth of Freedom, Jaffa

The South argued against majority rule, or "tyranny of the majority." Lincoln opposed this as well. What's the proper northern answer?

My answer: Today, people boil down the Civil War to state rights v. the Federal government. Modern progressives will put themselves on what they think is the side of Lincoln as they assert that the ever growing power of the Federal Govt is somehow in the tradition. Libertarians often do the same and fall into the trap of denigrating Lincoln. Looked at this way, "the tyranny of the majority" as seen by modern progressives and Libertarians is a disagreement over states v. the Federal Govt. Progressives see the Federal Govt as good, Libertarians see it as bad.

But Lincoln, and I hope most modern conservatives, see both modern progressives and libertarians as wrong in their interpretation. Lincoln did not see "the tyranny of the majority" as having anything to do with the preference of the Federal govt over the states or vice versa. Lincoln understood "tyranny of the majority" as it related to "all men created equal" by God as it is described in the Declaration. That is to say, Lincoln firmly believed in majority rule as long as it preserves the compact of the Declaration that all men are created equal.

p. 218 A New Birth of Freedom, Jaffa

What did Lincoln say that enraged the South the most and how, precisely, did Alexander Stephens say the exact same thing?