Sunday, November 03, 2013

"... to promote the general Welfare ..."


These days I'm reading James M. McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era by audiobook. Completing the two long volumes is going to take awhile and I'm sure I'll write more in the future. As a preliminary observation, I have to say that complete frustration of majority democracy by what the Northern states called the "Slave Power" (the slave states in Congress) during the 1850s is too darn reminiscent of recent Republican behavior in Washington. This was the same practice of "rule or ruin" that Abraham Lincoln called out in 1860 at Cooper Union.

McPherson points out that, after Lincoln was elected President, the states clinging to slavery seceded and their new Confederacy needed a governmental structure. They mostly adopted something very like the U.S. Constitution to organize their rump regime. But,

"… some of [their document's] departures from the original were significant. The preamble omitted the general welfare clause…"

The preamble to the U.S. Constitution includes this list of purposes:

… in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, ...

Evidently the U.S. founding generation thought the "general Welfare" function was an important justification for according legitimacy to the new state; the founders of the Confederate rebellion did not.

The behavior of the Confederacy's descendants in the Tea Party seems to agree with the 1861 rebels.

2 comments:

Rain Trueax said...

I have been doing a lot of reading about George Armstrong Custer and the politics of his time since it involved two major conflicts-- Civil War and the Plains Indian Wars. Some are biographies but some his writing and that of Elizabeth Custer. Hers has really driven home as she writes about the South after the Civil War (or as I saw when visiting there a few years back--the war of northern aggression). Her husband was one of the military trying to make sure there was a peaceful transition especially in Texas and whenever possible Elizabeth traveled with him.

Reading all these books has made me shake my head as I think what goes around comes around. Not a good thought as we seem to keep recycling and not learning-- except we do change party names for who does what...

Hattie said...

This is the crux of the matter.It's about promoting the general welfare.Republicans don't care about promoting the general welfare.They are selfish.

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