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What is States' Rights? Part 8.
by Mike Crane
Morganton, Georgia

"Our Rights are like a cookie, no matter how big the cookie and how small the bites, eventually you run out of cookie"

Part 7 (and Parts 1-6) demonstrated from the historical record a couple very important points - if you want to understand why this country is teetering on the brink of financial, spiritual and cultural bankruptcy.

  • The impact of State Legislature appointment of Congressional delegations on the actions leading up to the Declaration of Independence. The Virginia delegates received "instructions" from their State to "move" a common Declaration of Independence. This was done, and was a major step on the road of the creation of American Liberty.
  • The historical record of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 demonstrated that on June 6, 1787 this method of composition of Congress was proposed, debated and rejected by vote of the State delegations at the Convention of 1787.

The method of composing Congress under the Articles of Confederation was based upon federated principles. This allowed the colony of Virginia to declare its independence from the English crown and instruct its delegates in the Congress to lead the way for the rest of the colonies to march down the road to independence and the creation of American Liberty. When the delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 replaced this method on June 6, 1787, they purposely removed a major aspect of a federated form of government in favor of a national or consolidated form of government.

Let's look at a small portion of the ensuing ratification debate. The Virginia ratification convention is an excellent source as Madison, Randolph and Mason were delegates at the Convention of 1787 and Patrick Henry was the chief opponent to ratification.

Recapping, Madison on June 6, 1787 in the Convention of 1787:

Mr. MADISON considered an election of one branch at least of the Legislature by the people immediately, as a clear principle of free Govt. and that this mode under proper regulations had the additional advantage of securing better representatives, as well as of avoiding too great an agency of the State Governments in the General one.

Madison not only was the author of the Virginia Plan and the author of the proposal for direct election of what became the US House of Representatives, he also opposed State appointment of what became the US Senate (as was done prior to 17th Amendment). Madison was one of the strongest supporters of a "national" government, bypassing the States ("avoiding too great an agency of the State Governments in the General one" from June 6, 1787 debate above).

In the Virginia Ratification Convention, Patrick Henry was the most outspoken critic of the proposed new form of government, on June 4, 1788 he stated:

Mr. HENRY. "Mr. Chairman, I am much obliged to the {44} very worthy gentleman for his encomium. I wish I was possessed with talents, or possessed of any thing that might enable me to elucidate this great subject. I am not free from suspicion: I am apt to entertain doubts. I rose yesterday to ask a question which arose in my own mind. When I asked that question, I thought the meaning of my interrogation was obvious. The fate of this question and of America may depend on this. Have they said, We, the states? Have they made a proposal of a compact between states? If they had, this would be a confederation. It is otherwise most clearly a consolidated government. The question turns, sir, on that poor little thing - the expression, We, the people, instead of the states, of America. I need not take much pains to show that the principles of this system are extremely pernicious, impolitic, and dangerous. Is this a monarchy, like England - a compact between prince and people, with checks on the former to secure the liberty of the latter? Is this a confederacy, like Holland - an association of a number of independent states, each of which retains its individual sovereignty? It is not a democracy, wherein the people retain all their rights securely. Had these principles been adhered to, we should not have been brought to this alarming transition, from a confederacy to a consolidated government. We have no detail of these great consideration, which, in my opinion, ought to have abounded before we should recur to a government of this kind. Here is a resolution as radical as that which separated us from Great Britain. It is radical in this transition; our rights and privileges are endangered, and the sovereignty of the states will be relinquished: and cannot we plainly see that this is actually the case? "

Patrick Henry pointed out just as clearly as Gov. Morris did on May 30, 1787 in the Constitutional Convention of 1787 that the proposed government was a consolidated government:>

Mr. Govr. Morris explained the distinction between a federal and national, supreme, Govt.; the former being a mere compact resting on the good faith of the parties; the latter having a compleat and compulsive operation. He contended that in all Communities there must be one supreme power, and one only.

Patrick Henry continued (June 4, 1788) and the following is part of his commentary on Congress, the US House of Representatives:

I have trespassed so long on your patience, I am really concerned that I have something yet to say. The honorable {64} member has said, we shall be properly represented. Remember, sir, that the number of our representatives is but ten, whereof six is a majority. Will those men be possessed of sufficient information? A particular knowledge of particular districts will not suffice. They must be well acquainted with agriculture, commerce, and a great variety of other matters throughout the continent; they must know not only the actual state of nations in Europe and America, the situations of their farmers, cottagers, and mechanics, but also the relative situations and intercourse of those nations. Virginia is as large as England. Our proportion of representatives is but ten men. In England they have five hundred and fifty-eight. The House of Commons, in England, numerous as they are, we are told, are bribed, and have bartered away the rights of their constituents: what, then, shall become of us? Will these few protect our rights? Will they be incorruptible? You say they will be better men than the English commoners. I say they will be infinitely worse men, because they are to be chosen blindfolded: their election (the term, as applied to their appointment, is inaccurate) will be an involuntary nomination, and not a choice.

Patrick Henry has raised the very same argument that was debated on June 6, 1787 at the Convention of 1787 by General Pinkney.

General PINKNEY wished to have a good National Govt. & at the same time to leave a considerable share of power in the States. An election of either branch by the people scattered as they are in many States, particularly in S. Carolina was totally impracticable. He differed from gentlemen who thought that a choice by the people wd. be a better guard agst. bad measures, than by the Legislatures.

You be the judge! Look at the mess in Washington today! With both the US House of Representatives and the US Senate using the composition method proposed by James Madison who was right? James Madison is called the father of the Constitution as he should be he wrote the model the Virginia Plan. He should also be called the father of the mess in Congress today and the lack of a proper agency of the States in the general government. Instead of Madison's feared "too great an agency of the State Governments in the General one" today we have as Patrick Henry predicted "infinitely worse men."

At the end of Patrick Henry's speech, Governor Randolph, one of the Virginia delegates to the Convention answered:

Gov. RANDOLPH. Mr. Chairman, if we go on in this irregular manner, contrary to our resolution, instead of three or six weeks, it will take us six months to decide this question. I shall endeavor to make the committee sensible of {65} the necessity of establishing a national government. In the course of my argument, I shall show the inefficacy of the Confederation. It is too late to enter into the subject now, but I shall take the first opportunity for that purpose. I mention this to show that I had not answered him fully, nor in a general way, yesterday.

In this speech Governor Randolph admitted that the proposed government was a national government, he clearly says that he would present a case of why a national or consolidated government was needed! Why a national government had to be established, which is exactly what the Constitutional Convention of 1787 was proposing - which matches the debate and votes in the Constitutional Convention of 1787. In fact as a delegate Governor Randolph had refused to sign the report of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 as the proposed government lacked proper checks and balances!

Perhaps the promised appointment to a choice position should the proposed new form of government be ratified had something to do with his first opposing the ratification then flipping and supporting it.

Keep in mind that the minutes of the debate of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 were sealed and secret at the time that the States were holding ratification conventions! The vote in Virginia was a major event and it was close, ratification passed by an 89-80 vote. If the Virginians voting at the ratification convention had known the contents of the debate at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 - would five or more have voted different?

A look at the difference of some of the material in the Federalist papers compared to the debate in the Convention of 1787 perhaps will shed some light on that question.

It is a very important question! It may determine what solution(s) are required to stop the decline of this country.

To be continued

What is States' Rights - Part 1
What is States' Rights - Part 2
What is States' Rights - Part 3
What is States' Rights - Part 4
What is States' Rights - Part 5
What is States' Rights - Part 6
What is States' Rights - Part 7
What is States' Rights - Part 8


Mike Crane is a member of the League of the South Board of Directors and LS Communications Coordinator. Mike has a long track record as a hard worker within the Southern Heritage and Independence movements including being first chairman of the Florida League of the South, serving on the board of the Georgia League of the South, and an enthusiastic member of the Georgia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Additionally, Crane is a Georgia Delegate to the Southern National Congress. Mike has been politically active since 1965. Within that time, he has run for the Georgia Senate twice and the Fannin County, Georgia Commission Chairmanship. Mike is also one of the principle founders of the Southern Party of Georgia. Mike is a member of Morganton Baptist Church and active in local church and local interdenominational benevolence efforts. Mike will be a speaker at the 2013 League of The South Conference:

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