From: Doug Logan
Received: Nov. 27
“And this issue embraces more than the fate of these United States. It presents to the whole family of man, the question, whether a constitutional republic, or a democracy — a government of the people, by the same people — can, or cannot, maintain its territorial integrity, against its own domestic foes. It presents the question, whether discontented individuals, too few in numbers to control administration, according to organic law, in any case, can always, upon the pretenses made in this case, or on any other pretenses, or arbitrarily, without any pretense, break up their Government, and thus practically put an end to free government upon the earth.” — President Abraham Lincoln, message to the special session of Congress, July 4, 1861.
The above quote captures Lincoln’s approach to putting down the War of the Rebellion. The Confederacy was not a nation at war with the United States, only parts of the Union in a state of insurrection, and improperly using and attacking federal property to boot. The president understood that the principle of majority rule required that the minority accept the decision. Lincoln saw that if any and every disgruntled minority was allowed to walk away, then any and every association was bound to fail, and there could be no “government of the people, by the people, for the people,” to use his better-known later phrase.
Lincoln’s opinion obviously still matters, since there is a modern disgruntled minority whining about secession because they did not get their way in the last election. Those whiners, along with the guy who wrote a few weeks ago suggesting that the new Indiana governor “nullify” the health care law, need to read their American history.
Wake up! Lincoln saved the Union on his terms, and President Andrew Jackson settled the nullification question 30 years before that.
Anyone who does not like the election results, or a party that lost the vote on a bill, needs to work out compromises with their opponents. The sheer pigheadedness of politicians right now is the reason that the last Congress accomplished nothing and the reason that news broadcasts are full of the imminent “fiscal cliff.” I hope that the administration and the new Congress will reclaim the political process from the unelected loudmouths who obstructed progress in the last term.