Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The lingering effect of the Civil War

I've finally made my way to Orestes Brownson's The American Republic in my tour through the bibliography of American history.  Here's a notable quote that may explain the US government's centralizing collectivist tendencies of the last many decades, and along the way he hints at the unexpected and sometimes long-hidden effects of the slaughter of wholesale war:

The great problem of our statesmen has been from the first, How to assert union without consolidation, and State rights without disintegration? Have they, as yet, solved that problem? The war has silenced the State sovereignty doctrine, indeed, but has it done so without lesion to State rights? Has it done it without asserting the General government as the supreme, central, or national government? Has it done it without striking a dangerous blow at the federal element of the constitution? In suppressing by armed force the doctrine that the States are severally sovereign, what barrier is left against consolidation? Has not one danger been removed only to give place to another?

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