View single post by Regina
 Posted: Sat Dec 29th, 2007 01:50 am
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Joined: Wed Nov 1st, 2006
Location: Connecticut USA
Posts: 65

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I'm reading the book "Young Patriots--The Remarkable Story of Two Men, Their Impossible Plan and the Revolution That Created the Constitution" by Charles Cerami (Madison and Hamilton).  The author makes very interesting points on the "states' rights" issues that influenced the Constitutional Convention as well as the "slavery" issues.

One passage reads:

          Madison tried his hand at pacification, saying quietly that if a union should finally be formed, they would find that this rivalry between large and small states was hardly an issue at all, especially as compared with the real clash between northern and southern states.  It was the first time anything this ominous had ever been said in an official setting--a forecast of the Civil War, which was over seventy years away.  He did not use the word "slavery," but put it this way:  "The great danger to our general government," he said prophetically, "is the great southern and northern interests of the continent being opposed to each other."  In saying this, he showed how desperately anxious he was to win a compromise on the present issue, for he risked offending the South Carolinians.

I didn't realize, until I read this book, that as far back as the forming of the union, South Carolina had threatened to secede over the slavery issue.

Also, writing of Abraham Baldwin from Georgia, he says "Deeply religious as he was, he did not approve of slavery but he thought each state should be left alone to create policies that suited its situation.  And he really saw no future for Georgia unless it had some years of slavery to build up enough wealth..."

He also wrote this which I'm sure is true:

          People who were passionately anxious to see a large, strong national government were inclined to unfairly ridicule or attack the very term "states' rights" as if it were an immoral ambition.  In the case where emphasis on states' rights was actually a sly way of insusting on the right to conduct slavery, there was good reason to deplore it.  But many Americans who detested slavery still loved their own states and preferred not to see them drained of all power.






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