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The Stand for Sovereignty

Timothy Baldwin, Esq.

[COMMENT:   Here is a good piece of American political history.   The principle of separation (of the three branches) and dispersion (to local authorities) of power, and the principle of subsidiarity (government should take place at the lowest practicable level), are a fundamental part of America, and of the government of any free people.   Over-centralization of government is part and parcel of tyranny.     E. Fox]

The Stand For Sovereignty
By Chuck Baldwin's Son: Timothy Baldwin, Esq.
August 7, 2009

This column is archived at

[Note: My son, Tim (who turned 30 yesterday), writes today's column. He is
an attorney who received his Juris Doctor degree from Cumberland School of
Law in Birmingham, Alabama. He is a former prosecutor for the Florida State
Attorney's Office and now owns his own private law practice. He is married
to the former Miss Jennifer Hanssen.  Chuck Baldwin]

On July 10, 2009, Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin became the second governor in
these States United (Governor Phil Bredesen of Tennessee is the other one)
to sign into effect a State Sovereignty Resolution. (See
http://www.tenthamendmentcenter.com ). These Sovereignty-type bills,
resolutions and laws are an obvious and rightful response that the
super-majority of the States in the Union is expressing to and against the
usurping powers of the federal government. While the effects of federal
tyranny are being felt more seriously than ever, history and human nature
prove that the people of a society do not respond or revolt immediately
against tyranny--though they have a right to. America's resistance is no
different.  Fortunately, the sleeping giant is being awakened, to the dismay
of our Centralist-worshipers today.

An observer of history and these current events cannot help but draw
strikingly similar comparisons to America's political struggles during the
early to mid-1800s, where there was a serious threat to our original form of
constitutional government by the Centralists of that day. During the
presidency of John Adams, the people of the States realized and rejected the
pro-centralist view of Adams and his ilk (e.g., Alexander Hamilton), and a
battle between the ideology of centralism and federalism thrust itself into
the forefront of political concern.

On the heels of the Adams administration, the people of the States United
spoke clearly and loudly through their election of Presidents Thomas
Jefferson in 1801 through James Buchanan in 1857. All of these Presidents
(through either political expediency or conviction) rejected the
centralists' philosophy and confirmed the fundamental political ideology
that the Constitution of the United States of America was a compact assented
to by the individual Sovereign States of America, and that the Federal
government's authority only extended to the specific and enumerated grants
acceded to it by the sovereigns of each State. It was not until 1861 that
this understanding of Constitutional government and State Sovereignty was
seriously challenged.

Since the Reconstruction period after the War Between the States, the
philosophical acknowledgements of what State Sovereignty means, implies and
mandates has been flipped on its head, to where the States seem to believe
that they are powerless over the demands of the federal government. This
concept is completely contrary to the original principles of our
Confederated Republic, which was overwhelmingly acknowledged from 1787 to

Those who adopted the views of the Centralists during the twentieth century,
of course, had their heyday: from the implementation of the sixteenth and
seventeenth amendments, to the implementation of our fiat currency system;
from the assumption of all federal laws as superior to all state laws, to
the Federal Supreme Court being considered the only arbitrator of issues
regarding political sovereignty; from excessive federal borrowing and
spending, to tyrannical federal mandates and directives imposed on the
people of the States. Now, their heyday is turning into our payday and we
the people are fronting the bill.

What Governor Palin acknowledged on July 10, 2009--as have thousands of men
and women in their State government capacities across these States
United--is what America's Founding Fathers and statesmen pre-1861 accepted,
acknowledged and proclaimed: (1) that each of the States is independent and
sovereign possessing a natural right to govern itself according to the will
of its people reflected in its own constitution; (2) that each of those
States has a natural and compactually agreed-upon right to defend, secure
and protect the freedoms and liberties of its own people; and (3) that any
powers not acceded to by those people through their States to the Federal
government by the expressed intent and purposes understood and explained in
the US Constitution are void and unenforceable. Indeed, most would have
argued that each Sovereign State had all powers of nationhood (pursuant to
the natural laws of nations, as understood by philosophical and political
statesmen), with exception of those powers granted to the federal government
in the United States Constitution, which was ratified and acceded to only
for the WELL-BEING--not the suppression--of those sovereign peoples and
those Sovereign States.

Most students of history would agree that Daniel Webster was one of
America's most referred-to proponents of the Centralist view of our form of
government. In the 1820s and 1830s, Webster ardently held the position that
most Americans hold today: that the Federal government, through the "supreme
laws of the land," is independent and shielded from the States Sovereign
powers and has an inherent political right to be its own judge regarding all
matters that it unilaterally assumes to itself. In other words, they believe
the US Constitution does not allow the States to independently judge the
constitutionality of the federal government's actions as it affects their
independent sovereignty, and the US Supreme Court, alone, must make any such
determination. Webster was (and still is) the "hero" of many who would (1)
presuppose that the effect of the US Constitution somehow dissolved the
independence and sovereignty of each State regarding matters of political
sovereignty and, (2) suggest that each State has no power to resist the
federal government.

While Webster may have classified himself as a proponent of such a view
during the time of his life described above, his stated belief and position
later in his political life certainly indicates that he recanted this
Centralist position, as he became wiser and more mature to the true nature
and character of our form of government. In 1851, Webster states the
following concerning the States' right, through their independent and
sovereign status, to resist the Federal government's usurpation of its
constitutionally limited and delegated authority:

"How absurd it is to suppose that when different parties enter into a
Compact for certain purposes, either can disregard any one provision, and
expect, nevertheless, the other to observe the rest! I intend, for one, to
regard, and maintain, and carry out, to the fullest extent, the Constitution
of the United States . . . A bargain cannot be broken on one side and still
bind the other side . . . I am as ready to fight and to fall for the
Constitutional rights of Virginia, as I am for those of Massachusetts."
(Alexander Stephens, A Constitutional View of the Late War Between the
States, vol. 1 [Philadelphia, PA, National Publishing Co., 1870], 404-405.)

Webster's dogmatic view of State Sovereignty cited above certainly sheds
light and perspective on the limits, character and nature of federal power
and is in stark contrast to the Centralist view of our federal government.
The vast majority of the people of the States through their State
legislatures and Congressional Representatives in the House and Senate from
1776 to 1861, of course, repeatedly confirmed this view of State
Sovereignty. And while the end of the War Between the States in 1865 may
have seemed like a victory for the doctrines of the Centralists and
believers in monstrosities of government control over the lives of the
people and the States, evidence now proves that the truly American doctrine
of freedom has not died with war or time.

Instead, the spirit of a free, confederated and republican form of
government, based upon the principles and maxims of Natural Law, lives on
and is brewing like hot magma from what most would have classified as a
dormant volcano. Very clearly, the spirit of freedom lives on. Even the
famed French historian, Alexis De Tocqueville, in his book, "Democracy in
America" recognized that "the fate of the republic should not be confused
with that of the Union. The Union is an accident which will last only as
long as circumstances support it, but a republic seems to be the natural
state for Americans . . .  The Union's principal guarantee of existence is
the LAW WHICH CREATED IT." (Tocqueville, Alexis De, Democracy in America,
Translated by Bevan, Gerald E., [Strand, London, Penguin Books, 2003], 464.)
(Emphasis added.)

What can be dogmatically stated is that freedom-lovers in America should be
more concerned about guaranteeing the existence of the LAW that made America
free. (For now, I withhold my comments regarding those who reject the
Natural Laws that created the Union.) The Centralists' view of "Liberty and
Union, now and forever, one and inseparable" (expressed by Daniel Webster on
January 26, 1830, before his conversion to the correct view of our
Confederate Republic) is not the true understanding of the nature and
character of our government or our federal Constitution, which was built
upon the notions expressed in the Declaration of Independence. (Webster,
Daniel, Constitutional Doctrines of Webster, Hayne and Calhoun, [Lovell &
Co., New York, NY, 1897], p. 23.) To the contrary, our Confederate Republic
was built upon the law which states: the People have a natural right "to
alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its
foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to
them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

What freedom-loving American would ever advocate the idea that a group of
freeborn persons in Sovereign States should be forced to be governed by a
government that was initially created by the will and assent of those people
in their sovereign and independent capacities, especially where that
artificial creation (i.e., the federal government) has usurped the powers
originally granted to it by the sovereigns of the States? Such a thought is
repugnant to free society, free government, and American ideology, and
mirrors more of the hereditary-right-to-rule notion argued by monarchs of
yesteryear and forced upon its not-so-loyal subjects.

Not likely realizing the significance and effect of his words and not
knowing how he would later change his political understanding of State
Sovereignty, Webster admits in 1833 that "the natural converse of accession
is secession; and therefore, when it is stated that the people of the States
acceded to the Union, it may be more plausibly argued that they may secede
from it." As seen in his statement in 1851 above, Webster certainly reached
the conclusion that the States actually did accede to the Union and did in
fact retain their Sovereign powers, which they have a duty to use to protect
their citizens.

While few are advocating secession (at least not yet), the battle for State
Sovereignty against Federal usurpation and expansionism has clearly begun.
Americans should not fear the movement for State Sovereignty. Rather, we
should embrace it; because it is the only saving grace and vehicle for
freedom left in this Confederate Republic we call the United States of
America. Unless we stand for State Sovereignty, freedom will most certainly
fall. Therefore, Americans everywhere should encourage their State governors
and legislators to follow the example of Alaska in boldly declaring their
State's autonomy and sovereignty.

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(c) Chuck Baldwin


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Date Posted -  08/12/2009   -   Date Last Edited - 09/15/2012