I've now read Enigma and Archangel, both by Robert Harris. He is an excellent story teller, and his stories are compulsive.
I finished A Red Death. Mosley's dialog is sparkling, as always, and there's plenty of sex and violence (in terms of sex, Easy Rawlins may have Mike Hammer beat!)
However, I did feel Mosley's characters were a bit weak and leaned heavily on a few traits and some cliches, especially the people Easy meets at his local church who play a part in the crime. While I had an idea of who the killer was before the denouement, I totally didn't expect what his motives were. It tied up almost too neatly, like an Agatha Christie novel.
Now I'm taking a break from neo-noir pulp and reading Ellis Peters' last Brother Cadfael mystery. It's a very different style and milieu. I'm such a mystery junky!
Ok, I'm done. I've got another history coming and this is by far the worst chapter.
It's all constitutional theory and Freehling doesn't try to hide the fact that nullification is a logical mess that you have to be three sheets to the wind or paranoid about slave revolt to take seriously. It's literally highfalutin restatements of "Heads I win; tails you lose". The permutations are interesting, but it's ridiculously arcane and even the best, most consistent theory (Calhoun's) is a self-defeating pile. Plus the theory is even more obviously than usual a PR exercise.
Post-petition, months over tariff in House. As debate went on, clearer that protection very likely to win. Supporters: miners, hemp growers, sugar planters, wool producers plus manufacturers. (Hemp and sugar Southern products.) Lots of lobbyists at work. Turned into bidding war over who would give the most. Had to look to SC like majority would never stop.
Lobbyists did well, but don’t read into it economic heft of industries. In 28, Ind Revolution only starting. (That is a periodization mess. So many different metrics…) For 50 years hereafter, average person still rural, sold farm goods on world market. Southerners more into antitariff than west, but both worried.
Protectionists strong for political reasons. Election year promises from Adams and Jackson to win manufacturing states PA, NY. Both also keen on support from raw materials interests.
South, West antitariff people but very firmly for Jackson. Westerners like one of their own. South very against New England JQAdams. Van Buren, NEast Jacksonians had no problem courting protectionists given this. Tariff would make presidents, not cloth and blankets.
Impossible situation for SC. Only hope: divide raw materials tariff types from manufacturing tariff types. Keep raw wool high to alienate woolen manufacturers. High duty on molasses to turn NE distillers against. So SC could vote targeted poison pill rates through to kill whole thing.
Risk: industrialists might take the flawed bill instead of no bill. If factory guys vote for tariff in light of all that, then enslavers would give the nation high taxes. McDuffie called “fighting the devil with fire.” South voted consistently against amendments to lower rates. But Northern Jacksonians, with Van Burenites, vote to lower enough so industrialists take flawed bill over no bill. Tariff becomes law, with SC votes.
Calhounites later say Van Burn in on plan and stabbed them in back. VB denied, Calhoun didn’t prove. Freehling things was genuine Southern plot that backfired. Either way, incident turned SC against VB, convinced many that Jackson party would never go back on rates.
Next 4 years, SC argue tariff twice-over bad. Raised duties from 33.3% to 50% despite SC economic slump. Second, unconstitutional because broke clauses that prevented slavery debates.
SC const argument did not rely on traditional strict construction. SR types big on exact language of document. Criterion of simple clarity, power is or is not specifically enumerated. Tarrifs were as regulation of commerce. Started argument from original intent. Congress then, for the first time, not only restricted to enumerated powers but also to to using those powers only for ends specifically named in text. Power to tax only for revenue. No clause authorized promotion of industry, therefore out of bounds.
Perverting of Const especially bad in illegitimate assumption of authority undermined stated purpose. Since tariff 28 protected industry, intentionally cut imports and thus revenue that tariff was to raise. Destroyed commerce supposed to regulate.
Power to use for unsanctioned ends, like general welfare, gave feds infinite chance to ignore restraints, seize state rights. Under precedent here, taxes could go to do anything, like ACS, even direct antislavery effort.
SC argument drew in revolt-anxious enslavers and empty-pocketed planters. But only in SC. Logic couldn’t even sell strict constructionists Dems elsewhere. Argument undermined by own premise: since revolved around intent of duties, Calhounites had to prove intentions of pro-tariff legislatures. Not going to happen. Nobody writes down how they intend to destroy commerce or wreck revenue. Few spoke on subject at all, many with mixed motives. Some thought of it as revenue bill, others like Jackson thought national defense needed protection.
Dubious to us, but SC argument convincing to SC at time. New duties greased wheels for slavery debates. Also sure 50% rate would lead to disaster for them. SC resolved not to accept. But Calhounites especially stuck in dilemma. Leaders of Jacksonian party could wreck his campaign on tariff. But SC loved Jackson. Maybe radical action only way out.
SC stays with Jackson, hopes Calhoun will control Jackson. By 28, clear VB main rival. VB for tariff.
SC also hated JQA. Jackson mildly pro-tariff. JQA, with Henry Clay, huge pro. Also suspect on slavery. As SecState, asked repeal of Negro Seamen Law. New Englander also, so inherently untrustworthy. Named Rufus King, antislavery leader in Missouri times, minister to England. To lowcountry, still worse that JQA participating at Panama Congress of Spanish-American Nations in 26.
Haitians expected to attend. Haitian Revolution may see discussion. To SC, looked like another dangerous slavery debate. Hayne warned in debate: South can’t permit any touching of slavery, period, or would be driven from Union.
More reason to hate JQA: Some SC fear JQA could subvert democracy. SC reflexively hated political operatives of popular style. Used demagoguery to sway “rabble”, patronage to buy votes. Crawford denounced for trying that, failed. JQA might win. JQA made Clay SecState to buy presidency, so obviously a smooth operator. Clay and Adams proposed buying not just pols, but sections with tariff, improvements, public lands.
Jackson safer. Enslaver himself so would not mess with. Patriotic general, not spoilsman, so would turn back clock and get rid of corruption, patronage, partisanship. Calhounites dream he would flip on tariff. But Jackson big on tariff since 24, in coalition with protectionists. So really at best neutral to start. If SC in Cong could keep down appropriations, could deny him reason to keep rates high.
In 28 SC thought spending might be cut. Payment of debt, half of revenues, nearly done. If Jackson insisted on it fast, and against new projects, would have surplus before 32 elections.
Southern, Western Jackson men could make it happen. Enslavers thought of moving west, so in favor of free lands. West sold goods to world market, so could get together against tariffs. Ending land salves (and revenue from) plus low tariff would force Jackson to cut. Calhounite Duff Green very in favor of plan.
Not everyone on board with Green. SC radicals not interested in short-term considerations that produced tariff. Convinced was complete end of South’s control of nation. North had permanent majority, paid for out of their pockets. Tariff would suck away their cash for North. South being in congress and elections only lent legitimacy to exploitation. Needed minority check on majority to save section and Union.
With idea of permanent hostile majority, S-W alliance more a pipe dream. South could only deliver free land in an era of cheap land. Northwest could give millions for roads. Debt repayment might not help, since could always find projects to spend revenues on or even send the money straight to states. Cal saw last as worst danger.
Calhounite problem: make radical solution without wrecking hope of Jackson fixing things. Right after Tariff of 28 passed, SC caucus settled on making a united south bloc for protest. Most of South not on board, at least immediately. SC caucus meets again, goes it alone. SC back home already was.
Second caucus, “tempestuous secret”. Met at Hayne’s. Radical talk, conservative action. Hamtilon: resign in protest. McDuffie: rant against Union. Hayne: asks if US troops would be let march through South to put down uprising. But also moderates: William Smith didn’t go. Thomas Mitchell didn’t say anything. William Drayton, longtime Calhounite, admitted tariff bad but disunion worse. Eventual decision: wait until Jackson in office, keep SC quiet until then.
SC reps came home to uproar. McDuffie not happy with plan to keep quiet, soon traveling state calling for resistance even at cost of election, party.
Bio of McDuffie: consistent extremist, first nationalist then nullifier. Adoptee/client of Calhoun family. Smart student, lawyer. Partnered up with guy elected to leg, then took guy’s spot when he moved up in 20. Built rep as extreme nationalist in House. Sweeping view of fed power, often on attack vs. SR. Called state nullification “climax of heresies”. Nullification, whether through direct state action or through state penalizing compliance with fed law exactly what founders had in mind with laws to call up militia.
Frequent scrapes with Crawfordites. Bitter partisan against them. July 21, 3 Georgia Crawford men writing against nationalism in papers. Attacked back through other papers, provoking challenge to duel. Other guy crack shot, McDuffie a novice. SC nationalists suspected whole thing was plot to assassinate McD. McD shot into dirt, shot in side by spine. Survived, but festering wound killed nerves, paralyzed him long term. Months later went at it again, came out with shattered arm.
Duels not great for personality. Once friendly, not irritable, forbidding. Hard to get on with. Silent at parties, refrained from banter in leg. But when spoke, relentless, aggressive. Sounded half crazed.
Post-27 turns against nationalism. Cotton enslaver in hardest-hit area of upcountry, so tariff especially personal. Tariff abominations last straw for him. McD understood nullification as “sugar-coated version of secession.” Early as 20s expected it to lead to war, by 30s eager for it.
Still, McD for conservative road in 28. With William smith, rep William martin, endorses high tax on Northern goods as retaliation. Famous speech: tears off Northern-made coat, calls fit for slaves alone. Started fad of SC pols wearing homespun. General non-intercourse stuff. Daniel Huger refused Northern potatoes. Waddy thompson: no KY pork. Overseeer fired for buying KY horse.
Non-intercourse had same problem as usual: all voluntary. Moderates didn’t care. Cutting demand for KY livestock products alienated anti-tariff ally. Didn’t do much for pro-tariff KY hemp enslavers. If only slaves wore North cloth, still big market elsewhere. Also upset class identity, since ended up dressing as slaves, advertised impotence.
Excise tax worked the same. Since built on wrecking interstate commerce, hypocritical to SC complaining that tariff did the same to foreign commerce. If would hurt North, would also hurt South by forcing them to go to imports and pay tariff. Some SC, led David R. Williams, say build factories, but high debt and few banks so no capital, nor experience, to build.
Militant SC pushed back to Turnbull defense from last year. Campaign opened: Colleton in lowcountry. Engineered by Robert Barnwell Rhett. June 28, suggests, gets public meeting to sign on, petition calling on gov John Taylor for immediate leg session. Did not give specific recommendations, but asked open resistance. Taylor refused, moderates happy. Paper suggests fear of disunion drove moderation. Other warns lowcountry if they manage secession, then upcountry will secede itself back.
Lowcountry madder than ever. July sea island enslavers meeting again asked for leg session, declared continuance of Union contingent on unconditional end of tariff. Pair of anonymous writers talk nullification in Mercury in July. Late Sept BBQ in Abbeville approves state veto. Hamilton, Hanye present, McD speaks.) Early Oct Pendleton seconds. Oct 28, Walterborough, Hamilton joins campaign openly. Jackson elected. (Presumably early polls? Didn’t always run on the same day in every state back then.)
McD wanted to talk, James Hamilton to manage. He’d been after a movement to run since Lowndes presidential campaign ended. Skipping most of bio. Typical SC political ascendance. Fought 14 duels, always wounding, never killing. Very popular second. Little guy, aristocratic manners, big with ladies. (I remember there being a sex scandal. Looked: abuse of neices. Possibly not known to Freehling in ‘65. First bio of Hammond is Drew Faust’s in 82.) Lost most of it in Panic of 37 and spent rest of life chasing new money.
Hamilton loved the political shuffle. Bent on ending SC depression, very worried about another Vesey, possibly biggest nullifier. Talent for politics, aristocratic rep worked for him in breaking lowcountry norms. Aimed to be SC Van Buren.
Late Oct, 28, Walterborough address: recants nationalism, warned northern majority would not stop unless forced. Moderation would not do it. Grounded himself in “Jeffersonian” nullification tradition. Sent copy of speech to Jackson, his friend Henry Lee. Dared people to take speech as treason and come for him.
Others said Hamilton, McD, so forth turned nullifier over getting stiffed on patronage and favoring VB over Calhoun. Idea still big in literature, but actually other way around. Barely kept quiet until Jackson’s election, so committed against tariff before any patronage to have. Standing against wrecked patronage chances. Undermined Calhoun same way. Jackson himself confirmed: planned to give out SC patronage until they turned on him with “ultra tariff violence.” Hayne agreed.
Other counter: Calhounites went nullifier too early because of Smith wins in SC. Actual facts in favor, but not all the way. Passage of resolutions in 25 did signal end to SC nationalism and Cals did try to get ahead of it in 27. 28, every pol on the make had to go antitariff.
However: antitariff did not mean nullification. Pressure not high enough in late 20s to require extremes of pols. Rarely issue in leg elections 28. Hamilton-McD effort more about moving pols than voters. Latter more about kicking out pols who voted $10k ffor Jefferson’s daughter. 28 leg meeting rejects nullification “by overwhelming majorities.” Had to get right with McD or Hamilton to win for Cong in late 20s, but Hayne re-uped to Senate unanimously despite delaying, moderation. Many Smithite nullifiers even though Smith himself against. Drayton re-upped to Cong despite anti-nullification stand.
Fire-eating good, not necessary, politics in 28. SC could still hope for Jacksonian relief. Calhounites took on nullification at risk of losing national control, before state politics forced it because true beleivers.
Calhoun motives obscure. Right before VP election, presidential hopes already falling apart. In Adams years, found his position untenable. Dec 25, secret attack on nationalism of JQA’s first annual message. Aug 27 private endorsement of nullification. Accepting state veto turned Cal against nationalism and majority rule. Used to argue regular elections would handle things. Corrupt reps maybe, but people impossible to corrupt. Popular control would save it all...until now.
Calhoun goes Burke in later writing, late 27 on. “Severe doubts” about wisdom, virtue of people. Man inherently antisocial, so group united by common interest always self-interested, not disinterested. If portion of community had majority, will inherently oppress. (He ought to know.) If no single party got majority, then group would combine for plunder of few by many. Elections no help against it, since problem with community, man. Cal to Virgil Maxcy, 31: “the rule of the majority and the right of suffrage are good things, but they alone are not sufficient to guard liberty, as experience will teach us.”
Exploitation of minority followed from majoritiarianism. Minority veto, concurrent majority in Calspeak, would fix. Everyone had to agree, so no one could be screwed. Would confound interests, frustrate selfishness, turn everyone into “disinterested compromisers”. Cal thought every interest controlled at least one state, so everyone would have the same veto power and be equally safe.
McD, Hamilton forced Cal into open, late summer 31. Before then, aloof in public. However, clear proof of his commitment. Likely first got into it through economic woes of SC, but went native. Personality suited to abstractions, theory. Lots of thinking through details, permutations, issues. When he finally came out with essays, thought would “forever settle the question.” Modest. Worked hard to get national supporters on board, had ego. Told SCOTUS Chief that he hadn’t thought enough about the nature of the government. Cal sometimes had guilt about his secrecy.
Cal’s engagement with nullification theory makes you wonder about his sincerity. Ideologue should be out in the open, crusading, not hiding. Can’t say for sure what went on in his head, but tentative ideas:
Going openly nullifier would kill Cal’s national career, leave VB in complete control of Jackson But not all about ambition. Wanted to control Jackson, be president thereafter and use that power to get tariff reduction sans nullification. President leaning on Congress plus nullification threat could force majority to yield. If nullification went through, then President Calhoun would be its best steward.
Maybe biggest factor: Cal understood abolitionism as forcing south to secession. Compromise would only postpone inevitable. Better to resolve it for good then and there. Since South had permanent, unconditional commitment to slavery, could only save Union through nullification. If SC went for it too early, before nation on board, Cal feared vicious cycle leading to early civil war. Better to have a propaganda campaign first.
27-31, Cal thought ambition and principle aligned for his silence. Could get national power as VP, rally Jackson’s party, get lower tariff without nullification. If had to go nullify, then VP Cal might stop army from enforcing laws. Plus clear revolutionary doctrine, conservative ends or not.
Even while silent, made major contribution.Hamilton-McD campaign got leg thinking about nullification. Could only help to have a clear explication of the idea on hand for them. Turnbull, Hamilton had prior ideas but no systematic theory. Fall 28, William Campbell Preston asks Cal to write one up. Agreed on condition of anonymity. Hence South Carolina Exposition & Protest.
Now s@*# gets technical.
Nullification theory partially extreme strict construction. No clause gave express, final authority on constitutionality to SCOTUS or any other federal body. Fed courts had cases in law, equity, under constitution, laws of US, treaties. Most, even then, read this as giving federal courts that authority.
Nullifiers disagreed. Said Court could hear cases, but authority not final or ultimate. Founders would have said so. Instead, power to declare laws unconstitutional was for each state. Gets into more than quibbling over wording. During Crisis, as other controversies, major issues always cast in constitutional light.
Primer on: Lockean social contract, anglo-American sovereignty ideas. Ratification manifestation of contract theory. Locke all about how state can use coercive power without tyranny. Locke went with government by consent. But if everyone had to sign on every time, government impossible. Legitimacy would require ending government itself.
So Locke drew line between “initial, higher, constitution-making” and lawmaking thereafter. Ratification of constitution included renunciation of right to consent to laws passed on grounds established. Thus everyone bound to abide by laws in general.
Locke bigger in US than UK. Thus US not fully on board for Blackstone’s sovereignty theory. Blackstone, big in England, held sovereignty as absolute power of unlimited government to command allegiance. “there is and must be …. a supreme, irresistible, absolute, uncontrolled authority, in which … the rights of sovereignty reside.” Subjects owed absolute obedience to sovereign proclamations, as by definition there could be only one. (Until the TV series.)
Blackstone sovereignty not extant in US. Power divided between feds, state, city & county. Per Locke, government limited to exercising powers delegated in constitution. But word remained in currency. US sovereignty about government exercising legitimate authority, thus sovereign and owed allegiance. Ruled by several sovereigns, owed allegiance also severally.
(That doesn’t work at all logically, does it? If sovereignty means what Blackstone thinks it means, then there really can only be one.)
Const preserved contract and US-sovereignty. Restraining majorities to limited powers preserved consent. Definition of fed powers, reserved powers, divided sovereignty.
Nullification could come from two theories of Const. 1) divided sovereignty: state as co-department in united government could check feds, preserve own sov. 2) idea of governed as supreme over constitution. Thus a state convention, as contracting party, could veto fed laws assuming power not agreed to delegate. Cal’s idea second, supported by reformulation of sovereignty ideas.
Co-departmentists thought balanced power required mutual veto power. Very consular. Const made feds and states sovereign in respective spheres. But if one given full power to judge other, then divided sov empty. Fatal issue: left feds equally sovereign with states. If state could veto fed, fed could veto state. Feds could veto the veto. Assumed way out involved veto leading to const amendment. ¾ of states would break the tie. But what happens until then? Would feds prevail, or would state in interim? Not like you can just whip up an amending majority overnight, or perhaps ever. What about loyalty? Citizen of nullifying state also US citizen, so divided allegiance. In conflict, unionist could go national.
Major problem for co-department: Sec 25, Judiciary Act of 1789. Gave SCOTUS power to overrule state court ruling on Const, thus reposing final, ultimate decision with. Early 19th c SR types in VA campaigned against its use by Marshall Court. In 27, Cal flirted with co-dept ideas but gave up over co-sovereignty problems.
By 28, Cal mostly firm on nullification as power of state conv as ratifying body, not state gov in ordinary or as co-dept. Error of earlier anti-Sec25 guys was in divided sov, sov in government. Cal went back to Blackstone, sov uncontrollable and indivisible. Says to Cong in 33: “we must just as well speak of half a square, or half a triangle, as of half a sovereign.”
Blackstone put sov in parliamentary supremacy. In US, gov not sov because limited by constitutions. Consts not sov, because could be altered, negated by governed. Thus sov could only be people...in as state conv.
Allegiance followed: owed absolutely to constitution-maker, conditionally to agencies that made laws. Agencies like a cop, empowered by and so to be obeyed, but only so long and far as authority given. American government like cop. Allegiance to the sov trumped all.
Danger of US gov, per Cal, in losing line between const-making, law-making. By laws, agent could effectively amend, expand into undelegated powers. Simple majority could undo ¾ for amendment, leave minorities no protection. Such assaults undermine consent of governed, thus legitimacy.
Sovereignty wrapped up in power to judge constitutionality: if you had it you were. Unlimited power to interpret const meant same to alter, since interpretation could functionally amend. SCOTUS could be majority-controlled, so obviously not place for it. Const would become subject to majority was designed to frustrate.
Const/Lawmaking distinction required final constitutional judgment remain away from all federal bodies. Otherwise agents would usurp sovereigns. Only nullification could preserve it.
Since sovereignty implied ultimate say, Cal need only show conventions the party of ratification. If they did that, they could nullify. Before Const, each state clear sovereign. Colonies revolted as separate parties, not inseparable union. Confederate preserved. States voted in Const convention. Each individually ratified. Created by contracting a joint agency of few powers, none ot alter const. Conventions in states retained sovereignty to veto.
This fixes co-dept issues. Sov above agent, so nullification stood unless amendment followed. Unionists obliged to state in any conflict. SCOTUS could not veto sovereign convention. Cal not universally accepted, but gave movement appealing, clear rationale. Nullifiers used it to appeal to traditional US principles. Against majority rule? Nope: but majorities only had powers governed agreed to surrender. Lead to anarchy? Nope: gov would merely lose power to enforce those laws gov had no right to pass. Deny federal supremacy in law? Nope: const-maker always sovereign and must be superior, though.
(All of these arguments assume absolute clear consensus on what const gave. Nicely sophistical.)
Cal did well in making the case, reassured radicals, but “had a remarkable tendency to destroy the positions he tried hardest to establish.” theory tried to save amendment process, but if states blocked use of powers they delegated then they had de facto changed Const. If nullification led to amendment, then it in practice let single states change const.
Theory ran from assertion of single sovereign, but established two. Const-makers sovereign, but then what if amendment went through with ¾? Other quarter had their sovereignty trampled. Contracting party signed itself away permanently again. (It’s like this is all fundamentally BS. Imagine.)
By 50s, fire-eaters realized problem with recourse to amendment. Not clear in 30s. Nullifiers accept national sovereign community changing constitution however liked by amendment. Cal admitted actual sovereign not state conv, but ¾ of states right in Exposition.
Exposition printed by SC leg, but with changed language. Turned ref to “modified original rights as sov” to “has surrendered”. Admitted sovereignty with union. But both drafts come close to admitting not only divided sov but likewise national sov community greater sov.
Unionists noticed. John Richardson beat Stephen Miller, Million Harper with it in 30. Instead of beating abolitionists, nullification would give North right to abolish and outlaw secession with ¾. Only counter: they don’t have that many against us right now. Even big name nullifiers accepted ¾ sovereign, by 34 unionists still using it on them.
Cal could afford to ignore the theory glitch. In 32, slaveholders had more than ¼ of states. South seemed safe enough from abolition amendment. Also radicals wanted nullification, not secession. Secession last resort after losing to ¾. Debating secession in itself too radical in 32, would have turned people against them.
Acceptance of amendment about more than just caution. Usual stumbles of new theory in face of real problems. Very hard to find absolute sov in US, since const-making power also divided. Cal chose initial maker as sov, but future amending bodies equally so in his own sense.
Nullification debates rehearsed contradiction in Cal’s theory later realized. Secessionists reworked to avoid amendment problems with reliance on implied consent. If amendment, objecting state could give implied consent by failing to secede. If dissenting state would not accept and consent, secede instead.
Doctrine did not fix nullifier issues. Essence of nullification: state retained sov within Union. Sovv by def absolute, so state had all powers to protect minorities however liked without secession. Yet absent union ending, amendment process gave minorities no check on power of ¾. Absent secession, dissenting states at mercy of amending majority. Rhetorical claim of secession didn’t hide fact that state had given away const-making sov when it gave away amending power.
Cal unwittingly put together sovereignty, government. To pass judgment on legal case, sov nullifying convention would use gov power. Null ordinance of 32 functionally like SCOTUS decision. Constitutional judgment inherently between gov and sov, not inherently property of one or another. Government could interpret away const, but so could state.
So Cal ends up back with Blackstone sovereignty. If gov sov, then const not safe for minority. Nul conv could only negate law. Sov could govern, absolutely, and repress minority withins tate. In end, null establishes majority despotism in states that wanted gone nationally. Post-32 fight with SC unionists came out of this.
Null theory gave nulls power to abridge freedom of unionists and perpetuate tyranny of whites over salves. Planter majority of state could veto laws of majority in Cong, no hope of antislavery laws. Minority veto allowed exploiting class to block positive legislation “which alone could aid certain hapless minorities.” Irony, much?
Cal also wrecked theory of consent in trying to save it. Locke wanted consent without anarchy. In accepting government, parties agreed to obey laws they may disapprove of. Cal saw specific law may break consent by assuming power not delegated. Null averted by letting each agent judge laws. But this took social compact full circle. To protect original agreement, wrecked power to enforce laws and tossed society back into anarchy that generated need for compact. Conserving union by wildly revolutionary doctrine just did not work.
Null full of contradiction: Cal beat const revision by feds, then gave to single states. Divided sovereignty after arguing for absolute sov. Rigidly separate, then merged sov and government. Protected national minority then gave in for state majority tyranny. Defended consent of governed by destroying power to govern. Wanted to conserve Union through principles which would destroy it.
“In the face of these manifold inconsistencies, the wonder is that Calhoun’s claim to greatness has so often been based on the supposed rigor of his political logic.” (Preach it, Freehling!) Actual talent: seeing problems rather the analysis. Could seek out and wrestle with unexamined gray areas. Found right problem in consent of governed, power to govern vs. minority seeking witholding consent. Theory in secession crisis all about this. Const/lawmaking line very gray in practice. Many aspects fundamental law can change in interpretation as by amendment. (Akhil Amar Reed also makes this point.) Few would deny that all the constitutions in the world and all the balance of power sometimes fail to restrain majority.
Logic of null gave solutions worse than the disease, but in working it out Cal made self “one of the most trenchant critics of the American political tradition.”
SC leg meets, late Nov 28. Whitemarsh Seabrook, William Harper, William Campbell Preston call for null conv in 29. During debate, some point to saving cotton planters, others risk of antislavery.
Debate reveals slavery fears going upcountry. Close social contact between sections working it through, spreading dread of slavery debates. Thompson T. Player, big upcountry pol, emphatically includes fears for slavery along with profits.
Antitariff, antislavery didn't sell leg. Some kept on with hope Cal would swing Jackson. Others would only go ahead if rest of South with them.
Good tactics, null divisions, made whole thing into a rout. Moderate Speaker revived up/lowcountry distinction to warn some lowcountry enslavers off: a sov conv would have the power to reapportion leg away from coast.
Nulls fought internally over best method for veto. Player’s side wanted state leg to do at once. Others wanted on co-dept theory. Others Calhounite in logic, but thought people of SC gave sovereign power to leg.
Cal theory went for nul by conv. SC const gave leg authority to leg. Per Cal, leg powers did not include sov. So had to be conv. Most nulls thought Cal ideas strongest, would work best with wider South, nation, so worth delay for a conv. Player, others voted against.
SC const needed ⅔ for convention. Vote almost that much against in 28 House. Could not get recorded vote in Senate. Leg also didn’t adopt Exposition, as amended by leg committee. Just ordered printing of 5k and issued protest resolution.
Amendments to Exposition reflected null by leg ideas, cut conv refs. Blurred Cal’s sovereign/gov distinction. All changes for worst, made document mess of different theories. Unionists beat them over heads with it. In each case, flaws came from leg not Cal. (No wonder the thing reads like so incoherently.)
Cal didn’t love editing, but accepted moderate action. Thought SC would get redress through political education. North had to want restoration of const purity, right? Others inspired, but frustrated by delay. Disappointment at public meetings. Nullification slipping from control of moderates (SC standards) to radicals.
Lord Snow wrote:I know it is unfair to judge a book of almost 70 years with today's standards, and I don't really, but I learned something important reading this - there was a time when women really were being silenced and marginalized in SF literature.
They undeniably were, but there were nevertheless some big strides towards equality being made at the time of Childhood's End.
For example, my understanding is that Clarke deliberately chose to make the last (and smartest, and most adventurous) human, Jan, a black man. Only four years later, Philip K Dick would confront American racism head-on in Eye in the Sky, and stand unflinchingly for equality. Was he emboldened to make that step by Clarke, or just by methamphetamine? I don't know, but I think the ball was definitely rolling, so by the time we hit the '60s, we're not really shocked when Andre Norton ditches the male protagonist after the first couple of Witch World novels in order to focus on his daughter, a more interesting character overall.
** spoiler omitted **
Yeah, I guess I failed to credit Clarke for making the story feel somewhat global with Africans and Europeans getting to participate as well as Americans. Still, though, the absence of women in the story seemed almost comical - moreover so because he made the choice to call our race "Man" (with a capital M) during the entire duration of the story, giving the impression that the race truly is composed of males alone.
I haven't read a LOT of old school Science fiction, but I have picked up on that before. And some authors that DO try to incorporate major female characters just...do a really horrible job of writing from a female viewpoint (Footfall comes to mind). It does make me wonder how dated current science fiction (from a social perspective) may end up sounding 50 years in the future.
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I haven't read a LOT of old school Science fiction, but I have picked up on that before. And some authors that DO try to incorporate major female characters just...do a really horrible job of writing from a female viewpoint (Footfall comes to mind). It does make me wonder how dated current science fiction (from a social perspective) may end up sounding 50 years in the future.
But yeah, an interesting question.
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he made the choice to call our race "Man" (with a capital M) during the entire duration of the story
I don't know how old you are, but when I was growing up, that's what it was called. "One small step for a man, one giant leap for Mankind," and so on. It wasn't that he "made a choice" to call it that; it's that that's what it was called. Is the language itself crypto-sexist? Sure, that's why no one uses it now, and why it grates on your ear so much. But even 40 years ago, if you said "Equality for all Men," the listener heard "all humanity," and left it at that -- very few people would even think to read any kind of misogynistic agenda into it.
Lord Snow wrote:he made the choice to call our race "Man" (with a capital M) during the entire duration of the storyI don't know how old you are, but when I was growing up, that's what it was called. "One small step for a man, one giant leap for Mankind," and so on. It wasn't that he "made a choice" to call it that; it's that that's what it was called. Is the language itself crypto-sexist? Sure, that's why no one uses it now, and why it grates on your ear so much. But even 40 years ago, if you said "Equality for all Men," the listener heard "all humanity," and left it at that -- very few people would even think to read any kind of misogynistic agenda into it.
Though given the nature of the times, that "equality of all humanity" would have had a whole lot of gender based assumptions in it.
But yes, "Man" wouldn't have been intentionally used to call that out. It's just a reflection of the background assumption.
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Still working myself through Irish fairy tales (apparently, Irish witches mostly spend most of their time stealing milk and/or butter from neighbors' cows which seems relatively inoffensive as far as evil witchery goes) and post-Hegelian German philosophy (two chapters on Feuerbach and I'm done!--it has thus far been surprisingly headache free).
Oh I know about using "mankind" or even "men" for describing the entirety of the human race - it's just specifically "Man" that's new to me. I wouldn't have been surprised at "men are not made for the stars", for example, but "Man is not made for the stars" is not the kind of phrasing I encountered before. Which is why it felt like an aesthetic choice when I read it in Childhood's End.
My dear friend antiquated linguistics:
By necessity, I often end up referring to secondary sources written in the seventies or earlier. These almost always refer to black people as "Negroes" and each time I have to remind myself how old the book is and that the author wasn't necessarily a raving racist. (Though that can also be true...and probably is for some of them.) Less of an issue with period sources since they're not written in anything like a modern voice and I go in specifically to interrogate them whereas most histories written after 1950 or so that I use regularly don't get quite the same approach. That date wiggles around a bit depending what the text is about, of course.
What Hath God Wrought isn't here yet. Picked up Consider Phlebas to continue my Culture reading. Fairly constant interruptions have ensured I haven't covered much ground in it yet, but some mercenaries who like to run around in t-shirts and shorts were a nice departure from the usual paramilitary uniforms or jumpsuits dress code.
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History class, aka "spoilers for historical fiction". :D
I almost wish I was still in school, so I could use that in class.