The Constitution, Nullification, And The Evolving Democratic And Republican Parties

The Constitution, Nullification, And The Evolving Democratic And Republican Parties.

This is from a blog comment/email exchange between myself and Constitutional Conservative Blogger David Bozarth, on July 6th 2011. I was then doing some research for my Barry Germansky rebuttals. I am posting it now because it ties together my posting of a Montana Legislature Nullification bill and the piece I have planned for tomorrow, which is a list of recommended reading material. One of the books I will be showcasing is Thomas E. Woods, Jr.’s Nullification. I feel like I was a little pedantic and defensive, especially toward the end, but I decided to leave those lines in uncensored. As Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell said to his portrait painter, Sir Peter Lely: Remark all these roughnesses, pimples, warts and everything as you see me.

Henry Moore: I am working on something and am having trouble finding information elsewhere. I would like to know if you are aware of any specific quotes by our founders as to the simplicity of the Constitution, and how it was intended to be readily understood by the common man. Preferably if they were made by Jefferson or Madison. I was fairly sure that their was a famous quote by Jefferson in these regards. If you cannot supply me with quotes, are there any books or sites you could refer me to? I would greatly appreciate any help. I will keep looking elsewhere in the mean time. Thanks.

David Bozarth: This is an excellent question. I have been searching for the same quotes in the last few months. From my experiences in reading various documents from the founding era, I can honestly state the Constitution is one of the easiest reading from the period. While the Federalist Papers are in depth and provide a needed insight into the meanings and explanations of the concepts and principles found within the Constitution, they also tend to be very wordy and difficult to read. Also, a side-by-side comparative reading of the Constitution with legislative acts of the time will also bear this out. I recommend reading The Northwest Ordinance, an act passed in 1787, yes, the same year the Constitution was written. It is plain to see the level of “legalese” within The Northwest Ordinance, and the lack of it in the Constitution.
 Here on MyStraightTalk.com you will also find a comparison of various “bills of rights” from the same era; The English Bill of Rights of 1689 (if I remember correctly) and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man from 1789. Once again you will witness for yourself the simplicity of the US Constitution.
 I am endeavoring to identify quotes from the founding fathers regarding this subject, and hope to post them soon.


Henry Moore: I was just in the process of asking this same question of another person, when your email came in. I am glad that you are keen on helping me.

Are you a fellow Nullifier, by chance?

David Bozarth: I am probably one of the staunchest Nullifiers you will ever meet. In the past year and a half I have learned hidden truths regarding American History which have only energized and invigorated my position. You can search the website, using the search box in the upper right hand, for nullification and find a number of articles on the subject.

Henry Moore: Sounds great.

I purchased Thomas Woods’ book on the subject when the hardback came out, but have yet to read it. I have read other things from sources that I trust that have put me firmly into that camp. Here in Montana, some months ago, I believe there was a resolution or something that either passed or almost passed by our legislature that declared and acknowledged our State’s right to Nullify unconstitutional “laws”. I am pretty sure Governor Schweitzer put that one to rest the second he heard of it. He “needs” those Federal Monies, apparently. And to think that he is an inheritor of Jefferson’s Party, which is (or rather, was) also the Party of States’ Rights champion, Democratic Senator Burton K. Wheeler.

David Bozarth: I heard of Montana’s struggle to pass a Nullification Act. Like most states the politicians are sorely uninformed about American History, as are the vast majority of the American public. This causes us then to act, speak and vote in ways which are the result of our ignorance, rather than based on informed, knowledgeable intelligence.

You must understand, also, that Jefferson was NOT a Democrat, this is a common misunderstanding. Jefferson was a Republican (old style). In fact, the party which he was associated with was referred to as the Jeffersonian Republicans. It was later to “morph” into what is now called the Democratic Party. His party bears absolutely no resemblance, or similarity to the current incarnation.

I do speak and conduct teaching seminars on the subject of “Early US Government History As You Have Never Heard It.” All walk away from hearing me with new insights, new knowledge and new understandings of our awesome history.

I hope to hear from you again, soon

Henry Moore: I do not misunderstand. I was simply showing the absurdity of the claims by modern Democrats to claim Jefferson’s mantle. Schweitzer, being a modern Democrat who likely would claim the “Great Democratic Tradition”, fits the mold of the uninformed politician you refer to.

I realize that Jefferson certainly was not a Democrat by today’s standards or after the fashion of some of the Greeks [direct democracy], and that he called himself a Republican, and that any notion that he may have been a Democrat is derived from the term “Democratic Republic”, a derivative of which is “Democratic-Republican”. This term was used (perhaps not even by Jefferson himself) to describe the Party of Jefferson, and even that of Calhoun. Democratic-Republicans, or, as you say, just old style Republicans, went down the mob-rule road, starting, for the most part, with President Jackson. In spite of this, I still see some continuity (like you said, “morph”) from the Party of Jefferson to the Party of Grover Cleveland (my favorite president from the latter half of the nineteenth century, and the last truly decent Democratic President in our history. The few remaining members of the Democratic Party, with rare exception, left the party in three or four migrations. The ones I can think of are shortly after Calvin Coolidge’s presidency (his opponent in 1924, Davis, was indistinguishable to him by today’s standards, but later democratic nominees, as well as earlier ones like W. Wilson, were too progressive for many southerners, as evidenced by Hoover’s southern strategy), again, after FDR showed his true colors, and then the gradual process of the “Southern Strategy” of the Republican Party circa 1960-1984, during which time the Republicans gained such notables as Strom Thurmond and Mel Bradford.

In the same way that there is a continuity, however in shambles, from Jefferson to modern Democrats (bearing no resemblance to each other), there appears to be a lack of continuity from Jefferson to modern Republicans, even though the republicans bear certain resemblances to the Party of Jefferson. I am pretty sure that the Republican party sprang out of the Whigs/Federalists, and that starting only in the days of Coolidge did they, while in power, begin to resemble Jefferson.

I do agree, though, that the claim by modern Democrats to be Jefferson’s heirs is disingenuous.

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4 thoughts on “The Constitution, Nullification, And The Evolving Democratic And Republican Parties

  1. I would make a recommendation as well: On Revolution, The Revolutionary Tradition and its Lost Treasure, by Hannah Arendt.

    In this book Arendt make the case that two versions of the state emerged in the modern era. There was the sovereign state which emerged from absolute monarchy and merged with the nation in Europe,
    and a Republican version of the state, that emerged in the US, and was
    in large part the product of the genius of James Madison. This American version of the state rejected the notion of sovereignty, was based not on the nation (or popular sovereignty) by fealty to the Constitution, and looked at the relationship between the individual states as a sort of social contract that aimed at the increase of power not through centralized control, but through the combination of powers gained when states entered union.

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