In the previous posting on this subject, we discovered that using the United States Supreme Court to create law and impose the views of one group on everyone else in the country is something of a double-edged sword. Specifically, when the slave-owning “interests” in the American South succeeded in making human chattel slavery a federal issue instead of confining it to the individual states, they got what they wanted — legal justification to extend slavery anywhere in the United States, regardless whether or not it was legal in a specific state.
And that was a BIG problem, as the slaveowners quickly realized. Making slavery a federal issue was fine and dandy when it worked to their advantage, i.e., when it allowed them to extend slavery to states where it had been abolished because the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and nullified the Kansas-Nebraska Act that left it up to the individual states whether to permit slavery.
The problem (for slaveowners) was that by taking slavery out of the states and forcing it into the federal arena to extend it, also meant that if the federal government decided to abolish slavery it automatically abolished it in all the states, as well. When Abraham Lincoln was elected, the slaveowners evidently realized that the same legal trick they had used to extend slavery could be used to abolish it. They couldn’t very well claim that slavery was a federal issue one day, and a state’s rights issue the next.
. . . except that’s exactly what they did. Wanting to have their cake and eat it, too, the majority of the states where slavery was legal seceded from the Union. The slave states that remained in the Union were (not surprisingly) Missouri (where the state Supreme Court had ruled that Dred Scott was free), but also Kentucky (that tried to declare neutrality), Maryland (touch and go), West Virginia (or, more properly, part of Virginia until then), and — the one most people forget about — Delaware, which was phasing out slavery, anyway.
Following the Civil War, the U.S Supreme Court carried out a bit of sleight-of-hand in its opinion in the Slaughterhouse Cases of 1873 that — weirdly — extended the decision in the Dred Scott case to all people! That is, in 1857 the Court ruled that a Black slave or anyone of African descent (yes, that was the language, so presumably it also applied to Egyptians and other North African peoples) could not be a citizen unless the state said so, and therefore was not a person unless the state said so . . . conveniently overlooking the fact that citizenship is conferred by a government, but personality is conferred by God.
Thus, before the Civil War as the result of Scott v. Sandford, Black folk were not persons unless the state said so, after the Civil War as the result of Slaughterhouse, Black, White, Yellow, Red, Pink, Green, Purple, Polka dot, or any other size, shape, or color of human being are not persons unless the state says so, e.g., as the Court’s opinion declared in Roe v. Wade.
So, what are we supposed to do about it?
As the old slogan goes, get “Power to the People.” And, since (as Daniel Webster observed) “Power naturally and necessarily follows property,” that means figuring out a way to turn “as many as possible of the people” into owners of capital.
For that reason, over the next couple of days we’ll present a brief “Strategy Paper” that was developed as part of a non-partisan effort to bring the issue of implementing the Just Third Way of Economic Personalism to as many people as possible, but especially the candidates for public office, most especially the office of president of the United States.
We stress that — as an organization — CESJ does not support or endorse any candidate for public office. Opinions expressed and lively discussions are personal matters representing the views of people as individuals, not as members or representatives of CESJ. The mention of any specific candidate(s) is purely on pragmatic grounds only and for informational purposes. As CESJ co-founder Father William J. Ferree once said, you must sometimes be willing to work with the Devil (as long as you don’t do wrong or lead others to do so).
We hope that’s clear before we go to the next posting on this subject.