A Political Paradox

It is certainly not a little remarkable, that what has been so often asserted to be impossible,—for a State to be both in and out of the Union at the same time,—so far from being true, is the very reverse,—the only true and constitutional position of a State being precisely that which the argument supposes to be impossible. A State is at all times, so long as its proper position is maintained, both in and out of the Union ;—in, for all constitutional purposes,— and out, for all others ;—in, to the extent of the delegated powers, and out, to that of the reserved. Any other position would be either consolidation on the one side, or disunion on the other; and the argument, if it be good for any thing, would prove that our federated system, which is justly our pride and boast, is but a political paradox. Nor would it be much short of an equal paradox, if the States, in truth, possessed no right—as those who maintain the argument contend—to resist an attempt to force them from their true federative, constitutional position,—of being in and out, into that of being entirely in, or entirely out, either of which (the disease—and the only admitted remedy, according to this view without withdrawing from the Union), would be equally destructive of the system. And yet, by a strange confusion of ideas, this very right of resisting an attempt to force a State from its constitutional position, and which is indispensable to the preservation of the system, is considered as incompatible with its existence!

John C. Calhoun, Report prepared for the Committee on Federal Relations of the Legislature of South Carolina, at its Session in November 1831.

Curator: Christian Clay Columba Campbell

Christian Clay Columba Campbell is a Roman Catholic of the Anglican Use. As Senior Warden of the Cathedral of the Incarnation (Orlando, FL), he organised the process by which the parish accepted the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, petitioning to join the Catholic Church. The Anglican Cathedral is now the Church of the Incarnation in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Personal queries should be directed to me at eccentricbliss dot com.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.