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The US Constitution

  • History of Liberty Seminar 2001

Etiquetas Historia de EEUUTeoría Política

03/01/2004Donald W. Livingston

This is a federal constitution. Federalism is the most important idea for liberty. You must maximize your choices and you need meaningful choices, made against a cultural background. Federalism requires such moral correctness that it makes it the most difficult system to maintain. Federalism always fights consolidation.

States had a positive duty to intervene between citizens and the central government when unconstitutional acts were attempted. The Principles of ‘98 (The Kentucky Resolutions) were used for interposition and nullification. The 10th Amendment was the foundation of America. States were sovereign. Each state knew that it had a right to secede from the Federal Constitution because there was no time limit, like ninety-nine years, placed upon the compact.

Federalism was never restored. The states all looked to the Federal level to see what their rights were. Centralization was the process of modernity.

From the 2001 History of Liberty seminar.


Contact Donald W. Livingston

Donald Livingston is a professor of philosophy at Emory University with an "expertise in the writings of David Hume." Livingston received his doctorate at Washington University in 1965. He has been a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow and is on the editorial board of Hume Studies and Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. Livingston is a constitutional scholar and an expositor of the compact nature of the Union, with its concomitant doctrines of corporate resistance, nullification, and secession. The doctrine coincides with federalism, states' rights, the principle of subsidiarity. His political philosophy embodies the decentralizing themes echoed by Europeans such as Althusius, David Hume, and Lord Acton and Americans such as Thomas Jefferson, Spencer Roane, Abel Parker Upshur, Robert Hayne and John Calhoun, which holds the community and family as the elemental units of political society. As Livingston affirms, the compact nature of the Union is opposed to the innovative nationalist theory of Joseph Story, Daniel Webster, and Abraham Lincoln which contends for an indivisible sovereignty, an inviolable aggregate people, and that the American Union created the States following the American War for Independence. This theory as articulated by Lincoln has been characterized by Livingston as "Lincoln's Spectacular Lie."

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