The Truth About American History: An Austro-Jeffersonian Perspective

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2. States' Rights in Theory and Practice

The Truth About American History

Tags Political Theory

06/21/2005Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

The compact theory holds that self-governing sovereign states have rights to protect themselves, whereas the nationalist theory holds that nullification or secession would be insubordination. Nationalists view states as a single whole with no boundaries and a single aggregated people.

The First Continental Congress was an advisory body only creating resolutions, not laws. In 1775 they met again and continued to do so until 1781. They had no powers of coercion. A multiplicity of colonies sent delegates occasionally. Nothing done by this Congress is inconsistent with the idea of separate and sovereign states. “We the people” was originally “We the states”.

Lecture 2 of 10 from Thomas Woods' The Truth About American History: An Austro-Jeffersonian Perspective.


Contact Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

Tom Woods, a senior fellow of the Mises Institute, is the author of a dozen books, most recently Real Dissent: A Libertarian Sets Fire to the Index Card of Allowable Opinion. Tom's articles have appeared in dozens of popular and scholarly periodicals, and his books have been translated into a dozen languages. Tom hosts the Tom Woods Show, a libertarian podcast that releases a new episode every weekday. With Bob Murphy, he co-hosts Contra Krugman, a weekly podcast that refutes Paul Krugman's New York Times column.

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