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Donald W. Livingston

Tags U.S. HistoryPhilosophy and Methodology

Works Published inSpeeches and PresentationsMises Daily ArticleThe Journal of Libertarian Studies

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."

All Works

The Secession Tradition in America

01/14/2013Mises Daily Articles
18 The United Nations Charter asserts the self-determination of peoples as a fundamental human right. From this, there has developed a lively debate among international jurists about whether the right of self-determination includes a right of legitimate secession. 1 But while the concept of...
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What is Wrong with the Amendment Process and What Can Be Done About It

03/22/2012Audio/Video
Session on An Article V Balanced Budget Constitutional Convention. Recorded March 10, 2012, at the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama. [21:07]
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Size, Scale, and American Republicanism

03/15/2011Audio/Video
Panel on Secession and Disunity. Recorded March 11, 2011, at the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama. [28:54]
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David Hume on Colonial Secession

Political Theory

02/07/2009Audio/Video
Presented as part of the Brown Bag Seminar Series . Recorded at the Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, on 10 May 1995. [1:02:00]
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The Rise of the Nation-State

War and Foreign PolicyPolitical Theory

03/01/2004Audio/Video
Most of what is said about nation-states is not true. They are neither democracies nor republics nor nations nor states. There is no natural relationship between government and state. Men have been governed by many things that are not states. Throughout most of history man has lived without a state.
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