The United States’ conquest of the seceded South in 1865 and the constitutional amendments which were forced through during the period of US military occupation of the Southern States which followed the war effectively destroyed both the Union and the States, argued South Carolina statesman Robert Barnwell Rhett.
This claim may surprise many who believe that the North fought to preserve the Union. However, Rhett asserted that a union could exist only ‘between independent political entities’ and based on ‘free-will and choice.’ The Union which had existed prior to the US war against the Southern States met such criteria.
However, when the US used military force (which caused the deaths of half a million people) to prevent secession it demonstrated itself to be a ‘consolidated power’ that was ‘held together by fear and force.’ The old Union was destroyed. The States were also destroyed, Rhett argued.
A state is an independent government. Thirteen British colonies of North America had gained such status in the Revolutionary War and had been recognised by foreign governments as states. They had delegated some of their powers in order to create a Union and had reserved those powers not specifically delegated, as Rhett noted. However, those reserved powers had been seized through war by the general government of the United States – ironically, a government which was created by the States.
The constitutional amendments which the followed the war further eliminated any remaining vestige of sovereignty the States might have held. At this point they were as powerless as counties or districts in a consolidated government; they were no longer truthfully states since all their sovereignty had been taken from them. Consolidation was complete, Rhett believed. There was no Union and there were no States; in their place was a ‘consolidated despotism.’
The passage below is from Rhett’s memoir, unpublished during his life but edited and published in 2000 by William C Davis as A Fire-Eater Remembers. The passage is taken from pages 95 and 96:
Government, in the conception of the greater portion of the people of the North, is very little more than a money-making instrument – a grand brokerage -, whereby sections of individuals may rob, by offices or jobs; or employ and accumulate capital, and control by the legislation of Congress, the labor and resources of others to produce it.
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Hence the rage in the North against the limitations in the Constitution of the United States, which check the sphere of their avarice and money operations in the General Government. A money oligarchy is the grand aim of their policy.
Hence the detestation of the States; because, with their reserved powers, they prevent the absorption of all power in Congress. To the States, the powers not granted in the Constitution, are reserved. Abolish them; and no powers will be reserved. Consolidation will be complete.
To accomplish this object, the XIV and XV amendments of the Constitution have been invented and by fraud usurped – the crowning glory of successful force and despotism; and thus, a power given to improve and preserve the liberty of the People, is used to destroy them. It matters very little, whether the powers conferred on Congress, by these amendments, are exercised or not. They make the Government of the United States a Constitutional despotism.
This was the ground on which our ancestors resisted the insignificant tax of three pence a pound on tea, and they accepted war, rather than concede the abstract right to impose a constitutional despotism upon them.
By these amendments, if carried out according to their manifest intent, by the legislation of the Congress of the United States, the elections in the States can be controlled by the military power of the United States; and the Government of the United States, can, at any time, at its own volition, suspend all civil rule in a State, and introduce military domination. No Emperor can require more power to enforce his despotism. The states are constitutionally annihilated. That cannot be a State, whose elections may be controlled – whose territory may be taken possession of, and whose people may be seized and shot by a military authority it did not invoke, and which by the terms of the Constitution, it can neither resist nor expel.
It is a mere County, or District of a single consolidated despotism. Nor can there be a political union amongst such Counties or Districts. A political union can only exist, between independent political entities. Such was the Union constituted by the Constitution of the United States, “between the States.” But this Union – a Union of independent political entities – a Union of free-will and choice -, is gone; and the connexion now existing themselves what were formerly States, is no union at all; but is the operation of the different parts of a central consolidated power, held together by fear and force.Also see: The illegal & disastrous Fourteenth Amendment
Source: Consolidated despotism; Union & States destroyed | Southern Nationalist Network