Sometimes a simple metaphor can change one’s perspective drastically.
It was thus with the analogy used by Thomas DiLorenzo in “Lincoln Unmasked” to explode the myth that “Lincoln saved the Union”:
The states delegated certain narrowly defined and enumerated powers to the federal government but preserved sovereignty for themselves. The federal Constitution was created by a voluntary association of states and three of them — New York, Rhode Island and Virginia — explicitly reserved the right to withdraw from the constitutional compact should the federal government ever abuse their liberties. Since all states have equal rights under the Constitution, and no state is given more rights than any other, the fact that this contingency was accepted by all the other states implies that this right of secession was naturally assumed to be enjoyed by all the states. The citizens of the states did not create a “a new nation” with the Constitution, they created a compact or a confederacy of the states. …
Thus, Lincoln “saved” the federal union in the same sense that a man who has been abusing his wife “saves” his marital union by violently forcing his wife back into the home and threatening to shoot her if she leaves again. The union may well be saved, but it is not the same kind of union that existed on their wedding day. That union no longer exists. The American union of the founding fathers ceased to exist in April of 1865.
That reminds me of a provision in the Nevada Constitution, which was telegraphed to Washington in time for Lincoln to sign the ordinance making Nevada a state on Oct. 31, 1864. It contains a provision called the Paramount Allegiance Clause:
All political power is inherent in the people[.] Government is instituted for the protection, security and benefit of the people; and they have the right to alter or reform the same whenever the public good may require it. But the Paramount Allegiance of every citizen is due to the Federal Government in the exercise of all its Constitutional powers … The Constitution of the United States confers full power on the Federal Government to maintain and Perpetuate its existance [existence], and whensoever any portion of the States, or people thereof attempt to secede from the Federal Union, or forcibly resist the Execution of its laws, the Federal Government may, by warrant of the Constitution, employ armed force in compelling obedience to its Authority.
That’s one heck of a prenup — till Death do us part.