by Josh Eboch
Over the course of American history, there has been no greater conflict of visions than that between Thomas Jefferson’s voluntary republic, founded on the natural right of peaceful secession, and Abraham Lincoln’s permanent empire, founded on the violent denial of that same right.
That these two men somehow shared a common commitment to liberty is a lie so monstrous and so absurd that its pervasiveness in popular culture utterly defies logic.
After all, Jefferson stated unequivocally in the Declaration of Independence that, at any point, it may become “necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them…”
And, having done so, he said, it is the people’s right “to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Contrast that clear articulation of natural law with Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address, where he flatly rejected the notion that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.
Instead, Lincoln claimed that, despite the clear wording of the Tenth Amendment, “no State upon its own mere motion can lawfully get out of the Union; [and] resolves and ordinances [such as the Declaration of Independence] to that effect are legally void…”