All Hail Abe!

Originally published at the Abbeville Institute. Today we celebrate the birthday of the log cabin born, rough-hewn, rail-splitting, bare-knuckled, “pock-faced, stoop-shouldered, slab-sided assistant storekeeper,” lewd, vulgar, uninspiring, “ordinary Western man” from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln’s life and image is a series of irreconcilable dichotomies: He had no military experience worth noting—he waged war on wild onion fields during the Black Hawk War and cleaned up …more

The First Americans

Who were the first Americans? Forty years ago, historians, archeologists, and anthropologists would have answered conclusively that the first Americans arrived from Eastern Asia via a land bridge across the Bering Strait around twelve thousand years ago. These were the Clovis peoples, an early American people essentially discovered by former slave George McJunkin in 1908 after he uncovered a prehistoric bison skeleton and an early …more

The Beauty and Waste of Versailles

The palace of Versailles is one of the most recognized landmarks in Western Civilization. Built by Louis XIV, it is a striking artistic and architectural achievement, rivaled only by the marvels of antiquity. Yet, the palace is also a prime example of government waste and corruption and the problems of political and economic centralization. The French economy crumbled following two expensive wars in the 18th …more

Unconstitutional, Oppressive, and Unjust

The historian Andrew C. McLaughlin in 1932 wrote that the British imperial system was characterized “by diversification and not by centralization….The empire of the mid-eighteenth century was a diversified empire” with power “actually distributed [among] and exercised by various governments.” British colonies, including Ireland, “had long existed” as “bodies, corporate, constituent members of the Empire,” each with its own constitution and a government “with many …more

The Wisdom of Raoul Berger

Both Kevin Gutzman and I have offered a substantial reading list for our constitutional history course at Liberty Classroom, but for those who have not had the time to delve into some of the volumes, I thought I would offer a few quotations from two of the books I recommended for the course, both by Raoul Berger. Berger was arguably the most important and misunderstood …more

Myopic Milbank

Dana Milbank’s recent op-ed in the Washington Post titled The Weakest Generation? is a telling, though misguided, view of Generation X. As a good nationalist and proponent of state action, Milbank thinks that sacrifice to a state led cause—war or social justice through unconstitutional expansion of central power—defines the mettle of a people. “When we were prepared to sacrifice for the country after the 9/11 …more

Searchin’ For a Rainbow

Perhaps anyone that follows Tom Woods knows that he is a fan of Jethro Tull, probably the biggest fan I have ever encountered (I only know two, so that probably isn’t saying much). Regardless, I thought it might be fun for some of the other faculty to let the LC public know what we like, listen to, read, watch, etc. I am a fan of …more

The Enduring Question

I posted this on the Liberty Classroom Blog, but though it deserved a spot here, too. I was doing a bit of research today and ran across a great series of articles that ran in three consecutive weeks from Niles Weekly Register published shortly after the McCulloch v. Maryland decision in 1819. Niles Register was one of the leading political publications of its time. Hezekiah …more

My Response to Mr. Woodard Part II

Mr. Woodard, I have several comments about your general Constitutional theory, but I will first address each of your statements individually. Your points are in bold and quotation marks. “The Preamble to the BOR is just that, a preamble and as such has no basis other than a guideline. And we both know, for decades, successive governments don’t even bother with guidelines except when it …more