Mandeville, LA – The ratification of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, is a sad story that reflects the illegitimacy of the post-Lincoln government of the United States and the subjugation of the surviving people of the South. Forrest MacDonald was one of the most respected historians of the last half of the 20th century. MacDonald took the challenge of proving the Amendment was never ratified with zeal. His report is available here for Founder’s Pass members to enjoy and learn from as part of your membership!
“During and after the Civil War, Southerners repeatedly declared that the cause for which they fought was the “sublime moral principle” of states’ rights. Given such protestations, and given the history of southern resistance to federal authority throughout the antebellum period, it is easy enough to associate states’ rights exclusively with the South—but it is also mistaken. Connecticut and Massachusetts endorsed interposition in 1808; the Hartford Convention of 1814 did the same. In 1840 Vermont made it a crime to aid in the capture of a runaway slave, despite the federal fugitive slave act. In 1846 the Massachusetts House of Representatives declared the Mexican War unconstitutional; a decade later Wisconsin asserted the supremacy of its supreme court over the United States Supreme Court.
Yet it was the seceding states that had carried the doctrine of states’ rights to the extreme, and northern Radical Republicans, in their zeal to punish, plunder, and reconstruct the South, were willing to undermine the doctrine as part of their undertaking. Whatever else the Radicals had in mind in pushing through the Reconstruction Amendments—their motives were diverse and conflicting—it is clear that some of them, at least, intended that the Fourteenth should greatly increase the powers of Congress at the expense of the states. It is also clear that the process of adopting the Fourteenth Amendment was marred by repeated irregularities. President Andrew Johnson questioned the legitimacy of an amendment proposed by a Congress that represented only twenty-five of the thirty-six states. Three northern states that ratified the, proposal later rescinded their votes. All the southern states except Tennessee at first voted against the amendment, despite an…”