The Sovereign States: Notes of a Citizen of Virginia

By James Jackson Kilpatrick | Go to book overview

law, believing in the stability of law, they erected their institutions and poured their wealth and affections into them. Their sole request is that, if the law must now be changed, then let it be by lawful process, not by lawless usurpation.

That is not so complicated a position. It asks of the member States of the Union only that they read the Constitution and lay the South's case beside it. Here is no threat to dissolve the Union: Here is rather a plea that the Union be sustained for what it is and always was meant to be, a Union of separate sovereign States. Neither does the South's position imply destruction of the Constitution: On the contrary, the despairing cry is that the Constitution be preserved, sacred now and hereafter, the supreme law of the land, not to be corrupted by men, but to be amended, if need be, by States.

Now, the case for the South cannot be set down, complete, in any book or essay: It has to be lived and sensed and felt; it is an amalgam of the smiles, hopes, fears of the Southerner's life, a mosaic of countless fleeting impressions and experiences. The South, it has been wisely said, is a state of mind; but this is to say no more than that the essential South is a metaphysical abstraction, beyond the pathologists of the New York Times, certainly beyond the Gunnar Myrdals of a distant Sweden. Its most vital tissues elude a statistician's X-ray. Thus it is not suggested that what follows is "the" case for the South; there is no more a single case for the South than there is a single South--the evidence varies in kind and in degree. Yet certain contentions are shared in common by the protesting States, and it is to these arguments, both on the law and on the merits, that attention is now directed.


2
Some Notes on the Fourteenth Amendment

THE FIRST proposition is this: The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, never having been validly ratified, cannot provide

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