One period of American history that is rarely, if ever, taught in our progressive education system is the Jefferson revolution of 1800. The revolution started a few years earlier and involved the struggle against the Monarchists and statists that dominated the Federalist Party during the administration of John Adams. The Federalist Party, like the Democrat Party today, controlled both Houses of Congress and the Presidency. The opposition party at the time was the Democratic-Republican Party founded by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
Jefferson was Vice President and President of the Senate during the Adams administration from 1797 until 1801 when he became President. Looking back on his career of public service, near the end of his life, Jefferson described this period as “the most important in its consequences, of any transaction in any portion of my life”… In a petition to the Virginia Legislature, February 1826, Jefferson explained his efforts in battling to preserve the Constitution against seemingly insurmountable odds.
“Their usurpations and violations of the constitution at that period, and their [Federalist] majority in both Houses of Congress, were so great, so decided, and so daring, that after combating their aggressions, inch by inch, without being able in the least to check their career, the republican leaders thought it would be best for them to give up their useless efforts there, go home, get into their respective legislatures, embody whatever of resistance they could be formed into, and if ineffectual, to perish there as in the last ditch.
All, therefore, retired, leaving Mr. Gallatin alone in the House of Representatives, and myself in the Senate, where I then presided as Vice-President. Remaining at our posts, and bidding defiance to the brow-beatings and insults by which they endeavored to drive us off also, we kept the mass of republicans in phalanx together, until the legislatures could be brought up to the charge; and nothing on earth is more certain, than that if myself particularly, placed by my office of Vice-President at the head of the republicans, had given way and withdrawn from my post, the republicans throughout the Union would have given up in despair, and the cause would have been lost for ever.
By holding on, we obtained time for the legislatures to come up with their weight; and those of Virginia and Kentucky particularly, but more especially the former, by their celebrated resolutions, saved the constitution, at its last gasp.”
~Thomas Jefferson, “Thoughts on Lotteries”, February, 1826
This incident from Jefferson’s life points up that old adage, “The more things change, the more they stay the same”. It is easy to believe crises in our lifetime have never been faced by others in the past. That is seldom, if ever, true. That’s why a study of history is so important.
There are a number of parallels between Jefferson’s story and our own. Jefferson and the republicans in Congress were in much the same position as the Republicans of today. The Constitution was under attack, and those willing to defend it were in a conspicuous minority. They had to endure personal attacks on their character and on their patriotism because of their opposition to the administration in power. The situation became so untenable that the republican minority abandoned the Capitol and returned to the states to take a stand from there. The states rallied to the defense and eventually won the day.
We have much the same situation today. The Obama administration is waging an all out attack on the Constitution and the Republican minority, in spite of the valiant efforts of the few Constitution loyalists in the Republican Party, seems unable to do more than slow down the Democrat juggernaut. Fortunately, now as then, a number of states are taking up the cause. Jan Brewer of Arizona, Chris Christie of New Jersey, and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, among others are standing up to the progressive statists in Washington and fighting back. A number of state Legislatures are reaffirming their sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment. It is going to be up to us, as voters to send reinforcements next year to put down the attacks on the Constitution in both Washington and the Statehouses around the country. That’s why the November election is so important.
That leads to a dilemma for the Conservative voter. Considering the dearth of Constitution loyalists in the Republican Party, it is tempting to abandon the Party and look elsewhere for support. Two hundred years of history shows that third party candidates, as a general rule, hurts their allies and helps their enemies. Everyone who has followed this site for any period of time knows that I am adamantly opposed to third party candidates. However, recent events have caused me to consider that there may be exceptions.
Are we better off with Republicans who are willing to betray their oath of office and side with the anti-constitutionalists to serve their own ego and attempt to hold on to power, or is it better to concede that seat to a Democrat and adjust our defensive and offensive strategies accordingly? Of what possible benefit can Republicans like, Olympia Snowe, Lindsey Graham, Susan Collins, or even John McCain be to the country when they cannot be counted on in critical situations?
Illinois is going to have to answer that question when we go to the polls in November. Will we vote for Mark Kirk for Senate, or concede that seat to the Democrats? Last Friday Kirk announced his support for Elena Kagan. For me, that was the last straw. Kagan clearly revealed her disdain for constitutional government during her Senate confirmation hearings. Any Republican Senator that votes for her or any would-be Republican Senator that expresses support for her confirmation must be denied a Senate seat in 2010. Right now, we have four Constitution loyalists on the Court and one that occasionally comes to its defense. There is a possibility that another Justice will retire in the next two years. We must have Republican Senators that are willing to take a stand against another progressive on the Supreme Court whatever the cost.
For me and other Illinois constitution conservatives, that creates a dilemma. Do we just not vote for the Senate seat and concede it to the Democrat, or do we vote for a third party candidate? Either way, the end result will probably be the same. However, by leaving the Senate choice blank, no one will know for sure, the reason we did so. In addition, we run the risk of helping to recreate another fiasco like Florida in 2000. For these reasons, I am seriously considering voting for a third party candidate in November.