Saturday, April 23, 2011

Bernard Bailyn on Federalism

I don't think I've ever seen him speak live, only read his work. He is a giant in history.


Jason Pappas said...

It’s interesting that he starts with Madison’s desire to have the federal government protect individual rights within the states and ends by mentioning the Virginia and Kentucky Resolves in which Madison sees state nullification or interposition as a means of protecting individual rights from federal transgression. I wish he would have talked more about Madison’s complex evolution. I'd be interested in his thoughts on Madison.

Jonathan Rowe said...


True enough. The balance between what is a right that no government should abridge and jurisdiction is a though one. I remember the lew rockwell types defending the Kelo case on the grounds that the federal judiciary has no jurisdiction over state "takings." And if we agree with Kelo why not an international body that has jurisdiction to enforce libertarian/laissez faire norms.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Yes, Jon, I was just doing some remedial study on Kelo and I don't believe even the dissenters argued that the 14th Amendment didn't incorporate [the Lew Rockwell argument].
As for Madison and the Virginia and Kentucky Resolves, I did some reading awhile back that's sort of foggy now. As I recall, Jefferson wanted a much stronger nullification argument, but Madison talked him into a much less stark position.

I caught a Madison biographer on C-SPAN awhile back who said his biggest surprise about JM was how much of a federalist he was or became. Unfortunately, he didn't go into it. JM certainly seemed to start as almost Hamiltonian.

Phil Johnson said...

Aside from the fact that this is an interesting post, could I get someone to create a post on what Montesquieu would have to say about a democratic republic? That's what we were created to be, right?
He is an important voice of the Enlightenment and Americans were quite impressed by his writing during the century of our creation.