"The end is where we start from."

-T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding"

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Brief Reflection on Article I of the Treaty of Paris of 1783 Written Near to the 235th Anniversary of The Independence of the United States of America

"Article I:
His Brittanic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz., New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free sovereign and independent states, that he treats with them as such, and for himself, his heirs, and successors, relinquishes all claims to the government, propriety, and territorial rights of the same and every part thereof. "

"Transcript of the Treaty of Paris (1783)." Welcome to OurDocuments.gov. Web. 26 June 2011.  

Notice here, in Article I of the Treaty of Paris of 1783, that the British Crown acknowledges its former colonies "...to be free sovereign and independent states," not a sovereign and independent nation-state. The Crown acknowledges the words of the Founders in the Declaration of Independence: "...these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states..." 

Article II of the Articles of Confederation states "Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled." In no wise does the United States Constitution abrogate the sovereignty and independence of the states. Misinterpretations of Article VI, Clause II notwithstanding, the states surrendered only such authority as they freely granted to the federal government; the most important things they retained were their sovereignty and independence. That is, the Constitution is the supreme Law of the Land for the powers it is given by the States, and all other powers, in the words of the Tenth Amendement, "... are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." 

This is the beauty of a limited federalism, and the glory of a true confederation turned into a true union, and the purest logic for the right of the states to secede; it is also the surest and truest critique of America as a nation-state (and not a voluntary union of sovereign and independent states) as it has been since the Tyranny of 1861-1865. It exposes the unconstitutional farce that is this unitary nation; "The Union is Dissolved"? Nay, the Union is subsumed into the Nation. May God look down on us in His Mercy. In the words of Wendell Berry, "We have failed Thy grace./Lord, I flinch and pray,/send Thy necessity."