The Evolution of Revolution

by Attorney Timothy Baldwin

In recent years throughout the States of America, there has been what is referred to as the State Nullification Movement. This movement is based upon the concepts expressed in the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 and 1799, drafted and advocated by founding fathers Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Nullification’s idea is this: the United States Constitution (“USC”) is a union of sovereign States, as confirmed by the Declaration of Independence and Treaty of Paris of 1783 and as reflected in the Constitution of (for) the United States of America (USC, tenth amendment); the federal government is a creation of the sovereign will of the States and has limited power and function based upon the USC creating the union; any powers exercised by the federal government beyond that delegation are a nullity; and the States, as having their own powers delegated to them by the people of those States, have the power and duty to resist federal encroachments. This concept has picked up momentum as of late, particularly because people throughout the States are fed up and see no other effective method of preserving their lives, fortunes and sacred honor, but what many in this movement may not realize is that the Nullification Movement is merely a step in the process to a greater movement: the State Independence Movement.

The natural evolution of the political and societal experience is for government to encroach upon individual and societal rights and to assume a role contrary to what is good for those people, which is normally caused by a breakdown of individual, familial, religious and moral character and integrity. A (normally small) portion of society eventually realizes that the government reflects this larger problem and that merely voting for change in government administration cannot produce the necessities to protect freedom. The response becomes that of self-preservation. At first, any resistance is theoretical and benign and is conducted in the least disruptive manner possible. It has no force behind it but is a sort of warning statement to the opposing party. In reality, it is much than that. It is an evolutionary step towards the ultimate end of separation from the nullity. America’s own history holds the example of this truth.

Before 1776, the colonies were not without their problems with Great Britain throughout their existence. However, no serious controversy would have been identified as so catalytic as the Stamp Act of 1765. Without a doubt, the passage of that law by Parliament to directly tax the colonists alarmed them to such an extent that no law passed prior could compare in its political effect. Even most of the men who became infamous statesmen of the 1770s paid little attention to political actions made by Great Britain until 1765. Before then, “politics were apparently ignored…except so far as concerned their legal business.”[1] As soon as a law was passed that became collectively opposed, the first line of defense was the “State Nullification Movement.” This movement is reflected in Virginia’s nullification declaration of the Stamp Act, which Resolved in part:

“That the General Assembly of this Colony have the only and sole exclusive right and power to lay taxes and impositions upon the inhabitants of this Colony, and THAT EVERY ATTEMPT TO VEST SUCH POWER in any person or persons whatsoever other than the General Assembly aforesaid HAS A MANIFEST TENDENCY TO DESTROY…AMERICAN FREEDOM.

“That…the inhabitants of this Colony ARE NOT BOUND TO YIELD OBEDIENCE.”[2]

In essence, this is the same declaration which has been made by over a majority of the States in America today concerning federal usurpations. So, what is the effect of such a declaration? As seen in the case of Great Britain in 1765, the nullification declarations set their “federal government” back because Great Britain repealed the Stamp Act. The reason may be clear for the impact of this nullification movement: “a declaration of resistance made, not be an individual writer, nor by a newspaper, BUT BY THE LEGISLATURE OF A GREAT COLONY; and, moreover, they were the very first declaration of resistance which was so made.”[3] The colonists felt victory had been accomplished, and indeed the nullification resistance was effective–but only for a short time.

Soon after, Great Britain passed different laws which violated the same principle that the nullification movement declared immutable. In spite of Great Britain’s repealing the Stamp Act and despite the apparent victory of the colonies, the true crux of the problem was infuriated more than ever, which was this: the British Parliament [declared an owed reverence and subordination] as the supreme legislative, in all cases of necessity for the preservation of the whole empire.”[4] The true essence of the political struggle between the colonies and parliament was that of Sovereignty, Power and Independence. Great Britain presumed its own supremacy but the colonies believed, “We do not claim liberty as a privilege, but challenge it as a right.”[5] This is the same problem facing freedom today.

Great Britain could not accept the reality that the American colonies wanted to practice self-government and that they had a right to do so. They could not release the power they assumed was theirs. Even those agents of Great Britain who saw the inevitability of America’s independence would not cede their authority. They said, “It is not likely that the American colonies will remain part of the dominion of Britain another century, but while they do remain, the supreme, absolute legislative power must remain entire, to be exercised upon the colonies.”[6] The plan, thus, of Great Britain was to suppress any efforts of the colonies to secede or to gain political power, calling upon all colonists “to vindicate the constitutional authority of [Great Britain’s] government”[7] by remaining loyal to Great Britain and denouncing leaders like Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams and the like. The bottom line analysis: they must remain in power and control.

The federal government today operates in a manner not unlike Great Britain’s government from 1765 to 1783. The efforts of the States to declare their rights are fundamentally rejected, regardless of an occasional victory obtained by the States to block the federal government from encroachment. The constitution of the federal government demands submission and declares ultimate sovereignty over the states in all matters whatsoever. Thus, the real struggle of sovereignty, power and independence continues and has yet to be truly decided. Ultimately, this decision cannot and will not be made by any court, especially the United States Supreme Court. Those political questions can only be answered by the people of a body-politic: “all power whatever in the State [belong] to the people thereof.”[8]

This was the decision made by thirteen different societies in 1776 after coming to the conclusion that–all the constitutional arguments in the world notwithstanding–declaring independence was the best way to secure their freedom, after only an eleven year struggle with Great Britain. All of the nullification acts notwithstanding, restoring freedom meant basing their decision upon the “laws of Nature and Nature’s God.”[9] So it is with the people of the States of America today. As it was then, Nature is taking its course and will forever do so, whether we acknowledge it or not. A new freedom for a new people is pregnant in the belly of a new era. The old is dying and the new is ready to be born. We should welcome this reality.

Today, some resist the evolution of societies’ composure in America. So too, in 1776, “many persons in America dislike[d] the word independence.”[10] Many perhaps recognize its reality, but do not possess the boldness required to encourage its growth. So too, in 1776, “[a majority] was but lukewarm in its devotion to the American side [of freedom]”,[11] “who naturally deemed neutrality to be the only wisdom.”[12]  Some deem the effort of a body-politic to govern itself as criminal. So too, in 1776, “a total separation from the mother-country…[was considered] only as a disaster and a crime.”[13] Many tire out and willingly concede crucial ground for the sake of expediency and seeming gain through a political party. So too, in 1776, some “favored a submissive policy, believing that grievances would be redressed, ‘if these high points about the supreme authority of Parliament were to fall asleep.’”[14] However, others see the process for what it is: Divine Wisdom and Intervention providing the opportunity for true freedom:

“When I consider the[ir] corruption*–their load of debt,–their intestine divisions, tumults, and riots—their scarcity of provision,–and the Contempt in which they are held by the nations about them…I cannot but think that the Conduct of [the government] towards us may be permitted by Divine Wisdom, and ordained by the unsearchable providence of the Almighty, for hastening a period dreadful to [them].”[15]

Time will eventually prove that the State Nullification Movement was but a wheel turning in the evolutionary process of revolution. The federal government has revealed much about itself over the past two centuries. One blaring revelation is that real power will not be acknowledged as belonging to the individual bodies-politic composing the current union. The federal government declares supreme authority over all individuals and all societies of the States. Thus, regardless of nullification efforts, the federal government will continue to mock our labors of redress and appeal. Natural laws being what they are, this pressure from the top down will only intensify the speed in which the process of revolution takes place. To many, it is long overdue.


[1] George Pellew, American Statesmen, John Jay, Vol. 9, (Boston and New York, Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1899), 14.

[2] Moses Coit Tyler, American Statesmen, Patrick Henry, Vol. 3, (Boston and New York, Houghton, Mifflin and Company, The Riverside Press, 1899), 70-71 (emphasis added).

[3] Moses Coit Tyler, American Statesmen, Patrick Henry, Vol. 3, (Boston and New York, Houghton, Mifflin and Company, The Riverside Press, 1899), 79 (emphasis added).

[4] James K. Hosmer, American Statesmen, Samuel Adams, Vol. 2, (Boston and New York, Houghton, Mifflin and Col, 1899), 101.

[5] Theodore Roosevelt, American Statesmen, Gouverneur Morris, Vol. 3 (Boston and New York, Houghton, Mifflin and Col, 1899), 6.

[6] James K. Hosmer, American Statesmen, Samuel Adams, Vol. 2, (Boston and New York, Houghton, Mifflin and Col, 1899), 132.

[7] Moses Coit Tyler, American Statesmen, Patrick Henry, Vol. 3, (Boston and New York, Houghton, Mifflin and Company, The Riverside Press, 1899), 163.

[8] George Pellew, American Statesmen, John Jay, Vol. 9, (Boston and New York, Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1899), 14. Those who believe that the “State” composes the entirety of all the States as one body-politic are disillusioned and seriously mistaken.

[9] Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence, 1776.

[10] Theodore Roosevelt, American Statesmen, Gouverneur Morris, Vol. 3 (Boston and New York, Houghton, Mifflin and Col, 1899), 48.

[11] Theodore Roosevelt, American Statesmen, Gouverneur Morris, Vol. 3 (Boston and New York, Houghton, Mifflin and Col, 1899), 24.

[12] Theodore Roosevelt, American Statesmen, Gouverneur Morris, Vol. 3 (Boston and New York, Houghton, Mifflin and Col, 1899), 59.

[13] Moses Coit Tyler, American Statesmen, Patrick Henry, Vol. 3, (Boston and New York, Houghton, Mifflin and Company, The Riverside Press, 1899), 190.

[14] James K. Hosmer, American Statesmen, Samuel Adams, Vol. 2, (Boston and New York, Houghton, Mifflin and Col, 1899), 213.

[15] James K. Hosmer, American Statesmen, Samuel Adams, Vol. 2, (Boston and New York, Houghton, Mifflin and Col, 1899), 120.

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This post was written by:

Timothy_Baldwin - who has written 128 posts on Liberty Defense League.

Timothy Baldwin is a Florida and Montana attorney who received his B.A. degree at the University of West Florida and graduated from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham, AL. After having received his Juris Doctorate degree from Cumberland, Baldwin became a Felony Prosecutor in the 1st District of Florida. In 2006, he started his own law practice, where he created specialized legal services entirely for property management companies. Baldwin is a prolific writer/columnist and writes for numerous publications, including The New American magazine. Baldwin is also an articulate speaker relevant to freedom’s issues. Baldwin is an author of legal and political articles, as well as his latest book, Freedom For A Change (published by Agrapha Publishing). Baldwin has a working manuscript on Romans 13: The True Meaning of Submission and expects to publish this book soon. Baldwin is involved in important state sovereignty movement issues, including the federal litigation in Montana involving the Firearms Freedom Act.

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3 Responses to “The Evolution of Revolution”

  1. MMFWV Says:

    Timothy, this is an excellent article. Now, please tell us…….what is the moral of this story? How and how soon will the Marxist Muslim Obama, his puppet master Soros and all these Communist/Marxists be removed from the control and devastation over us? Or will we have a full blown revolution or civil war? If so, when do you believe it will begin?

  2. C. Session Says:

    I just picked up Timothy Baldwin’s new book – Freedom for a Change – and have started to read it. So far it is a fascinating read. I will post here from time to time with thoughts and comments about Tim’s book. Thank you. C.Session

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