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Last updateTue, 12 Feb 2013 9pm

Back You are here: Home Columns Columns Allyn Hunt Lawmakers: think before meddling with citizens’ lives

Lawmakers: think before meddling with citizens’ lives

Mexico celebrated the creation of its 1917 revolutionary and “activist” constitution this past Monday, February 4.  It is easy to assume that the adjective “activist” issues from the fact that, as constitutional specialist Professor Miguel Carbonell has noted, it has been amended some 600 times. 

The sesquicentennial of the United States’ Civil War (1861-1865), which produced the nation-changing 13th Amendment (emancipation), has been and is being marked with a wide variety of events.  The commemoration of President Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War and his Emancipation Proclamation began in 2011 and will last until 2015.  This year’s scheduled commemoration events will take up an impressive bit of 2013’s calendar in various venues.  Especially in Virginia, where Richmond was the Confederacy’s second capital.  Originally, in early February 1861, secessionist leaders led by Jefferson Davis selected Montgomery, Alabama.  A fairly new city of 9,000 founded in 1819, it was snugly away from the North, and its secessionist fervor had blossomed early and was vigorous and unequivocal.  Yet some military minded leaders of the secession believed the capital should be situated within ready march to Washington.  And by May, Montgomery’s rising temperatures, humidity and its mosquitoes prompted a move when Richmond, recently seceded, and financially and industrially robust, offered its state capital to the leaders of the Confederate States of America (CSA). 

In Montgomery, Davis and other insurrectionist leaders took a mere four days to  produce the Confederate Constitution.  That should have given them pause.  For such haste allowed for little reflective or analytical thought. That intellectual drought was to be the cause of much of the South�s problems, according to a number of historians.  These “problems,” mirroring the vision of both politics and society, contributed to not only the South’s hastily considered secession but also the fateful charter of the CSA.  Both were to confuse and divide the society its creators believed it would guard and preserve.  Davis was considered much better educated in the accepted conventional sense of the time than Lincoln.  Davis was a graduate of the Military Academy at West Point.  He had fought with applauded courage in the Mexican War, and then served as an admired secretary of war from 1853 to 1857.  Early on, those credentials prompted many people, north and south, to consider him smarter than Lincoln, which later was to cause them to criticize Lincoln vehemently. 

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