Monday, April 2, 2007

The Once and Future Republic of Vermont

Ian Baldwin and Frank Bryan, a pair of Vermonters, have written an Op-Ed piece for the Washington Post describing a growing secessionist movement in Vermont. They start by relating some history which I didn't know, and then going to the current desire to for Vermont to leave the Union of the United States of America. I find this an interesting reaction to the current global politics trends.

Vermont was an independent Republic for 14 years, until 1791 when it joined the Union. They had their own military, postal service, foreign relations, etc, and governed themselves more thoroughly and for longer than any other U.S. State. Even Texas who has made themselves famous for also having been an independent Republic split from Mexico before they, too, joined the U.S.A.

It's valuable, perhaps, to remember the U.S.A. was meant to be a joining together of semi independent States. There has long been a tension in the United States between States Rights and the desire for a strong central government. The Op-Ed piece quotes from the U.S. Constitution in this way:

The United States has destroyed the 10th Amendment, which says that "powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

You can see in the way they discuss this, they are in the States Rights camp. That camp believes the individual states of the U.S.A. should be stronger than the central government. My understanding is that Conservatives traditionally have been in favor of strong States Rights, and find it puzzling that the current President George W. Bush has done so much to erode States Rights while having been elected as a strong Conservative.

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