Sunday, May 29, 2011

Your State: The Primary Unit of Political Allegiance


It was easy for Robert E. Lee of Virginia and Zebulon Vance of North Carolina to take up swords in defense of their respective States, as both saw them as “their country.” To adhere to their State’s enemies would have been treason as delineated in the United States Constitution.

Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman
North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission
"The Official Website of the North Carolina WBTS Sesquicentennial"
Primary Unit of Political Allegiance:

“Central to [traditional interpretations of the Revolution and Jeffersonian America] is the old reality of American political life that the State was the primary unit of political allegiance, the chief locus of political identity, and the level at which most significant political questions were decided in the Early Republic.

It should be unsurprising that in the absence of television, radio, news magazines, national newspapers, air travel, interstate highways, the Internet, and even cheap postal service, and in a day when very few people went away to college, it was uncommon for anyone to “think continentally.”

When Virginians argued about what a republic should be, then, their concern was almost never some Platonic ideal republic, nor even the United States, but their own Old Dominion.”

(Virginia’s American Revolution, Kevin R.C. Gutzman, Lexington Books, 2007, page 4)

Your State: The Primary Unit of Political Allegiance

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