Educational Research Analysts  May 2006 Newsletter  
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            what they say now

A Beka Book
Pensacola Christian College (1996)

Stresses the necessity of the Christian, pessimistic view of human nature to checks and balances in government; does not empha­size that it is the deity of Christ (which implies corrupt human nature) that establishes the trinitarian principle of shared sover­eign­ty in feder­al­ism; therefore it often confuses states' rights under the Constitution with state sov­ereignty over the Constitution, which wrongly equates shared sovereignty with unshared sover­eignty; always mistakes nullification for an expres­sion of states' rights; misperceives secession as an exercise of states' rights; flawed premise is that sovereignty cannot be shared, whereas in a trini­tarian Constitution it is shared; false logic of this is that by repudiating nullification and secession, the Civil War in effect overturned the 10th Amendment and limits on federal sovereignty


Bob Jones University Press

Rightly connects the pessimistic view of human nature to checks and balances and separation of powers at the federal level; does not relate that to trinitarian shared sovereignty between federal and state governments, in contrast to nullification and secession; fails to distinguish constitutional states' rights under the Constitution from unconstitutional state sovereignty over the Constitution, which was exactly the South's error in 1861; implication of this confusion is that repudiation of nullification and secession in 1865 effectively repealed the 10th Amendment – the very view that this text proper­ly deplores in judicial activist readings of the 14th Amendment's due process clause

              what these Christian school texts might add:

in U.S. History

In trinitarian divine government, a plurality of Persons (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) shares sovereignty in the Godhead.
In constitutional American government, sovereignty is shared to restrain human nature.

deity of Christ  
depravity of man  
Basically evil human nature requires the divine Jesus Christ to atone for man's sin. The deity of Christ requires government to be trinitarian in structure, to restrain human sovereignty.
— therefore —
Liberty requires virtuous citizens and the rule of law, based on laws' original intent.
The Great Awakening led Americans to reaffirm the pessimistic view of human nature in government.
As political trinitarians, Americans in the American Revolution rejected subord­in­ation of the many colonies to the one sovereign king.  In the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion, they rejected subordination of the one Articles of Confed­er­ation Congress to the many sovereign states.  Instead they created a federal system that shared sover­eignty between federal and state governments and denied full sovereignty to either.
James Madison, in Federalist No. 51, worked from the premise of the pessimistic view of human nature, which is a corollary of the deity of Christ:

But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary.  If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.  In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.

Madison wrote this in context of British constitutional history, which drew on Biblical principles and therefore restrained human sovereignty in government.
separation of powers
mixed government
"Shared sover­eign­ty" is oxymo­ronic in human government but in­escap­able in trini­tar­ian­ism. Trinitarianism meant states' rights, not state sover­eign­ty; and constitutional, not federal, supremacy.
delegated powers
reserved powers
concurrent powers
Restraints on the exer­cise of pop­ular so­ver­eignty reflect ac­know­ledg­ment of divine sover­eign­ty. The Constitution is silent on the right to secede due to its trini­tarian principle of shared sovereignty.
no right to secede
no ban on secession
States and nation are equal­ly ultimate, like the three Per­sons and the one Godhead. If states could secede, they are sovereign; if they could not, the federal government is sovereign.
Resolving the right to secede destroys trinitarian shared sovereignty, whichever side wins.
The Civil War occurred when the seceding South wrongly equated constitutional states' rights under the Constitution with unconstitutional state sovereignty over the Constitution.
After 1865 the Union was trinitarian in structure but unitarian in logic. Federal sovereignty over money and banking developed. Unchecked by the gold standard, welfare-state deficits took hold.
              how these Christian school texts might improve:

relate trinitarianism to
CONSTITUTIONALISM & unconstitutionality

These views are
Constitutionally flawed.


(shared sovereignty)
These views are
Constitutionally flawed.

state supremacy

 (decentralized sovereignty)
The Constitution harmonizes individuality (states) and unity (federal government), which are equally vital to liberty.

federal supremacy

(centralized sovereignty)
Liberty required
individuality above all.
and Virginia
John C. Calhoun


Strict construction
Original intent
States' rights
Tariff for revenue

Clay's "American System"
1860 GOP Platform

Loose construction
National bank
Protective tariff
Federal aid to internal improvements

Liberty required
unity above all.
McCulloch v. Maryland
William Ellery Channing
Sovereign states were final judges of constitutionality of federal acts.
States' rights under the Constitution differed from state sovereignty over the Constitution. The Civil War destroyed state sovereignty but not states' rights. States' rights never meant nullification.
No more states' rights
By destroying state sovereignty, the Civil War in effect repealed the 10th Amendment.
Right of secession
Either secession, or its defeat, destroy­ed a Union in which sover­eign­ty was shared. "Can a state secede?"  really asked, "Where does sover­eign­ty ulti­mately lie?"  If states could secede, they were ulti­mately so­ver­eign; if they could not, the federal govern­ment was ulti­mately so­ver­eign.  The Constitu­tion said nothing of secession because it shared sovereignty: there was no consti­tu­tional right to secede, and no con­sti­tu­tional power to stop it.
Defeat of
the Union.
Black codes
Southern states abridged constitutional rights of freedmen.
The 14th Amendment did not restrain the states for the first time. The Constitution had always restrained the states, by prohibiting some state actions, and by delegating certain powers to the federal government alone. But until beginning in 1925, the U.S. Bill of Rights was held to restrain only the federal government, not the states.
Radical Reconstruction
The federal government abridged constitutional rights of Southern whites.
States could emit
bills of credit.
(Briscoe v. Bank of Kentucky, 1837)
The Constitution forbids states to emit bills of credit. The Con­sti­tu­tion­al Conven­tion rejected a bid to let the federal government emit bills of credit.
Federal government could
emit bills of credit.
(Julliard v. Greenman, 1884)

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