Who is John Galt?
Since Apr 8, 1998

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“The American people may oppose the nation’s present course, but by themselves the people cannot change it. They may oppose the taxes and the bureaucrats, but these are merely consequences, which cannot be significantly cut back so long as their source is untouched. The people may curse ‘big government’ in general – but to no avail if the pressure groups among them, following the logic of a mixed economy, continue to be fruitful and to multiply. The people may ‘swing to the right,’ but it is futile, if the leaders of the right are swinging to their own… brand of statism. The country may throw the rascals out, but it means nothing if the next administration is made of neo-rascals from the other party…”

“As government controls and the power of political pull have soared, many Americans have come to feel – some reluctantly, others righteously – that survival requires identification with a group, which can serve as one’s refuge in an uncertain world, one’s protector from the other groups, and one’s lobbyist in Washington. The easiest group to form or to join is one defined by race…”

“This is the emergence in the United States of the most primitive form of collectivism, the form endemic to backward cultures (and to controlled economies): tribal racism. Racism is what takes over anywhere – wherever the knowledge of the nature and possibilities of man, man the individual, has not yet been grasped, or is being battered into oblivion.”

Leonard Peikoff, THE OMINOUS PARALLELS - The End of Freedom in America, 1982


"Long before our time the customs of our ancestors molded admirable men; in turn these men upheld the ways and institutions of their forebears. Our age, however, inherited the Republic as if it were some beautiful painting of bygone ages, its colors already fading through great antiquity; and not only has our time neglected to freshen the colors of the picture, but we have failed to preserve its forms and outlines."

Marcus Tullius Cicero


"...(I)t is misleading to date the tradition of American liberty from the late 1780s, since the Constitution of the United States was in fact only the culmination of generations of practical self-government on the part of Americans. At the time of the framing of the Constitution and the formation of an allegedly "more perfect union," the colonists had precedents for challenging the powers of a confederation, as in the case of the Confederation of New England, for rejecting a confederation, as in the case of the Albany Plan of Union, and for bringing down a confederation by force, as in the case of the Dominion of New England. It can hardly be surprising, therefore, to learn that at the time of the ratification of the Constitution, three states [Virginia, New York, and Rhode Island] in acceding to the new confederation, explicitly reserved the right to withdraw from the Union at such time as it should become oppressive. In so doing they were only exercising the vigilance and libertarian principle that had animated the American experience during the colonial period.

"Thus when a union of polities becomes an end in itself, as it has in the minds of some since the days of Daniel Webster but certainly since Abraham Lincoln's revolution, the repudiation and indeed perversion of the colonial ideal is complete. Yet today, even self-proclaimed conservatives, whom one might expect to be engaged in preserving their country's tradition of liberty, cavalierly decry attachment to the principles embodied in the Confederate flag as "treason," even though the value of self-government vindicated by the South had been insisted upon since colonial times. The real traitors, however, are not the Confederates, but those who betray the real American tradition of independence and self-government in favor of the principle of unlimited submission to central authority. This is what the colonial period has to teach us."

Colonial Origins of American Liberty
By Thomas Woods (2000)
[Delivered at the Mises Institute conference, The History of Liberty, January 2000; Posted on Mises.org, March 3, 2000]


"...I am [deeply] impressed with a sense of the Importance of Amendments; that the good People may clearly see the distinction, for there is a distinction, between the federal Powers vested in Congress, and the sovereign Authority belonging to the several States, which is the Palladium of the private, and personal rights of the Citizens."

Samuel Adams, 1789


"If a line can be drawn between the powers granted [to the federal government] and the rights retained [by the people and their States], it would seem to be the same thing whether the latter be secured by declaring that they shall not be abridged, or that the former shall not be extended."

James Madison, 1789


"I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That 'all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people.' To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition."

Thomas Jefferson, 1791


"...[W]hether the phrases in question be construed to authorize every measure relating to the common defence and general welfare, as contended by some; or every measure only in which there might be an application of money, as suggested by the caution of others; the effect must substantially be the same, in destroying the import and force of the particular enumeration of powers which follow these general phrases in the Constitution. For it is evident that there is not a single power whatever, which may not have some reference to the common defence, or the general welfare; nor a power of any magnitude, which, in its exercise, does not involve or admit an application of money."

James Madison, 1799


"That man must be a deplorable idiot who does not see that there is no earthly difference between an unlimited grant of power, and a grant limited in its [ends], but accompanied with unlimited means of carrying it into execution."

Spencer Roane, 1819


"As ends may be made to beget means, so means may be made to beget ends, until the cohabitation shall rear a progeny of unconstitutional bastards, which were not begotten by the people..."

John Taylor, 1820


"When faced with a clash of constitutional principle and a line of unreasoned cases wholly divorced from the text, history, and structure of our founding document, we should not hesitate to resolve the tension in favor of the Constitution's original meaning."

Clarence Thomas, 2005


The Articles of Confederation of the United Colonies of New England
The Commissioners for Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Haven (1643)

Plan of Union
William Penn (1697)

The Albany Plan of Union
Benjamin Franklin (1754)

The Rights of the Colonies Examined
Stephen Hopkins (1764)

Connecticut Resolutions on the Stamp Act

A Summary View of the Rights of British America
Thomas Jefferson (1774)

Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress

Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking up Arms
John Dickinson (1775)

Oaths of Enlistment and Oaths of Office

The Virginia Declaration of Rights
George Mason (1776)

The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies
Thomas Jefferson (1776)

Instructions to the Agent
The United States Congress (1776)

The Articles of Confederation
John Dickinson et. al. (1781)

The Federalist Papers
and other documents

The Antifederalist Papers

The Debates in the Federal Convention
James Madison (1787)

Plan of Government
Alexander Hamilton (1787)

The Constitution of the United States (Original Version)

The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution
Jonathan Elliot (1787)

The Constitution of the United States of America

Ratification of the Constitution by the State of Virginia
June 26, 1788

Ratification of the Constitution by the State of New York
July 26, 1788

Ratification of the Constitution by the State of North Carolina
November 21, 1789

Letter to George Washington
James Madison (1789)

Ratification of the Constitution by the State of Rhode Island
May 29, 1790

The Bill of Rights

On the Constitutionality of a National Bank
Thomas Jefferson (1791)

The Bank Bill
James Madison (1791)

The Kentucky Resolutions
Thomas Jefferson (1798)

The Virginia Resolutions
James Madison (1798)

The Kentucky Resolutions
Thomas Jefferson (1798)

Report on the Virginia Resolutions
James Madison (1799)

Blackstone's Commentaries
St. George Tucker (1803)

Proposed Amendments to the Constitution
The Hartford Convention (1814)

On McCulloch v. Maryland
James Madison (1819)

On the Lack of Federal Power to Interdict Slavery in the Territories
James Madison (1819)

On Northern Ascendancy and the Missouri Question
James Madison (1820)

Construction Construed, and Constitutions Vindicated
John Taylor (1820)

Tyranny Unmasked
John Taylor (1821)

On the Doctrines of the Supreme Court Concerning the Extent of their Own Power
James Madison (1821)

Jonathan Bull and Mary Bull
James Madison (1821)

New Views of the Constitution of the United States
John Taylor (1823)

Declaration and Protest on the Principles of the Constitution of the United States of America,
and on the Violations of Them

Thomas Jefferson (1825)

Exposition and Protest
John C. Calhoun (1828)

A View of the Constitution of the United States of America
William Rawle (1825, 1829)

The Dangers of Consolidation
Robert Young Hayne (1830)

Government Without Limitation of Powers
Robert Young Hayne (1830)

The Fort Hill Address: On the Relations of the States and Federal Government
John C. Calhoun (1831)

South Carolina's Ordinance of Nullification
The People of South Carolina (1832)

Proclamation Regarding Nullification
Andrew Jackson (1832)

Comments Regarding the Force Bill
John Tyler (1832)

Speech On the Revenue Collection (Force) Bill
John C. Calhoun (1833)

South Carolina’s Nullification of the Force Bill
The People of South Carolina (1833)

The Texas Declaration of Independence
The Delegates of the People of Texas (1836)

Address Delivered at Louisville, Kentucky
Stephen Austin (1836)

A Brief Enquiry into the True Nature and Character of our Federal Government
Abel P. Upshur (1840, 1868)

Inaugural Address
James K. Polk (1845)

Constitution of the State of Texas
T.J. Rusk (1845)

Disquisition on Government
John C. Calhoun (1851)

A Discourse On the Constitution and Government of the United States
John C. Calhoun (1851)

Compromise Proposals
The Committee of Thirteen (1860)

The Address of the People of South Carolina...
Robert Barnwell Rhett (1860)

You Never Can Subjugate Us
Judah P. Benjamin (1860)


Alabama's Letter to the State of North Carolina
I.W. Garrott & Robert H. Smith (1861)

Conditions for Settlement
John Letcher (1861)

The Constitution for the Provisional Government of the Confederate States of America

Letter to President Lincoln
Jefferson Davis (1861)

The Northern Pro-slavery Amendment
The United States Congress (1861)

The Constitution of the Confederate States of America

Letter to Secretary of State Seward
John Forsyth & Martin Crawford (1861)

Memorandum in Response
William H. Seward (1861)

Ordinances of Secession

The Surrender of Fort Sumter
General G.T. Beauregard, CSA (1861)

Message to Congress
Jefferson Davis (1861)

Writings on the U.S. Civil War
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (1861)

The Cherokee Nation Declaration of Causes...
Thomas Pegg (1861)

The Emancipation Proclamation
Abraham Lincoln (1862)

Proposed Constitutional Amendment
Abraham Lincoln (1862)

Peace Resolutions
The People of the State of New Jersey (1863)

The Wade-Davis Manifesto
Benjamin Wade and Henry W. Davis (1864)

A Constitutional View of the Late War Between the States
Alexander H. Stephens (1868)

Prisoners of State
John Lossing (1868)

The Contest Is Not Over
Jefferson Davis (1881)

Reminiscences of the Civil War
General John B. Gordon, CSA (1904)

State Documents on Federal Relations
Herman V. Ames (1911)

Nullification in Mississippi
Cleo Hearon (1912)

Webster's Seventh of March Speech and the Secession Movement (of) 1850
Herbert Darling Foster (1922)

The Unconstitutionality of the Fourteenth Amendment
Leander H. Perez (1967)

Dyett v. Turner (Amendment XIV)
The Supreme Court for the State of Utah (1968)

A More Perfect Union: The Creation of the U.S. Constitution
Roger A. Bruns (1986)

The Battle of Athens, Tennessee [August 1-2, 1946]
Guns & Ammo (1995)

An Analysis of President Lincoln's Legal Arguments Against Secession
James Ostrowski (1995)

US Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton, 93-1456
Clarence Thomas (1995)

America's Caesar: The Decline and Fall of Republican Government in the United States of America
Greg Loren Durand (2000)

The Lost History of the Ninth Amendment (I): The Lost Original Meaning
Kurt Lash (2004)

Gonzales v. Raich, 03-1454
Clarence Thomas (2005)

Kelo v. New London, 04-108
Clarence Thomas (2005)

A Constitutional View of State Sovereignty and Secession (Part 1)
Rick H. Veal (2007)

A Constitutional View of State Sovereignty and Secession (Part 2)
Rick H. Veal (2007)

Wilkie v. Robbins, 06-219
Ruth Bader Ginsburg (2007)

US v. Comstock, 08-1224
Clarence Thomas (2010)

Graham v. Florida, 08-7412
Clarence Thomas (2010)

On Secession: An Analysis of Texas v. White
Cory Genelin (2013)


The Poets:

"He rode into the dark of the woods and dismounted. He crawled upward on his belly over cool rocks out into the sunlight, and suddenly he was in the open and he could see for miles, and there was the whole vast army below him, filling the valley like a smoking river. It came out of a blue rainstorm in the east and overflowed the narrow valley road, coiling along a stream, narrowing and choking at a white bridge, fading out into the yellowish dust of June but still visible on the farther road beyond the blue hills, spiked with flags and guidons like a great chopped bristly snake, the snake ending headless in a blue wall of summer rain.

"The spy tucked himself behind a boulder and began counting flags. Must be twenty thousand men, visible all at once. Two whole Union Corps. He could make out the familiar black hats of the Iron Brigade, troops belonging to John Reynold's First Corps. He looked at his watch, noted the time. They were coming very fast. The Army of the Potomac had never moved this fast. The day was murderously hot and there was no wind and the dust hung above the army like a yellow veil. He thought: there'll be some of them die of the heat today. But they are coming faster than they ever came before."

- Michael Shaara, The Killer Angels


"The soldier in gray who commanded the Army of Tennessee was tall, somber, and sickly thin - a man whose most prominent feature was a pair of majestic eyebrows that formed a straight bushy line beneath a wide forehead. You didn't know where one left off and the other began; it was as if he had but one long wide eyebrow. His beard and hair were flecked with gray, his grayish-green Scotch-Irish eyes often reflecting pain or rage, seldom anything in between. One look and you knew that here was a man who had seen trouble - someone who would deal it out, too. He might not be a boon companion, a good old boy, or a man with manners wrapped in magnolia and moonbeams, and although he was born in North Carolina, rather than Virginia or Louisiana, Braxton Bragg was as Southern as Robert E. Lee or Stonewall Jackson or Pierre G.T. Beauregard. He may have been crazy; he certainly was strange. He loved to write - letters, orders, memoranda - and always sought the final word, the final say. In another guise he could have been one of those crackpots who pen eccentric whining letters to the editor of a small daily, pointing out the errors of all save himself, latching on to some minor civic matter - a sewage ordinance or landfill - and worrying it like a dog with a bone. He had the unusual quality of being perpetually tenacious and perversely ineffectual. But he was not, in 1863, reduced to writing letters to the editor of a small-town paper. He wore the gold braid of a general. His Army of Tennessee was all that stood between the Federal Army of the Cumberland and its entrance through the gateway to the sea, at Chattanooga. At that moment, in the entire Confederacy, it had been left to Bragg to stave off the Federal advance and save the cause."

- John Bowers, Chickamauga and Chattanooga


"The Great Revival of the Army of Northern Virginia began in the camps of the 12th and 44th Georgia regiments of Trimble's Brigade in the Shenandoah Valley one month after Antietam. Trimble's Brigade (including the 15th Alabama) had long been targeted by ministers, missionaries, and 'colporters' (sellers of religious tracts) because it contained a number of devout chaplains. The revival then spread through the rest of Jackson's command, which had been decimated by the fight at Sharpsburg. The religious camp meetings grew in power and size and were carried with the army into Fredericksburg, where they grew in intensity throughout the late fall and early winter...

"In late December, the Great Revival spread from Jackson's Corps into Longstreet's. The religious fervor spread through Longstreet's command, taking hold finally in William Barksdale's Brigade, which was billeted in the abandoned homes of Fredericksburg. The rounds of conversions and sermons had barely begun when the Mississippi soldiers, known for their tenacity and marksmanship, were ordered to take their preassigned places in rifle pits facing the Rappahannock River - which separated Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia from Ambrose Burnside's Army of the Potomac. In the cold early morning darkness of December 11, the Mississippians heard the distinct rustle of Burnside's men marching across the way, then the splash of pontoons on the mostly frozen river. In the gray light of dawn, Barksdale passed the word to open fire."

- Mark Perry, Conceived in Liberty


The American Epitaph:

"Sometimes I have to break the law in order to meet my management objectives."

- Bill Calkins, United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, New Mexico State Director; November 17, 1994
(quote provided by a federal law enforcement officer who was present)


Last update January 2021; last review of links November 2015