States evolves from an elitist republic intorna democracy ‘of the people, by the people,rnfor the people.'” Professor Fletcher’srnview is almost identical to that of ProfessorrnJaffa and his disciples on the “right,”rnexcept that they claim that Lincoln merelyrnrestored the real Constitution. ProfessorrnMacPherson argues much the samernas Professor Fletcher, that Lincoln was arn”revolutionary statesman” who presidedrnover the “Second American Revolution,”rnas does Garry Wills, who writes that “Lincolnrnwas a revolutionary in another sensernas well, the one Willmoore Kendall denouncedrnhim for—he not only put thernDeclaration in a new light as a matter ofrnfounding law, but put its central proposition,rnequality, in a newly favored positionrnas a principle of the Constitution (which,rnas the Chicago Times noticed, never usesrnthe word).”rnWhat is perhaps most important aboutrnthe revolution that abolished the old, realrnConstitution and established the newrnone is that the revolution has been sorncomplete that its defenders and apologistsrndo not even feel the need to explainrnhow a Constitution purportedly foundedrnon the consent of the governed could bernabolished simply by acts of force in therncourse of the Civil War and a new one,rnencapsulated in the Gettysburg Address,rnenthroned without any pretense ofrnamendment or ratification. So irrelevantrnis the real Constitution to such scholarsrnas Mr. Wills that he can glibly acknowledgernthat “equality” is the main principlernof the new constitution even though thernword was entirely absent from the originalrnone. The apologists for the new constitutionrnknow that the destruction of thernold and real Constitution has been sorncomplete that they do not even need tornpretend that the transition to the new onerntook place in a manner consistent withrnthe procedures prescribed by the old one.rnThe old Constitution was the product ofrnSouthern slaveowners and allowed forrntheir political predominance, and becausernit did not mention “equality” andrnwas, in fact, anti-egalitarian in many of itsrnpremises and provisions, it has thereforernbeen discredited by the animating doctrinernat the heart of the new constitution.rnThere is little doubt that the “NewrnConstitutionalists” are essentially correct.rnAlthough both James J. Kilpatrick andrnthe late M.E. Bradford correctly arguedrnthat the old Constitution survived thernReconstruction amendments and thernSupreme Court’s interpretations of them,rnthe Civil War nevertheless mortallyrnwounded the Old Republic and the Constitutionrnthat defined it, and Lincoln,rnwhatever his role and whatever his intentions,rnhas become the human symbol ofrnthis revolution, just as Lenin and Castrornare symbols of other revolutions. ThernOld Republic and the real Constitutionrnlingered on until the Roosevelt SupremernCourt and its successors killed them offrnfor good.rnBut the new constitution did not displacernthe old one simply because Lincolnrnand his armies smashed the oldrnConstitution and its defenders. The newrnconstitution flourished because it servedrnthe purposes and interests of the emergingrnsocial forces of the nation, mainlyrnwhat the Marxist scholar BarringtonrnMoore, Jr., called “the last capitalist revolution,”rnthe leaders of which quicklyrnevolved into the plutocratic ruling classrnof the late 19th and early 20th centuries.rnThe political changes and their militaryrnenforcement were merely the icing onrnthe underlying cake of social and economicrntransformation and the new eliternthat gained power from it.rnWhat was involved in the death of thernold Constitution, in other words, was arnbit more than a change of mind on thernpart of a lot of Americans or a plot carriedrnout by a handful of ambitious and unscrupulousrnmen. If the decline and fallrnof constitutional government in the UnitedrnStates had been only that, it might stillrnbe possible to change men’s minds back,rnpersuade them of the virtues of the oldrnConstitution, and restore it. But the victoryrnof the social, economic, and politicalrnrevolutions that swept it away suggestsrnthat one of the main reasons for the failurernof the old Constitution was that a decliningrnnumber of social interests foundrnit a useful instrument of government. Inrnvirtually every confrontation in earlyrnAmerican history between the compactrntheory and the unitary theory, the compactrntheory lost: The Federalists prevailedrnover the Anti-Federalists; JohnrnMarshall’s views triumphed over those ofrnhis critics; Andrew Jackson triumphedrnover John C. Calhoun in the nullificationrncontroversy; and, of course, thernUnion prevailed over the Confederacy.rnAnd one reason for these victories is thatrnlots of people stood to gain a great dealrnfrom a unitary government that couldrnunify the country, suppress centrifugalrnpressures, establish a national market forrnprofitmaking, and prevent the nationrnfrom disintegrating. Only the Southernrnstates retained a strong vested interest in arndecentralized republic and the doctrinernof states’ rights that helped guarantee it;rnand by the early 20th century, even thesernstates were willing to compromise onrntheir rights when they stood to gain fromrndoing so. By the time of the civil-rightsrnmovement and its revolutionary demandrnfor the fulfillment of Lincoln’s egalitarianrnrhetoric, the South’s resistance to thernunitary state had become so compromisedrnby its own hunger for farm subsidies,rndefense contracts, highway funds,rnand other federally financed internal improvementsrnthat its insistence on states’rnrights principles as the reason for its oppositionrnto racial integration could nornlonger be taken seriously.rnThe old Constitution, in other words,rndied because hardly anyone in the UnitedrnStates really wanted it to survive, andrnthose who did were often not very seriousrnabout it and eventually became powerlessrnto keep it alive. Today, it no longerrnmatters how cleverly we refute the unitaryrninterpretation or articulate the compactrntheory, because the document tornwhich they pertain is effectively defunct,rnand its death is obvious not only in the triumphrnof the civil-rights movement butrnalso in the victory of every constitutionalrnfantasy concocted by the SupremernCourt.rnPaleoconservatives today, who are virtuallyrndefined by their adherence to thernOld Republic established by the originalrnand real Constitution, therefore need tornmake a decision. Their appeals to the oldrnConstitution have now become not onlyrnpolitically and juridically irrelevant butrnhave acquired the stale and arid odor ofrnantiquarianism. Their cause is no longerrnwell served by regurgitation of archaicrnconstitutional niceties and invocations tornconstitutionalist idols. The decision paleoconservativesrnneed to make is whetherrnto abandon all appeals to constitiitionalismrnand make use of alternative modes ofrnargumentation for what those appealsrnhave traditionally tried to defend, orrnwhether, acknowledging the death of thernold Constitution, they should beginrnworking for a new constitutional structurernthat seeks to replicate as many of thernpositive attributes of the old Constitutionrnas possible, including its guarantees ofrnfederalism and local autonomy. Whichrnever course they choose will be no lessrnradical and revolutionary than the pathrnthat led to the destruction of the old Constitution.rn36/CHRONICLESrnrnrn