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Donald W. Livingston

Tags U.S. HistoryPhilosophy and Methodology

Works Published inSpeeches and PresentationsMises Daily ArticleThe Journal of Libertarian Studies

Donald Livingston is a professor of philosophy at Emory University with an "expertise in the writings of David Hume." Livingston received his doctorate at Washington University in 1965. He has been a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow and is on the editorial board of Hume Studies and Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. Livingston is a constitutional scholar and an expositor of the compact nature of the Union, with its concomitant doctrines of corporate resistance, nullification, and secession. The doctrine coincides with federalism, states' rights, the principle of subsidiarity. His political philosophy embodies the decentralizing themes echoed by Europeans such as Althusius, David Hume, and Lord Acton and Americans such as Thomas Jefferson, Spencer Roane, Abel Parker Upshur, Robert Hayne and John Calhoun, which holds the community and family as the elemental units of political society. As Livingston affirms, the compact nature of the Union is opposed to the innovative nationalist theory of Joseph Story, Daniel Webster, and Abraham Lincoln which contends for an indivisible sovereignty, an inviolable aggregate people, and that the American Union created the States following the American War for Independence. This theory as articulated by Lincoln has been characterized by Livingston as "Lincoln's Spectacular Lie."

All Works

Southern Secession and Reconstruction

U.S. HistoryWar and Foreign PolicyPolitical Theory

You can’t take Southern secession seriously because of slavery. Illinois is worth pondering because Lincoln supported the laws against blacks because he did not think that free blacks could ever mix with whites. A superior position was assigned to the white race. Lincoln meant every word. He voted...
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The Rise of the Nation-State

War and Foreign PolicyPolitical Theory

Most of what is said about nation-states is not true. They are neither democracies nor republics nor nations nor states. There is no natural relationship between government and state. Men have been governed by many things that are not states. Throughout most of history man has lived without a state.
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A Moral Accounting of the Union and the Confederacy

U.S. HistoryWar and Foreign Policy

07/30/2014The Journal of Libertarian Studies
What it means to be an American, both for Americans and foreigners, is largely determined by one’s attitude toward the war to defeat Southern independence in 1861–65. More books have been written about this war than about any other event in secular history, and they continue to pour forth. It has...


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