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Ol' Choctaw
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Mon Mar 10, 2014 7:48 pm

Argue with the professor, not me.

I have heard it before.

I guess he didn’t.


Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power,
have the right to rise up
and shake off the existing government
and form a new one that suits them better.
This is a most valuable—a most sacred right—
a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world.
Nor is this right confined to cases in which
the whole people of an existing government
may choose to exercise it.
Any portion of such people that can, may revolutionize
and make their own so much of the territory as they inhabit.
More than this, a majority of any portion of such people
may revolutionize, putting down a minority,
intermingled with or near about them,
who may oppose their movement.
Such minority was precisely the case
of the Tories of our own revolution.
It is a quality of revolutions not to go
by old lines or old laws,
but to break up both and make new ones.

Abe Lincoln
:mdr:

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GraniteStater
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Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:12 pm

That's right & I agree with the proposition as a general case, in the abstract.

But the circumstances in 1860-61 did not justify this. Read the Declaration: "Prudence, indeed will dictate, and all experience hath shewn that people [will suffer wrongs for quite a while, while they are sufferable. Armed revolt should not be undertaken for] light & transient causes." - paraphrase

The South had not suffered any "long train of injuries and usurpations evincing a design to establish a tyranny."

To the contrary, the slaveholders had won an extremely favorable decision in Dred Scott and the Compromise of 1850 was very irksome to some in the North.

They practical effect of November of 1860 was that the last bulwark, the Senate, was now going to be very close to 2-1, North. They had lost their grip on the levers of national governance, which had served them for 80 years.

There was no justification: moral, legal, or constitutional. Starting a war because of your apprehensions about what an Administration and the Congress might do is wholly indefensible.

The facts and the law are against plaintiff. A good lawyer advises not to pursue suits when the law and facts are unfavorable or insupportable.
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]
-Daniel Webster

[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]
-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898

RULES
(A) When in doubt, agree with Ace.
(B) Pull my reins up sharply when needed, for I am a spirited thoroughbred and forget to turn at the post sometimes.


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Ol' Choctaw
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Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:29 pm

Different people have different thresholds for such things.

No one is going to say they were 100% right or justified in their reaction, just that it was no near so outrageous as you make it to be.

That quote was just to show Lincoln’s own hypocrisy , in the authors opinion.

So, what about the rest?

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GraniteStater
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Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:52 pm

You are entitled to your views.

Starting a war because you can't abide the results of an election - if that's not an outrage, then nothing is.

And remember - all to hold others in bondage.

The author is not taking many things in consideration, I would say - one being that one doesn't start shooting because one doesn't care for the verdict at the polls. Lincoln was very far from being a hypocrite - indeed, one may consider him as one of the Founders. A more thoughtful man would be hard to find.

I would also say that an informed study of the events of 1763-76 is essential to a proper understanding of how and why we are a nation. What they wished to enjoy, in their words, was "an ordered liberty under law." That's an important concept.

Oh, BTW, per someone else's observation above - I am a True Believer - in the Declaration and the principles it espouses. We're called patriots.
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]

-Daniel Webster



[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]

-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898



RULES

(A) When in doubt, agree with Ace.

(B) Pull my reins up sharply when needed, for I am a spirited thoroughbred and forget to turn at the post sometimes.





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fred zeppelin
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Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:00 am

GraniteStater wrote:
Oh, BTW, per someone else's observation above - I am a True Believer - in the Declaration and the principles it espouses. We're called patriots.


Folks can disagree with you about the historical perspective of secession - and on other issues you may feel strongly about - and still be patriots. I know you didn't intend to question the patriotism of folks who disagree with you. Just clarifyin....

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fred zeppelin
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Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:17 am

I came across an interesting article that discusses various "what if" outcomes had the South not seceded. More food for thought.

http://www.americanhistoryusa.com/great-mistake-why-did-south-secede-1860/

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GraniteStater
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Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:33 am

fred zeppelin wrote:Folks can disagree with you about the historical perspective of secession - and on other issues you may feel strongly about - and still be patriots. I know you didn't intend to question the patriotism of folks who disagree with you. Just clarifyin....


That was a response to clarify a certain assertion above. We cannot discuss present affairs, anyway.
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]

-Daniel Webster



[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]

-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898



RULES

(A) When in doubt, agree with Ace.

(B) Pull my reins up sharply when needed, for I am a spirited thoroughbred and forget to turn at the post sometimes.





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Ol' Choctaw
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Tue Mar 11, 2014 10:34 am

fred zeppelin wrote:I came across an interesting article that discusses various "what if" outcomes had the South not seceded. More food for thought.

http://www.americanhistoryusa.com/great-mistake-why-did-south-secede-1860/


It was a boneheaded move. The planters thought if they couldn’t expand and weren’t allowed to, they would lose power.

The fact is that there was no place to really expand to. The crops of most of the rest of the country were not crops that needed all that slave labor. Only hemp was a crop were they could be put to use and the country and the world did not need that much rope. For the time, cotton and sugar production had reached every area it could be grown. These same idiots found after the war that it was cheaper to pay the workers than it was to keep them as slaves.

Even had they found it necessary to secede it should have been handled through the Congress rather than by the methods they used.

Slavery would have gone into a slow decline. It might have lasted until 1910 but I doubt it. Once the economy of slavery was really explored they may have seen themselves it didn’t make much sense.

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Le Ricain
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Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:51 am

fred zeppelin wrote:I came across an interesting article that discusses various "what if" outcomes had the South not seceded. More food for thought.

http://www.americanhistoryusa.com/great-mistake-why-did-south-secede-1860/


An interesting and thought provoking essay.
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pgr
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Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:27 pm

Ol' Choctaw wrote:It was a boneheaded move. The planters thought if they couldn’t expand and weren’t allowed to, they would lose power.

The fact is that there was no place to really expand to. The crops of most of the rest of the country were not crops that needed all that slave labor. Only hemp was a crop were they could be put to use and the country and the world did not need that much rope. For the time, cotton and sugar production had reached every area it could be grown. These same idiots found after the war that it was cheaper to pay the workers than it was to keep them as slaves.

Even had they found it necessary to secede it should have been handled through the Congress rather than by the methods they used.

Slavery would have gone into a slow decline. It might have lasted until 1910 but I doubt it. Once the economy of slavery was really explored they may have seen themselves it didn’t make much sense.


Well with a name like the Fire-Eaters we can't really assume that the secession decision was calmly rationally thought out...

khbynum
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Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:40 pm

"South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum."

James L. Petigru, 1860, commenting on South Carolina's secession

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Ol' Choctaw
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Thu Jun 19, 2014 5:57 pm

I am sorry but if you believe there is no right of states to secede you have little to no understanding of the founding documents and what was the intent of the US Constitution. It should be obvious even from simple contract law.

The States were the founders of the Federal government and it was only their agent. Ever hear of an employee with the right to shoot the owners. The states fully had every right to withdraw from a Union that did not serve their interests. They were the principals of a contract and had every right to terminate ties with their agent. In order to remove any doubt the states of New York, Rode Island, and Virginia reserved those right within theirs statutes when ratifying the constitution.

All the founding fathers spoke of the rights of secession and even Lincoln did so.

Lincoln in making war on the States committed treason. He subverted the constitution and violated all 10 amendments in the bill of rights.

I know what you were taught in school but it just is not so. The winners write the histories.

Further, slavery was not the issue that brought it all to a head. It was tariffs. Lincoln would never have gone to war to end slavery. He didn’t want it ended. He only wished it to be contained where it already existed, leaving the rest of the country for white men.

The founders warned of strong government and powerful central government depriving the states and the people of their rights. This is the very sort of government Lincoln put in place. It stands the Construction on it head.

It is not the States who only have enumerated right under the constitution. It is the Federal government and them alone which are limited in powers. Anyone see a section allowing them to stop states from going their own way?

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tripax
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Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:02 pm

The civil war wasn't the first civil war in the world, it wasn't even the first civil war in the United States. How do we know which rebellions are legal and which aren't? What are the examples of countries (since Westphalia) where there is a right of a region to unilaterally succeed (by unilaterally, I mean to succeed without a referendum of a body larger than the country)? Are there any examples where that right is granted (a state succeeds) by the country without a war or a national vote?

khbynum
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Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:07 pm

Greetings, Ol' Choctaw. I hope your health problems have resolved for the best. I'm not sure it's a good idea to reopen this old thread, but I'm glad to see you back.

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havi
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Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:17 pm

Please sirs dont dig this corps out of the grave.. we all have different opinions and i know we all respect that and let s leave it there...

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tripax
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Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:20 pm

Haha, sorry. I didn't mean to offend, or rub salt on any wounds, or anything like that. Ol' Choctaw, please feel free to PM me, if you would like to answer my question.

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Ol' Choctaw
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Fri Jun 20, 2014 3:04 pm

tripax wrote:Haha, sorry. I didn't mean to offend, or rub salt on any wounds, or anything like that. Ol' Choctaw, please feel free to PM me, if you would like to answer my question.



Sorry tripax but I fail to see how your question relates to the topic at hand.

In the course of this argument about the rights of secession several of us have even had our patriotism called into question for not agreeing with Lincolns policies.

I believe that is a mistaken argument lacking in a full understanding of the rights of states in American Government which has given rise to a powerful centralized government, never intended by our founding principals.

This may go some way in illustrating its early acceptance in American political thought:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McBY9ZAeNiM

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tripax
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Fri Jun 20, 2014 4:28 pm

Thanks. Hope you are feeling better.

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GraniteStater
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Sat Aug 16, 2014 4:43 pm

Ol' Choctaw wrote:Sorry tripax but I fail to see how your question relates to the topic at hand.

In the course of this argument about the rights of secession several of us have even had our patriotism called into question for not agreeing with Lincolns policies.

I believe that is a mistaken argument lacking in a full understanding of the rights of states in American Government which has given rise to a powerful centralized government, never intended by our founding principals.

This may go some way in illustrating its early acceptance in American political thought:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McBY9ZAeNiM


I have never questioned your patriotism, my dear O'C. I have questioned your understanding of the meaning of the Union, especially before and during the late disagreement between the States, which is a different matter.

The rise of a centralized Federal government is much more a twentieth century and current issue, which is not germane in this forum.

And states, any state, US or otherwise, have no rights. Individuals have rights. States and governments have powers, lawful ones, we hope.

Per the central issue of the thread - as a lawyer says, "asked and answered." South Carolina didn't like the results of an election. The local powers in the State thought they could withdraw from the Union and erect a foreign government on the soil of the US. They were mistaken, in every single aspect and dimension. The present Constitution was ordained and established by the people of the United States, all of them, by the nation. There is no mechanism under that Constitution to withdraw from the Union unilaterally, - indeed, the proscription against any State entering into any treaty, alliance or confederation makes the argument in and of itself. To assert that a State may leave the Union of its own accord and then enter into such agreements, is, to my mind, disingenuous at best.

I cannot see how any honest and fair minded reading of Lincoln's First Inaugural Address can fail to persuade. Personally, I am in awe of a mind that recapitulated the history, meaning and import of the Founding and its embodiment in the Constitution in a handful of sentences succintly, dispositively, and eloquently.
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]

-Daniel Webster



[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]

-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898



RULES

(A) When in doubt, agree with Ace.

(B) Pull my reins up sharply when needed, for I am a spirited thoroughbred and forget to turn at the post sometimes.





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khbynum
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Sun Aug 17, 2014 4:28 am

Oh, Saints preserve us, here we go again. Do you really think anyone here still takes you seriously?

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Sun Aug 17, 2014 4:38 am

Do not feed the troll.

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Ol' Choctaw
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Sun Aug 17, 2014 9:05 pm

GraniteStater wrote:I have never questioned your patriotism, my dear O'C. I have questioned your understanding of the meaning of the Union, especially before and during the late disagreement between the States, which is a different matter.

The rise of a centralized Federal government is much more a twentieth century and current issue, which is not germane in this forum.

And states, any state, US or otherwise, have no rights. Individuals have rights. States and governments have powers, lawful ones, we hope.

Per the central issue of the thread - as a lawyer says, "asked and answered." South Carolina didn't like the results of an election. The local powers in the State thought they could withdraw from the Union and erect a foreign government on the soil of the US. They were mistaken, in every single aspect and dimension. The present Constitution was ordained and established by the people of the United States, all of them, by the nation. There is no mechanism under that Constitution to withdraw from the Union unilaterally, - indeed, the proscription against any State entering into any treaty, alliance or confederation makes the argument in and of itself. To assert that a State may leave the Union of its own accord and then enter into such agreements, is, to my mind, disingenuous at best.

I cannot see how any honest and fair minded reading of Lincoln's First Inaugural Address can fail to persuade. Personally, I am in awe of a mind that recapitulated the history, meaning and import of the Founding and its embodiment in the Constitution in a handful of sentences succintly, dispositively, and eloquently.


As I am also in awe of your mind set, thought while I once thought people had a better understanding of the founding and the constitution to believe what Lincoln did was right, I now find I am in error.

Most seem to understand the constitution about as well as they are, their reported to grasp geography. Very badly.

We can agree to disagree on this, I am sure, but let me point out a few things about the argument.

The country and all of the states were formed under natural rights. There is no prevision to hold people or states against their will. The absence of any prohibition to secession is enough to assume its existence as a right and power of the several states.

South Carolina, and any other state at any time to call a convention to decide their future course in or out of the union. They possessed all of the rights or powers they did not delegate to their agent, the federal central government under the constitution. Constitutional government was an experiment. Leaving the experiment they would revert to their independent status and newer states would have the same option. The 10 amendment is just for that purpose.

Even if you choose not to see it there, the right revolution is generally recognized. Even that however does not allow the federal government to intervene. That is strictly handled by the constitution also. The executive, the President, can only send troops or intervene in a state if it is requested by the legislature or the governor if the legislature is not in session.

In Lincoln’s first inaugural address he did attempt to placate southern fears but what had gone before had sealed their resolve before that point. The tariff would have caused the same result as ending slavery in the territories anyway.

His use of the preamble of the Constitution was only a political gimmick. The logic of the argument could have as easily been that a more perfect union did allow them to secede and that is why it was more perfect. The We The People also referred to the people of the several states.

Regardless of how stupid the deep south states were regarding slavery, many of the other states had violated their responsibilities by nullifying the return of runaway slaves, thus violating the terms of the constitution.

If Lincoln had actually wanted to avoid the crises he could have urged acceptance of one of the compromise plans or treating with the representatives of the seven deep south states sent to Washington D.C. in February.

The issue of secession was not settled by the war. It was made a moot point by going to war with the CSA. Their firing on the federal fort was the excuse for war. Otherwise making war on a state or states is the only definition given in the constitution for treason. Public opinion was strongly in favor of letting the south go and most people understood it was a not unreasonable course. Despite the very partisan nature of the press of the time, according to Howard Cecil Perkins, in Northern Editorials on Secession, there was a clear majority of news papers who felt the same, up until 15 Apr. 1861. From that point it was supporting the war and the right or wrong of the matter was left behind.

Now, the fact that they seceded over slavery I find disgraceful. It was an issue that should have been solved at least 60 years previously. There should have been some prevision stating anyone born in any state was free. They should have stuck to the founding principals rather than making excuses and apologies.

This is a philosophical difference only. No cause for extreme upset on either side.

GraniteStater’s view is the one taught in most public schools. It is the government version. It just does not follow that it is the truth of how the Constitution should be read or interpreted. It is just the way it is most beneficial to the government to interpret it.

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Mon Aug 18, 2014 2:33 am

Article I. Section 10. "No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation" etc. How are we to interpret that? I'm pretty sure the Founders meant it to refer to States making separate arrangements with other nations. So, perhaps, South Carolina had a right to secede, but the other states had no right to join her in a "Confederation"? Except, they all seceded separately and only formed a Confederation afterwards. Try as I might, this is as close as I can come to any Constitutional justification for the forcible repression of the seceding states. Others obviously disagree.

Those nasty rebels did seize Federal property. The logical course would be to establish diplomatic relations with them and pursue reparations through such channels. They did fire on Ft. Sumter, to them a foreign military enclave in their territory, which the Federals had tried to reinforce. I know these arguments sound simplistic to some, but it really was simple. Just don't fight over it. Lincoln could have made that happen and didn't.

It would be fascinating (and possibly tragic, depending on who was in the White House at the time) to see a State try to secede now. Texas keeps threatening, but California is more likely. The Constitution is still the same as far as secession is concerned. That is, it still doesn't say you can't. Now, there's a real what-if.

EDIT: Wait, hold on, somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Arkansas seceded after the Confederacy was formed, then joined it, so under the Constitution it was legal to attack them. Right? No, I'm not making fun of a national tragedy, just trying to point out how unnecessary the whole thing was. In my opinion.

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tripax
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Mon Aug 18, 2014 5:33 am

If this is going to be a thread again, I want to point to my question again. I watched the youtube video Ol' Choctaw posted - actually I had to watch it a few times it was so bad - and it really didn't address my question at all. Just to state it again, why do people think that there should be a unilateral right to seceded? I understand that if it isn't in the constitution then we look at precedent. I don't know what sort of federal legal decisions were made about those involved in previous rebellions in the US (Whiskey Rebellion) or in the UK (if I understand, US Law allows for precedents in UK Law, especially in the early days) - should we believe such a right existed based on anything done at this level? Is there a precedent of lawful unilateral succession? For that matter, has it happened since?

If there wasn't a precedent, maybe the argument turns to natural law. Or maybe it relies on the Constitution. The Constitution is nice and short, I've read it. Lincoln, Douglas, and many others are better experts on natural and Constitutional Law than you or I (and much better experts than Dr. DiLorenzo, who, again, was terrible) and I am occasionally rereading these - for what it is worse.

So the answer I am looking for should be probably follow one of the following:
1) The Supreme Court said such and such about previous rebellion(s) X and it allowed for succession in certain cases (or even did not disallow for future succession).
2) British Courts previously said such and such about previous rebellions and it allowed for succession in certain cases (or even did not disallow for future succession).
3) Unilateral revolutions of X groups in Y countries between 1648 and 1860 and were recognized by other countries. These examples are more relevant than counterexamples because of Z.
4) The word of the Constitution is what is relevant here, and the Constitution allows for succession.
5) There was no precedent and no conclusive constitutional position on succession so we turn to natural law.
or
6) Precedent doesn't matter, only natural law.

I am very curious if people who believe in a right to succeed base such a belief on 1, 2, or 3? Which one(s)? Why?

If 4, 5, or 6 is preferred, I'd like to know that, too.

I don't mean to argue for or against anything here, I'm just curious about this one question, why might people believe in a right to succeed for US States in 1860?

Thanks in advance.

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Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:11 am

Ol' Choctaw wrote:GraniteStater’s view is the one taught in most public schools. It is the government version. It just does not follow that it is the truth of how the Constitution should be read or interpreted. It is just the way it is most beneficial to the government to interpret it.


I'm sorry Ol' Choctaw, but I don't accept your interpretation of the right to separate. (Or that your "interpretation" of the constitution is better than "the government's."

The tenth amendment does not authorize secession. Even in the context of its own logic, it doesn't work because article 1 section 10 forbids states to take the action that the southern states took.

"No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation;..." (the attributes of an independent power)

"No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War..."

These prohibitions effectively bar secession from the union.

We should also add from article 8 of section 1,

"To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."

This authorities the Federal Government to maintain its-self. Allowing unilateral nullification of Federal Authority (which is what SC attempted to do) would clearly render the Union inoperative.

Lincoln was right in pointing out that the various states were always in perpetual Union. They were either Colonies of the United Kingdom, United States in rebellion, united under the articles of confederation, and then under the constitution. There is no legal claim for any state to revert to its independent status, because none of the Thirteen Colonies were ever individually independent. Add to that the fact that the states of Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Missouri were created out of territory administered by the Federal Government weakens even further the argument that the states of the confederacy were "reverting" to a natural independent state.

One may well consider that there is a "natural right" to rebellion, but perpetual rebellion would result in the chaos of a state of nature, which governments exist to end. This means that the right only exists in the case of severe misgovernment, which was not the case in 1860.

Could secession have been legal? If the states that formed the CSA had presented a bill of separation and independence to the US congress, and had it passed and signed into law, then yes. (The current example would be the impending Scottish referendum on independence from the UK, that was recognized as an official process by London)

This is not the case. The south chose independence by a unilateral action denied to it by the US Constitution, and from that point war was inevitable.

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GraniteStater
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Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:45 am

Furthermore, I believe someone above questioned one's understanding of contracts.

First, the US Constitution is not a contract among the States. "We, the people of the United States..." are the opening words of the document - and the Preamble is just as much law as is the rest of the Constitution.

Second, no one party to a contract may lawfully abrogate and terminate the contract, as Lincoln reminds us in his Address of 4 March 1861.

Lincoln settled the matter, really. His FIA is not 'propaganda', it is an historical record, the contents of which all agree upon. IMHO, his views are dispositive - indeed, it might be said that Lincoln is one of the Founders, the Founder who, eighty years after the Founding, understood the Founding better than the participants therein.

So, yes, I do indeed question whether those who hold that SC or any other State could lawfully defy the authority of the US have a complete grasp of the principles, circumstances and conditions of the Founding.

Much like some present day participants in public life.
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]

-Daniel Webster



[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]

-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898



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Ol' Choctaw
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Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:11 am

khbynum wrote:Article I. Section 10. "No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation" etc. How are we to interpret that? I'm pretty sure the Founders meant it to refer to States making separate arrangements with other nations. So, perhaps, South Carolina had a right to secede, but the other states had no right to join her in a "Confederation"? Except, they all seceded separately and only formed a Confederation afterwards. Try as I might, this is as close as I can come to any Constitutional justification for the forcible repression of the seceding states. Others obviously disagree.

Those nasty rebels did seize Federal property. The logical course would be to establish diplomatic relations with them and pursue reparations through such channels. They did fire on Ft. Sumter, to them a foreign military enclave in their territory, which the Federals had tried to reinforce. I know these arguments sound simplistic to some, but it really was simple. Just don't fight over it. Lincoln could have made that happen and didn't.

It would be fascinating (and possibly tragic, depending on who was in the White House at the time) to see a State try to secede now. Texas keeps threatening, but California is more likely. The Constitution is still the same as far as secession is concerned. That is, it still doesn't say you can't. Now, there's a real what-if.

EDIT: Wait, hold on, somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Arkansas seceded after the Confederacy was formed, then joined it, so under the Constitution it was legal to attack them. Right? No, I'm not making fun of a national tragedy, just trying to point out how unnecessary the whole thing was. In my opinion.



The States on secession from the union reverted to independent countries. None of the prohibitions contained in the constitution would have applied.

As to seizure of federal property, The representatives sent to Washington were authorized to pay of any property and their portion of the national debt. The taking of the property was seen as eminent domain. Since they were no longer a part of the union, federal property was seen as a foreign country having land in theirs. Like having a British fort in New York harbor, it was just unacceptable.


tripax wrote:If this is going to be a thread again, I want to point to my question again. I watched the youtube video Ol' Choctaw posted - actually I had to watch it a few times it was so bad - and it really didn't address my question at all. Just to state it again, why do people think that there should be a unilateral right to seceded? I understand that if it isn't in the constitution then we look at precedent. I don't know what sort of federal legal decisions were made about those involved in previous rebellions in the US (Whiskey Rebellion) or in the UK (if I understand, US Law allows for precedents in UK Law, especially in the early days) - should we believe such a right existed based on anything done at this level? Is there a precedent of lawful unilateral succession? For that matter, has it happened since?

If there wasn't a precedent, maybe the argument turns to natural law. Or maybe it relies on the Constitution. The Constitution is nice and short, I've read it. Lincoln, Douglas, and many others are better experts on natural and Constitutional Law than you or I (and much better experts than Dr. DiLorenzo, who, again, was terrible) and I am occasionally rereading these - for what it is worse.

So the answer I am looking for should be probably follow one of the following:
1) The Supreme Court said such and such about previous rebellion(s) X and it allowed for succession in certain cases (or even did not disallow for future succession).
2) British Courts previously said such and such about previous rebellions and it allowed for succession in certain cases (or even did not disallow for future succession).
3) Unilateral revolutions of X groups in Y countries between 1648 and 1860 and were recognized by other countries. These examples are more relevant than counterexamples because of Z.
4) The word of the Constitution is what is relevant here, and the Constitution allows for succession.
5) There was no precedent and no conclusive constitutional position on succession so we turn to natural law.
or
6) Precedent doesn't matter, only natural law.

I am very curious if people who believe in a right to succeed base such a belief on 1, 2, or 3? Which one(s)? Why?

If 4, 5, or 6 is preferred, I'd like to know that, too.

I don't mean to argue for or against anything here, I'm just curious about this one question, why might people believe in a right to succeed for US States in 1860?

Thanks in advance.


I am not sure I fully understand you questions. There were two main references to the early constitution. Both were titled “A view to the Constitution”. Both held that secession as legal, even though they presented opposing view points. William Rawle wrote the second as a book in response to the first which was an appendix to Blackstone’s Commentaries by St. George Tucker.

The Supreme Court was not seen, and never intended, to have final say on matters of constitutionality.
That would mean that the federal government would have final say on what their powers were which the founders would have found tyrannical and unacceptable.

There are several tracts on the point you bring up but I can’t remember them off the top of my head.

Lincoln was certainly no constitutional scholar. It is doubtful that he ever read the Federalist papers or related works. He may have had Tucker’s book but if he read that particular part is hard to say. Nothing he did would indicate he did.

The Constitution outlines the limits of federal power. The bill of rights, the 10th amendment gives to the states, all other powers.(4)
Most people of the time tended to site the Declaration of Independence when the matter of secession came up. That would most assuredly be Natural Law.(5) and (6).

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Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:33 am

pgr wrote:I'm sorry Ol' Choctaw, but I don't accept your interpretation of the right to separate. (Or that your "interpretation" of the constitution is better than "the government's."

The tenth amendment does not authorize secession. Even in the context of its own logic, it doesn't work because article 1 section 10 forbids states to take the action that the southern states took.

"No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation;..." (the attributes of an independent power)

"No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War..."

These prohibitions effectively bar secession from the union.

We should also add from article 8 of section 1,

"To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."

This authorities the Federal Government to maintain its-self. Allowing unilateral nullification of Federal Authority (which is what SC attempted to do) would clearly render the Union inoperative.

Lincoln was right in pointing out that the various states were always in perpetual Union. They were either Colonies of the United Kingdom, United States in rebellion, united under the articles of confederation, and then under the constitution. There is no legal claim for any state to revert to its independent status, because none of the Thirteen Colonies were ever individually independent. Add to that the fact that the states of Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Missouri were created out of territory administered by the Federal Government weakens even further the argument that the states of the confederacy were "reverting" to a natural independent state.

One may well consider that there is a "natural right" to rebellion, but perpetual rebellion would result in the chaos of a state of nature, which governments exist to end. This means that the right only exists in the case of severe misgovernment, which was not the case in 1860.

Could secession have been legal? If the states that formed the CSA had presented a bill of separation and independence to the US congress, and had it passed and signed into law, then yes. (The current example would be the impending Scottish referendum on independence from the UK, that was recognized as an official process by London)

This is not the case. The south chose independence by a unilateral action denied to it by the US Constitution, and from that point war was inevitable.


GraniteStater wrote:Furthermore, I believe someone above questioned one's understanding of contracts.

First, the US Constitution is not a contract among the States. "We, the people of the United States..." are the opening words of the document - and the Preamble is just as much law as is the rest of the Constitution.

Second, no one party to a contract may lawfully abrogate and terminate the contract, as Lincoln reminds us in his Address of 4 March 1861.

Lincoln settled the matter, really. His FIA is not 'propaganda', it is an historical record, the contents of which all agree upon. IMHO, his views are dispositive - indeed, it might be said that Lincoln is one of the Founders, the Founder who, eighty years after the Founding, understood the Founding better than the participants therein.

So, yes, I do indeed question whether those who hold that SC or any other State could lawfully defy the authority of the US have a complete grasp of the principles, circumstances and conditions of the Founding.

Much like some present day participants in public life.



Compact or Treaty, if one party violates the terms of the agreement then the document, at least to them, is null and void. How can one party who didn’t fulfill his obligation hold the second party to a contract?

The southern states saw that violation in regards to the nullification of the constitutional provision to have runaway slaves returned.

I don’t disagree on the motives of the states who nullified it and I don’t agree with the south for seceding, but with the principal for doing so, I think it reasonable to see the point, as did most people in the country at the time.

Even if you assume it is a right to revolution, it still doesn’t give the central government authority to intervene.

The Republican argument is weakest on the We the People and holding that the states were never independent.

The preamble has no bearing on the document, and understanding what We the People meant is also a shortcoming. (it was the people of the various states)

The treaty of Paris was made with the various states, who were united in their actions, not with the United States of America.


http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/paris.asp (note Article 1: )


Right of Revolution, Madison’s later anti-secessionist view.
http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/v1ch3s14.html

Lincoln was not right in his assertion. Otherwise the States would not need to ratify the agreement but would have no say in the matter and the Federalist papers and Anti-Federalist papers would never need to have been written.

I would agree with GraniteStater’s view that Lincoln can be seen as a second founder, just not of the same type of republic that the founders gave us. We had a weak federal structure with limited powers, only the ones given it by the constitution. From that point forward it has been a Federal Government that decides what powers it, it’s self has, practically without limits.

Perhaps being of Native American origin gives one a different perspective on how the government operates, what powers it was granted, and the powers it says it has.

The government will always claim to be right in what it does. Claim it has the granted authority, and claim its interpretation is the only way to see things, even when it is the opposite of how it was presented in its original context.

I would think that in order to preserve your own freedoms and liberties you would take a much more critical look at how it behaves and what it does.

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Mon Aug 18, 2014 4:54 pm

The US Constitution is not a treaty, nor a compact among completely sovereign entities, not a contract of any kind.

BTW, I'm part Penobscot myself, if that has any possible bearing on the discussion.

The ratification of the USC by the several States was an instrumentality, as I have mentioned above - they could have had a national plebiscite, I suppose. Also, if I read you correctly, you seem to think that the Preamble is just a nice-to-have feelgood piece of superfluous verbiage. This view is profoundly mistaken. The preamble states the source of sovereignty and authority (We, the People of the US - that means all of them, as one nation, not thirteen polities agreeing for convenience), and enumerates the purposes for which the USC was established. The first one is a more perfect Union. As Lincoln correctly asserts in his FIA, if the Union could be dissolved unilaterally by any State at any time, it would have lost the vital element of perpetuity.

Lincoln is right. The attempt to secede and its so-called justifications, was, and is, wrong - in every single way conceivable.

Do the homework. Read the FIA. Read the antecedent documents. Then refute Lincoln and his understanding - if one can.

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Mon Aug 18, 2014 6:17 pm

Ol' Choctaw wrote:
The treaty of Paris was made with the various states, who were united in their actions, not with the United States of America.


Sorry, the Treaty of Paris of 1783 was between Great Britain and the United States of America, as you can see from its first line. The treaty was ratified by Congress in 1784 and not by the individual legislatures. The US states were not independent states at this time.

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/paris.asp
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