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State soverignty

Discussion in 'Civil War History - Secession and Politics' started by Unregistered, Oct 24, 2011.

  1. NedBaldwin

    NedBaldwin 1st Lieutenant

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    - Senator Charles Sumner, 1865
     

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  3. NedBaldwin

    NedBaldwin 1st Lieutenant

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    -- Justice Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833
     
  4. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l Member of the Year

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    Hugh,

    One cannot be in denial if the fact in question is simply not correct. You have been given evidence in prior posts in the form of quotes and Supreme Court rulings that the States did NOT ratifiy the constitution. It appears it is you who seems to be in denial over this already proven historical fact.

    Sincerely,
    Unionblue
     
  5. ole

    ole Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

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    Agreed. The Constitution was not to ratified by state legislatures, but by the people of each state in convention assembled.
     
  6. OpnCoronet

    OpnCoronet Captain

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    Whatever sovereignty retained by the states consisted of, it did not include the right of unilateral(unencumbered) secession. On that both James Madison and Patrick Henry were in agreement.
     
  7. Hugh Damright

    Hugh Damright Corporal

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    Quoting the radical Charles Sumner leaves me laughing out loud. I could not be less moved.

    What was Story talking about? He said:

    The strongest assurances? The "Committee of Detail" draft of the Preamble began "We the People of the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island..." and so on, but since it was "a voluntary Union of separate, sovereign States", and it wasn't given that every State would join, it wasn't proper to list them all, and so the draft that came out of the "Committee on Style and Arrangements" read "We the People of the United States". There was no intent for the Preamble to subvert the foundation of government from federal to national. Where are Story's strongest assurances to the contrary?

    [edit]There seems to be a pattern of selective quoting on this forum ... if Madison said that the States cannot secede at will then that is held up as the final word ... but then if Madison and Jefferson said that the US Constitution is a compact between the States, then we select Story as having the final word.
     
  8. ole

    ole Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

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    I'm so glad we have members more authoritative than Joseph Story.
     
  9. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brigadier General Moderator Silver Patron Forum Host

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    Darn. You beat me to it. And if you can get Madison and Henry to agree.....(I'm in the 1770 range right now in 8th grade history, so I'm knee deep in Henry. :smile:)
     
  10. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l Member of the Year

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    Hugh,

    We can only repeat the obvious, stated, historical facts that have been recorded numerous times. The States did NOT ratify the Constitution. There is simply too much in the way of historical rulings and sources that state such. Simply claiming they did does not change that fact.

    Sincerely,
    Unionblue
     
  11. NedBaldwin

    NedBaldwin 1st Lieutenant

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    Still "we the people", so not sure what you are trying to show here.

    What are you quoting?
     
  12. Hugh Damright

    Hugh Damright Corporal

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    That one of of the parties to the US Constitution is we the people of Virginia, which is to say the State of Virginia ... that Virginia ratified the US Constitution.

    Sorry, that was a "cut and paste" and I omitted the source ... I was quoting a book put out in the 1960's called We the States, put out by the Virginia Commission on Constitutional Government ... http://209.157.64.201/focus/f-news/2173721/posts?page=7
     
  13. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l Member of the Year

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    Hugh,

    The plain fact of the matter was that the framers of the Constitution deliberately did not want the State legislatures, i.e. the "States," to vote yes or no on the new Constitution.

    Instead, the method of state "conventions" were called and delegates to these conventions were given the widest lattitude of backgrounds and station, without regard to property rights and other restrictions on voting.

    One of the best websites I have found that describes the ratification process via conventions is at the following:

    The Ratification of the Constitution.
    http://teachingamericanhistory.org/ratification/

    For actual state convention reports, go to the following site:

    The Debates in the Several State Conventions...
    http://www.constitution.org/elliot.htm

    And for a bonus, this site:

    The Ratification of the Constitution (National Archives).
    http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/constitution-day/ratification.html

    Unionblue
     
  14. ExNavyPilot

    ExNavyPilot 2nd Lieutenant

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    Hugh,

    I wasn't sure what the Virginia Commission on Constitutional Government was (I'm living in Va now but grew up out west) so I looked it up. This "commission" appears to have been not only a states rights advocacy group but also an anti-Civil Rights group; it advocated retaining literacy tests for voting, poll taxes, denial of goods, services and facilities on basis of race, etc, all as "unconstitutional' restrictions.
    (see http://www.apstudent.com/ushistory/docs1951/crlegal.htm for one of their arguments against the Civil Rights Act of 1963.)
    The chairman of the commission (evidently not an official government group) was a noted segregationist and advocate for the states' rights doctrine of interposition. In 1963 he submitted an article to the Saturday Evening Post in which he stated "the Negro race, as a race, is in fact an inferior race." Are you sure you want to use this sort of group as a source for your argument?

    I'm sure know what the Supreme Court is, and the Supreme Court does NOT support the Compact theory. The quote below is from Wikipedia, but if you use the links and read the actual court rulings, you'll see that it's accurate:

    "The United States Supreme Court has rejected the idea that the Constitution is a compact among the states. Rather, the Court has stated that the Constitution was established directly by the people of the United States, not by the states.

    In one of the Supreme Court's first significant decisions, Chisholm v. Georgia, 2 U.S. (2 Dall.) 419 (1793), Chief Justice John Jay stated that the Constitution was established directly by the people. Jay noted the language of the Preamble of the Constitution, which says that the Constitution was ordained and established by "We the people," and stated: "Here we see the people acting as sovereigns of the whole country, and, in the language of sovereignty, establishing a Constitution by which it was their will that the State governments should be bound."

    In Martin v. Hunter's Lessee, 14 U.S. (1 Wheat.) 304 (1816), the Supreme Court explicitly rejected the idea that the Constitution is a compact among the states, stating: "The Constitution of the United States was ordained and established not by the States in their sovereign capacities, but emphatically, as the preamble of the Constitution declares, by 'the people of the United States.'" The Court contrasted the earlier Articles of Confederation with the Constitution, characterizing the Articles of Confederation as a compact among states, while stating that the Constitution was established not by the states, but by the people.

    Likewise, in McCulloch v. Maryland, 17 U.S. (4 Wheat.) 316 (1819), the Supreme Court stated that the federal Constitution proceeded directly from the people, and was not created by the states. The Court stated that the Constitution was binding on the states and could not be negated by the states. The Court again contrasted the Articles of Confederation, which was established by the states, to the Constitution, which was established by the people.

    After the Civil War, in Texas v. White, 74 U.S. (7 Wall.) 700 (1869), a case discussing the legal status of the southern states that had attempted to secede, the Supreme Court stated that the union was not merely a compact among states; rather, the union was "something more than a compact.""

    Now for me, Hugh, I'd rather use Supreme Court rulings as justification for my argument than segregationist, nullificationist junk from a bigoted organization.
     
  15. OpnCoronet

    OpnCoronet Captain

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    The Committee merely made more explicit, what the original text said; that all the people of all the individual states, were the ones who were ordaining and establishing the Constitution of the United States of America, i.e., not the individual states.
     
  16. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l Member of the Year

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    ExNavyPilot,

    I am pretty sure that Hugh may have thought he was posting an earlier article on the Virginia Convention which dealt with ratifying the US Constitution vice the one he posted. I almost made the same mistake when I was hunting sites to back up my view. :smile:

    Sincerely,
    Unionblue
     
  17. Hugh Damright

    Hugh Damright Corporal

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    I must have over 40 publications from that Commission, and I cannot seem to recall any of them advocating segregation or anything of that nature, but they did support the right to segregation and so on. I have found these publications to present constitutional arguments which are solid and enlightening.
     
    If you have a copy of that article, I'd like to read it. I tried to find it, but everyone quotes those twelve words, and nobody puts them in context ... I'd like to know more about what he was saying and why he was saying it.

    Regardless, you found part of one sentence from one article which wasn't even written by the Commission and conclude that the Commission's publications were "segregationist, nullificationist junk from a bigoted organization". I have read over 40 of their publications, and my recollection is that the Commission refrained from taking sides with the social issues, that their purpose and function was to address the constitutionality of the issues of that day.
     
    Yes ... I have taken that book off my shelf and set it on my desk here ... it's titled "Civil Rights and Legal Wrongs". I always thought it was a good read. I like the way it makes a distinction between the goal of legislation and the way that goal is reached, and asserts that the end doesn't justify the means in our constituted frame of government.

    It appears to me that there was enough opposition to the 1963 Civil Rights Bill that in October a substitute Bill was introduced. The Virginia Commission on Constitutional Government opposed this Bill as well, putting out another publication ("Civil Rights and Federal Powers"). I am noticing that the Preface to this book says:

    "This Commission is not concerned with race relations as such; this is not our function. We are gravely concerned, however, with State and Federal relations, and with the growing centralization of political powers in Federal hands. In offering this commentary, we have therefore not attempted to express a view on whether the bill is wise, or useful, or likely to have a salutary effect. We have asked only, "Is the bill constitutional?" -We are convinced it is not."

    The only point I was trying to make was that the Preamble began "We the People of the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island ..." and so on, and when it was changed to "We the People of the United States", there is no record of any debate where the intent was to alter the foundation of government into a consolidation, but rather I have read that the change was necessary because it wasn't given that all thirteen States would join. Do you have other information?

    There are SCOTUS cases which said the US Constitution was not a compact, but it appears that there are also cases where the SCOTUS said that it is a compact and that the parties to the compact are the States:

    CHISHOLM v. STATE OF GA., 2 U.S. 419 (1793) "whether Georgia has not, by being a party to the national compact, consented"

    DRED SCOTT v. SANDFORD, 60 U.S. 393 (1856) (consenting opinion) "resulting from the nature of the Federal Constitution, which is a federal compact among the States"

    JACKSON v. THE MAGNOLIA, 61 U.S. 296 (1857) "recognised in the jurisprudence of all the States that were parties to the Federal compact"
     
  18. ExNavyPilot

    ExNavyPilot 2nd Lieutenant

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    Hugh,

    You state "I must have over 40 publications from that Commission, and I cannot seem to recall any of them advocating segregation or anything of that nature, but they did support the right to segregation and so on." That there, in my mind, makes the Commission a segregationist organization, or at least the moral equivalent of one. (It's kind of like saying someone is not a pedophile himself but supports the right for others to be pedophiles.) The Commission takes pains to imply it isn't racist, then it goes on to argue extreme personal liberty and states rights bases for being against the Civil Rights Act: literacy tests should be allowed because the federal government shouldn't interfere in how a state conducts its elections; segregated schools should be allowed because the federal government shouldn't be able to tell the state in which schools it should put its children; personal discrimination should be allowed by shopkeepers, hotel owners, restauranteurs, etc., on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin because the federal government shouldn't tell people how to behave on ANY basis.

    When I quote the Chairman of the Commission as writing "the Negro race, as a race, is in fact an inferior race," you say "but everyone quotes those twelve words, and nobody puts them in context." What sort of context could justify such a statement? If he made that claim, and didn't use those words in some sort of counterargument against racism, then he is surely a bigot. And the reason the Saturday Evening Post didn't publish that article is because that statement reflected the chairman's meaning.

    It's obvious you and I aren't going to see eye to eye on this issue. I'll call a unilateral halt to my rebutals of your arguments.
     
  19. OpnCoronet

    OpnCoronet Captain

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    Clearly, the Constitution was ordained and established for and by The People of all the United States of America.
     
  20. Hugh Damright

    Hugh Damright Corporal

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    I don't understand this need to phrase it as if it was a consolidation. And it seems a bit awkward ... for instance, what percentage of "the people of all the United States" had to ratify it before it took effect? It seems easy to say that the US Constitution was ratified by the States, and that once nine States ratified it it became binding in those nine States. How do you phrase this without using the word "State"?
     
  21. trice

    trice Major

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    That quote is from an article that had been submitted to the Saturday Evening Post for publication. The title proposed by Kilpatrick was "The Hell He Is Equal" and it was being edited by Thomas B. Congdon, Jr. when the KKK dynamited the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, blowing four young girls (ages 11, 14, 14 and 14) to smithereens on a Sunday morning in 1963. Twenty-two other people were injured.

    The magazine pulled the article as a result. Congdon wrote to Kilptarick: "Bad taste, in the extreme, and, in fact, inflammatory". That's probably why you didn't find it: the article was never published. You might find it in his papers, which are at the Special Collections of the University of Virginia Library.

    The article rips along on the premise that Southern discrimination against Negroes is based on factual truth instead of vague prejudices: they are an inferior race according to Kilpatrick. That is him, BTW: he says that by the standards of Western civilization "the Negro race, as a race, is in fact an inferior race". Towards the end, after comparing Negro accomplishments to those of other races in critical and insulting terms, he says: "And where is the Negro in this human parade? There are respected Negro teachers, lawyers, doctors, writers. Of course there are. But in general terms where is the Negro to be found? Why sir, he is still carrying the hod. He is still digging the ditch. He is down at the gin mill shooting craps. He is lying limp in the middle of the sidewalk, crying that he is equal. Like Hell he is equal."

    That's the general tenor of the article, as well as of Kilpatrick's rhetoric and writing for a decade on either side of that article. He was a rising conservative star at the time, and he learned to distance himself from the stereotypical images as he went on to become famous.

    Tim
     

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