About That 10th Amendment


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Elennsar

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Did Lee publically speak out against secession at any point in this time?

Even if just speaking as "Mr. Lee, a citizen of the state" (as distinct from using any influence he could wield beyond personal eloquence).

Was he, in the words of a later era "My state right or wrong"?

That is disappointing - not so much that he should prefer his state above his country (that's a seperate problem) - but that peer pressure would carry more weight with Lee than his moral conviction that secession is wrong.

For him to believe that it is wrong, but to join those who pushed Virginia out of the Union...

:noway:

That just doesn't make sense. Its like saying that starting fires is wrong, and then battling the firefighters after someone commits an act of arson.
 

trice

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Did Lee publically speak out against secession at any point in this time?

Even if just speaking as "Mr. Lee, a citizen of the state" (as distinct from using any influence he could wield beyond personal eloquence).

Was he, in the words of a later era "My state right or wrong"?

That is disappointing - not so much that he should prefer his state above his country (that's a seperate problem) - but that peer pressure would carry more weight with Lee than his moral conviction that secession is wrong.

For him to believe that it is wrong, but to join those who pushed Virginia out of the Union...

:noway:

That just doesn't make sense. Its like saying that starting fires is wrong, and then battling the firefighters after someone commits an act of arson.
Serving military officers generally will not speak out publicly on political matters. It is regarded as wrong.

Lee made his attitude clear to men he knew, and he is very consistent about it from November of 1860 to April of 1861. When he is pressured to side with secession in Texas, he erupts (uncharacteristic). He saw his loyalties as compromised by the actions of others, but he saw only one choice: Virginia first.

The Anderson in what follows is the brother of Robert Anderson of Ft. Sumter fame. From Freeman's biography on Lee:
-----
[Note: Winfield Scott had sent Anderson to Texas with a pamphlet showing Scott's views, asking him to share it with Twiggs, Lee, and such other officers as Anderson saw fit, and to report their impressions. This is after Lee has read the pamphlet, and after Twiggs in San Antonio had. About mid-December, before Lee left San Antonio for Ft. Mason on the 19th.]

He accordingly sent for Anderson, who called in company with Doctor Willis G. Edwards. Lee returned him the pamphlet. "My friend," said he, "I must make one request of you, and that is, that you will not suffer these Views to get into the newspapers." Anderson promised, though he did not understand why Lee was so solicitous on this point. The conversation then shifted, inevitably, to the crisis. Anderson spoke out vigorously. Lee remarked, "Somebody surely is grievously at fault, probably both factions." Anderson, strongly Federalist in his views, answered that he had previously thought both sides were to blame, but that he had concluded there was a definite conspiracy against the Union, by men who were only alleging abolition as an excuse. Lee made no answer. Then Doctor Edwards raised the question whether a man's allegiance was due his state or the nation. Lee's courteous reticence vanished. Instantly he spoke out, and unequivocally. He had been taught to believe, he said, and he did believe that his first obligations were due Virginia.
-----

I have always pictured Lee as a man forced to choose between what he considered two evils, with either choice violating his sense of duty. He chose what he saw as the lesser evil and, while I might not agree, I can understand his anguish. I think it was the same for many.

Tim
 

diddyriddick

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I have always pictured Lee as a man forced to choose between what he considered two evils, with either choice violating his sense of duty. He chose what he saw as the lesser evil and, while I might not agree, I can understand his anguish. I think it was the same for many.

Tim
Thank you, Tim. A very eloquent post.
 

OpnDownfall

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In fact, there is no secession 'law' but there are 'laws' that plainly say the states are not sovereign. That, by law', the most obvious attributes of sovereignty were specifically surrendered by all the states to the Federal Gov't under the Constitution.
Even if one accepts that such a thing as secession even exists (its existence is a claim, with no proof) it still is Not a 'Law' it is purported to be a 'right'. All rights are circumscribed by all gov'ts and societies i.e., None are unencumbered.
The only entity with the sovereignty to recognize another entitys sovereignty is the U.S. Gov't. The states cannot do it because they, by their own actions, surrendered their sovereignty as free and independent states, except as that sovereignty applies Under the Constitution.
So, Even If Secessionm Actually Exists, it's implementation would have to conform to the Constitution.
As the Constitution prescribes how a state may enter the Union, the Constitution Must prescribe how a state leaves the Union.(As in fact it does)
 

Elennsar

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What Diddlyriddick said.

I have thoughts I would add - but that deserves a seperate topic or PMs to do justice to it.

So if you wish to respond (and I hope you do), I hope stating this won't get us further off topic.

I can understand Lee being unable to comfortably do either. I can understand Lee feeling his duty to Virginia came first. I'm not so comfortable in my understanding of why he joined those seeking to hurt one of his...for want of a better phrase...two loves...when he considered what they were doing wrong.

I mean, okay, he believed his obligations to Virginia were primary. I can understand that.

But if the seccesionists are wrong, that means that joining with them in loyalty to "Virginia" is guilty of the wrong of supporting - with armed force, not just speaking - seccession.

There are only two ways to put that come to mind, and I don't like either of them for different reasons.

1) Lee was a hypocrite or a liar (and unconcerned with the fate of the Union). This is disturbing for reasons I don't need to get into. But in short, his loyalty to the United States was essentially meaningless to him.

2) Lee somehow felt that his obligations to Virginia were stronger than whatever obligation he had to the United States to such an extent that even with secession being wrong, it was less wrong to join in backing that with armed force than fighting against Virginia.

This is also disturbing. Lee is willing to sacrifice everything save honor for the preservation of the Union - but not his attachment to Virginia.

I think, all in all, the only good position to be in would be either "My loyalty is to the United States. Period." like a Buford or a Gibbon felt - or be a believer in the rightfulness of the Southern cause.

Otherwise, its gonna hurt. And not the least of those hurts is finding out which friends are going to come at you trying to kill you.

While I do not support General Armistead's decision in the least, his anguish (portrayed in the movie Gettysburg) at Hancock being short "Not all of us! Not..both of us!" is painful to view. Jackson was lucky in being able to convince himself that since this was a War, they should shoot the brave ones - but I think the vast majority of West Pointers felt some emotional ties, whether or not those were important influences or just impossible to break - to their fellows.

Being in such a spot, no matter where one drew steel for, would be a heartbreaking experience.

Lee feeling the same way is entirely understandable, whatever else about his decisions is still at best distressing. No one should have to fight a war with friends on the other side.

:frown: Some Southern "leaders" have a lot to answer for in making it impossible to avoid that. :mad:

Now, back to your regulated scheduled 10th amendment discussion, if there's anything left of it.
 

OpnDownfall

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Elennsar's 2d choice seems closest to Lee's dilemma and why it caused him so much anguish.
His honor was forcing him to make a choice his intellect recoiled from; to fight against the Union and the right cause and to fight on the wrong side and wrong cause and All based on sentiment and none intelligence..
 

ole

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Well, yes, we are getting far afield. Lee's only connection to the thread are his letters wherein he gives his feelings on secession ... the argument in favor of secession being based on the 10th amendment.

Ole
 

trice

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In fact, there is no secession 'law' but there are 'laws' that plainly say the states are not sovereign. That, by law', the most obvious attributes of sovereignty were specifically surrendered by all the states to the Federal Gov't under the Constitution.
Another one of the unproven assumtions of the "right of secession" argument is that somehow the states had it because they were independently sovereign at some point in time.

They may or may not have been independently sovereign. Lots of people have argued about that over that since the 1780s. The man in the quote at the bottom of my post is one of them.

Assuming they were independently sovereign before they joined the United States, and assuming they could reclaim the powers they had delegated to the United States (very questionable), why would anyone think an independently sovereign state had a unilateral "right of secession" from an agreement they had freely made? I know of no such legal example in history, unless the conditions for it are spelled out in the agreement itself.

Tim
 

OpnDownfall

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Its already been shown that as far as secession goes, the 10th Amendment proves onlythat the states were/are not sovereign. Whatever the 'unspecified' retained rights are, they cannot transcent the 'specified' rights in the Constitution.
In the case of secession: Because the states were not sovereign, they could not grant themselves authority to reclaim any right to sovereignty, unilaterally, especially if the right being claimed conflict with the Constitution, including the 10th Amendment.
The procedures for recovering a retained right (if it is discovered that it exists) have to be according to Constitutional methods and procedures.
 

cash

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Another one of the unproven assumtions of the "right of secession" argument is that somehow the states had it because they were independently sovereign at some point in time.

They may or may not have been independently sovereign. Lots of people have argued about that over that since the 1780s. The man in the quote at the bottom of my post is one of them.

Assuming they were independently sovereign before they joined the United States, and assuming they could reclaim the powers they had delegated to the United States (very questionable), why would anyone think an independently sovereign state had a unilateral "right of secession" from an agreement they had freely made? I know of no such legal example in history, unless the conditions for it are spelled out in the agreement itself.

Tim

Just try to "secede" from your mortgage, or from a bank loan.

Regards,
Cash
 

Baggage Handler #2

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Speaking of the "Law" I have yet to see any "Law" that makes secession "Lawful".
I don't think there needed to be an explicit law to make it legal. In fact, in 1860 it may have been legal. Vareb might be quite correct in his basic assertion. However, I do contend that the way the seceding states went about it was messed up and illegal. Many of the items explicitly forbidden the states seem to have been employed in the 18 months leading up to Sumter.

Yes, I just agreed with Vareb, sort of. Won't he be surprised. :smile:
 

OpnDownfall

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I am trying to understand, the reasoning, that assumes the fact of there being no law against secession, proving it's existence. Yet the fact that, equally, there is no law for secession is not proof, that it does not exist?
In Fact, there is no enumeration or description of any retained right, only the rights surrendered by the states. Who is to say, authoritatively, that secession exists or that it is legal?
The meaning of a Silence in the law would seem to be a matter for the courts.
 

Tsan_Usdi

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Hello everyone. Long time listener, first time caller. I've watched these forums with growing interest for many months & decided I wanted to ask some questions & weigh in on some matters.

My first question to you is this. I've had Lost Causers hit me with the whole 10th Amendment excuse for a while & I read several of the threads here on it (all well written). Now Amendment 10 says "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Would not Article IV, Section 3 (which covers the creation of new states) cover this? I mean, if Congress has the power to CREATE states, would it not follow that it has the power to likewise DESTROY or REMOVE them from the Union? Obviously Congress cannot create new states from existing states without consent from that state's government....which would likewise mean that they could not remove or destroy the state without consent. But what if that state wanted to be removed? Would this section not cover that? Since that Article & section deal with as much, isn't that a "power" that is held to the U.S. Congress & so would cause the 10th Amendment argument to be Null & Void as far as the Lost Causers go?

Thanks in advance for the help.
 

cash

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Hello everyone. Long time listener, first time caller. I've watched these forums with growing interest for many months & decided I wanted to ask some questions & weigh in on some matters.

My first question to you is this. I've had Lost Causers hit me with the whole 10th Amendment excuse for a while & I read several of the threads here on it (all well written). Now Amendment 10 says "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Would not Article IV, Section 3 (which covers the creation of new states) cover this? I mean, if Congress has the power to CREATE states, would it not follow that it has the power to likewise DESTROY or REMOVE them from the Union? Obviously Congress cannot create new states from existing states without consent from that state's government....which would likewise mean that they could not remove or destroy the state without consent. But what if that state wanted to be removed? Would this section not cover that? Since that Article & section deal with as much, isn't that a "power" that is held to the U.S. Congress & so would cause the 10th Amendment argument to be Null & Void as far as the Lost Causers go?

Thanks in advance for the help.
Yes. Article IV shows that Congress has the power to determine the makeup of the Union, not the states. Additionally, the Supremacy Clause, Article VI, Clause 2 says the Constitution and Laws of the United States, and all Treaties made by the United States, remain supreme law over the states, no matter what law or resolution or constitutional amendment a single state may pass.

Regards,
Cash
 

Hugh Damright

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if Congress has the power to CREATE states, would it not follow that it has the power to likewise DESTROY or REMOVE them from the Union?
Maybe that makes sense if we imagine States seceding for no reason ... but then, the idea of States seceding for no reason doesn't make sense to me.

I can see why the States created the federal power in question, and I do not think it follows that they created a federal power to keep themselves in the Union against their will no matter what, even if the nature of the compact is perverted. Virginia ratified the federal power in question, and the first thing that our ratification said is that "the powers granted under the Constitution being derived from the People of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression". So, no, I don't think we can say that when the States delegated the federal power in question that they created a power to keep them in the Union against their will no matter what the circumstances.
 

Tsan_Usdi

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Maybe that makes sense if we imagine States seceding for no reason ... but then, the idea of States seceding for no reason doesn't make sense to me.

I can see why the States created the federal power in question, and I do not think it follows that they created a federal power to keep themselves in the Union against their will no matter what, even if the nature of the compact is perverted. Virginia ratified the federal power in question, and the first thing that our ratification said is that "the powers granted under the Constitution being derived from the People of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression". So, no, I don't think we can say that when the States delegated the federal power in question that they created a power to keep them in the Union against their will no matter what the circumstances.
Obviously you missed the next 2 sentences, "I mean, if Congress has the power to CREATE states, would it not follow that it has the power to likewise DESTROY or REMOVE them from the Union? Obviously Congress cannot create new states from existing states without consent from that state's government....which would likewise mean that they could not remove or destroy the state without consent. But what if that state wanted to be removed?" I am not saying that states cannot leave, simply that there is a process. The Deep South did not follow that process, they just "left". While there is no power to "keep them in the Union against their will no matter what", neither is there a power stated that states can simply leave "at will".

If I sign a loan for a house, I am expected to continue paying for that house in good faith. If I decide I don't want to pay for it any longer, I cannot simply "stop paying"-at least not without dire consequences, which is the same thing the South faced in 1861. On the flip side, I don't believe you are chained to that house no matter what for the rest of your life-there are steps you can go through to get you out of paying for that house (declaring bankruptcy) & eventually move into a new one. (perhaps not the BEST example, but one I just thought of off the top of my head)

While I feel that a breakup of the Union was not in the best interest of the United States & its people as a whole or in the long run, I do not think that secession was necessarily illegal-just unilateral secession. Had the South tried to follow a LEGAL means, they may have won out. I think they may have succeeded in one of two ways: 1. They should have either followed what I said above & went to Congress & asked to be let go, or 2. they should have went to the PEOPLE & had a referendum in the 1864 election asking to be released. The third option I think could have been pursued was trying to get a case to the Supreme Court to decide (much as Texas vs. White, but with a verdict that favored the South). But NOT trying any legal means & simply leaving was not the best path that the South could have went down.
 

ole

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Awesome, Tsan. You've summed up in one page mostly what has been argued about for ten pages. Well, much, anyway.

Ole
 

bama46

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I agree with Tsan that there were better ways to go about secession, however it has been my experience over the years that most people will take the option that they feel will best meet their needs.
I do not believe, nor have I ever believed that secession was in the best interests of the south, but I suspect that the unilateral secession option was exercised because The leadership believed it was the only option or the best option. What do you do if you go to Congress or the SC and are turned down... now to use the analogy, you are indeed chained to that house forever..

Ed
 

ole

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What do you do if you go to Congress or the SC and are turned down... now to use the analogy, you are indeed chained to that house forever..
Had it been pursued through channels. There might have been a chance. Rebellion was the last resort with a few steps skipped.

Ole
 

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