Confederates advocating secession via the US Constitution

DanF

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And there is the 10th Amendment again. Powers not ceded to the Federal government by the Constitution remain with the States, including the right of secession

How could he be referring to the 10th amendment? He plainly States,

"the Constitution is not the place to look for State rights. "

Last time I checked the 10th amendment is in the Constitution.
 

brass napoleon

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And that may well be the case. But with regard to the parameters of the OP, "I ask anyone on this forum to provide historical evidence that any Confederate person or State referenced the US Constitution as justification for unilateral secession" here is an example. The 10th Amendment is the portion of the Constitution that Toombs uses. The merits of his argument are another debate, and worth debating. But that wasn't the question for this thread.

Yes, I agree with you on that. But I think it's important to note that Toombs' citation of it as justification was not without reservations. The words "perhaps not", and "IF that right belongs to the independent states", would appear to equivocate considerably.
 

Andersonh1

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How could he be referring to the 10th amendment? He plainly States,

"the Constitution is not the place to look for State rights. "

Last time I checked the 10th amendment is in the Constitution.

I took it to mean that the right to secede is not enumerated within the Constitution, and thus will be found in the rights reserved to states. He uses the language of the 10th amendment twice and talks about rights reserved to states, so it's clear what he's referring to.
 

brass napoleon

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I took it to mean that the right to secede is not enumerated within the Constitution, and thus will be found in the rights reserved to states. He uses the language of the 10th amendment twice and talks about rights reserved to states, so it's clear what he's referring to.

I think it could be summed up as saying that the Constitution opens the door to go outside of it to find a right of secession. He just seems to be unsure that such a right exists anywhere else either, at least in this quote.

Nevertheless, I think it's at least a partial answer to UB's question. Definitely the best I've seen so far.
 

DanF

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I took it to mean that the right to secede is not enumerated within the Constitution, and thus will be found in the rights reserved to states. He uses the language of the 10th amendment twice and talks about rights reserved to states, so it's clear what he's referring to.

If he were Clearly referring to the 10th amendment it appears extremely odd he would declare that the "states rights" he is appealing to is not to be found in the constitution.

To me it appears that while appropriating some of the language of the 10th amendment he is appealing to State sovereignty, which indeed would be outside the Constitution
 

DanF

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Ultimatel Toombs appeals not to the Constitution but to the sword.

From his "five stipulations of the South" speech.

The Five Stipulations of the South
By Robert Toombs
Speech in the United States Senate, 7 January, 1861

.......... "You have sapped the foundations of society; you have destroyed almost all hope of peace. In a compact where there is no common arbiter, where the parties finally decide for themselves, the sword alone at last becomes the real, if not the constitutional, arbiter.... "

Also in this speech you will find a not unreasonable rationalization why the secessionists did not appeal their case to the Courts,

......" .Your party says that you will not take the decision of the Supreme Court. You said so at Chicago; you said so in committee; every man of you in both Houses says so".......

The gist being that since the Republicans refused to abide by the Dred Scot ruling why bother to seek remedy from the SCOTUS?
 

unionblue

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I think it could be summed up as saying that the Constitution opens the door to go outside of it to find a right of secession. He just seems to be unsure that such a right exists anywhere else either, at least in this quote.

Nevertheless, I think it's at least a partial answer to UB's question. Definitely the best I've seen so far.

brass napoleon,

Agreed.

Andersonh1 has taken the time and effort to answer my question in my OP. While I have reservations on Toombs exact language, the post is the closest I have seen to answering my question.

Sincerely,
Unionblue
 

unionblue

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And we have Sam Houston who was against secession but said this in 1860-

"We hear of secession—“peaceable secession.” We are to believe that this people, whose progressive civilization has known no obstacles, but has already driven back one race and is fast Americanizing another, who have conquered armies and navies,—whose career has been onward and never has receded, be the step right or wrong, is at last quietly and calmly to be denationalized, to be rent into fragments, sanctioned by the Constitution, and there not only be none of the incidents of revolution, but amid peace and happiness we are to have freedom from abolition clamor, security to the institution of slavery, and a career of glory under a Southern Confederacy, which we can never attain in our present condition! When we deny the right of a State to secede, we are pointed to the resolves of chivalric South Carolina and other States; and are told, “Let them go out and you can not whip them back.” My friends, there will be no necessity of whipping them back."

Youngblood,

Sorry for taking so long to come back to your post above, but you do realize Sam Houston's above quote was taken from a speech against secession, do you not?

Please click on the following link and it will present extracts from his 1860 anti-secession speech and the entire speech in full.

http://declaringamerica.com/houston-address-on-secession-1860

Read all of his speech, not just an extracted part of it. This is what we mean when we say here we want to see all of a speech so that we can fully understand the meaning of a quote in FULL context. This is the only way of gathering and understanding the true meaning of a person's intent.

Sincerely,
Unionblue
 
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MattL

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The Senator from Kentucky comes to your aid, and says he can find no constitutional right of secession. Perhaps not; but the Constitution is not the place to look for State rights. If that right belongs to Independent States, and they did not cede it to the Federal Government, it is reserved to the States or to the people.

And there is the 10th Amendment again. Powers not ceded to the Federal government by the Constitution remain with the States, including the right of secession.

Agree or disagree with Toombs, it's clear he's invoking the Constitution here, and elsewhere, to condemn the Northern states and justify the Southern states.

A very good reference. I actually disagree with most people suggesting this isn't saying this statement isn't saying the Constitution justifies secession. I read the "If" in that statement as just a figure of speech, of him fir declaring that the Constitution itself says if it doesn't limit a State's right then the State is empowered with the choice of it... hence he's arguing the Constitution supports States being able to choose secession themselves (despite not actually agreeing with him, mostly since as he points out "or to the people" clause which makes the whole thing much murkier).
 

Youngblood

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Union Blue

Yes i do. If hes bringing up the points i highlighted, he is countering the guys who were saying them with their own claims.
 

CW Buff

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I agree with MattL. As I see it, Toombs is invoking the Constitution, specifically the Tenth, on the behalf of unilateral secession. To me, he is saying the Constitution is not the place to seek any SPECIFIC states' right, because it simply reserves to the states all that is not delegated to the Fed or denied to the states (which of course ignores "or to the people"). His statement that the Constitution is the full compact could also be a response to perpetual Union, which obviously goes outside the Constitution to deny secession.

I also disagree that Davis is not referring to a "legal" right in Youngblood's quote. Sovereignty implies legal authority. Seems to me he believes that the states retained the legal authority to secede at will under the Constitution.

Finally, it seems to me Houston is definitely arguing against legal, unilateral secession. He is paraphrasing others, and contesting their logic. He is denying that the Constitution sanctions rendering the country into fragments. He also does not accept the secession ordinances and declarations as proof of a state's legal right to secede. I believe the quote continues, something to the effect, that there will be no need to whip them back, because they will soon be clamoring to return.
 

unionblue

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To All,

So, are there other examples of Confederates invoking the Constitution to justify unilateral secession? Could any examples be found in the Declarations of Secession or ordinances of secession?

Sincerely,
Unionblue
 

Drew

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Oct 22, 2012
To All,

So, are there other examples of Confederates invoking the Constitution to justify unilateral secession? Could any examples be found in the Declarations of Secession or ordinances of secession?

Sincerely,
Unionblue

UB, with all due respect, I was going to take a pass on this thread, for several reasons. However, the record will likely show the Confederates did not invoke the Constitution in secession.

Rather, they invoked the sovereignty of their individual states as being above and superior to the authority of the U.S. Constitution.

You may read about any one of the Secession Ordinances and see this. Here is Louisiana's, in part:

We, the people of the State of Louisiana, in convention assembled, do declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and ordained, That the ordinance passed by us in convention on the 22d day of November, in the year eighteen hundred and eleven, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America and the amendments of the said Constitution were adopted, and all laws and ordinances by which the State of Louisiana became a member of the Federal Union, be, and the same are hereby, repealed and abrogated; and that the union now subsisting between Louisiana and other States under the name of "The United States of America" is hereby dissolved.

They didn't give a rat about the Constitution, because they voted for it earlier and now they were voting against it.

The idea that the seceding States justified their actions on Constitutional grounds is just silly. They were in their own minds above it, as the Constitution's authorizers. The entire modern argument about "legal authority" is just ridiculous.

BTW, there is some really good stuff in the farewell speeches from Southern senators that @Andersonh1 posted. I took the tine to read some of that stuff. I hope you will, too.
 
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