Confederates advocating secession via the US Constitution

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From Davis's first inagural. Here Davis asserts the compact theory.
"The declared purpose of the compact of Union from which we have withdrawn was "to establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessing of liberty to ourselves and our posterity;" and when, in the judgment of the sovereign States now composing this Confederacy, it had been perverted from the purposes for which it was ordained, and had ceased to answer the ends for which it was established, a peaceful appeal to the ballot-box declared that so far as they were concerned, the government created by that compact should cease to exist. "

Davis appeals to the Declaration of Independence:
"In this they merely asserted a right which the Declaration of Independence of 1776 had defined to be inalienable; of the time and occasion for its exercise, they, as sovereigns, were the final judges, each for itself. "

Davis is here saying that the South were the ones who adhered to the true nature of the Constitution and the Union:
"The impartial and enlightened verdict of mankind will vindicate the rectitude of our conduct, and He who knows the hearts of men will judge of the sincerity with which we labored to preserve the Government of our fathers in its spirit. "

Here he says that none of the rights were lost during the ratification and establishment of the Union under the Constitution. Note that he disagrees with Lincoln that it's always been one Union. To Davis, it's the "Union of 1789". And he makes the claim that the people have made this choice, so he doesn't see the need for all the people of all the states to be involved in the decision. The people of each state control what that state does, rather than the people of all the states controlling all the states collectively.
"The right solemnly proclaimed at the birth of the States, and which has been affirmed and reaffirmed in the bills of rights of States subsequently admitted into the Union of 1789, undeniably recognize in the people the power to resume the authority delegated for the purposes of government. Thus the sovereign States here represented proceeded to form this Confederacy, and it is by abuse of language that their act has been denominated a revolution. They formed a new alliance, but within each State its government has remained, the rights of person and property have not been disturbed. The agent through whom they communicated with foreign nations is changed, but this does not necessarily interrupt their international relations."
 
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I think I heard it once before that Freedom lies in the Heart of the People If It Lives There No Court Can Deny It If It Dies There No Court Can Protect It.... I think we can say that about a Constitution or Union If the people want to preserve either or both they will be preserved........One can say that about obeying the law in that we are a people who for the most part respect and want to follow the law...Force can be used to enforce the law but only up to a point because force & freedom are opposites..


sorry accidently posted something I meat to post in another forum!!!!!...lol
 
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One thing to me that detracts from the CSA's reasonong is that they felt like they had the right to leave the Union BUT when a couple of states(Georgia & North Carolina????) felt like seceding from the CSA they were told they weren't allowed to....Then one sees the CSA central government commiting all the sins they accused the Union's central government of committing,i.e. unsurping the states rights/powers.
 

jgoodguy

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In support of this line of thought, I think there are a number of occasions where Jefferson Davis and also Robert E. Lee and probably many others indicated that they felt the government had departed from the original intention of the Founders, and Davis certainly saw the Confederates as being more faithful than the Union to the Constitution.

"I love the Union and the Constitution, but I would rather leave the Union with the Constitution than remain in the Union without it." - Jefferson Davis

All that the South has ever desired was that the Union as established by our forefathers should be preserved and that the government as originally organized should be administered in purity and truth.” - Robert E. Lee


Having said that, I'm going to disagree that the Confederates did not rely on the 10th amendment. They absolutely relied on Article 7 as Constitutionally proving that the states were the agents of the compact, and on the 10th amendment as the Constitutional mechanism that preserved all rights gained prior to ratification that were not listed in the Constitution as delegated to the federal government.
Davis was more of a nationalists than most. Lee was not a secessionist per se.

The secessionist appealed to special interpenetration of the Constitution so I suppose they might address the Tenth in some unconventional way, but the Compact theory seems to be more probable to me.

"Article VII. The ratification of the conventions of nine states, shall be sufficient for the establishment of this Constitution between the states so ratifying the same." does not seem to mean that to me. I was unable to find an argument in support of this on CWT via a simple search, perhaps I missed it. Maybe point me to a post?
 

jgoodguy

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One thing to me that detracts from the CSA's reasonong is that they felt like they had the right to leave the Union BUT when a couple of states(Georgia & North Carolina????) felt like seceding from the CSA they were told they weren't allowed to....Then one sees the CSA central government commiting all the sins they accused the Union's central government of committing,i.e. unsurping the states rights/powers.
One disadvantage of the Union winning the war is missing out on just how the CSA would have functioned. Do you have any evidence of CSA states feeling like seceding and then told no.
 
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Davis was more of a nationalists than most. Lee was not a secessionist per se.

The secessionist appealed to special interpenetration of the Constitution so I suppose they might address the Tenth in some unconventional way, but the Compact theory seems to be more probable to me.

"Article VII. The ratification of the conventions of nine states, shall be sufficient for the establishment of this Constitution between the states so ratifying the same." does not seem to mean that to me. I was unable to find an argument in support of this on CWT via a simple search, perhaps I missed it. Maybe point me to a post?
Article 7: the ratification of the conventions of nine states shall be sufficient for the establishment of this Constitution between the states so ratifying the same. The conventions ratified the agreement, and the agreement was between the states, not the people of the several states. The Confederates saw the states as the parties to the agreement. This is part of their support from within the Constitution for the compact theory. They don't just use the preamble.
 

OpnCoronet

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Article 7: the ratification of the conventions of nine states shall be sufficient for the establishment of this Constitution between the states so ratifying the same. The conventions ratified the agreement, and the agreement was between the states, not the people of the several states. The Confederates saw the states as the parties to the agreement. This is part of their support from within the Constitution for the compact theory. They don't just use the preamble.



Why, exactly, did the State Legislatures Not ratify the Constitution?
 

jgoodguy

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Why, exactly, did the State Legislatures Not ratify the Constitution?
We are in the minds of the secessionists.
Article 7: the ratification of the conventions of nine states shall be sufficient for the establishment of this Constitution between the states so ratifying the same. The conventions ratified the agreement, and the agreement was between the states, not the people of the several states. The Confederates saw the states as the parties to the agreement. This is part of their support from within the Constitution for the compact theory. They don't just use the preamble.
References?
 
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Here's a letter from Jefferson Davis late in his life in which he is still listing the same principles he spoke of in 1861. You'll see many familiar arguments here. The compact theory is here, the 10th amendment, the Treaty of Paris, the idea that hard won state sovereignty was never surrendered, all of those are still a part of Davis's thinking when it comes to the history of the Union and how it was supposed to function.

https://books.google.com/books?id=b_u04XF665AC&pg=PA440&dq=Jefferson+Davis+10th+amendment&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjd0Y2o--TPAhUGVT4KHRuYBlEQ6AEIHjAA#v=onepage&q=10th amendment&f=false

Your letter inviting me to attend North Carolina's Centennial, to be held at Fayetteville on the 21st of November next, was duly received; but this acknowledgement has been delayed under the hope that an improvement in my health would enable me to be present as invited. As the time approaches l find that cherished hope unrealized, and that I must regretfully confess my ability to join you in the commemorative celebration.

It is to be remembered that the articles of Confederation for the "United States of America" declared that "the union shall be perpetual," and that no alteration should be made in the said articles unless it should be "confirmed by the legislature of every Stake." True to her creed of State sovereignty, North Carolina recognized the power of such States as chose to do so to withdraw from the Union, and, by the same token, her own unqualified right to decide whether or not she would subscribe to the proposed compact for a more perfect union, and from which, it is to be observed, the declaration for perpetuity was omitted. In the hard school of experience she had learned the danger to popular liberty from a government which could claim to be the final judge of its own powers.

She had fought a long and devastating war for State independence, and was not willing to put in jeopardy the priceless jewel she had gained. After a careful examination, it was concluded that the proposed Constitution did not sufficiently guard against usurpation by the usual resort to implication of powers not expressly granted, and she declined to act upon the general assurance that the deficiency would soon be supplied by the needful amendments. In the meantime, State after State had acceded to the new Union, until the requisite number had been obtained for the establishment of the "Constitution between the States so ratifying the same."

With characteristic self-reliance North Carolina confronted the prospect of isolation, and calmly resolved, if so it must be, to stand alone rather than subject to hazard her most prized possession, Community Independence.

Confiding in the security offered by the first ten Amendments to the Constitution, especially the 9th and 10th of the series, North Carolina voluntarily acceded to the new Union. The 10th amendment restricted the functions of the Federal Government to the exercise of the powers delegated to it by the States, all of which were especially stipulated.

Beyond that limit nothing could be done rightfully. If covertly done, under color of law, or by reckless usurpation of an extraneous majority, which, feeling power, should disregard right, had the State no peaceful remedy? Could she, as a State in a Confederation the bedrock of which is the consent of its members, be bound by a compact which others broke to her injury? Had her reserved rights no other than a paper barrier to protect them against invasion?

Surely the heroic patriots and wise statesmen of North Carolina, by their sacrifices, utterances and deeds, have shown what, their answer would have been to these questions, if they had been asked on the day when in convention they ratified the amended Constitution of the United States. Her exceptional delay in ratification marks her vigilant care for rights she had so early asserted and so steadily maintained. Of her it may be said, as it was of Sir Walter Scott in his youth, that she was "always the first in a row and the last out of it."


Devotion to principle, self-reliance and inflexible adherence to resolution when adopted, accompanied by conservative caution, were the characteristics displayed by North Carolina in both her colonial and State history. All these qualities were exemplified in her action on the day of the anniversary which you commemorate. If there be any, not likely to be found with you, but possibly elsewhere, who shall ask: "How, then, could North Carolina consistently enact her ordinance of secession in 1861?" he is referred to the Declaration of Independence of 1776; to the Articles of Confederation of 1777, for a perpetual union of the States, and a secession of States from the union so established: to the treaty of 1783, recognizing the independence of the States severally and distinctively; to the Constitution of the United States, with its first ten amendments: to the time-honored resolutions of 1798-'99:-that from these, one and all, he may learn that the State, having won her independence by heavy sacrifices, had never surrendered it, nor had ever attempted to delegate the inalienable rights of the people.

How gallantly her sons bore themselves in the War Between The States the lists of the killed and wounded testify. She gave them, a sacrificial offering on the altar of the liberties their fathers had won and left as an inheritance to their posterity. Many sleep far from the land of their nativity. Peace to their ashes. Honor to their memory and the mother who bore them.
 

jgoodguy

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Here's a letter from Jefferson Davis late in his life in which he is still listing the same principles he spoke of in 1861. You'll see many familiar arguments here. The compact theory is here, the 10th amendment, the Treaty of Paris, the idea that hard won state sovereignty was never surrendered, all of those are still a part of Davis's thinking when it comes to the history of the Union and how it was supposed to function.

https://books.google.com/books?id=b_u04XF665AC&pg=PA440&dq=Jefferson+Davis+10th+amendment&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjd0Y2o--TPAhUGVT4KHRuYBlEQ6AEIHjAA#v=onepage&q=10th amendment&f=false

Your letter inviting me to attend North Carolina's Centennial, to be held at Fayetteville on the 21st of November next, was duly received; but this acknowledgement has been delayed under the hope that an improvement in my health would enable me to be present as invited. As the time approaches l find that cherished hope unrealized, and that I must regretfully confess my ability to join you in the commemorative celebration.

It is to be remembered that the articles of Confederation for the "United States of America" declared that "the union shall be perpetual," and that no alteration should be made in the said articles unless it should be "confirmed by the legislature of every Stake." True to her creed of State sovereignty, North Carolina recognized the power of such States as chose to do so to withdraw from the Union, and, by the same token, her own unqualified right to decide whether or not she would subscribe to the proposed compact for a more perfect union, and from which, it is to be observed, the declaration for perpetuity was omitted. In the hard school of experience she had learned the danger to popular liberty from a government which could claim to be the final judge of its own powers.

She had fought a long and devastating war for State independence, and was not willing to put in jeopardy the priceless jewel she had gained. After a careful examination, it was concluded that the proposed Constitution did not sufficiently guard against usurpation by the usual resort to implication of powers not expressly granted, and she declined to act upon the general assurance that the deficiency would soon be supplied by the needful amendments. In the meantime, State after State had acceded to the new Union, until the requisite number had been obtained for the establishment of the "Constitution between the States so ratifying the same."

With characteristic self-reliance North Carolina confronted the prospect of isolation, and calmly resolved, if so it must be, to stand alone rather than subject to hazard her most prized possession, Community Independence.

Confiding in the security offered by the first ten Amendments to the Constitution, especially the 9th and 10th of the series, North Carolina voluntarily acceded to the new Union. The 10th amendment restricted the functions of the Federal Government to the exercise of the powers delegated to it by the States, all of which were especially stipulated.

Beyond that limit nothing could be done rightfully. If covertly done, under color of law, or by reckless usurpation of an extraneous majority, which, feeling power, should disregard right, had the State no peaceful remedy? Could she, as a State in a Confederation the bedrock of which is the consent of its members, be bound by a compact which others broke to her injury? Had her reserved rights no other than a paper barrier to protect them against invasion?

Surely the heroic patriots and wise statesmen of North Carolina, by their sacrifices, utterances and deeds, have shown what, their answer would have been to these questions, if they had been asked on the day when in convention they ratified the amended Constitution of the United States. Her exceptional delay in ratification marks her vigilant care for rights she had so early asserted and so steadily maintained. Of her it may be said, as it was of Sir Walter Scott in his youth, that she was "always the first in a row and the last out of it."


Devotion to principle, self-reliance and inflexible adherence to resolution when adopted, accompanied by conservative caution, were the characteristics displayed by North Carolina in both her colonial and State history. All these qualities were exemplified in her action on the day of the anniversary which you commemorate. If there be any, not likely to be found with you, but possibly elsewhere, who shall ask: "How, then, could North Carolina consistently enact her ordinance of secession in 1861?" he is referred to the Declaration of Independence of 1776; to the Articles of Confederation of 1777, for a perpetual union of the States, and a secession of States from the union so established: to the treaty of 1783, recognizing the independence of the States severally and distinctively; to the Constitution of the United States, with its first ten amendments: to the time-honored resolutions of 1798-'99:-that from these, one and all, he may learn that the State, having won her independence by heavy sacrifices, had never surrendered it, nor had ever attempted to delegate the inalienable rights of the people.

How gallantly her sons bore themselves in the War Between The States the lists of the killed and wounded testify. She gave them, a sacrificial offering on the altar of the liberties their fathers had won and left as an inheritance to their posterity. Many sleep far from the land of their nativity. Peace to their ashes. Honor to their memory and the mother who bore them.
Good, but I like the antebellum arguments. However independence is not the issue. A State can be independent, but without the power of secession.
 

jgoodguy

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If there is interest, I plan to start some threads called What Secessionists Thought followed by a title and author and review that for Secessionist though, ideology and so on. The purpose is to see what the thought processes and ideology was not to argue over the correctness though a brief criticisms will be allowed.

Anyone have antebellum works or monographs to suggest. I'll try to include war time, but I want to avoid post war articles if possible. May include Davis where he can be tied to his pre war views.
 

48th Miss.

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Well you were responding pretty strongly off of one sentence by me so I wanted to clarify things much more. One sentence certainly does not convey my entire view on the matter.

As you seem to agree the Articles of Confederation certainly had a weaker federal government so the primary goal of the US Constitution was to empower the Federal government. Again I certainly agree the 10th amendment was placed in their to limit that power. They didn't want any government to have absolute power.



Legislation isn't written in stone either. We didn't have women's vote or black vote until we passed amendments for that. A good example is the 21st amendment that repealed the 18th amendment (prohibition). So even legislation isn't written in stone, that was how the US constitution was setup so it could be amended.

I do agree that the US court is just one branch. Remember it has no enforcement capabilities as well. It relies on both the Federal and State government to enforce it's rulings. Certainly not all of its rulings have been perfect, much like our legislation has been flawed (fugitive slave act).

A lot of our actual views on this certainly come down to opinions. Anderson raises good points as well... we probably disagree on certain parts of it, whether they got more than they bargained for or not. As our thread was going through people like Jefferson and Madison both fought for expanding the Federal government in their arguments for the Constitution, then limiting it against Washington and Adams (Federalists) and then in both Jefferson's and Madison's presidencies they exerted massive federal power (Louisiana purchase under Jefferson and second national bank under Madison).

So if you follow the individuals you fine the even change positions over time. Then you get to use here now looking back with many more years of history and our own opinions :smile:

It's still fascinating to look at the history though, the progress from AoC to the Constitution, etc. There arguments and actions, etc.
True, i did respond kinda strong on that. As a stand alone sentence and with no explaination it pretty well defines the seperation of the 2 sides of most of these more political debates. It was rather odd looking back since you seldom have a one sentence post. Most are lengthy and well defined positions and opinions. Thanks. Hope all is well in San Fran.
 

MattL

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True, i did respond kinda strong on that. As a stand alone sentence and with no explaination it pretty well defines the seperation of the 2 sides of most of these more political debates. It was rather odd looking back since you seldom have a one sentence post. Most are lengthy and well defined positions and opinions. Thanks. Hope all is well in San Fran.
All is well here, I hope all is well in NC :smile:

A one sentence post is rare for me.

Why use one sentence when you can use ten paragraphs! That's my motto lol :smile:
 

jgoodguy

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Negotiation and Confrontation (1833)
Rhett summed this up at the convention on March 13. Warning that, "A people, owning slaves, are mad, or worse than mad, who do not hold their destinies in their own hands," he continued:

“ Every stride of this Government, over your rights, brings it nearer and nearer to your peculiar policy. …The whole world are in arms against your institutions … Let Gentlemen not be deceived. It is not the Tariff – not Internal Improvement – nor yet the Force bill, which constitutes the great evil against which we are contending. … These are but the forms in which the despotic nature of the government is evinced – but it is the despotism which constitutes the evil: and until this Government is made a limited Government … there is no liberty – no security for the South.[85]
 
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One disadvantage of the Union winning the war is missing out on just how the CSA would have functioned. Do you have any evidence of CSA states feeling like seceding and then told no.
Well it seems I confused where there was talk about seceding but it ended up coming to nothing...sorry bout that !!!!!
 



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