Discuss secession

CW Buff

Sergeant Major
Joined
Dec 22, 2014
Location
Connecticut
The inherent problem I see in these discussions is the assumption the States/South/Secessionists were victims/oppressed just because they said they were. One reason for adjudication and politics is to hear the issue and attempt a resolution. Not just just make things up and secede.

Absolutely. That's also why I asked for grounds on the moral option.

In other words, it's much like having a legal right to unilaterally secede just because they said so. In the end, the law isn't going to stop anyone who is determined to get what they want no matter what. Hence, municipal police, county sheriffs, state troopers, US Marshals, FBI, Militia Clause, etc. Anyway, the whole basis of their approach was "Because We Say So." Some Southerners bought it, most Northerners did not.

IMHO, the disunionists of 1860-1865 clearly fail on both legal and moral grounds. Only a few diehards still try to argue otherwise.
 

58th Virginia

Sergeant
Joined
Apr 18, 2017
Location
SW Virginia
To each his own. Now that we both know each others views on "what if's" we don't have to waste any time on such in the future.

Like you say "To each his own".

But I have no intentions of stopping to use them whenever I see fit to do so.

But also, feel free to just not respond to any that may dis-please you.
 

jgoodguy

Banished Forever
-:- A Mime -:-
is a terrible thing...
Don’t feed the Mime
Joined
Aug 17, 2011
Location
Birmingham, Alabama
It's merely a way of wishing for what "might have been" and clutters up actual history in my own view.
To each his own. Now that we both know each others views on "what if's" we don't have to waste any time on such in the future.
Unionblue
Like you say "To each his own".
But I have no intentions of stopping to use them whenever I see fit to do so.
But also, feel free to just not respond to any that may dis-please you.
Any chance we can keep our attention on the Civil War. After all that is the purpose of our honorable blog. I will really appreciated it. Thanks
 

OpnCoronet

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Feb 23, 2010
Absolutely. That's also why I asked for grounds on the moral option.
In other words, it's much like having a legal right to unilaterally secede just because they said so. In the end, the law isn't going to stop anyone who is determined to get what they want no matter what. Hence, municipal police, county sheriffs, state troopers, US Marshals, FBI, Militia Clause, etc. Anyway, the whole basis of their approach was "Because We Say So." Some Southerners bought it, most Northerners did not.
IMHO, the disunionists of 1860-1865 clearly fail on both legal and moral grounds. Only a few diehards still try to argue otherwise.




Very true, IMO.

It is a commonly accepted axiom, that all gov't's are ultimately based upon the use of unlimited force.
,
 

CW Buff

Sergeant Major
Joined
Dec 22, 2014
Location
Connecticut
I agree with what you say in post #61, but I'd like to offer some alternative views and additional evidence regarding some of the points in post #63.

Kind of hard to find in the Constitution where it says they can't repeal their own statute...

It's kind of tangent to the main point, but I would start by suggesting the ratification of the Constitution was not done by statute. This was actually a very important point.

Mr. MADISON thought it clear that the Legislatures were incompetent to the proposed changes. These changes would make essential inroads on the State Constitutions, and it would be a novel & dangerous doctrine that a Legislature could change the constitution under which it held its existence. . . . He considered the difference between a system founded on the Legislatures only, and one founded on the people, to be the true difference between a league or treaty, and a Constitution. - Notes on the Debates in the Federal Convention, July 23, 1787

The Constitution is every bit as much a fundamental law as the constitution of any state. It is to the nation what the state constitutions are to the states. The question becomes which takes precedence, and Supremacy Clause provides the answer (both to this question, and to your own about states unilaterally revoking ratification):

"This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding."

The states cannot unilaterally override the supremacy of the Constitution, not even via their own highest, most fundamental laws, the state constitutions. The Supremacy Clause remains in effect until amended, and that can only take place via the will of the people of the US, in the form of three-quarters of the states. In other words, Chase's (and Lincoln's) consent of the states (Texas v. White).
, and three state ratification conventions passed resolutions at the time saying they could do exactly that.

I think if you reread them carefully, you'd be hard pressed to establish that they say anything other than what I suggested above. NY and RI specify that the people who delegate the government its powers may revoke those powers. And the Constitution identifies who that is: "We the People of the United States of America . . . do ordain and establish this Constitution." Virginia eliminates any possible ambiguity, and clearly identifies "the People of the United States."
Is it still a perpetual union, lawlessly made "more perfect?" Or is it a new and non-perpetual union?

Or perhaps a third option: a new, lawful, AND perpetual union. Consider Madison's July 23 statement; a treaty vs. a constitution. In Section 29 of The Law of Nations, Vattel says:

"Nations may in their treaties insert such clauses and conditions as they think proper: they are at liberty to make them perpetual, or temporary, or dependent on certain events."

A law is quite different. Laws are inherently perpetual. In fact, if one intends a law to be temporary, that must be specified in the law itself (e.g. Alien and Sedition Acts). Short of that, a law can only be repealed or amended by the same authority that enacted it (or a higher authority, which in this case does not apply). In other words, it's prudent, and even necessary, to specify whether a treaty is temporary or perpetual (or other), but a law is perpetual unless otherwise specified. Did any contemporaneous state constitution identify itself as perpetual (does any today)?

This also reveals what I would call a flaw (more of a lack of detail) in Texas v. White. Perpetuity means little. The AoCs declared the Union perpetual (and themselves inviolable), and yet the states disregarded them. It's only when perpetual Union is combined with "made more perfect" that it incurs full importance. Chase fails to explain what exactly made the Union more perfect. It is, in fact, that important distinction made by Madison. What made the Union more perfect was that it was established upon a constitution rather than another treaty. Laws are inherently perpetual (and inherently inviolable). It would be silly for a law to say it remains a law until lawfully repealed (just like it would be silly for a law to say it must be obeyed).

In addition, there was nothing unlawful about dissolving the AoCs. Vattel also made the point that if one party violates a treaty, the other is no longer bound to continue its own treaty obligations. Every state had violated the AoCs in one way or another. Did any state try to make the claim that the AoCs were improperly dissolved? How could any state, having violated the AoCs, complain about their subsequent dissolution?
 

CW Buff

Sergeant Major
Joined
Dec 22, 2014
Location
Connecticut
The primary reason that South Carolina fired upon Ft. Sumter was because they had declared their independence from the Union and demanded that the fort be surrendered which the garrison refused to do. The major motivation for the attack on the fort wasn't to "protect slavery".

Imagine a book that sought to explain the ACW, but only begins with April 12, 1861, and holds everything that happened before as off limits. That would not be very informative, not to mention silly. Declaring independence and fighting to secure it are not somehow magically detachable. They declared independence and fought for it to protect and preserve slavery.

But what a wonderful rebellion it would have been if they could have secured it just by saying ‘we’re out, now leave us alone and go away.’ And what a feeble, worthless country that would have made the US. Such feebleness is exactly what the Constitution was created to eliminate.

Edmund Randolph, Federal Convention of 1787, May 29:

He then proceeded to enumerate the defects [of the confederation]:

1. that the confederation produced no security against foreign invasion; congress not being permitted to prevent a war nor to support it by their own authority-Of this he cited many examples; most of which tended to shew, that they could not cause infractions of treaties or of the law of nations, to be punished: that particular states might by their conduct provoke war without controul; and that neither militia nor draughts being fit for defence on such occasions, inlistments only could be successful, and these could not be executed without money.

2. that the foederal government could not check the quarrels between states, nor a rebellion in any, not having constitutional power nor means to interpose according to the exigency:

3. that there were many advantages, which the U. S. might acquire, which were not attainable under the confederation-such as a productive impost- counteraction of the commercial regulations of other nations-pushing of commerce ad libitum-&c &c.

4. that the foederal government could not defend itself against the incroachments from the states.

5. that it was not even paramount to the state constitutions, ratified, as it was in may of the states.
 

Potomac Pride

Sergeant Major
Joined
Oct 28, 2011
Location
Georgia
Imagine a book that sought to explain the ACW, but only begins with April 12, 1861, and holds everything that happened before as off limits. That would not be very informative, not to mention silly. Declaring independence and fighting to secure it are not somehow magically detachable. They declared independence and fought for it to protect and preserve slavery.

But what a wonderful rebellion it would have been if they could have secured it just by saying ‘we’re out, now leave us alone and go away.’ And what a feeble, worthless country that would have made the US. Such feebleness is exactly what the Constitution was created to eliminate.

Edmund Randolph, Federal Convention of 1787, May 29:

He then proceeded to enumerate the defects [of the confederation]:

1. that the confederation produced no security against foreign invasion; congress not being permitted to prevent a war nor to support it by their own authority-Of this he cited many examples; most of which tended to shew, that they could not cause infractions of treaties or of the law of nations, to be punished: that particular states might by their conduct provoke war without controul; and that neither militia nor draughts being fit for defence on such occasions, inlistments only could be successful, and these could not be executed without money.

2. that the foederal government could not check the quarrels between states, nor a rebellion in any, not having constitutional power nor means to interpose according to the exigency:

3. that there were many advantages, which the U. S. might acquire, which were not attainable under the confederation-such as a productive impost- counteraction of the commercial regulations of other nations-pushing of commerce ad libitum-&c &c.

4. that the foederal government could not defend itself against the incroachments from the states.

5. that it was not even paramount to the state constitutions, ratified, as it was in may of the states.

My post was about the attack on Ft. Sumter and wasn't about the reasons the southern states seceded. However, thanks for your comments anyway.
 

CW Buff

Sergeant Major
Joined
Dec 22, 2014
Location
Connecticut
My post was about the attack on Ft. Sumter and wasn't about the reasons the southern states seceded. However, thanks for your comments anyway.

Yes, I know that. And it was in a thread on secession. As best as I can tell, I directly addressed your post. I only used this thread because it provides for a more general discussion of secession, and there was a third-party comment that we were trailing away from the more specific topic of the other thread (and I couldn’t find a thread on both secession and Sumter, though I’m sure there’s at least one out there somewhere). C'est la vie.
 
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