Discuss secession

jgoodguy

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You are roughly correct. The Constitution is a plan of/for a gov't, the details of whose operation is left to the experience over time of the Constitutional Gov't and those of the states, guided and directed by that Constitution.
Good point. A living Constitution. Details filled in later, although IMHO, much sovereignty assume by secession advocates simply is not there.
P.S. I believe you are correct, the silence of the Constitution concerning unilateral secession, is Not all that important, either way
IMHO no one anticipated unilateral secession until it happened. Silence is understandable.
 

David Ireland

Corporal
Joined
Nov 29, 2017
@jgoodguy


I want to continue this with you.


I'm posting our previous conversation below.


Again, sorry for my lack of tact early in the conversation. I'm really interested in learning your view as exemplary of the Union view.


You: "Hey. Looking forward to all that documentation about secession was widely accepted by most people at the founding. First define what you think secession is so we are on the same page. Which founding? Declaration of Independence at which time states could be colonies or committees claiming to represent colonies, the establishment of the AOC or the founding of the Constitutional government. OTOH you can have any opinion you wish, just note that it is an opinion and not evidenced fact. Looking forward to being informed."



Me:



1. “define what you think secession is so we are on the same page.”


Noah Webster defines secession as: formal withdrawal from an organization. I’d agree with that definition. Would you?


2.“Which founding? Declaration of Independence at which time states could be colonies or committees claiming to represent colonies, the establishment of the AOC (Articles of Confederation) or the founding of the Constitutional government.”


I reject your premise. It is one continuous existence. There weren’t any separate foundings. There weren’t any significant changes to the body politic from the time the AOC was ratified and the time the Constitution was ratified, any more than the English body politic changed in between the time of the signing of the Magna Carta and the Glorious Revolution. There was no change from a decentralized league to a consolidated nation. It was one continuous political system, that was modified, but not abandoned, with the ratification of the Constitution. If you read the AOC, you’ll see that the terms “Union” and “Confederation” , were used interchangeably in the text .


In Madison’s Vices of the Political System of the U.S. in 1787, one can see that Madison had no problem using the language interchangeably. He uses both the terms “General Government” and “Federal government”, both the terms “Constitution” and “compact”, and “Union” and “Confederation” as synonyms respectively. This was a widespread tendency, and a 2 second google search can prove that to be the case.


In Federalist 40, Madison responds to the fear that the Federal Convention was replacing the

AOC with something else ( namely, a consolidated national government to replace the sovereign and independent states that were in existence) by saying that "that the great principles of the Constitution proposed by the Convention may be considered less as absolutely new, than as the expansion of principles which are found in the Articles of Confederation."


In Federalist 45, he writes , “The State governments may be regarded as constituent and essential parts of the federal government; whilst the latter is nowise essential to the operation or organization of the former. If the new Constitution be examined with accuracy and candor, it will be found that the change which it proposes consists much less in the addition of NEW POWERS to the Union, than in the invigoration of its ORIGINAL POWERS.”


Even Lincoln himself, regurgitating the bizarre and absurd doctrines of Daniel Webster in his debates about the theory of the Union, correctly wrote in his First Innaugural Address that “The Union is much older than the Constitution. It was formed in fact, by the Articles of Association in 1774. It was matured and continued by the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It was further matured and the faith of the then thirteen States expressly plighted and engaged that it should be perpetual, by the Articles of Confederation in 1778. And finally, in 1787, one of the declared objects for ordaining and establishing the Constitution, was “to form a more perfect union.” Not even Lincoln himself said that there were separate foundings.


Let’s not forget, too, that legislative intent is an essential thing to look at when determining how a statute is to be construed(ie was ratification a separate founding?). We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the intent of the people of the separate and sovereign states who had formed a union/confederacy when they sent their delegates to Philadelphia was to amend the AOC, not form a new country altogether (ie continue the same basic confederacy). The various state legislatures which ratified did not accede to the compact based on the idea that they would be starting a new country. This nationalist idea was rejected. Take a look at the Convention’s objection to the word, “national”, the subsequent striking of the word from the Constitution, and the agreed upon resolution to go forward with Randolph’s plan “as an amendment to the AOC” (I can show you more proof of this if you want. There’s also a book called James Madison and the Making of America by Kevin Gutzman that discusses the rejection of nationalism among other things). But, the States took Madison’s word that this new compact was a continuation of the old, with the States remaining sovereign in all areas where power was not expressly granted to the Federal government. See Madison’s words below:




"I ask, What are these principles? Do they require that, in the establishment of the Constitution, the States should be regarded as distinct and independent sovereigns? They are so regarded by the Constitution proposed.... Do these principles, in fine, require that the powers of the General Government should be limited, and that, beyond this limit, the States should be left in possession of their sovereignty and independence? We have seen that, in the new Government as in the old, the general powers are limited; and that the States, in all unenumerated cases, are left in the enjoyment of their sovereign and independent jurisdiction."


What’s your evidence for the claim that there were separate foundings, wherein the principles changed and the States lost their sovereignty? How is that pertinent to your claim that secession was not widely accepted by the founders and that it was unconstitutional?"



You:


"Secession is not in the constitution, therefore it is not constitutional AKA unconstitutional."




With respect, your statement here shows that you fundamentally misunderstand the nature of the constitution. The enumeration of a specific right is not necessary for its existence. Since this is partially about the constitution, let's look to the text of the Constitution. The Tenth Amendment explicitly 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." Nowhere in the Constitution are states forbidden from seceding. Since that power is not expressly prohibited to the States (Article 1, Section 10), it must be that the States never intended to give up that right.


As for the claim that secession is barred by the clause in that section prohibiting any state from entering into an "alliance, treaty, or confederation", a common misconception is presented here. This clause only binds the States SO LONG AS THEY REMAIN IN THE UNION. Once they become a distinct political entity by re-assuming the powers they granted, the Constitution doesn't apply to them.


But, what about the fact that Article 1, Section 8 grants Congress the power to "suppress insurrections"? That answer has two parts. First, the context of this has to do with Shay's Rebellion. Shayites had no legitimacy granted to them by any state government. The types of insurrections referred to in that provision were rebellions by recalcitrant groups of individuals, not states exercising their autonomy through the political process. Second, the States were the ones who granted the federal government the power to suppress insurrections in the first place. How illogical it is to claim that States intended to give someone the power to coerce them! Especially since they had just declared their independence and sovereignty, not just in the Declaration, but everywhere else. It's absurd to claim that the states intended to give the federal government the power to create a republic where, in the words of Horace Greeley, " one section is pinned to another by bayonets".



Even John Marshall, the embodiment of the Nationalist wing of the Federalists, the originator of the Imperial Judiciary, and the antithesis of the Jeffersonian States’ Rights tradition, admits that the states predated the Union and were left with autonomy and sovereignty(which must include the right to secede; For how can sovereignty exist if the party is not free to re-assume the powers which had once been delegated?), while discussing the authority that States would hold over the militias:




"The State governments did not derive their powers from the General Government; but each government derived its powers from the people, and each was to act according to the powers given it. Would any gentleman deny this?... Could any man say that this power was not retained by the States, as they had not given it away? For (says he) does not a power remain till it is given away? The State Legislatures had power to command and govern their militia before, and have it still, undeniably, unless there be something in this Constitution that takes it away.... "He concluded by observing that the power of governing the militia was not vested in the States by implication, because, being possessed of it antecedently to the adoption of the Government, and not being divested of it by any grant or restriction in the Constitution, they must necessarily be as fully possessed of it as ever they had been, and it could not be said that the States derived any powers from that system, but retained them, though not acknowledged in any part of it."




As for evidence that the founders believed in the right of secession, let's take them at their own words and actions.



First, let's not forget that all the States seceded from Great Britain to begin with. The Convention has abundant records of the attempt to preserve the autonomy of the individual states from the initial secession in 1776 all the way through to the system enshrined in the Constitution. (Want more proof of that? I can show you if you want.)


Let's also not forget that several states expressly reserved the right to "re-assume the powers" that they were delegating to the General Government in their ratification ordinances. (Virginia, New York, and Rhode Island). All you have to do is read these ordinances to see for yourself.


Let's also not forget that our entire political tradition at that time had been strognly predicated on the views of John Locke. Nearly everyone at that time, aside from Tories, subscribed to his views. Jefferson himself borrowed heavily from his language, most notably in the Declaration when he said that "government rests on the consent of the governed." Nobody would have accepted the claim that instead, government rests on the consent of the governors!


Moving onto actual words, Jefferson said in his first Innaugural Address,


“If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union, or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated, where reason is left free to combat it.”


James Madison, in his Vices of the Political System of the United States, writes,



“Were the plan of the convention adverse to the public happiness, my voice would be, Reject the plan. Were the Union itself inconsistent with the public happiness, it would be, Abolish the Union.”


In Federalist 43, Madison refers to the right of secession upon a breach of the compact as "these delicate truths":


"A compact between independent sovereigns, founded on ordinary acts of legislative authority, can pretend to no higher validity than a league or treaty between the parties. It is an established doctrine on the subject of treaties, that all the articles are mutually conditions of each other; that a breach of any one article is a breach of the whole treaty; and that a breach, committed by either of the parties, absolves the others, and authorizes them, if they please, to pronounce the compact violated and void. Should it unhappily be necessary to appeal to these delicate truths for a justification for dispensing with the consent of particular States to a dissolution of the federal pact, will not the complaining parties find it a difficult task to answer the multiplied and important infractions with which they may be confronted? "


Even Washington, who is hardly an authority on political matters, having preferred farming and soldiering to ruling and habitually deferring to the judgement of Hamilton, wrote to General Knox, June 17, 1788 of the right of secession,


"I can not but hope that the States which may be disposed to make a secession will think often and seriously on the consequences."


On June 28, 1788, he wrote to General Pinckney that New Hampshire "had acceded to the new Confederacy," and, in reference to North Carolina, "I should be astonished if that State should withdraw from the Union."


The fact is that while the founders thought disunion catastrophic, they still acknowledged that states had the right to secede.


Even later in our history, New England states almost seceded from the Union at the Hartford Convention in protest to the War of 1812. Southern states nearly seceded over the Tarriff of Abominations thirty years before the outbreak of the Civil War. Abolitionists in the North demanded secession due to the fact that the Constitution protected slavery. Even many northerners acknowledged the legitimacy of secession.


These facts show, unless you are aware of something I'm not, that belief in the right(not necessarily the propriety) of secession was pretty mainstream from the time of the founding. I'm not trying to vindicate the CSA, as I believe that even the Constitution must be subjected to the scrutiny of the Natural Law, which prohibits slavery. But I really can't see the rationale for forcing consent of the governed in the context of the early American intellectual landscape.




I'm very curious to see what your response is.
 
Last edited:

jgoodguy

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@jgoodguy


I want to continue this with you.


I'm posting our previous conversation below.


Again, sorry for my lack of tact early in the conversation. I'm really interested in learning your view as exemplary of the Union view.


You: "Hey. Looking forward to all that documentation about secession was widely accepted by most people at the founding. First define what you think secession is so we are on the same page. Which founding? Declaration of Independence at which time states could be colonies or committees claiming to represent colonies, the establishment of the AOC or the founding of the Constitutional government. OTOH you can have any opinion you wish, just note that it is an opinion and not evidenced fact. Looking forward to being informed."



Me:



1. “define what you think secession is so we are on the same page.”


Noah Webster defines secession as: formal withdrawal from an organization. I’d agree with that definition. Would you?


2.“Which founding? Declaration of Independence at which time states could be colonies or committees claiming to represent colonies, the establishment of the AOC (Articles of Confederation) or the founding of the Constitutional government.”


I reject your premise. It is one continuous existence. There weren’t any separate foundings. There weren’t any significant changes to the body politic from the time the AOC was ratified and the time the Constitution was ratified, any more than the English body politic changed in between the time of the signing of the Magna Carta and the Glorious Revolution. There was no change from a decentralized league to a consolidated nation. It was one continuous political system, that was modified, but not abandoned, with the ratification of the Constitution. If you read the AOC, you’ll see that the terms “Union” and “Confederation” , were used interchangeably in the text .


In Madison’s Vices of the Political System of the U.S. in 1787, one can see that Madison had no problem using the language interchangeably. He uses both the terms “General Government” and “Federal government”, both the terms “Constitution” and “compact”, and “Union” and “Confederation” as synonyms respectively. This was a widespread tendency, and a 2 second google search can prove that to be the case.


In Federalist 40, Madison responds to the fear that the Federal Convention was replacing the

AOC with something else ( namely, a consolidated national government to replace the sovereign and independent states that were in existence) by saying that "that the great principles of the Constitution proposed by the Convention may be considered less as absolutely new, than as the expansion of principles which are found in the Articles of Confederation."


In Federalist 45, he writes , “The State governments may be regarded as constituent and essential parts of the federal government; whilst the latter is nowise essential to the operation or organization of the former. If the new Constitution be examined with accuracy and candor, it will be found that the change which it proposes consists much less in the addition of NEW POWERS to the Union, than in the invigoration of its ORIGINAL POWERS.”


Even Lincoln himself, regurgitating the bizarre and absurd doctrines of Daniel Webster in his debates about the theory of the Union, correctly wrote in his First Innaugural Address that “The Union is much older than the Constitution. It was formed in fact, by the Articles of Association in 1774. It was matured and continued by the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It was further matured and the faith of the then thirteen States expressly plighted and engaged that it should be perpetual, by the Articles of Confederation in 1778. And finally, in 1787, one of the declared objects for ordaining and establishing the Constitution, was “to form a more perfect union.” Not even Lincoln himself said that there were separate foundings.


Let’s not forget, too, that legislative intent is an essential thing to look at when determining how a statute is to be construed(ie was ratification a separate founding?). We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the intent of the people of the separate and sovereign states who had formed a union/confederacy when they sent their delegates to Philadelphia was to amend the AOC, not form a new country altogether (ie continue the same basic confederacy). The various state legislatures which ratified did not accede to the compact based on the idea that they would be starting a new country. This nationalist idea was rejected. Take a look at the Convention’s objection to the word, “national”, the subsequent striking of the word from the Constitution, and the agreed upon resolution to go forward with Randolph’s plan “as an amendment to the AOC” (I can show you more proof of this if you want. There’s also a book called James Madison and the Making of America by Kevin Gutzman that discusses the rejection of nationalism among other things). But, the States took Madison’s word that this new compact was a continuation of the old, with the States remaining sovereign in all areas where power was not expressly granted to the Federal government. See Madison’s words below:




"I ask, What are these principles? Do they require that, in the establishment of the Constitution, the States should be regarded as distinct and independent sovereigns? They are so regarded by the Constitution proposed.... Do these principles, in fine, require that the powers of the General Government should be limited, and that, beyond this limit, the States should be left in possession of their sovereignty and independence? We have seen that, in the new Government as in the old, the general powers are limited; and that the States, in all unenumerated cases, are left in the enjoyment of their sovereign and independent jurisdiction."


What’s your evidence for the claim that there were separate foundings, wherein the principles changed and the States lost their sovereignty? How is that pertinent to your claim that secession was not widely accepted by the founders and that it was unconstitutional?"



You:


"Secession is not in the constitution, therefore it is not constitutional AKA unconstitutional."




With respect, your statement here shows that you fundamentally misunderstand the nature of the constitution. The enumeration of a specific right is not necessary for its existence. Since this is partially about the constitution, let's look to the text of the Constitution. The Tenth Amendment explicitly 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." Nowhere in the Constitution are states forbidden from seceding. Since that power is not expressly prohibited to the States (Article 1, Section 10), it must be that the States never intended to give up that right.


As for the claim that secession is barred by the clause in that section prohibiting any state from entering into an "alliance, treaty, or confederation", a common misconception is presented here. This clause only binds the States SO LONG AS THEY REMAIN IN THE UNION. Once they become a distinct political entity by re-assuming the powers they granted, the Constitution doesn't apply to them.


But, what about the fact that Article 1, Section 8 grants Congress the power to "suppress insurrections"? That answer has two parts. First, the context of this has to do with Shay's Rebellion. Shayites had no legitimacy granted to them by any state government. The types of insurrections referred to in that provision were rebellions by recalcitrant groups of individuals, not states exercising their autonomy through the political process. Second, the States were the ones who granted the federal government the power to suppress insurrections in the first place. How illogical it is to claim that States intended to give someone the power to coerce them! Especially since they had just declared their independence and sovereignty, not just in the Declaration, but everywhere else. It's absurd to claim that the states intended to give the federal government the power to create a republic where, in the words of Horace Greeley, " one section is pinned to another by bayonets".



Even John Marshall, the embodiment of the Nationalist wing of the Federalists, the originator of the Imperial Judiciary, and the antithesis of the Jeffersonian States’ Rights tradition, admits that the states predated the Union and were left with autonomy and sovereignty(which must include the right to secede; For how can sovereignty exist if the party is not free to re-assume the powers which had once been delegated?), while discussing the authority that States would hold over the militias:




"The State governments did not derive their powers from the General Government; but each government derived its powers from the people, and each was to act according to the powers given it. Would any gentleman deny this?... Could any man say that this power was not retained by the States, as they had not given it away? For (says he) does not a power remain till it is given away? The State Legislatures had power to command and govern their militia before, and have it still, undeniably, unless there be something in this Constitution that takes it away.... "He concluded by observing that the power of governing the militia was not vested in the States by implication, because, being possessed of it antecedently to the adoption of the Government, and not being divested of it by any grant or restriction in the Constitution, they must necessarily be as fully possessed of it as ever they had been, and it could not be said that the States derived any powers from that system, but retained them, though not acknowledged in any part of it."




As for evidence that the founders believed in the right of secession, let's take them at their own words and actions.



First, let's not forget that all the States seceded from Great Britain to begin with. The Convention has abundant records of the attempt to preserve the autonomy of the individual states from the initial secession in 1776 all the way through to the system enshrined in the Constitution. (Want more proof of that? I can show you if you want.)


Let's also not forget that several states expressly reserved the right to "re-assume the powers" that they were delegating to the General Government in their ratification ordinances. (Virginia, New York, and Rhode Island). All you have to do is read these ordinances to see for yourself.


Let's also not forget that our entire political tradition at that time had been strognly predicated on the views of John Locke. Nearly everyone at that time, aside from Tories, subscribed to his views. Jefferson himself borrowed heavily from his language, most notably in the Declaration when he said that "government rests on the consent of the governed." Nobody would have accepted the claim that instead, government rests on the consent of the governors!


Moving onto actual words, Jefferson said in his first Innaugural Address,


“If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union, or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated, where reason is left free to combat it.”


James Madison, in his Vices of the Political System of the United States, writes,



“Were the plan of the convention adverse to the public happiness, my voice would be, Reject the plan. Were the Union itself inconsistent with the public happiness, it would be, Abolish the Union.”


In Federalist 43, Madison refers to the right of secession upon a breach of the compact as "these delicate truths":


"A compact between independent sovereigns, founded on ordinary acts of legislative authority, can pretend to no higher validity than a league or treaty between the parties. It is an established doctrine on the subject of treaties, that all the articles are mutually conditions of each other; that a breach of any one article is a breach of the whole treaty; and that a breach, committed by either of the parties, absolves the others, and authorizes them, if they please, to pronounce the compact violated and void. Should it unhappily be necessary to appeal to these delicate truths for a justification for dispensing with the consent of particular States to a dissolution of the federal pact, will not the complaining parties find it a difficult task to answer the multiplied and important infractions with which they may be confronted? "


Even Washington, who is hardly an authority on political matters, having preferred farming and soldiering to ruling and habitually deferring to the judgement of Hamilton, wrote to General Knox, June 17, 1788 of the right of secession,


"I can not but hope that the States which may be disposed to make a secession will think often and seriously on the consequences."


On June 28, 1788, he wrote to General Pinckney that New Hampshire "had acceded to the new Confederacy," and, in reference to North Carolina, "I should be astonished if that State should withdraw from the Union."


The fact is that while the founders thought disunion catastrophic, they still acknowledged that states had the right to secede.


Even later in our history, New England states almost seceded from the Union at the Hartford Convention in protest to the War of 1812. Southern states nearly seceded over the Tarriff of Abominations thirty years before the outbreak of the Civil War. Abolitionists in the North demanded secession due to the fact that the Constitution protected slavery. Even many northerners acknowledged the legitimacy of secession.


These facts show, unless you are aware of something I'm not, that belief in the right(not necessarily the propriety) of secession was pretty mainstream from the time of the founding. I'm not trying to vindicate the CSA, as I believe that even the Constitution must be subjected to the scrutiny of the Natural Law, which prohibits slavery. But I really can't see the rationale for forcing consent of the governed in the context of early American intellectual thought.




I'm very curious to see what your response is.
Looks like a whole bunch of selective misquoting to me. But I will play a bit later.
 

David Ireland

Corporal
Joined
Nov 29, 2017
If they really are misquotes, I'd like to know. Perhaps there is also a strong counterargument. I've yet to find it. Webster/Everett etc seem poor apologists for the perpetual union cause, with weak arguments.
 

David Ireland

Corporal
Joined
Nov 29, 2017
Good point. A living Constitution. Details filled in later, although IMHO, much sovereignty assume by secession advocates simply is not there.
IMHO no one anticipated unilateral secession until it happened. Silence is understandable.



The founders were abundantly clear that the Constitution was not to be an open-ended instrument. It was not to be a "living constitution". Power was to be specifically and intentionally enumerated, and everything outside of that boundary was to be considered illegitimate. It was only a "living constitution" in the sense that it could be changed...but only via the amendment process. Sounds like a semantical difference, but it isn't. One is a limit on power, and the other is a blank check of authority.


If you'd like to learn more about this, I recommend the book by constitutional scholar and lawyer Peter Zavodnyik, entitled "the Age of Strict Construction." Zavodnyik tears to pieces with facts the idea of an open ended Constitution. (No, he's not a neo-confederate, either)

Where is this lack of sovereignty? Show me where the founders talked about it, please.
 

Potomac Pride

Sergeant Major
Joined
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Location
Georgia
Some people say that the Supremacy Clause in the Constitution prohibits secession. However, the supremacy clause only applies if the federal government is acting in pursuit of its authorized powers contained in the Constitution. There is nothing in the Constitution that explicitly prohibits secession; in fact, secession is not even mentioned in the document. For secession to be unconstitutional, there must be some clause prohibiting it and not simply a claim that the Constitution is supreme. Before the Civil War, the issue of secession was actually a gray area.
 

jgoodguy

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The founders were abundantly clear that the Constitution was not to be an open-ended instrument. It was not to be a "living constitution". Power was to be specifically and intentionally enumerated, and everything outside of that boundary was to be considered illegitimate. It was only a "living constitution" in the sense that it could be changed...but only via the amendment process. Sounds like a semantical difference, but it isn't. One is a limit on power, and the other is a blank check of authority.


If you'd like to learn more about this, I recommend the book by constitutional scholar and lawyer Peter Zavodnyik, entitled "the Age of Strict Construction." Zavodnyik tears to pieces with facts the idea of an open ended Constitution. (No, he's not a neo-confederate, either)

Where is this lack of sovereignty? Show me where the founders talked about it, please.
IMHO Zavodnyik is a quack. Perhaps you have some quotes that might change my perception? I have no duty to change my opinion, but if Zavodnyik is significant, lets quote him and put him to the test.

Lets get down to specifics. Please list the specific sovereignties needed for a successful secession if you wish to pursue this. Else it is simply a clash of opinions.
 

jgoodguy

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Some people say that the Supremacy Clause in the Constitution prohibits secession. However, the supremacy clause only applies if the federal government is acting in pursuit of its authorized powers contained in the Constitution. There is nothing in the Constitution that explicitly prohibits secession; in fact, secession is not even mentioned in the document. For secession to be unconstitutional, there must be some clause prohibiting it and not simply a claim that the Constitution is supreme. Before the Civil War, the issue of secession was actually a gray area.
in fact, secession is not even mentioned in the document
If you agree that secession is not in the Constitutional, then secession is not Constitutional AKA Unconstitutional by your own assertion. Assuming SCOTUS is the final authority on what is Constitutional then if secession is not in the Constitution as you assert then:
Texas v White.
7. Considered as transactions under the Constitution, the ordinance of secession, adopted by the convention, and ratified by a majority of the citizens of Texas, and all the acts of her legislature intended to give[p701] effect to that ordinance, were absolutely null. They were utterly without operation in law.​
There are no paths to secession in the Constitution, a position that you affirm then what is the assertion here.
However, the supremacy clause only applies if the federal government is acting in pursuit of its authorized powers contained in the Constitution.
Who determines this? Secessionists acting as the judge, jury and executioner of their insurrectionist desires?
Who determines and how??
 

ivanj05

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 8, 2015
Secession falls under the 10th Amendment.

Even if it does, which I doubt, any power to exit the Union that was reserved under the 10th Amendment would be constrained in its exercise, as all state powers are, by the Supremacy Clause. Which means that most of the actions taken by the supposedly seceded states like grabbing all of the Federal property in sight would render that particular method of secession well outside whatever may have been allowed if there was a reserved right to secede.
 

jgoodguy

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Even if it does, which I doubt, any power to exit the Union that was reserved under the 10th Amendment would be constrained in its exercise, as all state powers are, by the Supremacy Clause. Which means that most of the actions taken by the supposedly seceded states like grabbing all of the Federal property in sight would render that particular method of secession well outside whatever may have been allowed if there was a reserved right to secede.
Good point.
There are more clauses than just the Supremacy Clause. Remember the 10
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.​
It is difficult to find an explicit or implied delegated power that does not stop unilateral secession somewhere in its implementation.
 

Potomac Pride

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Location
Georgia
If you agree that secession is not in the Constitutional, then secession is not Constitutional AKA Unconstitutional by your own assertion. Assuming SCOTUS is the final authority on what is Constitutional then if secession is not in the Constitution as you assert then:
Texas v White.
7. Considered as transactions under the Constitution, the ordinance of secession, adopted by the convention, and ratified by a majority of the citizens of Texas, and all the acts of her legislature intended to give[p701] effect to that ordinance, were absolutely null. They were utterly without operation in law.​
There are no paths to secession in the Constitution, a position that you affirm then what is the assertion here.

Who determines this? Secessionists acting as the judge, jury and executioner of their insurrectionist desires?
Who determines and how??

Just because something is not contained in the Constitution doesn't make it automatically unconstitutional. According to the 10th amendment, powers that are not delegated to the federal government and not prohibited to the states are reserved for the states or the people. In addition, the Texas vs. White decision by SCOTUS didn't occur until after the Civil War. The issue of secession was really an unsettled matter before the Civil War.
 

Lost Cause

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Just because something is not contained in the Constitution doesn't make it automatically unconstitutional. According to the 10th amendment, powers that are not delegated to the federal government and not prohibited to the states are reserved for the states or the people. In addition, the Texas vs. White decision by SCOTUS didn't occur until after the Civil War. The issue of secession was really an unsettled matter before the Civil War.
Interesting point. Also, slavery was rarely mentioned in the Constitution prior to being abolished. Does that mean it was a federal offense in 1861, based on the later passage of the 13th Amendment?
 

jgoodguy

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Just because something is not contained in the Constitution doesn't make it automatically unconstitutional
Really. I am overwhelmed by this magical assertion that like a conjurer stuff not in the constitution shows up out of thin air. Or are you asserting that not Constitutional is not unconstitutional.
According to the 10th amendment, powers that are not delegated to the federal government and not prohibited to the states are reserved for the states or the people.
Wonderful now explain in detail how secession is achieved without violating one or more of the delegated powers.
n addition, the Texas vs. White decision by SCOTUS didn't occur until after the Civil War. The issue of secession was really an unsettled matter before the Civil War.
I can quote Taney to the same effect.
SCOTUS Chief Justice Roger Taney, January, 1861 memorandum emphasis mine.
The South contends that a state has a constitutional right to secede from the Union formed with her sister states. In this I submit the South errs. No power or right is constitutional but what can be exercised in a form or mode provided in the constitution for its exercise. Secession is therefore not constitutional, but revolutionary;and is only morally competent, like war, upon failure of justice."
Both say the same thing, there must be a Constitutional provision for secession for it to be viable. You own assertion is that secession is not in the Constitution. You have asserted time and time again secession is not in the Constitution. If true then there is no Constitutional Path to secession. There is no power of secession found in State Constitutions of the time. Thus it seems to me that the 10th is being used to convert imagination into some sort of power.
 

jgoodguy

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Interesting point. Also, slavery was rarely mentioned in the Constitution prior to being abolished. Does that mean it was a federal offense in 1861, based on the later passage of the 13th Amendment?
Except in regards to the 10th we are not discussing statutes and offenses, but constitutional powers.

Prior to the 13 the Constitution mentioned slavery and had pathways to enforcement.

No such mention of secession is in the Constitution. Texas v White just states what is plainly known, there is no mention of secession nor has ever been mention of secession in the Constitution and no pathway to it.
 

jgoodguy

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By the rebels themselves at the time.

Isn't it about time we take them at their word?
They made a fine rebellion. It is a shame to tarnish their reputation in the endless quibbles over intangible claims of dubious legality.
 
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