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Does Catalonia Have a Right to Secede?

Discussion in 'Civil War History - Secession and Politics' started by jgoodguy, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. jgoodguy

    jgoodguy Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    Does Catalonia Have a Right to Secede?

    Lets discuss how this essay relates to the secession of 1860-65 concentrating on the Antebellum/Civil War era without referencing modern times.

    This sounds familiar. Loyalty, emotion and flag waving seems to be in the secession debates.

    That is not an easy question to answer because it is far from clear what would give any region a right to secede. The public debate – in Catalonia, Spain and elsewhere – is not much help. People tend to decide these issues on grounds of loyalty and emotion. There is a lot flag waving; much less reasoned argument.​
     
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  3. jgoodguy

    jgoodguy Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    Please Keep to Antebellum/Civil War era.
    Related
    Does Scotland have the right to secede?
    What gives Scotland a moral right to secede anyway? One plausible view of secession is that an area of a state only has a right to secede if it is suffering serious forms of abuse. Something close to this view is defended by perhaps the most prominent theorist of secession, Allen Buchanan. It is also the view invoked in the world’s most famous secessionist document, the US Declaration of Independence. According to the Declaration, “Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes”. Secession can only be justified in light of “a long train of abuses”. It was the long train of abuses that George III had supposedly inflicted against the thirteen colonies that, in the eyes of the Founding Fathers, justified their bid for secession. What “long train of abuses” can the residents of Scotland complain of?​
     
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  4. ikesdad

    ikesdad Private

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    I reckon that depends how their constitutions are wrote.
     
  5. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    Yes, the Catalonians have a right.

    "Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, a most sacred right—a right which, we hope and believe, is to liberate the world. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can may revolutionize, and make their own of so much of the territory as they inhabit. More than this, a majority of any portion of such people may revolutionize, putting down a minority, intermingled with, or near about them, who may oppose their movement. Such minority was precisely the case of the Tories of our own Revolution. It is a quality of revolutions not to go by old lines, or old laws; but to break up both, and make new ones."
     
  6. ikesdad

    ikesdad Private

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    That's in their constitution ?
     
  7. John Hartwell

    John Hartwell Captain Forum Host

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    I don't know the provisions of the Spanish constitution regarding that question, nor how much say the Catalan people had in establishing it. It doesn't really matter. They have a right to try, as did the South in 1861.

    To me, the validity of their attempt comes down to the basis upon which they frame their aspirations. The Catalans have their own language, traditions, and culture quite distinct from the Spanish. They are a separate nationality, and have never been "Spaniards" other than politically -- and that after conquest and annexation. Moreover, they have a centuries-old history of resistance to Spanish domination, which has always been forcibly suppressed by the Spanish government. By comparison, the bases for Confederate aspirations to independence were petty to the point of being frivolous.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
  8. Jimklag

    Jimklag Captain Forum Host Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner

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    I would think Scotland's claim is stronger than most since it was a separate nation prior to conquest and annexation by England. It would be regaining independence rather than establishing a new independent nation.
     
  9. OpnCoronet

    OpnCoronet Major

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    Is there(or can we make) a distinction between secession and revolution?
     
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  10. jgoodguy

    jgoodguy Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    Related to the Antebellum period. The Southern States had some sort of sovereignty/independence status prior to joining the Articles of Confederation, some sort of sovereignty/independence during the Articles of Confederation and lost any complete sovereignty/independence when they voluntarily joined the Constitutional government of the United States.

    It appears that Scotland and England were joined because of a common King. Lot of marriages and such, some defeats in battle, treaties and so forth but the end result was a common King. Later there was a treaty of union. About the closest the US comes to this is the Southern Presidents in the Antebellum period.
     
  11. jgoodguy

    jgoodguy Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    Only what the articles in the OP and post #2 allow.
     
  12. Jimklag

    Jimklag Captain Forum Host Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner

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    To add to the confusion, after issuing ordinances of secession, the southerners called what they were doing the second American Revolution. Go figure.
     
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  13. Rebforever

    Rebforever Major

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    You can find that by definition. The 2 are not alike.

    Edited by moderator jgg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 12, 2017
  14. 5fish

    5fish Captain

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    SOUTHERN states should have worked on putting the right to seceded into our Consitution instead of causing a war...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 12, 2017
  15. FarawayFriend

    FarawayFriend Captain Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner

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    Agreed, that would have been better.
    But at what point would they have had the chance to do that, to change the Constitution of the United States?
     
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  16. jgoodguy

    jgoodguy Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    IMHO they are overlapping in definitions. Secession can happen without rebellion, rebellion can happen without secession, they can begin simultaneously, or at different points in time.
     
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  17. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    It would always have been difficult, given they had fewer states in the South than in the North, and given that by 1800 the North was clearly growing in population faster than the South.

    There are very specific reasons why the Southern States ratified the Constitution, and each had their own timing and reasons. Georgia wanted the strong border defense a stronger Federal government would provide, because they were a frontier state at the time. South Carolina had reservations, as Virginia did, but with the prospect of Washington as President, and the belief they could limit the government's power with the amendment process, and the possibility their population was growing faster than the North, they agreed. North Carolina was then isolated, and still took a year and a half to ratify. The South did not act in a monolithic manner to ratify, and had the opportunity come sooner or later, things might have been different. And indeed, some had second thoughts very quickly, within a very few years. So did some Northern states.
     
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  18. JOHN42768

    JOHN42768 2nd Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

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    I believe unfortunately that Secession was not truly the will of the majority of Southerners. Mob mentality (no insult intended) takes over. Look at many of the states that were split in their loyalty. Some of those did and others did not leave the Union. Yes, once the fighting started individual loyalties and codes of honor forced so many to side where their hearts were not pledged. Once in the middle of any conflict it is difficult to back down without your pride/ego taking a serious hit.
     
  19. Rebforever

    Rebforever Major

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    But there are 2 different definitions.
     
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  20. jgoodguy

    jgoodguy Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    Only in the eyes of the beholder.
     
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  21. matthew mckeon

    matthew mckeon Brigadier General Moderator

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    I'm not sure how you can both bring in modern secession movements and keep to the antebellum period.

    Two thoughts:
    Means: The means of Quebec, or Catalonia etc. are not artillery fire. Scotland and Quebec have submitted their referendum for secession to the voters, (and lost). They haven't rushed federal installations or looted federal mints or custom houses. I don't know anything about Catalonia.

    Causes: I'm not an expert on Scotland, Catalonia, or even Quebec, but their beefs with the national government in each case has to do with a separate ethnic identity, which is hard to detect in the antebellum US, and in Quebec anyway, a sense of being discriminated against in the 19th and 20th century. It wasn't, "we want to maintain, and extend slavery." The people being discriminated against in antebellum America weren't white colored.

    In Quebec, anyway, the sense of francophone identity is served an big, heaping ladle full of anti Semitism and bigotry, as the non French ethnic citizens vote to stay with Canada, and provide the margin of victory for the "stay" side. They trust the Canadian government to be more fair than a government in Quebec City.
     

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