Restricted Debate For those who read the written words for intent-what the Articles of Secession tell us

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#1
The authors of the articles of secession for four of the first five states to leave the Union are happy to tell us why they acted. I have edited their full documents to concentrate on their reasoning and these edited versions are below. If you prefer to read any or all of the full documents, they are readily located on-line (but I didn't find other reasons stated).

South Carolina

“……But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slave holding states to the institution of slavery has led to a disregard to their obligations, and the laws and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution…”

Mississippi

Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery—the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of the commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.


Florida

The declaration cites no cause, they just leave.


Alabama

“………..And as it is the desire and purpose of the people of Alabama to meet the slaveholding States of the South, who may approve such purpose, in order to frame a provisional as well as permanent Government upon the principles of the Constitution of the United States, . ..”


Georgia

……. For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery.
 

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#2
South Carolina lists other reasons than the one you've posted above.

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/csa_scarsec.asp

From the opening paragraph:

The people of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, on the 26th day of April, A.D., 1852, declared that the frequent violations of the Constitution of the United States, by the Federal Government, and its encroachments upon the reserved rights of the States, fully justified this State in then withdrawing from the Federal Union, but in deference to the opinions and wishes of the other slaveholding States, she forbore at that time to exercise this right. Since that time, these encroachments have continued to increase, and further forbearance ceases to be a virtue.​
- frequent violations of the Constitution by the Federal Government
- encroachments by the Federal Government on the reserved rights of the States
- the encroachments have continued to increase

In other words, the Federal Government has frequently gone beyond the limitations placed on it by the Constitution and exercised powers which belong to the states alone. That doesn't seem like motivation to secede to you? It was to them, both in 1852 and in 1860. One of the long-held fears of Southerners was "consolidation", or concentrating power in the General government and rendering the States weak or powerless. They knew how the system set up by the Constitution was supposed to work, and a series of small power grabs by the Federal government was a very real problem.
 
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#3
South Carolina lists other reasons than the one you've posted above.

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/csa_scarsec.asp

From the opening paragraph:

The people of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, on the 26th day of April, A.D., 1852, declared that the frequent violations of the Constitution of the United States, by the Federal Government, and its encroachments upon the reserved rights of the States, fully justified this State in then withdrawing from the Federal Union, but in deference to the opinions and wishes of the other slaveholding States, she forbore at that time to exercise this right. Since that time, these encroachments have continued to increase, and further forbearance ceases to be a virtue.​
- frequent violations of the Constitution by the Federal Government
- encroachments by the Federal Government on the reserved rights of the States
- the encroachments have continued to increase

In other words, the Federal Government has frequently gone beyond the limitations placed on it by the Constitution and exercised powers which belong to the states alone. That doesn't seem like motivation to secede to you? It was to them, both in 1852 and in 1860. One of the long-held fears of Southerners was "consolidation", or concentrating power in the General government and rendering the States weak or powerless. They knew how the system set up by the Constitution was supposed to work, and a series of small power grabs by the Federal government was a very real problem.
And that was the Nationalist victory which from 1865 forward has propelled the US into the centralized leviathan we have today. I feel certain the founders would roll over in their graves to see the goliath in action today, with fingers outstretched into nearly all facets of our society today.
 
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#4
South Carolina lists other reasons than the one you've posted above.

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/csa_scarsec.asp

From the opening paragraph:

The people of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, on the 26th day of April, A.D., 1852, declared that the frequent violations of the Constitution of the United States, by the Federal Government, and its encroachments upon the reserved rights of the States, fully justified this State in then withdrawing from the Federal Union, but in deference to the opinions and wishes of the other slaveholding States, she forbore at that time to exercise this right. Since that time, these encroachments have continued to increase, and further forbearance ceases to be a virtue.​
- frequent violations of the Constitution by the Federal Government
- encroachments by the Federal Government on the reserved rights of the States
- the encroachments have continued to increase

In other words, the Federal Government has frequently gone beyond the limitations placed on it by the Constitution and exercised powers which belong to the states alone. That doesn't seem like motivation to secede to you? It was to them, both in 1852 and in 1860. One of the long-held fears of Southerners was "consolidation", or concentrating power in the General government and rendering the States weak or powerless. They knew how the system set up by the Constitution was supposed to work, and a series of small power grabs by the Federal government was a very real problem.
Specific examples of alleged encroachments would be appreciated.
Leftyhunter
 

wbull1

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#5
Specific examples of alleged encroachments would be appreciated.
Leftyhunter
As requested, here are the examples of encroachment mention by South Carolina:
We assert, that fourteen of the States have deliberately refused for years past to fulfil their constitutional obligations, and we refer to their own Statutes for the proof.

The Constitution of the United States, in its 4th Article, provides as follows:

“No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up, on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.”


The same article of the Constitution stipulates also for rendition by the several States of fugitives from justice from the other States. ...

The General Government, as the common agent, passed laws to carry into effect these stipulations of the States. For many years these laws were executed. But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the Institution of Slavery has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the general government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution....


Those States have assumed the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of Slavery; they have permitted the open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.

In brief, the examples stated were the failure of northern states to support slavery where it was practiced.
 
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#6
As requested, here are the examples of encroachment mention by South Carolina:
We assert, that fourteen of the States have deliberately refused for years past to fulfil their constitutional obligations, and we refer to their own Statutes for the proof.

The Constitution of the United States, in its 4th Article, provides as follows:

“No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up, on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.”


The same article of the Constitution stipulates also for rendition by the several States of fugitives from justice from the other States. ...

The General Government, as the common agent, passed laws to carry into effect these stipulations of the States. For many years these laws were executed. But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the Institution of Slavery has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the general government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution....


Those States have assumed the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of Slavery; they have permitted the open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.

In brief, the examples stated were the failure of northern states to support slavery where it was practiced.
Is this all of them?
 

MattL

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#7
The authors of the articles of secession for four of the first five states to leave the Union are happy to tell us why they acted. I have edited their full documents to concentrate on their reasoning and these edited versions are below. If you prefer to read any or all of the full documents, they are readily located on-line (but I didn't find other reasons stated).

South Carolina

“……But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slave holding states to the institution of slavery has led to a disregard to their obligations, and the laws and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution…”

Mississippi

Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery—the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of the commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.


Florida

The declaration cites no cause, they just leave.


Alabama

“………..And as it is the desire and purpose of the people of Alabama to meet the slaveholding States of the South, who may approve such purpose, in order to frame a provisional as well as permanent Government upon the principles of the Constitution of the United States, . ..”


Georgia

……. For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery.
Yup, plenty more from the words of the secessionists themselves

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/timeline-of-slavery-and-secession.137718/

https://www.sutori.com/story/slavery-and-csa-secession


They cared about lots of issues, they also talked about the previous issues like tariffs which peaked in conflict previously. Though the issue that was at the peak in 1860 was slavery and all the issues dependent on that. It was the only issue the justified the action.
 
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#8
Yup, plenty more from the words of the secessionists themselves

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/timeline-of-slavery-and-secession.137718/

https://www.sutori.com/story/slavery-and-csa-secession


They cared about lots of issues, they also talked about the previous issues like tariffs which peaked in conflict previously. Though the issue that was at the peak in 1860 was slavery and all the issues dependent on that. It was the only issue the justified the action.
I disagree that it was the only issue, but it was the triggering issue, the "cap that fired the musket" as Davis would later put it.
 

MattL

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#9
I disagree that it was the only issue, but it was the triggering issue, the "cap that fired the musket" as Davis would later put it.
I would respectfully disagree with you and Davis. I would rephrase the metaphor as slavery was the musket and Lincoln's election was the cap that fired it. To force the metaphor horribly further the other issues like tariffs might be the knife strapped to their belt, etc.

Secession was a specific action that did not happen during the peak of previous issues like tariffs. Certainly there was a wide array of issues and conflicts, things that had existed even when the Nation formed, though history showed the peak of the slavery conflict with the election of the "Black Republican" Lincoln was the one that actually resulted in secession.

I mean even the tariff issue (which again had peaked previously) was dependent on slavery. If you think you will set a path that will end in slavery's removal then you fear the loss of your wealthy slave based agriculture, like cotton, which are the interests that most of the Southern tariff disagreements were in defense of.

Slavery didn't cause secession, all the important issues that depended on it did. It's the blood that runs through the veins of all those important issues.
 

Pat Young

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#12
And that was the Nationalist victory which from 1865 forward has propelled the US into the centralized leviathan we have today. I feel certain the founders would roll over in their graves to see the goliath in action today, with fingers outstretched into nearly all facets of our society today.
Or maybe thay would just think driving around in a car is pretty cool.
 

Norm53

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#14
Why do you suppose these states did not address the Republican Platform, which was apropos to their supposed grievances? (emphasis added by me and I did not peruse the links)

4. That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the states, and especially the right of each state to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of powers on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depends; and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any state or territory, no matter under what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.

7. That the new dogma that the Constitution, of its own force, carries slavery into any or all of the territories of the United States, is a dangerous political heresy, at variance with the explicit provisions of that instrument itself, with contemporaneous exposition, and with legislative and judicial precedent; is revolutionary in its tendency, and subversive of the peace and harmony of the country.

8. That the normal condition of all the territory of the United States is that of freedom: That, as our Republican fathers, when they had abolished slavery in all our national territory, ordained that “no persons should be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law,” it becomes our duty, by legislation, whenever such legislation is necessary, to maintain this provision of the Constitution against all attempts to violate it; and we deny the authority of Congress, of a territorial legislature, or of any individuals, to give legal existence to slavery in any territory of the United States.

They addressed only this one:

3. That to the Union of the States this nation owes its unprecedented increase in population, its surprising development of material resources, its rapid augmentation of wealth, its happiness at home and its honor abroad; and we hold in abhorrence all schemes for disunion, come from whatever source they may.

The central issue, judging from previous debates, was the extension of slavery into the territories. It appears to me that these states avoided the central issue for good reason: It would be embarrassing to address it.
 
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#17
From the 1852 South Carolina convention:

Resolved by the people of South Carolina in Convention assembled, That the frequent violations of the Constitution of the United States by the Federal Government, and its encroachments upon the reserved rights of the sovereign States of this Union, especially in relation to slavery, amply justify this State, so far as any duty or obligation to her confederates is involved, in dissolving at once all political connection with her co-States; and that she forbears the exercise of this manifest right of self government from considerations of expediency only.​
AN ORDINANCE to declare the right of this State to secede from the Federal Union
We the People of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, do declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and ordained, That South Carolina, in the exercise of her sovereign will, as an independent State, acceded to the Federal Union, known as the United States of America; and that in the exercise of the same sovereign will, it is her right, without let, hindrance, or molestation from any power whatsoever, to secede from the said Federal Union; and that for the sufficiency of the causes which may impel her to such separation, she is responsible alone, under God, to the tribunal of public opinion among the nations of the earth.​
 
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#18
Since the SC Declaration of Causes references the 1852 convention, I have been trying to research that convention and what led up to it, to try and learn what prominent South Carolinians were saying at that time. In a pamphlet collecting a series of essays on secession, published by the Edgefield Advertiser in 1851, we find the same reasons given by South Carolina in 1860, nine years later.

1 - Unjust and unequal spending and taxation of the South in favor of the North
2 - the South provided more soldiers and spent more money than the North to acquire western territories, but is not allowed to take slavery there
3 - the fugitive slave clause is not being obeyed by fellow states or enforced by the federal government
4 - state sovereignty is being replaced by consolidated, centralized power in Washington, which will put the South completely at the mercy of the more populous North

We can look for nothing but one uninterrupted train of tyrannical and oppressive measures. Banks, Tariffs, Internal Improvements, prodigal appropriations of the pubiic lands and moneys, wicked schemes of abolition, and every shameful act of oppression which the genius of despotism can devise, will sweep over these Southern States, like fell besoms of destruction, carrying with them ruin and devastation. The South will be a mere tributary of the North. - p 32​
 



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