Gaps and assumptions in logic: Lincoln and Secessionist


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#2
A good place to start:

"I hold that in the contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution, the union of these States is perpetual."

What did Lincoln mean by "universal law"? And why should it have equal standing with the Constitution in defining the perpetuity of the Union?
 

trice

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#3
A good place to start:

"I hold that in the contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution, the union of these States is perpetual."

What did Lincoln mean by "universal law"? And why should it have equal standing with the Constitution in defining the perpetuity of the Union?
I can't say I know specifically what Lincoln meant by "universal law" in this case, but it is possible he was referring to the work of Emanuel Kant (1724–1804). (ADDED LATER: I found a reference to Lincoln and Kant's ideas in Abraham Lincoln's Religion: An Essay on One Man's Faith By Stephen J. Vicchio. See pages 101-105).

On the "perpetuity of the Union", there is and always has been one and only one Union of the United States of America. It predates the Constitution and continues under it. The Constitution itself takes note of this.
 
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wbull1

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#4
I can't say I know specifically what Lincoln meant by "universal law" in this case, but it is possible he was referring to the work of Emanuel Kant (1724–1804). (ADDED LATER: I found a reference to Lincoln and Kant's ideas in Abraham Lincoln's Religion: An Essay on One Man's Faith By Stephen J. Vicchio. See pages 101-105).

On the "perpetuity of the Union", there is and always has been one and only one Union of the United States of America. It predates the Constitution and continues under it. The Constitution itself takes note of this.
It is also mentioned in the Articles of Confederation.
 
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#5
On the "perpetuity of the Union", there is and always has been one and only one Union of the United States of America. It predates the Constitution and continues under it. The Constitution itself takes note of this.
I find this problematic. The various iterations of "the Union" have many of the same goals and members, but the concept changes from a trade association, to a confederation ("Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the states...") to a Federal Union (which is still between the states, according to Article 7, interestingly). The Articles of Association are in no way a government (because the colonies were still under British rule), the AOC was an association of sovereign states, and the Constitution changed to a stronger general government. With the concept and inner political workings changing so much, is it really the same Union? I think a better argument can be made that it is not, that multiple Unions existed for different purposes, until they arrived at one that worked the best (the "more perfect" Union, though how something can be more than perfect is beyond me....).

It is also mentioned in the Articles of Confederation.
What, specifically, is the language you're referring to?
 
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trice

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#6
I find this problematic. The various iterations of "the Union" have many of the same goals and members, but the concept changes from a trade association, to a confederation ("Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the states...") to a Federal Union (which is still between the states, according to Article 7, interestingly). The Articles of Association are in no way a government (because the colonies were still under British rule), the AOC was an association of sovereign states, and the Constitution changed to a stronger general governement. With the concept and inner political workings changing so much, is it really the same Union? I think a better argument can be made that it is not, that multiple Unions existed for different purposes, until they arrived at one that worked the best (the "more perfect" Union, though how something can be more than perfect is beyond me....).
I am sorry you find it problematical; it remains true. Please note:
  1. We date start of the United States of America from July 4, 1776 and the Declaration of Independence.
  2. The Union of the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union never went out of existence.
  3. The "more perfect Union" formed by the Constitution is simply an improved version of the existing Union from the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union. No state ever left it. No state ever joined a new Union.
  4. The oldest, continually-in-force the United States has is the Moroccan–American Treaty of Friendship (also known as the Treaty of Marrakesh). This was negotiated in 1786, signed by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, and approved by the United States in Congress Assembled in July of 1787. It did not go out of existence during the change to the Constitution.
  5. The Constitution itself specifically acknowledges the continuity of the United States from the government of the AoC to the Constitution. See Article VI.
The Perpetual Union of the Articles is the same as the Union of the Constitution. This is what Lincoln is referring to in the first inaugural:
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 all 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.

Again in the Gettysburg Address:
"Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. ..." Here again we see 1776 as the start of the nation.​

This is what the Supreme Court and Chief Justice Chase are talking about in Texas v. White:
4. The Union of the States never was a purely artificial and arbitrary relation. It began among the Colonies, and grew out of common origin, mutual sympathies, kindred principles, similar interests, and geographical relations. It was confirmed and strengthened by the necessities of war, and received definite form and character and sanction from the Articles of Confederation. By these, the Union was solemnly declared to "be perpetual." And, when these Articles were found to be inadequate to the exigencies of the country, the Constitution was ordained "to form a more perfect Union."
5. But the perpetuity and indissolubility of the Union by no means implies the loss of distinct and individual existence, or of the right of self-government by the States. On the contrary, it may be not unreasonably said that the preservation of the States and the maintenance of their governments are as much within the design and care of the Constitution as the preservation of the Union and the maintenance of the National government. The Constitution, in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union composed of indestructible States.
6. When Texas became one of the United States, she entered into an indissoluble relation. The union between Texas and the other States was as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble as the union between the original States. There was no place for reconsideration or revocation, except through revolution or through consent of the States.
You can argue against decision of the Supreme Court and Chief Justice Chase in the case if you like -- but they actually have a say in deciding the matter. Their decision settled the issue.
 
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#7
I am sorry you find it problematical; it remains true. Please note:
  1. We date start of the United States of America from July 4, 1776 and the Declaration of Independence.
Where does that place Lincoln and the Articles of Association from 1774? Was that not the United States?

The Union of the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union never went out of existence.
You state this as if it's an obvious fact, whereas history shows that states abandoned the Articles and adopted the Constitution. It is the founding legal document that defines and gives shape to the Union, whether that document is the Articles of Confederation or the Constitution of the United States. Those documents weren't a mere piece of paper.

The "more perfect Union" formed by the Constitution is simply an improved version of the existing Union from the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union. No state ever left it. No state ever joined a new Union.
States were left behind. North Carolina and Rhode Island in particular for a year and a half and two years respectively. Rhode Island was in danger of being declared a foreign state if it had not ratified the Constitution. This again speaks to the necessity of the foundational law of the Union as an essential component when we're defining it.

The oldest, continually-in-force the United States has is the Moroccan–American Treaty of Friendship (also known as the Treaty of Marrakesh). This was negotiated in 1786, signed by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, and approved by the United States in Congress Assembled in July of 1787. It did not go out of existence during the change to the Constitution.
  1. The Constitution itself specifically acknowledges the continuity of the United States from the government of the AoC to the Constitution. See Article VI.
Part of the problem here is conflating the components of the Union (the states and the people) with the organizing law. The former did not change, the latter did. Part of the problem is looking at the Union as a league of friendship for mutual advantage and protection (an intent that did not change) versus looking at the Union as a nation (and here the form did in fact change from a confederation to a federal form of government). There are constants and there are things that were not constant.

The Perpetual Union of the Articles is the same as the Union of the Constitution.
Then Rhode Island should have been free to go its merry way without ever adopting the Constitution. Since it could not, it's clear that the governing law of the Union is an essential element that tells us which version of the Union was in existence, and which was obsolete.

Even the wording "a more perfect Union" speaks of remaking it. They don't say "we're improving the existing Union", they say "in order to make a more perfect Union", implying a new and improved version.
 

archieclement

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#8
I am sorry you find it problematical; it remains true. Please note:
  1. We date start of the United States of America from July 4, 1776 and the Declaration of Independence.
  2. The Union of the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union never went out of existence.
  3. The "more perfect Union" formed by the Constitution is simply an improved version of the existing Union from the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union. No state ever left it. No state ever joined a new Union.
  4. The oldest, continually-in-force the United States has is the Moroccan–American Treaty of Friendship (also known as the Treaty of Marrakesh). This was negotiated in 1786, signed by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, and approved by the United States in Congress Assembled in July of 1787. It did not go out of existence during the change to the Constitution.
  5. The Constitution itself specifically acknowledges the continuity of the United States from the government of the AoC to the Constitution. See Article VI.
The Perpetual Union of the Articles is the same as the Union of the Constitution. This is what Lincoln is referring to in the first inaugural:
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 all 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.

Again in the Gettysburg Address:
"Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. ..." Here again we see 1776 as the start of the nation.​

This is what the Supreme Court and Chief Justice Chase are talking about in Texas v. White:
4. The Union of the States never was a purely artificial and arbitrary relation. It began among the Colonies, and grew out of common origin, mutual sympathies, kindred principles, similar interests, and geographical relations. It was confirmed and strengthened by the necessities of war, and received definite form and character and sanction from the Articles of Confederation. By these, the Union was solemnly declared to "be perpetual." And, when these Articles were found to be inadequate to the exigencies of the country, the Constitution was ordained "to form a more perfect Union."
5. But the perpetuity and indissolubility of the Union by no means implies the loss of distinct and individual existence, or of the right of self-government by the States. On the contrary, it may be not unreasonably said that the preservation of the States and the maintenance of their governments are as much within the design and care of the Constitution as the preservation of the Union and the maintenance of the National government. The Constitution, in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union composed of indestructible States.
6. When Texas became one of the United States, she entered into an indissoluble relation. The union between Texas and the other States was as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble as the union between the original States. There was no place for reconsideration or revocation, except through revolution or through consent of the States.
You can argue against decision of the Supreme Court and Chief Justice Chase in the case if you like -- but they actually have a say in deciding the matter. Their decision settled the issue.
I find it odd it begins in 1776 with the declaration of independence because it would seem opposed to a concept of perpetual union......

"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

Instead of perpetual union, its a disposable union subject to the right of the people to alter or abolish the union at the will of the people. Isnt that the concept behind the declaration?
 

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#9
As I understand it.
There has been a single United States with foreign recognization.
There has been 2 different governments for the US. The AOC and the Constitutional Republic.
A perpetual union that is a confederacy is almost a contradiction in terms because it cannot coerce citizens to adhere to its terms. The States did not adhere to the AOC and by doing so caused the Constitutional Republic-a more perfect union, because it can coerce citizens to abide by the terms of the Constitution.
 

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Then Rhode Island should have been free to go its merry way without ever adopting the Constitution. Since it could not, it's clear that the governing law of the Union is an essential element that tells us which version of the Union was in existence, and which was obsolete.
Both RI and NC were free to go their merry way. They did not.
In any case, the Confederation Congress recognized the Constitutional Union as its successor.

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As I understand it.
There has been a single United States with foreign recognization.
There has been 2 different governments for the US. The AOC and the Constitutional Republic.
A perpetual union that is a confederacy is almost a contradiction in terms because it cannot coerce citizens to adhere to its terms. The States did not adhere to the AOC and by doing so caused the Constitutional Republic-a more perfect union, because it can coerce citizens to abide by the terms of the Constitution.
In the declaration of independence and resulting events......they didn't seem to view British coercion as somehow amicable to "a more perfect union"

Which also note in declaration they used "any form of government" and not just the British monarchy which applied at the time, was that by design?
 

jgoodguy

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In the declaration of independence and resulting events......they didn't seem to view British coercion as somehow amicable to "a more perfect union"

Which also note in declaration they used "any form of government" and not just the British monarchy which applied at the time, was that by design?
Regrettably, I do not understand your point. British coercion is not an issue nor is the British monarchy.
 
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#13
The Articles of Confederation would have come first and from there back, The Mayflower Compact and of course any formal governing rules from Jamestown, especially involving slavery. Critically important is the John Punch Hearing, which set the first legal distinctions between Europeans and Africans made in the colony, and is considered one of the key milestones in the development of the institution of slavery in this country.
 

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Regrettably, I do not understand your point. British coercion is not an issue nor is the British monarchy.
I would agree if one wasn't arguing coercion was part of what they viewed a more perfect union...…..otherwise how they viewed British attempts at coercion would seem very relevant......….
 

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I would agree if one wasn't arguing coercion was part of what they viewed a more perfect union...…..otherwise how they viewed British attempts at coercion would seem very relevant......….
In your opinion, I guess.

The revolutionaries believed a confederated perpetual union would be some sort of kumbaya blissful union, but it was not. To make it more perfect meant the ability to coerce people to obey the law. I doubt the Brits had much to do with it.
 
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trice

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#16
I find it odd it begins in 1776 with the declaration of independence because it would seem opposed to a concept of perpetual union......

"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

Instead of perpetual union, its a disposable union subject to the right of the people to alter or abolish the union at the will of the people. Isnt that the concept behind the declaration?
Please clarify this for me so we can avoid any mistakes: Are you trying to say the United States does not begin with the Declaration of Independence? Or are you saying something else, and if so, what?
 

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Please clarify this for me so we can avoid any mistakes: Are you trying to say the United States does not begin with the Declaration of Independence? Or are you saying something else, and if so, what?
I said it did begin with DoI.......just the DoI was explaining why unions are not perpetual, but subject to the people to "alter or abolish"

It would seem to me in 1776 the colonies didn't represent the majority of the British empire, we were a minority to even England by itself ( little under 4 million in colonies, and 6.5 in England alone).....yet our position was a government that doesn't represent the minority can be cast off at the whim of the minority, and not that the minority is bound in perpetuity to the majority of the Union
 
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jgoodguy

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#18
IMHO
Our revolutionary and founding fathers were, for the most part, ugh politicians and lawyers, not saints.
Revolutionary logic is political philosophy whose relationship to actual facts and history is relative.
There have been (at least) 3 revolutionary changes in our government, each justifying its actions with not exclusive logic.
Revolution - liberty to whites, maximum freedom to States-little coercion in the Federal government. This is the era of the AOC.​
Constitutional - diminished liberity to States-Federal government gets the ability to coerce States. We get this because the AOC showed the ideals of the Revolution had flaws and States did not automatically do what was best for the nation.​
Post Civil War. States get even more limited to ensure no further threats to our nation.​
There has always been nationalistic logic and anti-nationalistic logic. The nationalistic logic won because it made the nation more powerful, united and wealthy.

Looking for consistency in politics is futile.
 
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#19
IMHO
Our revolutionary and founding fathers were, for the most part, ugh politicians and lawyers, not saints.
Revolutionary logic is political philosophy whose relationship to actual facts and history is relative.
There have been (at least) 3 revolutionary changes in our government, each justifying its actions with not exclusive logic.
Revolution - liberty to whites, maximum freedom to States-little coercion in the Federal government. This is the era of the AOC.​
Constitutional - diminished liberity to States-Federal government gets the ability to coerce States. We get this because the AOC showed the ideals of the Revolution had flaws and States did not automatically do what was best for the nation.​
Post Civil War. States get even more limited to ensure no further threats to our nation.​
There has always been nationalistic logic and anti-nationalistic logic. The nationalistic logic won because it made the nation more powerful, united and wealthy.

Looking for consistency in politics is futile.
I agree with a lot of this, only I'd add that nationalism won through force of arms, not logic.
 

Jimklag

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#20
You state this as if it's an obvious fact, whereas history shows that states abandoned the Articles and adopted the Constitution.
Actually, Congress under the Articles of Confederation called for the 1787 Constitutional convention to fix all of the many shortcomings of the articles. The convention wasn't done outside the government. It was specifically called by the Congress.
 
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