Gaps and assumptions in logic: Lincoln and Secessionist

jgoodguy

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Edited.

Evidence has been provided in previous posts by @cash , @Copperhead-mi , @jgoodguy , @Jimklag , @GwilymT and myself. You have yet to be honest enough to reply with supporting evidence to refute their sources. Continued question for a question and unsupported opinion is not doing your personal view any favors. It's time to step up and provide real answers Edited.

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Always good to remember that posting is voluntary and there is no need to respond to a poster that in your opinion is posting nonsense. It is the audience that is important to convince not advocates.
 

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cash

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He did not propose it because it would "shock the public opinion". But "he saw no other necessity for declining it. They [states] are not necessary for any of the great purposes of commerce, revenue, or agriculture. "

In other words, if he had his preferences, Hamilton would get rid of state governments and substitute a general government, and only public opinion which he knew was against it kept him from out and out advocating it. Though by bringing it up at all, he was certainly putting the idea out there to see if anyone would bite. Hamilton wanted it to happen while realizing it was very unlikely.

See also in the same link Hamilton's admiration for the British Government, "the best in the world: and that he doubted much whether any thing short of it would do in America." That's an endorsement for a very strong national government.

In any case, you requested a source, and this certainly gives us Hamilton's thoughts.
I thank you for the source. Hamilton doesn't seem far apart from George Washington.
 
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A constitutional amendment is the law.
Yes, it is. If there were an amendment voiding the 13th and allowing slavery, it would be law. If however, the Vermont legislature decides the want to institute slavery unilaterally in their state without a national constitutional amendment voiding the 13th, congress could definitely act. Any lawsuits reaching federal court would declare that state law allowing slavery unconstitutional. If Vermont persisted, the federal government would be well within its constitutional rights to enforce the 13th amendment on the people of Vermont by whatever means necessary to uphold federal law.
 
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Yes, it is. If there were an amendment voiding the 13th and allowing slavery, it would be law. If however, the Vermont legislature decides the want to institute slavery unilaterally in their state without a national constitutional amendment voiding the 13th, congress could definitely act. Any lawsuits reaching federal court would declare that state law allowing slavery unconstitutional. If Vermont persisted, the federal government would be well within its constitutional rights to enforce the 13th amendment on the people of Vermont by whatever means necessary to uphold federal law.

The second sentence is correct, and all that was being discussed.
 
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cash

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“The prominence of the Preamble also made it a perfect place to renounce the basic structure of the Articles. Although states would enter the Constitution as true sovereigns, they would not remain so after ratification. The formation of a ‘more perfect Union’ would itself end each state’s sovereign status and would prohibit future unilateral secession, in plain contrast to the decidedly less-than-perfect union under the Articles. True, the Preamble did not expressly proclaim that its new, more perfect union would be ‘perpetual’–and for good reason: Why borrow a word from the Articles of Confederation that did not quite mean what it said in that document, a word that was being thrust aside by the very act of constitution itself? Thus, the Constitution signaled its decisive break with the Articles’ regime of state sovereignty and false federal perpetuity in other ways.” [Akhil Reed Amar, America’s Constitution: A Biography, p. 33]

“Article VI specified how ‘this Constitution,’ once ratified, would stack up against current and future state constitutions. For example, what should happen if the people of South Carolina, having adopted ‘this Constitution’ in 1788, reconvened at some later time to amend their state constitution, and in that convention adopted an amendment purporting to repudiate the federal Constitution in whole or in part? In a subsequent lawsuit, which law would a state judge be obliged to follow? If the people of South Carolina were sovereign, the answer would plainly be the state constitution as amended. the sovereign people’s right to alter or abolish their government at any time would remain a core attribute of their sovereignty, and their judicial agents–state judges–would be bound to enforce their will and judgment even if their amendment might be alleged by other sovereigns to violate an earlier treaty under international law. Yet the Article VI supremacy clause explicitly compelled even state judges to disregard the attempted amendment–a rule plainly inconsistent with the post-ratification sovereignty of the people of each state: ‘This Constitution … shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.’

“Surrounding Article VI and reinforcing its plain meaning, Articles VII and V conspicuously contrasted the rules for constitutional ratification with the rules for subsequent constitutional amendment–a contrast that made it plain that the new Constitution spelled the end of state sovereignty for all states that might choose to join. As of mid-July 1788, ten states had ratified the Constitution, thereby guaranteeing that the document would go into effect in those states under Article VII. New Yorkers had yet to ratify, and Article VII made it clear that the people of that state were a distinct sovereign entity free to vote down the new Constitution and ignore it. Yet Article V put New Yorkers on clear notice: If they chose to ratify the Constitution in convention, they would lose their freedom to disregard subsequent constitutional proposals agreed to by conventions of three-fourths of the states, whose ratifications would suffice to make future amendments ‘valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution’ even in nonratifying states. Nowhere was the Constitution’s break with the Articles of Confederation and all other purely confederate regimes more dramatic. Simply put, Article VII recognized the sovereign right (or at least the sovereign power) of different states in a flawed confederacy to go their separate ways; but Articles V and VI extinguished the right and power of unilateral secession for each state populace that joined the Constitution’s new, more perfect union, thereby merging itself into the continental sovereignty of the American people.” [Ibid., pp. 34-35]

Professor Amar continues, “Anti-Federalists across the continent got the message and sounded the alarm. In Massachusetts, Samuel Nasson pointed to the Preamble as proof that the Constitution would effect a ‘perfect consolidation of the whole Union’ that would ‘destroy’ the Bay State’s status as ‘a sovereign and independent’ entity. The influential Federal Farmer warned that when a state populace ‘shall adopt the proposed constitution, it will be their last and supreme act’ qua sovereign. New York’s Brutus complained that the Constitution would not be ‘a compact’ among states but rather would create a ‘union of the people of the United States considered’ as ‘one great body politic.’ Pennsylvania Anti-Federalists put forth a similar reading of the Preamble. Meanwhile, Maryland’s Luther Martin advised his audience of the strongly nationalist logic of the Constitution’s treason clause, which made allegiance to the United States paramount over allegiance to a single state in the event of armed conflict between the two. Patrick Henry, true to form, was the bluntest of all as he led the charge against the Constitution in Virginia. ‘The fate … of America may depend on this. … Have they made a proposal of a compact between the states? If they had, this would be a confederation. It is otherwise most clearly a consolidated government. The question turns, sir, on that poor little thing–the expression, We, the people, instead of the states of America.’ If ‘the states be not the agents of this compact, it must be one great, consolidated, national government, of the people of all the states.’ This difference, Henry warned, would profoundly limit the rights of future Virginians to act on their own. ‘Suppose the people of Virginia should wish to alter their government; can a majority of them do it? No, because they are connected with other men, or, in other words, consolidated with other states. … This government is not a Virginian, but an American government.’ … In response, the Federalists refined their critics’ terminology while confirming that the new union would indeed be indivisible. … But on the fateful question of whether states would continue to be truly sovereign, with rights of unilateral exit, the Federalists agreed that the Anti-Federalists had not exaggerated. The difference of opinion on this question was not over what the document meant, but over whether the impermissibility of future secession was reason to commend or condemn the proposed ‘more perfect Union.’ Madison at Philadelphia stressed that one of the essential differences between a ‘league‘ and a ‘Constitution‘ was that the latter would prevent subunits from unilaterally bolting whenever they became dissatisfied.” [Ibid., pp. 35-36]

He also writes, “Even more striking than what the Constitution’s friends said is what they did not say.No leading Federalist ever publicly sought to win over states’ rightists by conceding that a state could unilaterally nullify or secede in the event it later became dissatisfied. The Federalists’ silence here was deafening, given how reassuring to states’ rightists such a response would have been in all the places where Philadelphia proposal hung precariously in the balance. Responding to the fears voiced by Anti-Federalist ‘men of little faith,’ Federalists stressed many specific protections, including bicameralism, separation of powers, enumerated powers, refinements in representation, the amendment process, and the states’ status as building blocks in the national government. But never did Federalists float the right of an individual state to secede or nullify. Never did they say, ‘Give the new plan a try, and if you don’t like it, your state may always leave.’

“Alongside what various people said and did not say in constitutional debates, we must attend to what the American people themselves did and did not do in the act of constitution itself. No state conventions, in its ratification instrument, purported to reserve the right of its state populace to unilateral secession. Notably, Virginia’s convention spoke of the right the people of the United States, not the people of Virginia, to reassume power through future acts of popular sovereignty. Nor did any state convention impose any condition on its act of ratification.

“The secession question arose most dramatically in the New York ratification convention, where Anti-Federalists held a strong majority when discussion began. At one point, Federalist Alexander Hamilton despairingly described ‘our chance of success here’ as ‘infinitely slender.’ After extensive debate, and upon receiving word that New Hampshire and Virginia had recently ratified the Constitution as the decisive ninth and tenth states–thus ensuring that the Constitution would go into effect in these ten states–Anti-Federalist leaders proposed a compromise under which the convention would ratify the Constitution ‘upon condition’ that the new Congress make way for certain constitutional amendments. With the ultimate prospects for New York ratification still in grave doubt, the offer tantalized Hamilton and his allies, but in the end the refused to take the bait. Instead, the Federalists insisted on replacing the words ‘upon condition’ with language expressing the convention’s ‘full confidence’ that Congress would take up the suggested amendments–a factual expectation rather that a binding legal condition. The convention then beat back a proposal from Anti-Federalist John Lansing that ‘there should be reserved to the state of New York a right to withdraw herself from the Union after a certain number of years, unless the amendments proposed’ were taken up. In this sharply focused debate, no one supposed that the Constitution already contained a general right of state secession. Had such a right been thought to exist, Lansing’s proposal would have limited it (to ‘a certain number of years’ and a small set of triggers) and thus states’ rightists should have opposed Lansing, while continentalists should have favored him.

“In actual fact, the exact opposite occurred. At the risk of alienating swing voters and losing on the ultimate ratification vote, New York’s Federalists rose up to oppose the Lansing compromise. In doing so, they made clear to all observers–both in New York itself and in the many other places across the continent where men were following the New York contest with interest–that the Constitution did not permit unilateral state secession. In a letter to Hamilton, Madison had emphasized that ‘the Constitution requires an adoption in toto, and for ever. It has been so adopted by the other States’ (including Madison’s own Virginia). Hamilton read the letter aloud to the Convention and then added his own words. The ‘terms of the constitution import a perpetual compact between the different states…The [Article VI] oath to be taken stands in the way’ of any subsequent right of unilateral secession. According to the contemporaneous account published in New York’s Daily Advertiser, both Hamilton and his fellow delegate John Jay insisted that ‘a reservation of a right to withdraw…was inconsistent with the Constitution, and was no ratification.’ ” [Ibid., pp. 37-38]
 

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Here is how Joseph Story, Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court and Dane Professor of Law at Harvard University described the 10th Amendment:

“This amendment is a mere affirmation of what, upon any just reasoning, is a necessary rule of interpreting the constitution. Being an instrument of limited and enumerated powers, it follows irresistibly, that what is not conferred, is withheld, and belongs to the state authorities, if invested by their constitutions of government respectively in them; and if not so invested, it is retained BY THE PEOPLE, as a part of their residuary sovereignty.” [Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, Book III, p. 752]

Plainly, then, since the People are the ultimate sovereigns, not the states, they retain any and all powers they have not delegated to either the United States or to their particular state. So for the Tenth Amendment argument for a state to have the power to secede to begin to have any validity, we first have to ignore the Supremacy Clause and second there has to be a provision in the Constitution of that state where the People delegate the power to secede to that state. Absent such a provision, if there is a right to secede it does not belong to any state.

Those who claim the Tenth Amendment allows secession make that claim because the word “secession” is not used anywhere in the Constitution. In my opinion, this is a fatally flawed argument, because there are several features of the Constitution that prohibit the effect of secession without having to specify the word. Not least among these is the Supremacy Clause, Article VI, Clause 2. As noted, I’ve recently discovered support for Article V being an antisecession measure. To illustrate, let me use an analogy. If there is a law that says you cannot jump from higher than 3 feet, I don’t need to specify that you cannot jump off the 10-foot wall in your backyard. The effect of jumping off the 10-foot wall is that you will necessarily have to jump from higher than 3 feet. Likewise, the Supremacy Clause tells us the US Constitution and US Laws remain supreme law any thing in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding. As an ordinance of secession would be a thing in the constitution or laws of a state that is contrary to the US Constitution and US Law being supreme in that state, it is prohibited from taking effect. Therefore, the effect of secession, which is claiming the Constitution and US Law are no longer supreme in that state, is prohibited by the Constitution, and is thus excepted from the reserved powers, assuming secession was actually one of those reserved powers.
 

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“The essential difference between a free Government and Governments not free, is that the former is founded in compact, the parties to which are mutually and equally bound by it. Neither of them therefore can have a greater right to break off from the bargain, than the other or others have to hold them to it. And certainly there is nothing in the Virginia resolutions of -98, adverse to this principle, which is that of common sense and common justice. The fallacy which draws a different conclusion from them lies in confounding a SINGLE [emphasis in original] party, with the PARTIES [emphasis in original] to the Constitutional compact of the United States. The latter having made the compact may do what they will with it. The former as one only of the parties, owes fidelity to it, till released by consent, or absolved by an intolerable abuse of the power created. In the Virginia Resolutions and Report the PLURAL [emphasis in original] number, STATES [emphasis in original], is in EVERY [emphasis in original] instance used where reference is made to the authority which presided over the Government. As I am now known to have drawn those documents, I may say as I do with a distinct recollection, that the distinction was intentional. It was in fact required by the course of reasoning employed on the occasion. The Kentucky resolutions being less guarded have been more easily perverted. The pretext for the liberty taken with those of Virginia is the word RESPECTIVE [emphasis in original], prefixed to the ‘rights’ &c to be secured within the States. Could the abuse of the expression have been foreseen or suspected, the form of it would doubtless have been varied. But what can be more consistent with common sense, than that all having the same rights &c, should united in contending for the security of them to each.

“It is remarkable how closely the nullifiers who make the name of Mr. Jefferson the pedestal for their colossal heresy, shut their eyes and lips, whenever his authority is ever so clearly and emphatically against them. You have noticed what he says in his letters to Monroe & Carrington Pages 43 & 203, Vol. 2, with respect to the powers of the old Congress to coerce delinquent States, and his reasons for preferring for the purpose a naval to a military force; and moreover that it was not necessary to find a right to coerce in the Federal Articles, that being inherent in the nature of a compact. It is high time that the claim to secede at will should be put down by the public opinion; and I shall be glad to see the task commenced by one who understands the subject.” [James Madison to Nicholas Trist, 23 Dec 1832]

“Mr. Madison thought it clear that the Legislatures were incompetent to the proposed changes. These changes would make essential inroads on the State Constitutions, and it would be a novel & dangerous doctrine that a Legislature could change the constitution under which it held its existence. There might indeed be some Constitutions within the Union, which had given a power to the Legislature to concur in alterations of the federal Compact. But there were certainly some which had not; and in the case of these, a ratification must of necessity be obtained from the people. He considered the difference between a system founded on the Legislatures only, and one founded on the people, to be the true difference between a league or treaty, and a Constitution. The former in point of moral obligation might be as inviolable as the latter. In point of political operation, there were two important distinctions in favor of the latter. 1. A law violating a treaty ratified by a pre-existing law, might be respected by the Judges as a law, though an unwise or perfidious one. A law violating a constitution established by the people themselves, would be considered by the Judges as null & void. 2. The doctrine laid down by the law of Nations in the case of treaties is that a breach of any one article by any of the parties, frees the other parties from their engagements. In the case of a union of people under one Constitution, the nature of the pact has always been understood to exclude such an interpretation. Comparing the two modes in point of expediency he thought all the considerations which recommended this Convention in preference to Congress for proposing the reform were in favor of State Conventions in preference to the Legislatures for examining and adopting it.” [J. Madison, “Speech in the Federal Convention on Ratification,” 23 Jul 1787]He wanted a solid union that couldn’t be broken.

In describing the deliberations on the Constitution to Thomas Jefferson, who was in Paris at the time, Madison wrote, “It was generally agreed that the objects of the Union could not be secured by any system founded on the principle of a confederation of Sovereign States.” [James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, 24 Oct 1787]

Here’s what he believed during the ratification debates [alluded to by Professor Amar above]:

My Dear Sir
Yours of yesterday is this instant come to hand & I have but a few minutes to answer it. I am sorry that your situation obliges you to listen to propositions of the nature you describe. My opinion is that a reservation of a right to withdraw if amendments be not decided on under the form of the Constitution within a certain time, is a conditional ratification, that it does not make N. York a member of the New Union, and consequently that she could not be received on that plan. Compacts must be reciprocal, this principle would not in such a case be preserved. The Constitution requires an adoption in toto, and for ever. It has been so adopted by the other States. An adoption for a limited time would be as defective as an adoption of some of the articles only. In short any condition whatever must viciate the ratification. What the New Congress by virtue of the power to admit new States, may be able & disposed to do in such case, I do not enquire as I suppose that is not the material point at present. I have not a moment to add more than my fervent wishes for your success & happiness.

This idea of reserving a right to withdraw was started at Richmd. & considered as a conditional ratification which was itself considered as worse than a rejection.
[James Madison to Alexander Hamilton, 20 July 1788]
 

cash

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Here’s what George Washington believed:

“A survey of this correspondence and of his official career indicates that the dominant note in the political thinking of Washington, both before and after 1789, was his unwavering belief that only a strong central government, able to determine and enforce national policies, would enable the United States to assume its appropriate position among the nations of the world.” [Harold W. Bradley, “The Political Thinking of George Washington,” Journal of Southern History, Vol XI, No. 4, Nov, 1945, p. 472]

“As commander of the army, Washington felt a natural sympathy for the plight of his unpaid men, and while counseling them against rash measures he urged Congress and the states to recognize the services of the army by making provision for the payment of the money due the soldiers. It was the states, he believed, which were delinquent in this matter rather than Congress, and he felt for the states the same distrust that he felt for private debtors who refused to honor their obligations.” [Ibid.]

Washington wrote to Alexander Hamilton, “No man in the United States is, or can be more deeply impressed with the necessity of reform in our present Confederation than myself. No man perhaps has felt the bad effects of it more sensibly; for to the defects thereof, & want of Powers in Congress may justly be ascribed the prolongation of the War & consequently the Expences occasioned by it. More than half the perplexities I have experienced in the course of my command, and almost the whole of the difficulties & distress of the Army, have their origin here.” [Washington to Alexander Hamilton, 31 Mar 1783]

So he clearly saw the necessity of a strong, central federal government. Three months later he repeated this theme in his “Circular to State Governments,” in which he wrote, “There are four things, which I humbly conceive, are essential to the well being, I may even venture to say, to the existence of the United States as an Independent Power:

“1st. An indissoluble Union of the States under one Federal Head.
“2ndly. A Sacred regard to Public Justice.
“3dly. The adoption of a proper Peace Establishment, and
“4thly. The prevalence of the pacific and friendly Disposition, among the People of the United States, which will induce them to forget their local prejudices and policies, to make those mutual concessions which are requisite to the general prosperity, and in some instances, to sacrifice their individual advantages to the interest of the Community.”
“Yet it will be a part of my duty, and that of every true Patriot, to assert without reserve, and to insist upon the following propositions, That unless the States will suffer Congress to exercise those prerogatives, they are undoubtedly invested with by the Constitution, every thing must very rapidly tend to Anarchy and confusion, That it is indispensible to the happiness of the individual States, that there should be lodged somewhere, a Supreme Power to regulate and govern the general concerns of the Confederated Republic, without which the Union cannot be of long duration. That there must be a faithfull [sic] and pointed compliance on the part of every State, with the late proposals and demands of Congress, or the most fatal consequences will ensue, That whatever measures have a tendency to dissolve the Union, or contribute to violate or lessen the Sovereign Authority, ought to be considered as hostile to the Liberty and Independency of America, and the Authors of them treated accordingly.”

“I could demonstrate to every mind open to conviction, that in less time and with much less expence [sic] than has been incurred, the War might have been brought to the same happy conclusion, if the resources of the Continent could have been properly drawn forth, that the distresses and disappointments which have very often occurred, have in too many instances, resulted more from a want of energy, in the Continental Government, than a deficiency of means in the particular States. That the inefficiency of measures, arising from the want of an adequate authority in the Supreme Power, from a partial compliance with the Requisitions of Congress in some of the States, and from a failure of punctuality in others, while it tended to damp the zeal of those which were more willing to exert themselves; served also to accumulate the expences [sic] of the War, and to frustrate the best concerted Plans.” [George Washington, “Circular to State Governments,” 8 June 1783]

Washington was president of the Constitutional Convention, and in his letter transmitting the newly written Constitution to Congress, Washington wrote, “It is obviously impracticable in the foederal [sic] government of these States; to secure all rights of independent sovereignty to each, and yet provide for the interest and safety of all–Individuals entering into society, must give up a share of liberty to preserve the rest. The magnitude of the sacrifice must depend as well on situation and circumstance, as on the object to be obtained. It is at all times difficult to draw with precision the line between those rights which must be surrendered, and those which may be reserved; and on the present occasion this difficulty was encreased [sic] by a difference among the several States as to their situation, extent, habits, and particular interests.” [George Washington to President of Congress, 17 Sep 1787]

“To the efficacy and permanency of your Union, a government for the whole is indispensable. No alliance, however strict, between the parts can be an adequate substitute; they must inevitably experience the infractions and interruptions which all alliances in all times have experienced. Sensible of this momentous truth, you have improved upon your first essay, by the adoption of a constitution of government better calculated than your former for an intimate union, and for the efficacious management of your common concerns. This government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support. Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the Constitution, which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government. ” [George Washington, “Farewell Address,” 1796]
 

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Thomas Jefferson wrote, “But if on a temporary superiority of the one party, the other is to resort to a scission of the Union, no federal government can ever exist. If to rid ourselves of the present rule of Massachusets & Connecticut we break the Union, will the evil stop there? Suppose the N. England States alone cut off, will our natures be changed? are we not men still to the south of that, & with all the passions of men? Immediately we shall see a Pennsylvania & a Virginia party arise in the residuary confederacy, and the public mind will be distracted with the same party spirit. What a game, too, will the one party have in their hands by eternally threatening the other that unless they do so & so, they will join their Northern neighbors. If we reduce our Union to Virginia & N. Carolina, immediately the conflict will be established between the representatives of these two States, and they will end by breaking into their simple units. Seeing, therefore, that an association of men who will not quarrel with one another is a thing which never yet existed, from the greatest confederacy of nations down to a town meeting or a vestry, seeing that we must have somebody to quarrel with, I had rather keep our New England associates for that purpose than to see our bickerings transferred to others.” [Thomas Jefferson to John Taylor, 4 Jun 1798]

Some claim Jefferson accepted the idea that a state could unilaterally secede from the United States and quote a letter from Jefferson to Madison on 23 Aug 1799. The letter can be seen in its entirety here: https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/01-31-02-0145

The full story is that Madison went to see Jefferson after receiving this letter. We know this because Madison later wrote to Nicholas Trist, including a copy of this letter with the penciled inscription, “The visit invited took the place of an answer to the letter.” [Adrienne Koch, Jefferson & Madison: The Great Collaboration, p. 198] What we know from this is that Jefferson clearly said his words were written in haste and he wanted to develop his ideas with Madison. Jefferson and Madison developed those ideas, and in a later letter to Wilson Cary Nicholas, which can be seen here https://memory.loc.gov/service/mss/mtj//mtj1/021/021_1004_1005.pdf , he said most of the same things without the idea of severing the Union but “making firm protestation against the precedent & principle, & reserving the right to make this palpable violation of the federal compact the ground of doing in future whatever we might now rightfully do, should repetitions of these and other violations of the compact render it expedient.” In that letter, Jefferson says, “This was only meant to give a general idea of the complexion & topics of such an instrument. Mr. M. who came, as had been proposed, does not concur in the reservation proposed above; and from this I recede readily, not only in deference to his judgment, but because as we should never think of separation but for repeated and enormous violations, so these, when they occur, will be cause enough of themselves.” Dr. Koch concludes, “The fact that Madison was able to convince Jefferson that he should eliminate this dangerous sentence from his sketch of ideas to Nicholas, less than two weeks after Jefferson had written it into his letter to Madison, is dramatic proof that he alone sobered the excited exaggerations of his friend. Had Madison failed to argue as sensibly as he did, there would have been substantial truth in the contention that the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions contained in embryo the later doctrines of nullification and secession.” [Adrienne Koch, Jefferson & Madison: The Great Collaboration, p. 200]
 
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This might be a good time for a brief tutorial on Texas v White. First, and to repeat, at no time ever did counsel for either party assert, argue, or provide or present evidence to the Court that secession was a constitutional right. The question before the Court was of a political and jurisdictional nature only. And while counsel for White did argue that Texas had seceded, at no time ever did counsel argue that Texas had the constitutional right to secede. Those are two completely distinct points. In fact, in his dissenting opinion Justice Grier agreed with the political fact that Texas had, in reality, seceded. However, at no time did Grier ever argue that Texas had the right to secede. And, of course, Grier explicitly proclaimed that the constitutional right of secession was not before the Court:

"Politically, Texas is not a State in this Union. Whether rightfully out of it or not is a question not before the court."

There is much more commentary of a similar character, but I sure hope that clears everything up.
The second sentence is correct, and all that was being discussed.
 
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This might be a good time for a brief tutorial on Texas v White. First, and to repeat, at no time ever did counsel for either party assert, argue, or provide or present evidence to the Court that secession was a constitutional right. The question before the Court was of a political and jurisdictional nature only. And while counsel for White did argue that Texas had seceded, at no time ever did counsel argue that Texas had the constitutional right to secede. Those are two completely distinct points. In fact, in his dissenting opinion Justice Grier agreed with the political fact that Texas had, in reality, seceded. However, at no time did Grier ever argue that Texas had the right to secede. And, of course, Grier explicitly proclaimed that the constitutional right of secession was not before the Court:

"Politically, Texas is not a State in this Union. Whether rightfully out of it or not is a question not before the court."

There is much more commentary of a similar character, but I sure hope that clears everything up.
Sorry,this is from Justice Grier's dissenting opinion and as such, it means nothing.
 
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Sorry,this is from Justice Grier's dissenting opinion and as such, it means nothing.

Sorry, but the constitutionality of secession was not the question before the Court in Texas:

"This is an original suit in this court, in which the State of Texas, claiming certain bonds of the United States as her property, asks an injunction to restrain the defendants from receiving payment from the National government, and to compel the surrender of the bonds to the State."
make your point without being insulting
posted as moderator
 
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cash

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Right here.
@cash has given an excellent synopsis of the winning, majority opinion in TvW. I personally don't think we need a tutorial on the losing opinion from the case.
Some may confuse the dissenting opinion for the majority opinion. It's probably an easy error to make if one doesn't pay attention to the whole case. The fact remains White and Chiles argued Texas had seceded. Chase and the majority of the justices on the Court rejected that claim, and the reason for that is because unilateral secession is a legal nullity. They had to rule on the constitutionality of secession in order to determine if the Court had jurisdiction. Nothing else matters. That's another point some may be confused about. It's not necessary for one side to specifically argue secession is constitutional, since they argued secession had in fact happened. Since unilateral secession is a legal nullity, it in fact did not happen. It cannot be constitutional, then. What a dissenting justice has to say is interesting, but ultimately it has no bearing on the decision or in this case whether or not unilateral secession is constitutional.
 
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It is sort of fun to read how an argument devoid of facts proceeds. Although Lincoln and the secessionists had some gaps in their logical presentations, when Seward and Lincoln appealed to "the angels of our better natures" it was clear that the appeal was to something other than logic. The appeal was more along the lines, "over slavery, you're going to break up the country?"
 
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Some may confuse the constitutionality of secession with a suit regarding political jurisdiction, but I really can't see how. Unless, of course, they are pushing an agenda. And if one is inattentive to the issues and details surrounding the case, perhaps it's not hard to understand. But Chief Justice Chase explicitly announced what the case was about when, again he stated:

"This is an original suit in this court, in which the State of Texas, claiming certain bonds of the United States as her property, asks an injunction to restrain the defendants from receiving payment from the National government, and to compel the surrender of the bonds to the State."

So no, at no time ever did counsel for either party offer evidence arguing that secession was a constitutional right. And of course, if no evidence is presented to the Court, and the question is not before the Court, any empty obiter dictum prattle uselessly uttered by the Court means nothing.
 
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Having read both, the dissenting opinion makes a lot more sense. But of course, before anyone reminds us, it was the minority opinion and holds no legal weight.

All true, but even Chase dismissed the notion that the case involved the constitutionality of secession.

"It is needless to discuss at length the question whether the right of a State to withdraw from the Union for any cause regarded by herself as sufficient is consistent with the Constitution of the United States."

The constitutionality of secession was irrelevant to the decision, as Chase himself observes in the majority opinion.

PS- I agree that the majority opinion controls, of course, and I am not arguing the right or wrong of the case. Only what the issue was.
 
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JerseyBart

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Sorry, but the constitutionality of secession was not the question before the Court in Texas:

"This is an original suit in this court, in which the State of Texas, claiming certain bonds of the United States as her property, asks an injunction to restrain the defendants from receiving payment from the National government, and to compel the surrender of the bonds to the State."
make your point without being insulting
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