Legal discussion of state sovereignty and powers

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#1
I hope that this forum is open to discussion of actual laws regarding secession.
I'd like to begin with a clarification of legal terms; i.e. that there are two different types of “sovereign state” under international law:

1) internationally sovereign states, aka “nation-states,” which are independently and supremely self-ruling; and

2) domestically sovereign states, which are subordinate to a larger nation-state.


Sovereign nation-states are also known by the term “sovereign nations,” such as Great Britain, France, Italy, or Japan etc. Meanwhile, domestically sovereign states, would be like the states of the national republic of Brazil, otherwise known as "federated units" like Rio.

While Unionists and “conventional wisdom,” both claim that the American states are of the latter persuasion, there can be no question that each state was always individually internationally sovereign, from its point of existence; meanwhile every “union” between them was likewise wholly international, as by treaty etc. between any two sovereign nations today. And so, the USA, in its various forms, would only be voluntary international associations of separate nations, like the EU or the UN; and therefore secession would be liek Brexit.


As James Madison noted, in his January 1800 Report on the Virginia Resolutions:


It is indeed true that the term "states" is sometimes used in a vague sense, and sometimes in different senses, according to the subject to which it is applied. Thus it sometimes means the separate sections of territory occupied by the political societies within each; sometimes the particular governments established by those societies; sometimes those societies as organized into those particular governments; and lastly, it means the people composing those political societies, in their highest sovereign capacity. Although it might be wished that the perfection of language admitted less diversity in the signification of the same words, yet little inconvenience is produced by it, where the true sense can be collected with certainty from the different applications. In the present instance, whatever different construction of the term "states," in the resolution, may have been entertained, all will at least concur in that last mentioned; because in that sense the Constitution was submitted to the "states;" in that sense the "states" ratified it; and in that sense of the term "states," they are consequently parties to the compact from which the powers of the federal government result.



The Constitution of the United States was formed by the sanction of the states, given by each in its sovereign capacity. It adds to the stability and dignity, as well as to the authority, of the Constitution, that it rests on this legitimate and solid foundation. The states, then, being the parties to the constitutional compact, and in their sovereign capacity, it follows of necessity that there can be no tribunal, above their authority, to decide, in the last resort, whether the compact made by them be violated; and consequently, that, as the parties to it, they must themselves decide, in the last resort, such questions as may be of sufficient magnitude to require their interposition.


Hence we see firsthand the context of the Constitution, by the Framers’ intent: i.e. a voluntary international association of separate sovereign nation-states, with each being “a People in their highest sovereign capacity—“ i.e. a separate, sovereign nation, like any member-state of the United Nations or European Union, or any other international association of sovereign nation-states.



Unionists meanwhile, cannot seem to agree on the precise legal theory, of how and when the USA allegedly “became a single nation-state” over the individual states. Some (e.g. Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, etc.) claimed that it was via the Declaration of Independence; meanwhile others (e.g. The Supreme Court in Texas v. White), allege that the Articles of Confederation united them as a single “perpetual” nation-state.

Still others, like Yale Constitutional-Law Prof. Akhil Reed Amar, concede that the states were separate, sovereign nation-states prior to the Constitution; but they argue that the Constitution united them as a single nation-state. Amar, in particularly, uses the following curious logic for why he alleges that the states were separate nations before the Constitution, but not after:

“In dramatic contrast to Article VII-- whose unanimity rule that no state can bind another confirms the sovereignty of each state prior to 1787--- Article V does not permit a single state convention to modify the federal Constitution for itself. Moreover, it makes clear that a state may be bound by a federal constitutional amendment even if that state votes against the amendment in a properly convened state convention. And this rule is flatly inconsistent with the idea that states remain sovereign after joining the Constitution, even if they were sovereign before joining it. Thus, ratification of the Constitution itself marked the moment when previously sovereign states gave up their sovereignty and legal independence.”

Of course, this shows a fundamental ignorance of basic international law-- by which sovereign nations can be legally “bound” by treaties or other laws, while yet remaining nationally sovereign. Indeed, while all laws seek to present a “bright line” in terms of understanding boundaries, national sovereignty is the brightest of all lines in any law; and thus, it is utterly absurd to simply infer that such lines can have summarily “disappeared” without express manifestation by the nations in question, merely by a claim of “inconsistency.”

However, this supposed “precedent” did not do so via implied language-- as Amar claims the Constitution did with the American states; but on the contrary, the language used is express and direct, as seen in this excerpt from the Treaty:

“That the two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall, upon the first Day of May next ensuing the Date hereof, and for ever after, be united into one Kingdom by the Name of Great-Britain”.

Here, the Treaty expressly and directly unites the two kingdoms into a single kingdom—rather than doing so indirectly, via implied language. This is for the simple reason, that a sovereign nation-state, by all logic, can only surrender or compromise its national sovereignty, by express action and intent; for a sovereign nation-state, by definition, is the highest authority over its own laws: and therefore, no higher authority exists over it, which can construe such intent from implied meanings of words within the law (as Amar does with the Constitution). Thus, an international compact, cannot be argued under contract-law-- which by definition, is subject to a higher lawful authority; meanwhile the Madison, Jefferson and others made abundantly clear even after the Constitution was ratified among the states, that the states were subject to no common judge between them, in the last resort.


Accordingly, while the Treaty of Union unites the two kingdoms as a single kingdom, or nation; since the Constitution contrarily contains no such express manifestations of intent to unite the states, as a single state; then the Constitition plainly can only have united them as a voluntary federal (i.e. international) republic of separate nation-states. Meanwhile the respective People (i.e. voters) of each respective nation-state, are the principal final authority therein, and simply delegated certain powers to (subordinate) state and federal government agents.


Of course, this is all in accordance with the context of the Constitution, such as the Federalist Papers: there, James Madison and the Federalist Party, assured Patrick Henry and the Anti-federalist, and the People of New York and other states that the Constitution would not unite the states as a single new nation-state, but that each state would be bound only by its own voluntary act of its respective People-- not its legislatures. As expressed in Federalist No. 39,


“That it will be a federal and not a national act, as these terms are understood by the objectors; the act of the people, as forming so many independent States, not as forming one aggregate nation, is obvious from this single consideration, that it is to result neither from the decision of a MAJORITY of the people of the Union, nor from that of a MAJORITY of the States. It must result from the UNANIMOUS assent of the several States that are parties to it, differing no otherwise from their ordinary assent than in its being expressed, not by the legislative authority, but by that of the people themselves.”


However again, this is simply contextual evidence, not primary law. The Constitution’s Framers, after all, were not the actual parties to the Constitutional compact; rather they were simply the lawyers and other subordinate agents who drafted the Constitution, as an agreement among the parties to it-- who were, as noted in the first three words of the Preamble, the respective Peoples, of each of the nine or more requisite states, that would prospectively ordain and establish the Constitution among their respective nation-states. Therefore, it is only their respective understanding and intent, that conclusively determines the Constitution’s meaning and effect.

And the People of each state, never expressly authorized or indicated, that their respective nation-states, would be united to form a single new nation state among them.


Note that this is in stark contrast to the manner in which the kingdoms of England and Scotland, were united by the 1707 Treaty of Union to form the single new kingdom of Great Britain, as a new nation-state formed out of two separate nation-states. (In fact, they were actually re-united by this Treaty; since here, the background-context shows that they were only separated by mistake some 100 years earlier, and thus they had been attempting to re-unite as a single kingdom ever since).

Meanwhile, the American nation-states obviously sought to separate from Great Britain in 1776, as thirteen separate nation-states, not one singular nation-state, as Lincoln, Jackson etc. claimed. This plurality, was due to the corruption of that centralized empire, which they obviously had no desire to repeat as a single nation-state, along with the concentration of power that enabled such corruption. (And this doesn’t even address the democratic political philosophy expressed in the Declaration of Independence: i.e. regarding “government by consent of the governed,” that was realized and embodied in the Constitution’s adoption by the People of each state, as per “the right of the People to alter or abolish their government.”


Accordingly, the People(s) of each state sought to unite their nation-states, only as an international federal republic among sovereign nations-- after the model described by Emerich de Vatel in the Law of Nations: Book I, Chapter I, § 10. "Of states forming a federal republic:"


Finally, several sovereign and independent states may unite themselves together by a perpetual confederacy, without ceasing to be, each individually, a perfect state. They will together constitute a federal republic: their joint deliberations will not impair the sovereignty of each member, though they may, in certain respects, put some restraint on the exercise of it, in virtue of voluntary engagements.


This was clearly the template for the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union-- as noted the phrase "perpetual confederacy," which are both terms used, to define the type of Union it creates: i.e. a federal republic of sovereign nation-states, in which each state expressly retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence, and only delegates certain powers, jurisdictions and rights to the common (international) Congress among them:


I. The Stile of this Confederacy shall be"The United States of America.


II. Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.


Thus this 1781 union of nation-states, simply formed a “perpetual confederacy” of separate free, sovereign and independent nation-states; that merely delegated certain powers, jurisdictions and rights to that confederacy-- each while remaining a separate nation-state.


And this followed from the Declaration of Independence, which expressly declared the individual colonies to be separate nation-states-- not a singular, collective nation-state, as Lincoln claimed:


“We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name and by the authority of the good people of these colonies solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that, as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do.


This “full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and do all the other things that free and independent states May by right do," only defines separate sovereign nation-states.


As mentioned above, such nation-sates are to be differentiated from mere domestically “sovereign states,” which are subordinate to a larger nation-state—as with the states of the national federal republic of Brazil, that have only arbitrary, limited “sovereignty,” subject to the final national authority of the central government. Unionists claim that American states exist in this manner; but in reality the USA was not a national federal republic like Brazil, but international as per Vattel’s dsecription; and thus the American states were internationally sovereign (vs. domestically sovereign). So under this usage, each state was a “perfect state—“ i.e. a separate nation-state; and the Articles of Confederation simply "put some restraint on the exercise of it, in virtue of voluntary engagements."


Thus we see that this "Perpetual Union" was a voluntary Confederacy of nation-states—and so was the Constitutional union formed after it, with the exception that was formed directly by the respective Peoples of each of the individual states, vs. doing so through their Congressional delegates; i.e. the respective Peoples of each state, unilaterally seceded their respective state from the Articles of Confederation, each doing so by the national authority of power as the supreme rulers of sovereign nation-states. This was further explained by James Madison in Federalist No. 40:


“In one particular it is admitted that the convention have departed from the tenor of their commission. Instead of reporting a plan requiring the confirmation OF THE LEGISLATURES OF ALL THE STATES, they have reported a plan which is to be confirmed by the PEOPLE, and may be carried into effect by NINE STATES ONLY. It is worthy of remark that this objection, though the most plausible, has been the least urged in the publications which have swarmed against the convention. The forbearance can only have proceeded from an irresistible conviction of the absurdity of subjecting the fate of twelve States to the perverseness or corruption of a thirteenth; from the example of inflexible opposition given by a MAJORITY of one sixtieth of the people of America to a measure approved and called for by the voice of twelve States, comprising fifty-nine sixtieths of the people an example still fresh in the memory and indignation of every citizen who has felt for the wounded honor and prosperity of his country. As this objection, therefore, has been in a manner waived by those who have criticised the powers of the convention, I dismiss it without further observation.”


Thus, just as the states did not unite under the Constitution to form a single nation-state, they likewise seceded from the “perpetual union” known as “United States of America” to form a new union under the Constitution, under which they once again remained sovereign nation-states.


Here, it bears mention that while the states each expressly retained their sovereignty, freedom and independence in the Articles of Confederation in 1781, this express retention is notably missing from the Constitution. The reason for this is plain, in that by the time of the Constitution in 1787, their national sovereignty was no longer simply declared, but official under the Treaty of Paris in 1783, which expressed the following:

“His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz., New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free sovereign and independent states, that he treats with them as such, and for himself, his heirs, and successors, relinquishes all claims to the government, propriety, and territorial rights of the same and every part thereof.”

This Treaty established each of the 13 colonies, as an official new separate nation-state unto itself, under international law: i.e. by the unchallenged recognition of such by several existing nation-states. Accordingly, there was no longer any need to expressly retain each state’s respective independent national sovereignty in 1787--again for the simple reason that it was no longer simply declared, but official.


Meanwhile the Treaties of Velasco did the same for Texas, while the recognition of the existing 13+ states likewise recognized the newer states that came into the Union after that.

Accordingly, each state was nationally sovereign, and was fully within its legal authority to secede from the U.S. Constitution, in order to ratify another, just like they seceded from the Articles of Confederation in 1787-9: i.e. each by the will of its respective voters.

Therefore, it seems that the Lincoln-government and northern states were entirely mistaken in their legal bases for claiming national authority over the individual states.
 
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#2
I hope that this forum is open to discussion of actual laws regarding secession.
I'd like to begin with a clarification of legal terms; i.e. that there are two different types of “sovereign state” under international law:

1) internationally sovereign states, aka “nation-states,” which are independently and supremely self-ruling; and

2) domestically sovereign states, which are subordinate to a larger nation-state.


Sovereign nation-states are also known by the term “sovereign nations,” such as Great Britain, France, Italy, or Japan etc. Meanwhile, domestically sovereign states, would be like the states of the national republic of Brazil, otherwise known as "federated units" like Rio.

While Unionists and “conventional wisdom,” both claim that the American states are of the latter persuasion, there can be no question that each state was always individually internationally sovereign, from its point of existence; meanwhile every “union” between them was likewise wholly international, as by treaty etc. between any two sovereign nations today. And so, the USA, in its various forms, would only be voluntary international associations of separate nations, like the EU or the UN; and therefore secession would be liek Brexit.


As James Madison noted, in his January 1800 Report on the Virginia Resolutions:


It is indeed true that the term "states" is sometimes used in a vague sense, and sometimes in different senses, according to the subject to which it is applied. Thus it sometimes means the separate sections of territory occupied by the political societies within each; sometimes the particular governments established by those societies; sometimes those societies as organized into those particular governments; and lastly, it means the people composing those political societies, in their highest sovereign capacity. Although it might be wished that the perfection of language admitted less diversity in the signification of the same words, yet little inconvenience is produced by it, where the true sense can be collected with certainty from the different applications. In the present instance, whatever different construction of the term "states," in the resolution, may have been entertained, all will at least concur in that last mentioned; because in that sense the Constitution was submitted to the "states;" in that sense the "states" ratified it; and in that sense of the term "states," they are consequently parties to the compact from which the powers of the federal government result.



The Constitution of the United States was formed by the sanction of the states, given by each in its sovereign capacity. It adds to the stability and dignity, as well as to the authority, of the Constitution, that it rests on this legitimate and solid foundation. The states, then, being the parties to the constitutional compact, and in their sovereign capacity, it follows of necessity that there can be no tribunal, above their authority, to decide, in the last resort, whether the compact made by them be violated; and consequently, that, as the parties to it, they must themselves decide, in the last resort, such questions as may be of sufficient magnitude to require their interposition.


Hence we see firsthand the context of the Constitution, by the Framers’ intent: i.e. a voluntary international association of separate sovereign nation-states, with each being “a People in their highest sovereign capacity—“ i.e. a separate, sovereign nation, like any member-state of the United Nations or European Union, or any other international association of sovereign nation-states.



Unionists meanwhile, cannot seem to agree on the precise legal theory, of how and when the USA allegedly “became a single nation-state” over the individual states. Some (e.g. Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, etc.) claimed that it was via the Declaration of Independence; meanwhile others (e.g. The Supreme Court in Texas v. White), allege that the Articles of Confederation united them as a single “perpetual” nation-state.

Still others, like Yale Constitutional-Law Prof. Akhil Reed Amar, concede that the states were separate, sovereign nation-states prior to the Constitution; but they argue that the Constitution united them as a single nation-state. Amar, in particularly, uses the following curious logic for why he alleges that the states were separate nations before the Constitution, but not after:

“In dramatic contrast to Article VII-- whose unanimity rule that no state can bind another confirms the sovereignty of each state prior to 1787--- Article V does not permit a single state convention to modify the federal Constitution for itself. Moreover, it makes clear that a state may be bound by a federal constitutional amendment even if that state votes against the amendment in a properly convened state convention. And this rule is flatly inconsistent with the idea that states remain sovereign after joining the Constitution, even if they were sovereign before joining it. Thus, ratification of the Constitution itself marked the moment when previously sovereign states gave up their sovereignty and legal independence.”

Of course, this shows a fundamental ignorance of basic international law-- by which sovereign nations can be legally “bound” by treaties or other laws, while yet remaining nationally sovereign. Indeed, while all laws seek to present a “bright line” in terms of understanding boundaries, national sovereignty is the brightest of all lines in any law; and thus, it is utterly absurd to simply infer that such lines can have summarily “disappeared” without express manifestation by the nations in question, merely by a claim of “inconsistency.”

However, this supposed “precedent” did not do so via implied language-- as Amar claims the Constitution did with the American states; but on the contrary, the language used is express and direct, as seen in this excerpt from the Treaty:

“That the two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall, upon the first Day of May next ensuing the Date hereof, and for ever after, be united into one Kingdom by the Name of Great-Britain”.

Here, the Treaty expressly and directly unites the two kingdoms into a single kingdom—rather than doing so indirectly, via implied language. This is for the simple reason, that a sovereign nation-state, by all logic, can only surrender or compromise its national sovereignty, by express action and intent; for a sovereign nation-state, by definition, is the highest authority over its own laws: and therefore, no higher authority exists over it, which can construe such intent from implied meanings of words within the law (as Amar does with the Constitution). Thus, an international compact, cannot be argued under contract-law-- which by definition, is subject to a higher lawful authority; meanwhile the Madison, Jefferson and others made abundantly clear even after the Constitution was ratified among the states, that the states were subject to no common judge between them, in the last resort.


Accordingly, while the Treaty of Union unites the two kingdoms as a single kingdom, or nation; since the Constitution contrarily contains no such express manifestations of intent to unite the states, as a single state; then the Constitition plainly can only have united them as a voluntary federal (i.e. international) republic of separate nation-states. Meanwhile the respective People (i.e. voters) of each respective nation-state, are the principal final authority therein, and simply delegated certain powers to (subordinate) state and federal government agents.


Of course, this is all in accordance with the context of the Constitution, such as the Federalist Papers: there, James Madison and the Federalist Party, assured Patrick Henry and the Anti-federalist, and the People of New York and other states that the Constitution would not unite the states as a single new nation-state, but that each state would be bound only by its own voluntary act of its respective People-- not its legislatures. As expressed in Federalist No. 39,


“That it will be a federal and not a national act, as these terms are understood by the objectors; the act of the people, as forming so many independent States, not as forming one aggregate nation, is obvious from this single consideration, that it is to result neither from the decision of a MAJORITY of the people of the Union, nor from that of a MAJORITY of the States. It must result from the UNANIMOUS assent of the several States that are parties to it, differing no otherwise from their ordinary assent than in its being expressed, not by the legislative authority, but by that of the people themselves.”


However again, this is simply contextual evidence, not primary law. The Constitution’s Framers, after all, were not the actual parties to the Constitutional compact; rather they were simply the lawyers and other subordinate agents who drafted the Constitution, as an agreement among the parties to it-- who were, as noted in the first three words of the Preamble, the respective Peoples, of each of the nine or more requisite states, that would prospectively ordain and establish the Constitution among their respective nation-states. Therefore, it is only their respective understanding and intent, that conclusively determines the Constitution’s meaning and effect.

And the People of each state, never expressly authorized or indicated, that their respective nation-states, would be united to form a single new nation state among them.


Note that this is in stark contrast to the manner in which the kingdoms of England and Scotland, were united by the 1707 Treaty of Union to form the single new kingdom of Great Britain, as a new nation-state formed out of two separate nation-states. (In fact, they were actually re-united by this Treaty; since here, the background-context shows that they were only separated by mistake some 100 years earlier, and thus they had been attempting to re-unite as a single kingdom ever since).

Meanwhile, the American nation-states obviously sought to separate from Great Britain in 1776, as thirteen separate nation-states, not one singular nation-state, as Lincoln, Jackson etc. claimed. This plurality, was due to the corruption of that centralized empire, which they obviously had no desire to repeat as a single nation-state, along with the concentration of power that enabled such corruption. (And this doesn’t even address the democratic political philosophy expressed in the Declaration of Independence: i.e. regarding “government by consent of the governed,” that was realized and embodied in the Constitution’s adoption by the People of each state, as per “the right of the People to alter or abolish their government.”


Accordingly, the People(s) of each state sought to unite their nation-states, only as an international federal republic among sovereign nations-- after the model described by Emerich de Vatel in the Law of Nations: Book I, Chapter I, § 10. "Of states forming a federal republic:"


Finally, several sovereign and independent states may unite themselves together by a perpetual confederacy, without ceasing to be, each individually, a perfect state. They will together constitute a federal republic: their joint deliberations will not impair the sovereignty of each member, though they may, in certain respects, put some restraint on the exercise of it, in virtue of voluntary engagements.


This was clearly the template for the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union-- as noted the phrase "perpetual confederacy," which are both terms used, to define the type of Union it creates: i.e. a federal republic of sovereign nation-states, in which each state expressly retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence, and only delegates certain powers, jurisdictions and rights to the common (international) Congress among them:


I. The Stile of this Confederacy shall be"The United States of America.


II. Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.


Thus this 1781 union of nation-states, simply formed a “perpetual confederacy” of separate free, sovereign and independent nation-states; that merely delegated certain powers, jurisdictions and rights to that confederacy-- each while remaining a separate nation-state.


And this followed from the Declaration of Independence, which expressly declared the individual colonies to be separate nation-states-- not a singular, collective nation-state, as Lincoln claimed:


“We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name and by the authority of the good people of these colonies solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that, as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do.


This “full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and do all the other things that free and independent states May by right do," only defines separate sovereign nation-states.


As mentioned above, such nation-sates are to be differentiated from mere domestically “sovereign states,” which are subordinate to a larger nation-state—as with the states of the national federal republic of Brazil, that have only arbitrary, limited “sovereignty,” subject to the final national authority of the central government. Unionists claim that American states exist in this manner; but in reality the USA was not a national federal republic like Brazil, but international as per Vattel’s dsecription; and thus the American states were internationally sovereign (vs. domestically sovereign). So under this usage, each state was a “perfect state—“ i.e. a separate nation-state; and the Articles of Confederation simply "put some restraint on the exercise of it, in virtue of voluntary engagements."


Thus we see that this "Perpetual Union" was a voluntary Confederacy of nation-states—and so was the Constitutional union formed after it, with the exception that was formed directly by the respective Peoples of each of the individual states, vs. doing so through their Congressional delegates; i.e. the respective Peoples of each state, unilaterally seceded their respective state from the Articles of Confederation, each doing so by the national authority of power as the supreme rulers of sovereign nation-states. This was further explained by James Madison in Federalist No. 40:


“In one particular it is admitted that the convention have departed from the tenor of their commission. Instead of reporting a plan requiring the confirmation OF THE LEGISLATURES OF ALL THE STATES, they have reported a plan which is to be confirmed by the PEOPLE, and may be carried into effect by NINE STATES ONLY. It is worthy of remark that this objection, though the most plausible, has been the least urged in the publications which have swarmed against the convention. The forbearance can only have proceeded from an irresistible conviction of the absurdity of subjecting the fate of twelve States to the perverseness or corruption of a thirteenth; from the example of inflexible opposition given by a MAJORITY of one sixtieth of the people of America to a measure approved and called for by the voice of twelve States, comprising fifty-nine sixtieths of the people an example still fresh in the memory and indignation of every citizen who has felt for the wounded honor and prosperity of his country. As this objection, therefore, has been in a manner waived by those who have criticised the powers of the convention, I dismiss it without further observation.”


Thus, just as the states did not unite under the Constitution to form a single nation-state, they likewise seceded from the “perpetual union” known as “United States of America” to form a new union under the Constitution, under which they once again remained sovereign nation-states.


Here, it bears mention that while the states each expressly retained their sovereignty, freedom and independence in the Articles of Confederation in 1781, this express retention is notably missing from the Constitution. The reason for this is plain, in that by the time of the Constitution in 1787, their national sovereignty was no longer simply declared, but official under the Treaty of Paris in 1783, which expressed the following:

“His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz., New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free sovereign and independent states, that he treats with them as such, and for himself, his heirs, and successors, relinquishes all claims to the government, propriety, and territorial rights of the same and every part thereof.”

This Treaty established each of the 13 colonies, as an official new separate nation-state unto itself, under international law: i.e. by the unchallenged recognition of such by several existing nation-states. Accordingly, there was no longer any need to expressly retain each state’s respective independent national sovereignty in 1787--again for the simple reason that it was no longer simply declared, but official.


Meanwhile the Treaties of Velasco did the same for Texas, while the recognition of the existing 13+ states likewise recognized the newer states that came into the Union after that.

Accordingly, each state was nationally sovereign, and was fully within its legal authority to secede from the U.S. Constitution, in order to ratify another, just like they seceded from the Articles of Confederation in 1787-9: i.e. each by the will of its respective voters.

Therefore, it seems that the Lincoln-government and northern states were entirely mistaken in their legal bases for claiming national authority over the individual states.
Quite a long post. It might behove you to break it down to more easily digestible pieces.
You are aware of case law such has Texas v.White 1866 that secession was ruled illegal and the U.S. government may use military to suppress rebellion.
@Copperhead mi has many posts concerning antebellum case law that secession was always considered illegal.
Leftyhunter
 

thomas aagaard

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#3
What happened before the rectification of the Constitution is irrelevant.
Before that, the states might very well have been sovereign.

Look at the powers usually associated with Sovereignty.
Then read the US Constitution and top it with the bill that added Texas to the Union.

States do not meet the usual requirements of control of territory, the ability to have an army and the ability to inter into treatises with other sovereign powers.
(and in the case of Texas they explicitly give Washington the authority to give away part of Texas to Mexico if neededx)

Getting into the union require consent of the people (as given by Congress) so do getting out.
 
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#4
Quite a long post. It might behove you to break it down to more easily digestible pieces.
No can do; it pretty much all fits together.
You are aware of case law such has Texas v.White 1866 that secession was ruled illegal and the U.S. government may use military to suppress rebellion.
@Copperhead mi has many posts concerning antebellum case law that secession was always considered illegal.
Leftyhunter
Texas vs. White was 1869, and I mention it in the original post.
However, Supreme Court rulings have no power over sovereign nations. Nothing does, because all law is based on national sovereignty in terms of primary authorization.
The sole issue of the "war," is which side held national sovereignty: the USA or the individual states; and if the latter, then legally (as my research indicates), then the incident would, legally, have been not a war of any kind (which must be properly waged by a sovereign nation in its name, or citizens of such a nation for a civil war); but simply an act of terror and aggression by private individuals (i.e. the GOP) claiming to represent the non-existent "nation of the USA," against sovereign nation-states (i.e. the CSA states)... just like 9/11 was an act of terror and aggression by private individuals (i.e. Al-Queda) against sovereign nations, claiming to represent the equally non-existent "nation of Islam" in terms of sovereign-nation status.
 
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#5
It pretty much all fits together.

Texas vs. White was 1869, and I mention it in the original post.
However, Supreme Court rulings have no power over sovereign nations. Nothing does, because all law is based on national sovereignty in terms of primary authorization.
The sole issue of the "war," is which side held national sovereignty: the USA or the individual states; and if the latter, then legally (as my research indicates), then the incident would, legally, have been not a war of any kind (which must be properly waged by a sovereign nation in its name, or citizens of such a nation for a civil war); but simply an act of terror and aggression by private individuals (i.e. the GOP) claiming to represent the non-existent "nation of the USA," against sovereign nation-states (i.e. the CSA states)... just like 9/11 was an act of terror and aggression by private individuals (i.e. Al-Queda) against sovereign nations, claiming to represent the equally non-existent "nation of Islam" in terms of sovereign-nation status.
That would be a very difficult legal argument to make . Make that an impossible legal argument under current case law.
Also the Union Army was not solely composed of Republicans. Many Democrats served in the Union Army from generals such has McClellan and Rosecrans just to name a few to tens of thousands of enlisted men. Also 104k white Southern men enlisted in the Union Army ( Lincolns Loyalists Union soldiers from the Confederacy Richard Current Northeastern University Press) plus tens of thousands of Southern blacks fought in the United States Coulored Troops.
Add to that thousands of Unionist guerrillas. So no The Civil War was not solely a nefarious Republican Party plot.
Leftyhunter
 
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#6
What happened before the rectification of the Constitution is irrelevant.
Before that, the states might very well have been sovereign.
Very well, we may proceed from there. They never expressly altered that status in any act, which is the only way a sovereign nation-state can lose its sovereignty by a willful act.
Therefore, all assignments of authority by the People of each state, via adopting the Constitution, are simply delegations of powers by sovereign nations-states, to subordinate agents in an international assembly.

Getting into the union require consent of the people (as given by Congress) so do getting out.
No more than Brexit. Again, no law supersedes national sovereignty.
 
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#7
No can do; it pretty much all fits together.

Texas vs. White was 1869, and I mention it in the original post.
However, Supreme Court rulings have no power over sovereign nations. Nothing does, because all law is based on national sovereignty in terms of primary authorization.
The sole issue of the "war," is which side held national sovereignty: the USA or the individual states; and if the latter, then legally (as my research indicates), then the incident would, legally, have been not a war of any kind (which must be properly waged by a sovereign nation in its name, or citizens of such a nation for a civil war); but simply an act of terror and aggression by private individuals (i.e. the GOP) claiming to represent the non-existent "nation of the USA," against sovereign nation-states (i.e. the CSA states)... just like 9/11 was an act of terror and aggression by private individuals (i.e. Al-Queda) against sovereign nations, claiming to represent the equally non-existent "nation of Islam" in terms of sovereign-nation status.
Just saying it is a fairly certain proposition that the average poster isn't going to read a dense long legal brief. I am only making a friendly suggestion.
Al Queda is a poor example since they are
A. Not related to the Civil War
B. A non government religious -military/terrorist group.
Leftyhunter
 
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#8
Very well, we may proceed from there. They never expressly altered that status in any act, which is the only way a sovereign nation-state can lose its sovereignty by a willful act.
Therefore, all assignments of authority by the People of each state, via adopting the Constitution, are simply delegations of powers by sovereign nations-states, to subordinate agents in an international assembly.



No more than Brexit. Again, no law supersedes national sovereignty.
The European Union had a specific clause that allows member states to leave. Not so the U.S. constitution.
Leftyhunter
 
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#9
That would be a very difficult legal argument to make . Make that an impossible legal argument under current case law.
Case law has no legal power over sovereign nation-states. Nothing does.
As for being a difficult legal argument, I disagree; it's plain as day, to anyone who understands international law and history.
Also the Union Army was not solely composed of Republicans. Many Democrats served in the Union Army from generals such has McClellan and Rosecrans just to name a few to tens of thousands of enlisted men. Also 104k white Southern men enlisted in the Union Army ( Lincolns Loyalists Union soldiers from the Confederacy Richard Current Northeastern University Press) plus tens of thousands of Southern blacks fought in the United States Coulored Troops.
Add to that thousands of Unionist guerrillas. So no The Civil War was not solely a nefarious Republican Party plot.
I never said it was; I said it was the act of private individuals in the GOP-- which it would be, if the individual states were nationally sovereign. I'm sure Al-Queda had plenty of help from non-party members as well; but the point is the same either way: i.e. that ignorance of the law is never an excuse for crime-- particularly international law and sovereignty regarding acts of terror and aggression on massive scales.
So whether one believed that the USA was a single nation-- as did Lee himself-- or that they were going to get 72 virgins in paradise for suicide-bombings, makes absolutely no difference to the criminal nature of the acts committed, if indeed they were invasions by private individuals acting under false color of national authority.
 

jgoodguy

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#10
I hope that this forum is open to discussion of actual laws regarding secession.
I'd like to begin with a clarification of legal terms; i.e. that there are two different types of “sovereign state” under international law:
Welcome to Secession and Politics. Whole durn purpose of this forum is to discuss the legal ramifications of secession. We have been at it for decades where every angle that is known to man and then some have been tossed around. Let's take a look at your post.
I'd like to begin with a clarification of legal terms; i.e. that there are two different types of “sovereign state” under international law:

1) internationally sovereign states, aka “nation-states,” which are independently and supremely self-ruling; and

2) domestically sovereign states, which are subordinate to a larger nation-state.
I see no references to back this opinion up. In fact

Westphalian sovereignty
Lassa Oppenheim said, "There exists perhaps no conception the meaning of which is more controversial than that of sovereignty. It is an indisputable fact that this conception, from the moment when it was introduced into political science until the present day, has never had a meaning which was universally agreed upon."[6] In the opinion of H. V. Evatt of the High Court of Australia, "sovereignty is neither a question of fact, nor a question of law, but a question that does not arise at all."[7]
It appears to me that your definition is flawed especially in the 19th century of Secession.

Perhaps your intention of (1) is something along the lines of

sovereign state is, in international law, a nonphysical juridical entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defined territory, one government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states.[1] It is also normally understood that a sovereign state is neither dependent on nor subjected to any other power or state.[2]

There are many forms of this type of sovereign state, not limited the ones you suggest , but as far as secession is concerned, the federal form is important.
Federation
A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions under a central (federal) government. In a federation, the self-governing status of the component states, as well as the division of power between them and the central government, is typically constitutionally entrenched and may not be altered by a unilateral decision of either party, the states or the federal political body. Alternatively, federation is a form of government in which sovereign power is formally divided between a central authority and a number of constituent regions so that each region retains some degree of control over its internal affairs.[1][2]
 
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#11
Case law has no legal power over sovereign nation-states. Nothing does.
As for being a difficult legal argument, I disagree; it's plain as day, to anyone who understands international law and history.

I never said it was; I said it was the act of private individuals in the GOP-- which it would be, if the individual states were nationally sovereign. I'm sure Al-Queda had plenty of help from non-party members as well; but the point is the same either way: i.e. that ignorance of the law is never an excuse for crime-- particularly international law and sovereignty regarding acts of terror and aggression on massive scales.
So whether one believed that the USA was a single nation-- as did Lee himself-- or that they were going to get 72 virgins in paradise for suicide-bombings, makes absolutely no difference to the criminal nature of the acts committed, if indeed they were invasions by private individuals acting under false color of national authority.
Case law most certainly does have legal authority over individual U.S. states.
The U.S. was never a collection of sovereign nations. There was an attempt to form a new Confederate nation but it was never recognized by any other nation.
Leftyhunter
 
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#12
The European Union had a specific clause that allows member states to leave. Not do the U.S. constitution.
Leftyhunter
Such would be a mere formality. Are you saying that sovereign nations need express permission to leave an international union? Because that's impossible by definition, by which a soveriegn nation is its own final authority.
The Articles of Confederation likewise contained no such express exit-clause, as noted in Article XIII:
Every State shall abide by the determination of the United States in Congress assembled, on all questions which by this confederation are submitted to them. And the Articles of this Confederation shall be inviolably observed by every State, and the Union shall be perpetual; nor shall any alteration at any time hereafter be made in any of them; unless such alteration be agreed to in a Congress of the United States, and be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every State.

And Whereas it hath pleased the Great Governor of the World to incline the hearts of the legislatures we respectively represent in Congress, to approve of, and to authorize us to ratify the said Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union. Know Ye that we the undersigned delegates, by virtue of the power and authority to us given for that purpose, do by these presents, in the name and in behalf of our respective constituents, fully and entirely ratify and confirm each and every of the said Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union, and all and singular the matters and things therein contained: And we do further solemnly plight and engage the faith of our respective constituents, that they shall abide by the determinations of the United States in Congress assembled, on all questions, which by the said Confederation are submitted to them. And that the Articles thereof shall be inviolably observed by the States we respectively represent, and that the Union shall be perpetual.
However since each state expressly retained its sovereignty, freedom and independence in Article II, James Madison addressed this issue of individual-state secession in Federalist No. 40:
The truth is, that the great principles of the Constitution proposed by the convention may be considered less as absolutely new, than as the expansion of principles which are found in the articles of Confederation. The misfortune under the latter system has been, that these principles are so feeble and confined as to justify all the charges of inefficiency which have been urged against it, and to require a degree of enlargement which gives to the new system the aspect of an entire transformation of the old. In one particular it is admitted that the convention have departed from the tenor of their commission. Instead of reporting a plan requiring the confirmation OF THE LEGISLATURES OF ALL THE STATES, they have reported a plan which is to be confirmed by the PEOPLE, and may be carried into effect by NINE STATES ONLY. It is worthy of remark that this objection, though the most plausible, has been the least urged in the publications which have swarmed against the convention. The forbearance can only have proceeded from an irresistible conviction of the absurdity of subjecting the fate of twelve States to the perverseness or corruption of a thirteenth; from the example of inflexible opposition given by a MAJORITY of one sixtieth of the people of America to a measure approved and called for by the voice of twelve States, comprising fifty-nine sixtieths of the people an example still fresh in the memory and indignation of every citizen who has felt for the wounded honor and prosperity of his country. As this objection, therefore, has been in a manner waived by those who have criticised the powers of the convention, I dismiss it without further observation.
So just like the states were able to break from the Confederation of 1781 to ratify the Constitution in 1787-9, solely by the power of their status as sovereign nations; so they were able to do it again in 1860-1, without permission.
 
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#13
I hope that this forum is open to discussion of actual laws regarding secession.
We are


While Unionists and “conventional wisdom,” both claim that the American states are of the latter persuasion, there can be no question that each state was always individually internationally sovereign, from its point of existence; meanwhile every “union” between them was likewise wholly international, as by treaty etc. between any two sovereign nations today.
Such a sweeping statement!
For me, when someone says "there can be no question" about something that is hotly debated, I am already inclined to think they are wrong.


And so, the USA, in its various forms, would only be voluntary international associations of separate nations, like the EU or the UN; and therefore secession would be liek Brexit.
Brexit was based on Article 50 of the Treaty of European Union. Unless the USA had an equivalent article, then secession would not be like Brexit.


Unionists meanwhile, cannot seem to agree on the precise legal theory, of how and when the USA allegedly “became a single nation-state” over the individual states.
People disagree? Shocking!

a sovereign nation-state, by definition, is the highest authority over its own laws
Just as US law is the highest authority, more supreme that State law.

Madison, Jefferson and others made abundantly clear even after the Constitution was ratified among the states, that the states were subject to no common judge between them, in the last resort.
The Constitution, as well as many of the founders other than those ideologically inconsistent like Jefferson and Madison, made it abundantly clear that there was a common judge over the individual States in the form of the United States.

Accordingly, while the Treaty of Union unites the two kingdoms as a single kingdom, or nation; since the Constitution contrarily contains no such express manifestations of intent to unite the states, as a single state


The Constitution is a plan for organizing and running government. It does not serve the same function as a Treaty of Union.

as noted in the first three words of the Preamble, the respective Peoples...


The 3rd word of the Preamble is "People", no "s".


Meanwhile, the American nation-states obviously sought to separate from Great Britain in 1776, as thirteen separate nation-states, not one singular nation-state, as Lincoln, Jackson etc. claimed.


Nothing obvious about that. The separation was done by United Colonies who referred in their Declaration to "One People".

This plurality, was due to the corruption of that centralized empire, which they obviously had no desire to repeat as a single nation-state


Nothing obvious about that.


And this followed from the Declaration of Independence, which expressly declared the individual colonies to be separate nation-states-- not a singular, collective nation-state...


It expressly declared they were separate from Great Britain; it did not declare they were separate from each other.


This “full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and do all the other things that free and independent states May by right do," only defines separate sovereign nation-states.

All of which by the Articles of Confederation were powers of the Union and not of the individual States.

This Treaty established each of the 13 colonies, as an official new separate nation-state unto itself, under international law


Treaty of Paris was between the King and the United States of America was expressly referred to as being "between the two countries", not 14 countries. The United States at the time was governed by the Articles of Confederation under which treaty making power was expressly given to the federal government.


Accordingly, each state was nationally sovereign, and was fully within its legal authority to secede from the U.S. Constitution, in order to ratify another

A massive logical jump.
 

jgoodguy

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#15
Sovereign nation-states are also known by the term “sovereign nations,” such as Great Britain, France, Italy, or Japan etc. Meanwhile, domestically sovereign states, would be like the states of the national republic of Brazil, otherwise known as "federated units" like Rio.
Can we assume for this discussion that your "domestically sovereign states" are partially sovereign subunits of a federation?

While Unionists and “conventional wisdom,” both claim that the American states are of the latter persuasion, there can be no question that each state was always individually internationally sovereign, from its point of existence; meanwhile every “union” between them was likewise wholly international, as by treaty etc. between any two sovereign nations today. And so, the USA, in its various forms, would only be voluntary international associations of separate nations, like the EU or the UN; and therefore secession would be liek Brexit.
"there can be no question " seems to be your opinion. I see no references and the phase is more of a hyper rhetoric than a real discussion. The US has gone through several governments, revolutionary, Articles of Confederation and finally the Constitutional. The failure to distinguish between those government can cause a lot of false assumptions.

The AOC was a Confederation and the Articles of Confederation a treaty of nominally sovereign States, however, these nominally sovereign States, never had a fully sovereign existence. They had no State armies or navies, nor did they send or receive ambassadors. There is no consolidated country of Europe, its member states send and receive ambassadors and support armies and navies where they have an ocean coastline. Secession is nothing like Brexit.

Improper understanding of Brexit and the EU can cause difficulties when discussing secession.
 

jgoodguy

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#16
As James Madison noted, in his January 1800 Report on the Virginia Resolutions:

It is indeed true that the term "states" is sometimes used in a vague sense, and sometimes in different senses, according to the subject to which it is applied. Thus it sometimes means the separate sections of territory occupied by the political societies within each; sometimes the particular governments established by those societies; sometimes those societies as organized into those particular governments; and lastly, it means the people composing those political societies, in their highest sovereign capacity. Although it might be wished that the perfection of language admitted less diversity in the signification of the same words, yet little inconvenience is produced by it, where the true sense can be collected with certainty from the different applications. In the present instance, whatever different construction of the term "states," in the resolution, may have been entertained, all will at least concur in that last mentioned; because in that sense the Constitution was submitted to the "states;" in that sense the "states" ratified it; and in that sense of the term "states," they are consequently parties to the compact from which the powers of the federal government result.


The Constitution of the United States was formed by the sanction of the states, given by each in its sovereign capacity. It adds to the stability and dignity, as well as to the authority, of the Constitution, that it rests on this legitimate and solid foundation. The states, then, being the parties to the constitutional compact, and in their sovereign capacity, it follows of necessity that there can be no tribunal, above their authority, to decide, in the last resort, whether the compact made by them be violated; and consequently, that, as the parties to it, they must themselves decide, in the last resort, such questions as may be of sufficient magnitude to require their interposition.


Hence we see firsthand the context of the Constitution, by the Framers’ intent: i.e. a voluntary international association of separate sovereign nation-states, with each being “a People in their highest sovereign capacity—“ i.e. a separate, sovereign nation, like any member-state of the United Nations or European Union, or any other international association of sovereign nation-states.
Madison's report is just his opinion. It is neither constitutional provision nor a law nor a court decision.

Let's look at the Constitution.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.​

Your assumption that the States for the union is flawed. It was the People of the United States that formed the constittional union and only they have the power to undo the Constitution.
 

Taylin

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#17
Article 6 Clause 2 of the Constitution clearly states: This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, 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.

The laws of the federal government supersede laws of the state governments and that the various states must adhere to them. So even "case law" would apply to the other states such as in Texas vs White. The idea that they are sovereign nations and as such are not subject to this doesn't stand as it would directly contradict the Constitution, which all the states and the federal government are bound to.
 
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#18
Such would be a mere formality. Are you saying that sovereign nations need express permission to leave an international union? Because that's impossible by definition, by which a soveriegn nation is its own final authority.
The Articles of Confederation likewise contained no such express exit-clause, as noted in Article XIII:

However since each state expressly retained its sovereignty, freedom and independence in Article II, James Madison addressed this issue of individual-state secession in Federalist No. 40:

So just like the states were able to break from the Confederation of 1781 to ratify the Constitution in 1787-9, solely by the power of their status as sovereign nations; so they were able to do it again in 1860-1, without permission.
No the U.S. Constitution is not the same,as the European Union. Case law is quite clear that there is no such thing as individual states are the same as individual nations.
If one has a problem with that the one is in a bit of a quandary.
Leftyhunter
 
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#19
Welcome to Secession and Politics. Whole durn purpose of this forum is to discuss the legal ramifications of secession. We have been at it for decades where every angle that is known to man and then some have been tossed around. Let's take a look at your post.


I see no references to back this opinion up. In fact

Westphalian sovereignty
Lassa Oppenheim said, "There exists perhaps no conception the meaning of which is more controversial than that of sovereignty. It is an indisputable fact that this conception, from the moment when it was introduced into political science until the present day, has never had a meaning which was universally agreed upon."[6] In the opinion of H. V. Evatt of the High Court of Australia, "sovereignty is neither a question of fact, nor a question of law, but a question that does not arise at all."[7]
It appears to me that your definition is flawed especially in the 19th century of Secession.

Perhaps your intention of (1) is something along the lines of

sovereign state is, in international law, a nonphysical juridical entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defined territory, one government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states.[1] It is also normally understood that a sovereign state is neither dependent on nor subjected to any other power or state.[2]

There are many forms of this type of sovereign state, not limited the ones you suggest , but as far as secession is concerned, the federal form is important.
Federation
A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions under a central (federal) government. In a federation, the self-governing status of the component states, as well as the division of power between them and the central government, is typically constitutionally entrenched and may not be altered by a unilateral decision of either party, the states or the federal political body. Alternatively, federation is a form of government in which sovereign power is formally divided between a central authority and a number of constituent regions so that each region retains some degree of control over its internal affairs.[1][2]
This is needlessly academic and complicated, since only my two listed types of "sovereign state," apply to our discussion; as those were the two claimed by both contesting parties to the dispute. Namely, the Unionists claimed that the Union held final authority, while the secessionists claimed that the individual states held it.
Therefore, that's the issue to be determined by our analysis.

In that vein, the USA was never a federal state, but only a federal republic of internationally sovereign nation-states. As I explained in my original post, these followed after the model described by Emerich de Vatel in the Law of Nations: Book I, Chapter I, § 10. "Of states forming a federal republic:"

Finally, several sovereign and independent states may unite themselves together by a perpetual confederacy, without ceasing to be, each individually, a perfect state. They will together constitute a federal republic: their joint deliberations will not impair the sovereignty of each member, though they may, in certain respects, put some restraint on the exercise of it, in virtue of voluntary engagements.

Each state's original status as a separate nation, meanwhile, derived from its originally-declared status in the 1776 Declaration of Independence, whereby the colonies were held to be "FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that, as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do."

This “full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and do all the other things that free and independent states May by right do," only defines separate sovereign nation-states. Likewise, this status was expressly recognized to the states individually in the 1783 Treaty of Paris, in which each existing sovereign nation to the Treaty which expressed the following:

“His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz., New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free sovereign and independent states, that he treats with them as such, and for himself, his heirs, and successors, relinquishes all claims to the government, propriety, and territorial rights of the same and every part thereof.”

This Treaty established each of the 13 colonies, as an official new separate nation-state unto itself, under international law: i.e. by the unchallenged recognition of such by several existing nation-states.
Accordingly, each state's national status was not simply declared, but official; i.e. each state was now an official sovereign nation-state unto itself, identical to Great Britain, France, or every other recognized sovereign nation-state on Earth.

Prior to the Declaration of Independence, meanwhile, the only official "union" among the colonies, was formed under the Articles of Association, on October 20, 1774, which officially opened with this description

We, his majesty's most loyal subjects, the delegates of the several colonies of New-Hampshire, Massachusetts-Bay, Rhode-Island, Connecticut, New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, the three lower counties of Newcastle, Kent and Sussex on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina, and South-Carolina, deputed to represent them in a continental Congress, held in the city of Philadelphia, on the 5th day of September, 1774, avowing our allegiance to his majesty, our affection and regard for our fellow-subjects in Great-Britain and elsewhere.
Not as a single nation-state; and therefore Lincoln's conflation of "The Union" as being "older than the states," was entirely erroneous.
 

thomas aagaard

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#20
No more than Brexit. Again, no law supersedes national sovereignty.
Hogwash. The EU treaty have a specific § for getting out of the union.
The EU is full of laws that overrule National laws. We implement EU laws all the time.
The difference is that a EU member can unilaterally decide to leave the EU, at US state can not.

The US Constitution don't have a clear rule that allow unilateral secession.
And very clearly give Congress the authority to change the makeup of the union.
 
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