Secession and the Constitution Revisited

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The right of secession from the union of states was specifically reserved by most of the colonies in the articles of confederation at the beginning. The reason Lee and Davis were not prosecuted as traitors after the war was that Union prosecutors felt they would lose in court.
 

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The right of secession from the union of states was specifically reserved by most of the colonies in the articles of confederation at the beginning.
Can you provide the documents from each of those colonies that specifically reserved that right?

Also, how is that relevant to the Union under the Constitution as its governing document instead of under the Articles of Confederation?

Finally, can you provide any court decisions that upheld the right to unilaterally secede?

The reason Lee and Davis were not prosecuted as traitors after the war was that Union prosecutors felt they would lose in court.
Not quite.

Prosecutors in US v. Jefferson Davis were concerned that a Virginia jury would not vote to convict no matter how strong the evidence against Davis.

As to Lee, he wasn't prosecuted because Ulysses S. Grant threatened to resign unless the indictment against Lee was quashed.
 

OpnCoronet

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The people of the states never delegated any responsibility to the US Federal government to authorize or in any manner supervise the secession of states. What should have happened is the US political leadership should have acknowledged the constitutional, peaceful, and democratic secessions of the Deep South states.

Is not the Supreme Court set up to supervise the relationship of the States with each other and to Federal Law?

What should have happened was for the dissatisfied State to go hat in hand and ask for permission to leave the Union from the other States in the Union, according to Federal Law.
 

jgoodguy

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Is not the Supreme Court set up to supervise the relationship of the States with each other and to Federal Law?

What should have happened was for the dissatisfied State to go hat in hand and ask for permission to leave the Union from the other States in the Union, according to Federal Law.
The really bad thing was for the secessionists to attack the US, turning a Constitutional question into rebellion. Without question, the Federal government had the power to suppress the rebellion.
 

jgoodguy

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My post 202 (my “earlier What if question”)
Can you imagine the Northern reaction had some Southern Supreme Court jurist discovered an obscure constitutional clause that could be twisted to read that slavery was constitutionally permissible in all US states and territories and anyone, or group, actively opposing it was a direct violation of the US Constitution?

They were working on it Lemmon v New York which would apply Dred Scott to the States such that slavey would be constitutionally protected in all State states
Ableman v Booth ruled that a State could not protect its citizens from being kidnapped by Slave catchers.
 
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The right of secession from the union of states was specifically reserved by most of the colonies in the articles of confederation at the beginning. The reason Lee and Davis were not prosecuted as traitors after the war was that Union prosecutors felt they would lose in court.
WHERE do folk get this talking point from? I see this all the time, yet no one can quote a source that legally backs this up!

Kevin Dally
 

jgoodguy

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WHERE do folk get this talking point from? I see this all the time, yet no one can quote a source that legally backs this up!

Kevin Dally
Pretty common statement. It is a one-liner that looks important. Certainly, Davis wanted a confrontation over secession but never got it. His lawyers invoked double jeopardy and Chase went along.
 

unionblue

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To All,

I think the following bears repeating:

In the book, Lincoln & The Court, by Brian McGinty, he gives the following view of Taney:

"The South contends that a state has a constitutional right to secede from the Union formed with her sister states. In this I submit the South errs. No power or right is constitutional but what can be exercised in a form or mode provided in the constitution for it's exercise. Secession is therefore not constitutional, but revolutionary; and is only morally competent, like war, upon failure of justice."

From the notes section of the book concerning the above passage by Taney.

"Taney's views as to the constitutionality of secession were expressed in an untitled, eight-page memorandum in his own handwriting that was donated to the Library of Congress in 1929. This memorandum had been labeled (apparently by a library archivist) "Fragment of a Manuscript Relating to Slavery in the United States," RBTP-LC. Although the memorandum is undated, internal evidence indicates that it was written between January 26 and February 1, 1861. It was Taney's practice during the war to set forth his views on controversial constitutional issues for possible use in Supreme Court opinions, if and when those issues should come before the Court. For description and discussion of this memorandum, see Fehrenbacher, Dred Scott Case, 554-555, 711n.5; for further discussion of Taney's views on secession, see Chapter 7."

I am of the decided opinion that Taney decided that if secession was not specifically mentioned in the Constitution, it was definitely not constitutional, Amendment 9 & 10 included.

Now, repeating these same amendments to me, over and over again, mean nothing when compared to the sitting Supreme Court Chief Justice at the time.

Unilateral secession, cannot be found ANYWHERE in the Constitution, or as Chief Justice Taney said, there is "no form or mode provided in the constitution for it's exercise."

Stubborn repetition of a personal opinion STILL changes nothing.

It bears repeating, the question of secession was not settled before the war by legal means, as those means were completely ignored and abandoned by the Confederacy the minute Ft. Sumter was fired upon.

Trial-by-combat was freely chosen and the results are in. Unilateral secession was not constitutional, legal, or smart. It was merely hoped for by those who implemented it in the hopes of keeping 4 billion dollars of slave property.

Period.

Unionblue
 

jgoodguy

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To All,

I think the following bears repeating:

In the book, Lincoln & The Court, by Brian McGinty, he gives the following view of Taney:

"The South contends that a state has a constitutional right to secede from the Union formed with her sister states. In this I submit the South errs. No power or right is constitutional but what can be exercised in a form or mode provided in the constitution for it's exercise. Secession is therefore not constitutional, but revolutionary; and is only morally competent, like war, upon failure of justice."

From the notes section of the book concerning the above passage by Taney.

"Taney's views as to the constitutionality of secession were expressed in an untitled, eight-page memorandum in his own handwriting that was donated to the Library of Congress in 1929. This memorandum had been labeled (apparently by a library archivist) "Fragment of a Manuscript Relating to Slavery in the United States," RBTP-LC. Although the memorandum is undated, internal evidence indicates that it was written between January 26 and February 1, 1861. It was Taney's practice during the war to set forth his views on controversial constitutional issues for possible use in Supreme Court opinions, if and when those issues should come before the Court. For description and discussion of this memorandum, see Fehrenbacher, Dred Scott Case, 554-555, 711n.5; for further discussion of Taney's views on secession, see Chapter 7."

I am of the decided opinion that Taney decided that if secession was not specifically mentioned in the Constitution, it was definitely not constitutional, Amendment 9 & 10 included.

Now, repeating these same amendments to me, over and over again, mean nothing when compared to the sitting Supreme Court Chief Justice at the time.

Unilateral secession, cannot be found ANYWHERE in the Constitution, or as Chief Justice Taney said, there is "no form or mode provided in the constitution for it's exercise."

Stubborn repetition of a personal opinion STILL changes nothing.

It bears repeating, the question of secession was not settled before the war by legal means, as those means were completely ignored and abandoned by the Confederacy the minute Ft. Sumter was fired upon.

Trial-by-combat was freely chosen and the results are in. Unilateral secession was not constitutional, legal, or smart. It was merely hoped for by those who implemented it in the hopes of keeping 4 billion dollars of slave property.

Period.

Unionblue
Agree!
If we follow Lincoln's line of reasoning, there was no secession only rebellion.
 

jgoodguy

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Perhaps but immaterial to my original point.
It is material. A price for Union was slavery national, a national slave code and the elimination of Northern opposition to slavery protected by the constitution. The Southern interpretation of the Constitution was that it protected slavery and anyone that thought otherwise and spoke or published that opinion was subject to imprisonment just like in the Southern States where opposition to slavery was exile or death.

It was an incoming administration whose interpretation of the protection of slavery in the Constitution that was different that provoked the Secession.
 
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CSA Today

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It is material. A price for Union was slavery national, a national slave code and the elimination of Northern opposition to slavery protected by the constitution. The Southern interpretation of the Constitution was that it protected slavery and anyone that thought otherwise and spoke or published that opinion was subject to imprisonment just like in the Southern States where opposition to slavery was exile or death.

It was an incoming administration whose interpretation of the protection of slavery in the Constitution that was different that provoked the Secession.
OK, so it was all about interpretations, obviously, the Constitution was none too clear.
 



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