Secession and the CS constitution

atlantis

First Sergeant
Joined
Nov 12, 2016
The CS constitution preamble states the purpose of creating a more permanent union therefore may we surmise that the CS constitution does not permit secession without the consent of 2/3 of the states forming the confederacy?
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
The CS constitution preamble states the purpose of creating a more permanent union therefore may we surmise that the CS constitution does not permit secession without the consent of 2/3 of the states forming the confederacy?

Why, no, of course not!

Why every supporter of Confederate secession KNOWS for a fact, that simply because secession is not anywhere mentioned or written or spoken of in their own Constitution, that it MUST be there by inference alone!

No State in the Confederacy is required to have the permission of ANY state, let alone two/thirds of them!

Please point out where in the Confederate constitution where a method of denying a state secession is even mentioned!

(PS: If you're interested, I can sell you a fort in Charleston harbor for a steal!)
 

Andersonh1

Brigadier General
Moderator
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Location
South Carolina
The CS constitution preamble states the purpose of creating a more permanent union therefore may we surmise that the CS constitution does not permit secession without the consent of 2/3 of the states forming the confederacy?

Secession was assumed to be a reserved right of a State under the Confederate Constitution, just as it was under the US Constitution.

The Question naturally comes to mind, if the CSA was committed to a states’ rights doctrine, especially in light of the historical developments of the antebellum period, why did the states not expressly constitutionally mandate a state’s right of secession? The answer to this question is threefold.​
First, the framers of the CSA Constitution contended that they were seceding on behalf of the US Constitution, and not because they were opposed to its principles…Their affinity for the US Constitution included the understanding that it did not deny the right of secession but implicitly protected that right as a prerogative of state sovereignty. They claimed it was fallacious construction that had cast doubts on the right of secession. To draft their Confederate Constitution with the expressed right of secession would, it was claimed, be yielding to the Northern interpretation of the US Constitution that if such a right is not expressly granted, it does not constitutionally exist. This they were not about to do.​
Second, the seven Southern states that had initially seceded from the Union had the practical problem of attracting the variable border states into the Confederacy. Virginia was especially reluctant to join a confederacy lacking a viable central government. To mandate constitutionally the right of secession would give the appearance of a loose league of disparate states held together by a feeble central government, not destined to endure…Consequently, the CSA framers decided to make the right of secession constitutionally implicit by explicitly recognizing the “sovereign and independent character of the States,” thereby providing the central government with the appearance of viability that otherwise might be lacking.​
And third, and most importantly, the CSA Constitution has a covenant component, establishing a central government held together by the consent of good faith of its members, not by coercion. In other words, it is a voluntary association grounded in a transcendental order. In this context, “a covenant differs from a compact in that its moral dimensions take precedence over its legal dimensions. In its heart of hearts, a covenant is an agreement in which a higher moral force, traditionally God, is either a direct party to or guarantor of a particular relationship. Whereas, when the term compact is used, moral force is only indirectly involved.” "The Confederate Constitution of 1861: An Inquiry Into American Constitutionalism" - Marshall L. DeRosa​
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
Secession was assumed to be a reserved right of a State under the Confederate Constitution, just as it was under the US Constitution.

The Question naturally comes to mind, if the CSA was committed to a states’ rights doctrine, especially in light of the historical developments of the antebellum period, why did the states not expressly constitutionally mandate a state’s right of secession? The answer to this question is threefold.​
First, the framers of the CSA Constitution contended that they were seceding on behalf of the US Constitution, and not because they were opposed to its principles…Their affinity for the US Constitution included the understanding that it did not deny the right of secession but implicitly protected that right as a prerogative of state sovereignty. They claimed it was fallacious construction that had cast doubts on the right of secession. To draft their Confederate Constitution with the expressed right of secession would, it was claimed, be yielding to the Northern interpretation of the US Constitution that if such a right is not expressly granted, it does not constitutionally exist. This they were not about to do.​
Second, the seven Southern states that had initially seceded from the Union had the practical problem of attracting the variable border states into the Confederacy. Virginia was especially reluctant to join a confederacy lacking a viable central government. To mandate constitutionally the right of secession would give the appearance of a loose league of disparate states held together by a feeble central government, not destined to endure…Consequently, the CSA framers decided to make the right of secession constitutionally implicit by explicitly recognizing the “sovereign and independent character of the States,” thereby providing the central government with the appearance of viability that otherwise might be lacking.​
And third, and most importantly, the CSA Constitution has a covenant component, establishing a central government held together by the consent of good faith of its members, not by coercion. In other words, it is a voluntary association grounded in a transcendental order. In this context, “a covenant differs from a compact in that its moral dimensions take precedence over its legal dimensions. In its heart of hearts, a covenant is an agreement in which a higher moral force, traditionally God, is either a direct party to or guarantor of a particular relationship. Whereas, when the term compact is used, moral force is only indirectly involved.” "The Confederate Constitution of 1861: An Inquiry Into American Constitutionalism" - Marshall L. DeRosa​


I like that sentence with the word "assumed" that somewhere within the Confederate constitution, unilateral secession is a reserved right. Is secession even mentioned as a right within the Confederate constitution? As for "assumed" we've already seen how that assumption worked out for the United States from 1861-1865.

Assumed: 1. Pretended; adopted; fictitious; an assumed name. 2. To be taken for granted.

As secession in the US was never taken for granted, number 1 seems more on target.
 

Andersonh1

Brigadier General
Moderator
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Location
South Carolina
I like that sentence with the word "assumed" that somewhere within the Confederate constitution, unilateral secession is a reserved right. Is secession even mentioned as a right within the Confederate constitution? As for "assumed" we've already seen how that assumption worked out for the United States from 1861-1865.

Assumed: 1. Pretended; adopted; fictitious; an assumed name. 2. To be taken for granted.

As secession in the US was never taken for granted, number 1 seems more on target.

Marshall L. DeRosa's reasons for not explicitly including secession in the Confederate Constitution make perfect sense. For anyone who wants the explanation, he provides it.
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
Marshall L. DeRosa's reasons for not explicitly including secession in the Confederate Constitution make perfect sense. For anyone who wants the explanation, he provides it.
It makes perfect sense for those with x-ray vision who can see what others with normal vision cannot.

As for his opinion, he has his, I have mine (now you see it, now you don't).
 
Last edited:

Andersonh1

Brigadier General
Moderator
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Location
South Carolina
I suspect his opinion is more informed than either yours or mine. I've ordered the book, I'm curious to read it all and see what his sources are. I think there are journals for the secret sessions of the provisional Confederate Congress where they discussed their Constitution, where we could possibly learn why secession was not explicitly included in the language of the Constitution, but I have not been able to find them.
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
I suspect his opinion is more informed than either yours or mine. I've ordered the book, I'm curious to read it all and see what his sources are. I think there are journals for the secret sessions of the provisional Confederate Congress where they discussed their Constitution, where we could possibly learn why secession was not explicitly included in the language of the Constitution, but I have not been able to find them.

And I have my own suspicions of him as well, but we both know having those suspicions mean nothing until we read the man's words.

I'd be curious as well to see if his book sheds any new light on the Confederacy's views on secession.

Let me know when you get the book and what you find.
 

John S. Carter

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 15, 2017
Why, no, of course not!

Why every supporter of Confederate secession KNOWS for a fact, that simply because secession is not anywhere mentioned or written or spoken of in their own Constitution, that it MUST be there by inference alone!

No State in the Confederacy is required to have the permission of ANY state, let alone two/thirds of them!

Please point out where in the Confederate constitution where a method of denying a state secession is even mentioned!

(PS: If you're interested, I can sell you a fort in Charleston harbor for a steal!)
What was the purpose of the ratification of the Constitution? Was it to solidify the Constitution as all states by their conventions stated that they would be members this Union. That would include the states that would join later. As a descendent of soldier from Alabama {note I did not say Confederate} this is difficult to admit .As to to the start if this discussion may I suggest that one start with the Ratification then to both of Washington's terms and his relations with Hamilton/the business venture and Jefferson/the agriculturalist .Hamilton's was of British industrial and financial policy while Jefferson was of the local/state control with a rural/ plantation system ,French influence ,later to be joined with Madison as his Chief of Staff. Note the times that the issue of secession arose. As was to be the threat was there but not done. Ratification was as with Contract, the agreement to the CONSTITUION by all members and with the act of succession the contract was illegally broken .What is the action on the party that breaks a contract by the other party? In this case you could not take them to court. Which side would Jefferson Madison's Democratic party and Hamilton's Federalist join? Regardless if it is or is not,, the act itself again broke the contract/Constitution. There should be a legal means in the Constitution .Why was South Carolina in a hurry to act or had it been planned by SC and certain other states over the years say from Jefferson. As for Washington ,he would go with the Union not for the slavery but for the Constitution and the Union. The last at the Convention how many times over different issues was the threat of not joining mentioned and how may of those came from SC with Ga That was not secession for there was no Union. Just threats. One can assume that the Founders did mean to permit a state or states to go their own but assume would mean going to court and then the judge would have to be good at assuming but Taney was not in court. It was essential that the Constitution be complete with all states for their time and for the future.
 

John S. Carter

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 15, 2017
I don't see laying out a clear process for seceding is surrendering to the northern view of the constitution.
Please to explain ''clear process for seceding". What legal or Constitutional process did the Southern states use? I am a Son of the South, my ancestor fought for the his home state of Alabama {note I said for the state and not for the Confederacy }.There were men who fought the Union because they had been taught or lectured on the fact that the NORTH were to invade the South and place it under their rule ,change their way of life, and once Lincoln called up the troops ,this became true ,this is also when the other sates esp. VA succeeded ,As to the states that did this prior, they seem to have followed their political leaders who took their states out because they believed that which they spoke ,once they knew that Lincoln was elected and may be even before, they acted. The hostilities and difference over eighty years ,apr, finally erupted and once erupted the volcano could not be cocked.
 
Last edited:

atlantis

First Sergeant
Joined
Nov 12, 2016
Please to explain ''clear process for seceding". What legal or Constitutional process did the Southern states use? I am a Son of the South, my ancestor fought for the his home state of Alabama {note I said for the state and not for the Confederacy }.There were men who fought the Union because they had been taught or lectured on the fact that the NORTH were to invade the South and place it under their rule ,change their way of life, and once Lincoln called up the troops ,this became true ,this is also when the other sates esp. VA succeeded ,As to the states that did this prior, they seem to have followed their political leaders who took their states out because they believed that which they spoke ,once they knew that Lincoln was elected and may be even before, they acted. The hostilities and difference over eighty years ,apr, finally erupted and once erupted the volcano could not be cocked.
A clear process for seceding would put in writing in the constitution the method of secession.
 

Andersonh1

Brigadier General
Moderator
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Location
South Carolina
Why would a newly formed nation that had fought for seven years to establish self with blood and sacrifice secret an unknown and unmentioned self-destruct clause?

Why would a country that fought for seven years to free themselves from British rule turn right around and trap themselves under the rule of yet another big, powerful national government? The idea that they would do that makes no sense.

Secession is not self-destruction, it's affirmation of self-government by consent of the governed.
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
Why would a country that fought for seven years to free themselves from British rule turn right around and trap themselves under the rule of yet another big, powerful national government? The idea that they would do that makes no sense.

Secession is not self-destruction, it's affirmation of self-government by consent of the governed.

Secession was rebellion, a power grab to preserve slavery, it's an affirmation of might makes right, not the consent of the governed for if that was the case, why not simply accept the election of 1860?

And what powerful national government? Barely 16,000 troops scattered across the West and a few caretakers in federal forts? A part-time attorney general and a handful of federal marshals? I ask again, what powerful national government?

Secession was an attempt to hold up progress and arrest the future so that a comfortable and dark past could remain. Self-government is the biggest myth of the rebellion as it asked the consent of no one.
 

Andersonh1

Brigadier General
Moderator
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Location
South Carolina
Secession was rebellion, a power grab to preserve slavery, it's an affirmation of might makes right, not the consent of the governed for if that was the case, why not simply accept the election of 1860?

"Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, a most sacred right—a right which, we hope and believe, is to liberate the world. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can may revolutionize, and make their own of so much of the territory as they inhabit. "

Without the right to shake off the existing government, there is no consent of the governed.

And what powerful national government? Barely 16,000 troops scattered across the West and a few caretakers in federal forts? A part-time attorney general and a handful of federal marshals? I ask again, what powerful national government?

Secession was an attempt to hold up progress and arrest the future so that a comfortable and dark past could remain. Self-government is the biggest myth of the rebellion as it asked the consent of no one.

That puny little government won the war, didn't it?

Your opinion of what secession was is based on looking backward 160 years later, and I doubt you'd find very many who would have viewed it that way or characterized it as "holding up progress". They did not make their judgments from that frame of reference. The only options they had given where demographics were going, and they knew this, was to submit to the Northern states and whatever they wanted to do, or strike out on their own. "Consent" when they were on the road to being a permanent minority in the supposedly equal Union did not mean much. That principle was expressed by the South Carolina convention in reference to taxation, but it applies to any subject:

"Between taxation without any representation, and taxation without a representation adequate to protection, there was no difference.... And so with the Southern States, towards the Northern States, in the vital matter of taxation. They are in a minority in Congress. Their representation in Congress, is useless to protect them against unjust taxation; and they are taxed by the people of the North for their benefit, exactly as the people of Great Britain taxed our ancestors in the British parliament for their benefit. "​
They are a minority in Congress. Their representation in Congress is useless to protect them against __________ (fill in the blank). What does consent of the governed mean in a system like that, with every indication that things were not going to change any time soon?
 

John S. Carter

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 15, 2017
Secession was rebellion, a power grab to preserve slavery, it's an affirmation of might makes right, not the consent of the governed for if that was the case, why not simply accept the election of 1860?

And what powerful national government? Barely 16,000 troops scattered across the West and a few caretakers in federal forts? A part-time attorney general and a handful of federal marshals? I ask again, what powerful national government?

Secession was an attempt to hold up progress and arrest the future so that a comfortable and dark past could remain. Self-government is the biggest myth of the rebellion as it asked the consent of no one.
Go back to the Whiskey Rebellion ,read of the actions of Washington and his reason for these action .Though this was not succession ,Lincoln must have read of this event and Washington's actions .Then we have Jackson against the nullifiers. Succession was not the issue on either of these but as with these there was a threat to the Constitution authority as to the states .When a group of people desire to do that which they know that they do not have the authority to do ,they create their own political logic for doing that. Succession was a method they used as to explain to the people of the states what they were doing under the cloak of their own objectives. It may help to read of the leaders of the movement in order to understand what their goals were and how they achieved them. I am starting one on William L. Yancey ,one of the major leaders of the movement ,from Alabama. HOW did these leaders motivated the people to move towards and finally into succession. Patrick Henry moved Va. Samuel Adams moved Ms. towards independence .We have neglected to consider the leaders of this political movement. that brought the Nation to the final point of possible separation. Rebellions/Succession do not happen without some leadership. If one generation does not do the action then the next disciples may .Marx wrote a book then came Lenin.
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
"Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, a most sacred right—a right which, we hope and believe, is to liberate the world. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can may revolutionize, and make their own of so much of the territory as they inhabit. "

Without the right to shake off the existing government, there is no consent of the governed.



That puny little government won the war, didn't it?

Your opinion of what secession was is based on looking backward 160 years later, and I doubt you'd find very many who would have viewed it that way or characterized it as "holding up progress". They did not make their judgments from that frame of reference. The only options they had given where demographics were going, and they knew this, was to submit to the Northern states and whatever they wanted to do, or strike out on their own. "Consent" when they were on the road to being a permanent minority in the supposedly equal Union did not mean much. That principle was expressed by the South Carolina convention in reference to taxation, but it applies to any subject:

"Between taxation without any representation, and taxation without a representation adequate to protection, there was no difference.... And so with the Southern States, towards the Northern States, in the vital matter of taxation. They are in a minority in Congress. Their representation in Congress, is useless to protect them against unjust taxation; and they are taxed by the people of the North for their benefit, exactly as the people of Great Britain taxed our ancestors in the British parliament for their benefit. "​
They are a minority in Congress. Their representation in Congress is useless to protect them against __________ (fill in the blank). What does consent of the governed mean in a system like that, with every indication that things were not going to change any time soon?
You forgot (of course) the end of Lincoln's statement in your first paragraph above: "More than this, a majority of any portion of such people may revolutionize, putting down a minority, intermingled with, or near about them, who may oppose their movement."

If they have the power and the right they can try to shake off an existing government. The Confederacy had neither.

And yes, after enormous effort and sacrifice, that "puny" government did win the war. Sort of circles back to that having the might thing, doesn't it?

The only thing the leaders of the rebellion were worried about was slavery and the power it gave them. They wanted things to remain as they were, with slavery giving them unearned political power and to hold back the progress of the Free States.

There's that having the power issue again.

They controlled the federal government for nearly 70 years and even on Lincoln's election they still controlled the Supreme Court and could have tied Lincoln's political agenda in knots for the next four years if they had remained in the Union. THEY destroyed themselves with an unlawful rebellion for a cause that had nothing to do with taxes.

I have no sympathy for the Confederate cause nor it's excuses for unilateral secession and rebellion.

Slavery was the basis of all their problems and excuses for treason.

We're stuck with it.
 

John S. Carter

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 15, 2017
Secession was rebellion, a power grab to preserve slavery, it's an affirmation of might makes right, not the consent of the governed for if that was the case, why not simply accept the election of 1860?

And what powerful national government? Barely 16,000 troops scattered across the West and a few caretakers in federal forts? A part-time attorney general and a handful of federal marshals? I ask again, what powerful national government?

Secession was an attempt to hold up progress and arrest the future so that a comfortable and dark past could remain. Self-government is the biggest myth of the rebellion as it asked the consent of no one.
This idea of self government can be cleared of one was to read the history of the Confederacy government during the war. States rights ,one of the stated causes of the war, became mute as the government of Davis was forced by the war to assume more central control in order to meet the needs of the military. The governor of Ga. became one of his chief obstructions in attempting to do this. Brown would even refuse to seed troops to the front ,they became state militia .The governor of North Carolina would become another.
 

John S. Carter

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 15, 2017
You forgot (of course) the end of Lincoln's statement in your first paragraph above: "More than this, a majority of any portion of such people may revolutionize, putting down a minority, intermingled with, or near about them, who may oppose their movement."

If they have the power and the right they can try to shake off an existing government. The Confederacy had neither.

And yes, after enormous effort and sacrifice, that "puny" government did win the war. Sort of circles back to that having the might thing, doesn't it?

The only thing the leaders of the rebellion were worried about was slavery and the power it gave them. They wanted things to remain as they were, with slavery giving them unearned political power and to hold back the progress of the Free States.

There's that having the power issue again.

They controlled the federal government for nearly 70 years and even on Lincoln's election they still controlled the Supreme Court and could have tied Lincoln's political agenda in knots for the next four years if they had remained in the Union. THEY destroyed themselves with an unlawful rebellion for a cause that had nothing to do with taxes.

I have no sympathy for the Confederate cause nor it's excuses for unilateral secession and rebellion.

Slavery was the basis of all their problems and excuses for treason.

We're stuck with it.
I do think that the person is referring to the Declaration of Independence where it states that in more elegant terms. May I suggest that one read the history of the debates over the Constitution and Ratification to understand the founders purpose for this document. This time does involve the threat of secession of states due to political disagreements over the operations of the government. Hostel emotions over generations. The reason at times does not explain why certain events occur ,each side has their own. The issue is what were the emotions and what brought about these emotions .That is why we read history to understand why these events occur. Men are sheep at time to be lead by those who understand that . In ancient days men would go to school of diction in order to become better speakers, why ? Why are lawyers ,politicians, and preachers some of the better speakers ? Persuade the people/sheep to their view .
 
Top