Secession: Did the South Have the Right to Secede/Hold An Armed Rebellion?

Secession: Did the South Have the Right to Secede?

  • Yes

    Votes: 48 48.0%
  • No

    Votes: 52 52.0%

  • Total voters
    100

Dead Parrott

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 30, 2019
I find a lot of similarities between the historical method used properly and the method lawyers have been trained in regarding finding and using source or evidence. "Words matter" and so does "letting the chips fall where they may". If one is expressing an "opinion" rather than a fact-based conclusion, they should say so. And it's a good idea to treat all sources and "accepted wisdom" with skepticism. You may end up in the same place, but you'll have gotten there by putting it to the test first.

I find that folks whose biases overwhelm their otherwise strong analytic capacities often fall into excruciating cherry-picking, self-serving prioritization of source material (and its corresponding dismissal of evidence to the contrary, regardless of corroboration), and the lawyerly maxim 'Frame the question, win the argument."

They have unfortunately gone beyond discussion of different opinions & priorities, into their one-track 'proof mode'. On their topic, you will find you are no longer in a true discussion.

The tricks and traps of this method are quite natural, even for intelligent analysts. We are all human. On a site such as this, it's best to understand that trap...even as it applies to yourself.
 

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
I find that folks whose biases overwhelm their otherwise strong analytic capacities often fall into excruciating cherry-picking, self-serving prioritization of source material (and its corresponding dismissal of evidence to the contrary, regardless of corroboration), and the lawyerly maxim 'Frame the question, win the argument."

They have unfortunately gone beyond discussion of different opinions & priorities, into their one-track 'proof mode'. On their topic, you will find you are no longer in a true discussion.

The tricks and traps of this method are quite natural, even for intelligent analysts. We are all human. On a site such as this, it's best to understand that trap...even as it applies to yourself.
True. It's the difference in my profession between (1) accurately assessing a case and (2) marshaling evidence for argument. You can tell a lot from a bibliography and end notes. You can also tell a lot from "zero sum" statements in a book or article. The historical record is full of ambiguity and gaps in information. There are plenty of areas where definitive conclusions can be stated based on objective facts - but there are others where things are more uncertain.
 

ForeverFree

Major
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Location
District of Columbia
I find a lot of similarities between the historical method used properly and the method lawyers have been trained in regarding finding and using source or evidence. "Words matter" and so does "letting the chips fall where they may". If one is expressing an "opinion" rather than a fact-based conclusion, they should say so. And it's a good idea to treat all sources and "accepted wisdom" with skepticism. You may end up in the same place, but you'll have gotten there by putting it to the test first.
FYI, the historian Gary Gallagher has made the point that, history and the practice of law are very different exercises.

Court cases involve one party in oposition to another party. It's party A versus party B. Each party's lawyer makes the best case for the client.

Proper historical method requires that all evidence be used and viewed objectively. In historical interpretation, there should never be a party A versus party B. There should only be the historical record. Gallagher makes the point that some people treat history as if they were lawyers, arguing "for" certain people, or choosing evidence that makes a case for something while ignoring evidence that doesn't. He doesn't use the following words, but I think he sees that a lot of people engage in history adversarially.

- Alan
 
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Dead Parrott

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 30, 2019
FYI, the historian Gary Gallagher has made the point that, history and the practice of law are very different exercises.

Court cases involve one party in oposition to another party. It's party A versus party B. Each party's lawyer makes the best case for the client.

Proper historical method requires that all evidence be used and viewed objectively. In historical interpretation, there should never be a party A versus party B. There should only be the historical record. Gallagher makes the point that some people treat history as if they were lawyers, arguing "for" certain people, or choosing evidence that makes a case for something while ignoring evidence that doesn't. He doesn't use the following words, but I think he sees that a lot of people engage in history adversarially.

- Alan

I took the statement as meaning the disciplines in reviewing evidence are similar - not the entire practice nor the advocacy aspect.
 

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
FYI, the historian Gary Gallagher has made the point that, history and the practice of law are very different exercises.

Court cases involve one party in oposition to another party. It's party A versus party B. Each party's lawyer makes the best case for the client.

Proper historical method requires that all evidence be used and viewed objectively. In historical interpretation, there should never be a party A versus party B. There should only be the historical record. Gallagher makes the point that some people treat history as if they were lawyers, arguing "for" certain people, or choosing evidence that makes a case for something while ignoring evidence that doesn't. He doesn't use the following words, but I think he sees that a lot of people engage in history adversarially.

- Alan
I think you might be missing the point I made - that a good lawyer has two missions, not one: (1) figure out what the objective facts are, first - the only way you can advise a client competently; and then (2) marshall the facts and argue authorities to the court from the most favorable angle for your client. Even the lawyer's freedom second mission is limited by the Rules of Professional Conduct regarding presenting evidence, citing cases, etc. The first mission requires the same skill set required of a good historian/researcher - be skeptical of everything, chase down leads, read documents carefully, etc. Gallagher appears to be focused only on the second mission, not the first. To be fair to him, I'll wager that I know a lot more about the first than he does. Are there incompetent lawyers who don't do the first? Absolutely - just as there are incompetent historians. The lawyers who are bad at the first mission are generally not too good at the second, by the way, because they are walking into a meat grinder of surprises - as is their (unhappy) client.
 

Unforgiven

Private
Joined
Jun 27, 2019
Location
Caught Somewhere in Time
A yes vote is:

1. Any state has the right to revoke United States citizenship.

2. Any state has the right to alter the territorial boundaries of the United States.

3. Any state has the right to seize wholly owned property of the United States.

4. Any state has the right to use force against any United States citizen resisting any of the above.

5 Any state can do all the above for any reason whatsoever.

No.
 

uaskme

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Location
SE Tennessee
International Law didn’t classify the Confederacy as Rebels. They were given Belligerence status. They recognized the Confederacy having the right to fight for Independence. After Ft Sumpter most recognized that the Confederacy had separated from the Union. Most thought the North would not be able to submit them back into the Union.

Europeans didn’t take into consideration whether secession was constitutional or not. It had no relevance to them. Obvious that the Yankee didn’t want the Confederacy to have any recognition. Lincoln viewed them as Rebels. However the Confederacy fought for 4 years and formed their own Government. Recognition of Belligerence status confirmed it.
 
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wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
I think you might be missing the point I made - that a good lawyer has two missions, not one: (1) figure out what the objective facts are, first - the only way you can advise a client competently; and then (2) marshall the facts and argue authorities to the court from the most favorable angle for your client. Even the lawyer's freedom second mission is limited by the Rules of Professional Conduct regarding presenting evidence, citing cases, etc. The first mission requires the same skill set required of a good historian/researcher - be skeptical of everything, chase down leads, read documents carefully, etc. Gallagher appears to be focused only on the second mission, not the first. To be fair to him, I'll wager that I know a lot more about the first than he does. Are there incompetent lawyers who don't do the first? Absolutely - just as there are incompetent historians. The lawyers who are bad at the first mission are generally not too good at the second, by the way, because they are walking into a meat grinder of surprises - as is their (unhappy) client.
Maybe it was once that way, but lawyers have taken the duty of advocacy far from the obligation of truthfulness. There are celebrity lawyers who have assumed the right to advocate absolute falsehoods.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Did some people in the secessionist states have the right to hold conventions and special elections and based on the results of those actions take their states out of the United States? The minority dissenting from that decision, and the enslaved people in those states were also part of the United States. What about their rights to remain in the US and get the benefit of the abolitionist trends in the US?
The case of Virginia is illustrative. What about the minority that was skeptical about the wisdom and efficacy of secession? They had rights under the Constitution to be defended from domestic enemies, and to have a republican form of government. A republican government probably means regular elections with objective administration of those elections, and decisions as weighty as secession to be made by regularly elected representatives. Once a cause has to result to special elections and conventions they are selecting who can participate. Its the same as letting someone judge which voters have sufficient ID. But in the secession movement it was a matter of allowing town voters and people with the time and money to attend a convention make a drastic decision to impinge on the rights or the dissenters.
 

NedBaldwin

Major
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Location
California
International Law didn’t classify the Confederacy as Rebels. They were given Belligerence status.
Belligerents can also be Rebels.

They recognized the Confederacy having the right to fight for Independence. After Ft Sumpter most recognized that the Confederacy had separated from the Union.
I am unaware of that more than a minor international entity recognized this separation, so to claim that "most recognized that the Confederacy had separated from the Union." is factually incorrect.
 

NedBaldwin

Major
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Location
California
Are you arguing that a majority of the slaves were not in favor of South Carolina's existence as a State? I'd like to see the evidence for that.
I am arguing that the political system of South Carolina was not based on consent of the governed. All this clutching of pearls about "consent of the governed" is tiresome when used to defend the decision of 169 slaveowners in a state of 400,000 slaves. What the majority of the people were in favor of just did not matter to the rulers, but was instead suppressed through the force of law and police.
 

trice

Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
Belligerents can also be Rebels.
This is a long established part of International Law. In fact, here is how a giant in the field described it back in 1905:

Insurgents as a Belligerent Power.
§ 76. The distinction between legal qualification and actual power to make war explains the fact that insurgents may become a belligerent Power. It is a customary rule of the Law of Nations that any State may recognise insurgents as a belligerent Power, provided (1) they are in possession of a certain part of the territory of the legitimate Government; (2) they have set up a Government of their own; and (3) they conduct their armed contention with the legitimate Government according to the laws and usages of war. Such insurgents in fact, although not in law, form a State-like community, and practically they are making war, although their contention is by International Law not considered as war in the technical sense of the term as long as they have not received recognition as a belligerent Power.


That is from Lassa Oppenheim's International Law: A Treatise, Volume II, page 92-93. That is from the second edition, published in 1905. Volume II is on "War and Neutrality". The last edition I know of is the ninth, updated by scholars and published in 1995. Even today, Oppenheim's work is regarded as key to an understanding on the subject.
 

Dead Parrott

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 30, 2019
This is a long established part of International Law. In fact, here is how a giant in the field described it back in 1905:

Insurgents as a Belligerent Power.
§ 76. The distinction between legal qualification and actual power to make war explains the fact that insurgents may become a belligerent Power. It is a customary rule of the Law of Nations that any State may recognise insurgents as a belligerent Power, provided (1) they are in possession of a certain part of the territory of the legitimate Government; (2) they have set up a Government of their own; and (3) they conduct their armed contention with the legitimate Government according to the laws and usages of war. Such insurgents in fact, although not in law, form a State-like community, and practically they are making war, although their contention is by International Law not considered as war in the technical sense of the term as long as they have not received recognition as a belligerent Power.


That is from Lassa Oppenheim's International Law: A Treatise, Volume II, page 92-93. That is from the second edition, published in 1905. Volume II is on "War and Neutrality". The last edition I know of is the ninth, updated by scholars and published in 1995. Even today, Oppenheim's work is regarded as key to an understanding on the subject.

Agreed. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding some posts here (apologies if I am), but granting belligerent status did not equate with supporting, agreeing with or justifying that belligerent's position. It was more a formal recognition that the forces would (as you point out above) follow the rules of war and address humanitarian issues that may arise. It meant you were more than anarchists in the shadows.
 
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