Several States Secession Searching in the Conventions of the Adoption of the Federal Constitution

jgoodguy

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#1
The tenth amendment reads.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.​

The Constitution divides up powers between the States and the Federal Government. To be a power to be divided up, the power of secession must have some tangible evidence and not be ad hoc made up. This thread will look at the debates of the ratification Conventions to see secession was discussed. This is part of the 2 decades long CWT search for the elusive power of secession

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jgoodguy

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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#3
P 436

Governor RANDOLPH. Secession is disparaged, several rights are expressed,secession is not amoung them and the Bill of Rights is referred to. In short, the expressed right of secession is missing. Even Patrick Henry appears to back off of secession.

I see, continued his excellency, that I am not mistaken in my thoughts. The honorable gentleman says, he will remain and vote, and afterward he would have no business here.] I see, continued his excellency, that I am not mistaken in thoughts. The honorable gentleman says, he will remain and vote on the question, but after that he has no business here, and that he will go home. I beg to make a few remarks on the subject of secession. If there be in this house, members who have in contemplation to secede from the majority, let me conjure them, by all the ties of honor and duty, to consider what they are about to do. Some of them have more property than I have, and all of them are equal to me in personal rights. Such an idea of refusing to submit to the decision of the majority is destructive of every republican principle. It will kindle a civil war, and reduce everything to anarchy, uncertainty, and confusion. To avoid a calamity so lamentable, I would submit to it, if it contained greater evils than it does. What are they to say to their constituents when they go home? “Welcome to tell you that liberty is in danger, and though the majority is in favour of it, you ought not to submit.”
Can any man consider, without shuddering with horror, the awful consequences of such a desperate conduct? I entreat men to consider and ponder what good citizenship requires of them... I conjure them to contemplate the consequences as to themselves, as well as others. They themselves will be overwhelmed in the general disorder. I did not think that the proposition of the honorable gentleman near me, (Mr. WYTHE) could have met with the treatment it has. The honorable gentleman says, there are only three rights stipulated in it. I thought this error might have been accounted for at first; but after he read it, the continuance of the mistake has astonished me. He has wandered from the point. [Herehe read Mr. WYTHE's proposition.] Where in this paper do you discover that the people of Virginia are tenacious of three rights only; It declares, that all power comes from the people, and that whatever is not granted by them, remains with them. That among other things remaining with them,
are liberty of the press, right of conscience, and some other essential rights. Could you devise any express form of words, by which the rights contained in the bill of rights of Virginia could be better secured, or more fully comprehended? What is the paper which he offers in the form of a bill of rights? Will that better secure our rights, than a declaration like this? All rights are therein declared to be completely vested in the people, unless expressly given away. Can there be a more pointed or positive reservation? - - -
 

jgoodguy

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#5
PP 512-513

The Constitution of the United States, then, forms a government, not a league; and whether it be formed by compact between the states, or in any other manner, its character is the same. It is a government in which all the people are represented, which operates directly on the people individually, not upon the states. They retained all the power they did not grant; but each state, having expressly parted with so many powers as to constitute, jointly with the other states, a single nation, cannot, from that period, possess any right to secede, because such secession does not break a league, but destroys the unity of a nation; and any injury to that unity is not only a breach which would result from the contravention of a compact, but it is an offence against the whole Union. To say that any state may at pleasure secede from the Union, is to say that the United States are not a nation; because it would be a solecism to contend that any part of a nation might dissolve its connection with the other parts, to their injury or ruin, without committing any offence. Secession, like any other revolutionary act, may be morally justified by the extremity of oppression; but to call it a constitutional right, is confounding the meaning of terms, and can only be done through gross error, or to deceive those who are willing to assert a right, but would pause before they made a revolution, or incur the penalties consequent on a failure.​
 



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