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Slavery and natural rights split from Thomas Jefferson, Secession, and States Rights

Discussion in 'Civil War History - Secession and Politics' started by atlantis, Feb 2, 2017.

  1. atlantis

    atlantis First Sergeant

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    If unilateral secession by a state is rebellion then the states have the right of unilateral secession because rebellion against a union that threatens injury to your economic, social, political institutions is a natural right. Slaves have a natural right of rebellion yet some think our founders would deny this same right [protection] to the states.
     
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  3. cash

    cash Brev. Brig. Gen'l

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    False equivalence fallacy.

    There is no natural right to deny natural rights to others.
     
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  4. Mike Griffith

    Mike Griffith Sergeant

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    That's one of the things the British said about the Colonies when the Colonies expressed their desire for peaceful separation. As Alfred Blumrosen demonstrates in Slave Nation: How Slavery United the Colonies and Sparked the American Revolution, and as James and Lois Horton demonstrate in In Hope of Liberty: Culture, Community and Protest among Northern Free Blacks, 1700-1860, the army of emancipation in the War of Independence was clearly the British army.

    Nearly every argument you can make against the South can be made against the Colonies. If the existence of slavery in the South meant that the Southern states had no right to be independent, then the existence of slavery in the Colonies and the gigantic profits that many New Englanders reaped from the slave trade mean that the Colonies had no right to be independent either, and that we should wish that the British had won.

    Every time the British army approached an area, hundreds or even thousands of slaves in that area would flee toward the British, a fact that Patriot slaveholders noted with disgust. So many slaves ran away during the Revolutionary War that the South Carolina legislature cited this exodus and its disastrous financial impact on slaveholders when they acted to ban the importation of foreign slaves (they didn't want slaveholders to go further into debt to buy more slaves) (David Stewart, The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007, p. 195).

    In addition, American negotiators insisted on the inclusion of a provision in the Treaty of Paris that required the British to return any American slaves who had fled to British lines during the war. One of those negotiators was none other than John Adams. In fact, Adams warmly endorsed the provision (Henry Wiencick, An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America, 2004, p. 254). To their credit, the British later violated this provision and evacuated some 18,000 slaves with them when they left America.

    When George Washington began to suspect that the British weren’t going to return the runaway American slaves, he demanded a meeting with the British general who was in charge of enforcing the Treaty of Paris during the evacuation from New York: General Guy Carleton. Washington tried to persuade Carleton to honor the treaty provision on the return of runaway slaves. To his credit, Carleton stood his ground and refused to hand over the slaves. Carleton said the Americans could apply for compensation for the slaves, but that he would not return them. Carleton insisted that the slaves were now free and that it would bring dishonor on England to return them after promising them safe refuge (Wiencick, An Imperfect God, pp. 250-258). Lord North, the British prime minister, called Carleton’s stand "an act of justice." King George III himself voiced support for Carleton’s action "in the fullest and most ample manner." One very rarely finds any mention of these facts in American history books.

    But Southern leaders and commentators were well aware of this history. They were also aware of the huge fortunes that some New Englanders had made from the slave trade, even while other New Englanders were attacking the South over slavery.

    If the South had won the war and had demanded the return of runaway slaves, I'm certain that many here would condemn that demand (as would I). Yet, they would have been doing the exact same thing that the Colonies did after the War of Independence.
     
  5. jgoodguy

    jgoodguy Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    I seem to recall that the 1776 revolutionary Southern slave owners demanded this, not the revolutionary alliance as a whole. Do we forgive the bloodletting of the 1860-61 secessionists insisting on their slave owner rights, because nearly a century before the slave owning ancestors of the secessionists insisted on their slave owner rights?
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017
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  6. Malingerer

    Malingerer Sergeant Major

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    Maybe if you "insist" on something long enough it becomes natural law?
     
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  7. jgoodguy

    jgoodguy Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    IMHO natural law is a state of mind, if someone believes they have the right to own slaves, then anything that opposes that is a violation of natural law. That puts them on a collision course with those who hold that slavery is a violation of natural law and the law of the jungle prevails.
     
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  8. OpnCoronet

    OpnCoronet Major

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    Actually, most thinking slavery/secession activist, like John C. Calhoun, found it necessary to deny the DoI(because of the 'theory' of natural rights) had any real relevance to future generation, beyond its temporary contribution to the winning of the American Revolutionary War.
     
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  9. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l Member of the Year

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    The above equals: Law of the Jungle.
     
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  10. cash

    cash Brev. Brig. Gen'l

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    Wrong as usual. The colonies didn't rebel in order to preserve slavery, so the British could not have made that claim.

    Sorry, but here one cannot get away with trying to deliberately misrepresent history.
     
  11. civilken

    civilken 2nd Lieutenant

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    okay I won't bite on slave. But please explain to me what exactly is a states rights all about if not slavery it's kind of state rights and slavery a little repetitive don't you think.
     
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  12. OpnCoronet

    OpnCoronet Major

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    States Rights are the rights of and independent nation, not specified in the Constitution of the United States, that secessionists claimed to be guaranteed by the 10th Amendment of the Constitution's so-called Bill of Rights, i.e., any rights of sovereignty retained by the states could be exercised with no ref. to Constitutional restraint.
     
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  13. jgoodguy

    jgoodguy Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    Good Summary.
     
  14. ForeverFree

    ForeverFree Captain

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    OK, make me a believer. Give me examples of those who deny the states had the natural right of rebellion/revolution?

    Look, even Abraham Lincoln said that the states have a right to revolution, the same right that the rebelling American colonists had. But he also said that states did not have a legal or constitutional right to secede.

    We keep saying it over and over again: the natural right to revolution IS NOT the same as a legal/constitutional right to secede.

    Again: the natural right to revolution IS NOT the same as a legal/constitutional right to secede.

    Again: the natural right to revolution IS NOT the same as a legal/constitutional right to secede.

    - Alan
     
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  15. civilken

    civilken 2nd Lieutenant

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    I find it odd that the Confederacy which was supposedly fighting for states rights put in their Constitution that any state entering into the Confederacy could not leave so much for independence of states.
     
  16. jgoodguy

    jgoodguy Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    Along those lines
     
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  17. OpnCoronet

    OpnCoronet Major

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    Which argues, as many on this board do, that the south, had settled on secession as the best means available, to protect their slaves; all other reasons(or issues) they cited were a mish-mash of rationalizations, for public consumption in the South, to better to mislead their peoples.
     
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  18. civilken

    civilken 2nd Lieutenant

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    you will get no argument out of me I agree it was for one and one thing only.
     
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  19. civilken

    civilken 2nd Lieutenant

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    as usual I bow to your logic..and a very nice explanation..
     
  20. KeyserSoze

    KeyserSoze Captain

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    You would have a hard time convincing me that the Confederate leadership agreed with you on that.
     
  21. LibertyAndUnion

    LibertyAndUnion Private

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    "Slavery, being contrary to natural right, is created only by municipal law." --Justice B.R. Curtis, Dred Scott v. Sanford, dissenting.
    All human beings have a natural right to rebel against oppression. What the South was facing after the Election of 1860 was not oppression, but the lawful outcome of a free and fair election. To make the South in 1860 and the colonies in the 1770s morally the same is utter nonsense. The United States began by declaring to the world that all men are created equal, the South declared just the opposite.
     

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