State Sovereignty & Former Territories

Joshism

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#1
Let us hypothesize for a moment that the 13 states who entered into the US Constitution did indeed retain their sovereignty.

Thus VA, NC, SC, and GA could be argued to have the right to secede as former independent states (ex-colonies).

KY, TN, AL, and MS could perhaps argue sovereignty by virtue of being former districts/parts of VA, TN, and GA.

TX was unquestionably sovereign before becoming part of the US.

But what about FL, LA, and AR? They have no claim to sovereignty prior to statehood; they were territories that became states without ever being independent or part of another state. Is there any part of the constitution that can be interpretated as conveying sovereignty where none previously existed?
 

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OpnCoronet

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#2
Let us hypothesize for a moment that the 13 states who entered into the US Constitution did indeed retain their sovereignty.
Thus VA, NC, SC, and GA could be argued to have the right to secede as former independent states (ex-colonies).
KY, TN, AL, and MS could perhaps argue sovereignty by virtue of being former districts/parts of VA, TN, and GA.
TX was unquestionably sovereign before becoming part of the US.
But what about FL, LA, and AR? They have no claim to sovereignty prior to statehood; they were territories that became states without ever being independent or part of another state. Is there any part of the constitution that can be interpretated as conveying sovereignty where none previously existed?


Well, IF you hypothesis was correct and the colonies entered into the Constitution as you described, then, IMO, it would be difficult to argue that Fla and Ark. would not be sovereign also, by the stipulation of theConstitution that all the states enjoyed all the rights and privileges, i.e, Ig any one state enjoyed all the rights and privileges as a sovereign state, under the Constitution, then all states would enjoy the same rights and oprivileges.
 
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#3
Well, IF you hypothesis was correct and the colonies entered into the Constitution as you described, then, IMO, it would be difficult to argue that Fla and Ark. would not be sovereign also, by the stipulation of theConstitution that all the states enjoyed all the rights and privileges, i.e, Ig any one state enjoyed all the rights and privileges as a sovereign state, under the Constitution, then all states would enjoy the same rights and oprivileges.
And in fact, Judah Benjamin made that argument about Louisiana when giving his farewell speech to the Senate.

http://www.namsouth.com/viewtopic.php?t=4598

"Sir, it has been urged, on more than one occasion in the discussions here and elsewhere, that Louisiana stands on an exceptional footing. It has been said that whatever may be the rights of the States that were original parties to the Constitution even granting their right to resume for sufficient cause, those restricted powers which they delegated to the General Government, in trust for their own use and benefit still Louisiana can have no such right, because she was acquired by purchase. Gentlemen have not hestitated to speak of the sovereign States formed out of the territory ceded by France as property bought with the money of the United States, belonging to them as purchasers; and although they have not carried their doctrine to its legitimate results, I must conclude that they also mean to assert, on the same principle, the right of selling for a price that which for a price was bought.

"A hundredfold, sir, has the Government of the United States been reimbursed by the sales of public property, of public lands, for the price of the acquisition; but not with the fidelity of the honest trustee has it discharged the obligations as regards the sovereignty.

"If then, sir, the people of Louisiana had a right which Congress could not deny, of the admission into the Union with all the rights of all the citizens of the United States, it is in vain that the partisans of the rights of the majority to govern the minority with despotic control attempt to establish a distinction, to her prejudice between her rights and those of any other State. The only distinction which really exists is this that she can point to a breach of treaty stipulations expressly guaranteeing her rights as a wrong superadded to those which have impelled a number of her sister States to the assertion of their independence.

"The rights of Louisiana as a sovereign State are those of Virginia. No more, no less. Let those who deny her right to resume delegated powers, successfully refute the claim of Virginia to the same right, in spite of her express reservation made and notified to her sister States when she consented to enter the Union. And, sir, permit me to say that of all the causes which justify the action of the Southern States I know none of greater gravity and more alarming magnitude than that now developed of the denial of the right of secession. A pretension so monstrous as that which perverts a restricted agency, constituted by sovereign States for common purposes, into the unlimited despotism of the majority, and denies all legitimate escape from such despotism when powers not delegated are usurped, converts the whole constitutional fabric into the secure abode of lawless tyranny and degrades sovereign States into Provincial dependencies."
 
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#4
... by the stipulation of theConstitution that all the states enjoyed all the rights and privileges, i.e, Ig any one state enjoyed all the rights and privileges as a sovereign state, under the Constitution, then all states would enjoy the same rights and oprivileges.
Which clause is that?
 
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#5
Article 4 has a number of clauses specifying equality between the states.

Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State.

The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.

 
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#6
Article 4 has a number of clauses specifying equality between the states.

Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State.

The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.
But none that says what OpnCoronet said.
 

OpnCoronet

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#7
But none that says what OpnCoronet said.


I was referring to all the citizens of a state having all the Privileges and Immunities of the citizens of the several states. In this case, if the citizens of a state has all the Privileges and Immunities of a free and independent nation under the Constitution, then all the citizens of all the states in the Union, do to.
 

ivanj05

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#8
I have made the same arguement the OP has in the past. While I continue to think that the fact that it takes Congressional approval for a state to enter the Union does say something about the ability of a state to exit it, I also think that one of the things implicit in the Constitution is that all of the states share the same rights under it. Thus, if any state retained individual sovereignty under the Constitution, all of them did. Put another way, if the grant of power from the state to the federal government, and the ability to revoke it, represented a fundamental aspect of the nature of the original states, then it was also fundamental to the nature of any state under the Constitution.

Now, I will point out my use of "if" in the above. I personally don't view the nature of a state or its relationship to the Constitution in that way at all.
 
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#9
I was referring to all the citizens of a state having all the Privileges and Immunities of the citizens of the several states. In this case, if the citizens of a state has all the Privileges and Immunities of a free and independent nation under the Constitution, then all the citizens of all the states in the Union, do to.
This refers to 'Privileges and Immunities' of citizens, not of 'Privileges and Immunities' of States.
 

CW Buff

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#11
States secede only by the will of its citizens. States, in ref to my point, are merely inanimate geographical points of reference on a map. .
I think you misunderstand the P&I Clause. It does not deal with the rights of Americans under the US Government, it deals with their rights under the states. The rights of a citizen of Ohio must be extended to a citizen of Kentucky while in Ohio. It has nothing to do with the rights of the citizen of Kentucky while in Kentucky. In other words, it provides no equivalency to the citizens of the various states while in their own states.
 

CW Buff

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#12
Article 4 has a number of clauses specifying equality between the states.

Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State.

The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.
When I initially read this thread, I agreed with both Ivanj05 and Ned Baldwin; the states are, somehow, admitted on equal terms (I even thought at first I remembered an ‘entry on an equal basis’ phrase in the New States Clause), but these three items do not indicate that. They apply to specific issues, not some general equality of the states, nor specifically to state sovereignty, at least not past or revocable/irrevocable independent state sovereignty. While researching this, I stumbled on the answer from the Heritage Guide to the Constitution.

Admission on an equal basis was specifically considered and rejected by the Constitutional Convention. Gouverneur Morris led the opposition, fearing that the western states would eventually overpower the eastern states. But not putting that in does not mean it was precluded. Exercising its own discretion, Congress implemented such a policy right from the start (VT & KY). Then, in 1845, SCOTUS made it official in Lessee of Pollard v. Hagan. Based on the Northwest Ordinance ("And whenever any of the said states shall have sixty thousand free inhabitants therein, such state shall be admitted by its delegates into the Congress of the United States, on an equal footing with the original States in all respects whatever."), the ‘southwest ordinances’ (TN and MS-AL), and the deeds/treaties by which states ceded the original western territories to the US, admission of states on an equal basis was a constitutional requirement, including any that came after the original western territories (i.e. the decision was not limited to the original western territories, and the LA Purchase was not excluded from the decision).
 

OpnCoronet

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#13
I think you misunderstand the P&I Clause. It does not deal with the rights of Americans under the US Government, it deals with their rights under the states. The rights of a citizen of Ohio must be extended to a citizen of Kentucky while in Ohio. It has nothing to do with the rights of the citizen of Kentucky while in Kentucky. In other words, it provides no equivalency to the citizens of the various states while in their own states.


That may very well be true. But, in the context of a hypothesis contained in Joshism's OP, the question was from where Ark. La.and Fla. got their sovereignty?, I believe,
 

CW Buff

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#14
That may very well be true. But, in the context of a hypothesis contained in Joshism's OP, the question was from where Ark. La.and Fla. got their sovereignty?, I believe,
Specifically, it was my understanding that the question is, assuming that the original 13 states retained independent sovereignty (the ability to secede at will), how could the other states, including those specific 3, have and exercise such sovereignty. And I though the P&I Clause was offered as that "how". Again, that's not how P&I works. Feel free to reference Heritage on that specific clause as well.
 

OpnCoronet

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#15
Specifically, it was my understanding that the question is, assuming that the original 13 states retained independent sovereignty (the ability to secede at will), how could the other states, including those specific 3, have and exercise such sovereignty. And I though the P&I Clause was offered as that "how". Again, that's not how P&I works. Feel free to reference Heritage on that specific clause as well.


So, in the hypothesis, the original 13 states could secede, but, not later states?
 

CW Buff

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#16
So, in the hypothesis, the original 13 states could secede, but, not later states?
In Post #11, I was not addressing that question. My only point was that if the later states did have the same rights/powers as the original states, neither the P&I Clause, nor the other two specific constitutional clauses referenced, gave them that.

In my subsequent post (#12), I indicated that the later states do have whatever rights/powers the 13 original states have, because: 1) upon admission, Congress specifically made each new state equivalent to the existing states via the applicable legislation, and 2) SCOTUS decided in 1845 that such equivalency is a constitutional requirement.
 

OpnCoronet

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#17
In Post #11, I was not addressing that question. My only point was that if the later states did have the same rights/powers as the original states, neither the P&I Clause, nor the other two specific constitutional clauses referenced, gave them that.In my subsequent post (#12), I indicated that the later states do have whatever rights/powers the 13 original states have, because: 1) upon admission, Congress specifically made each new state equivalent to the existing states via the applicable legislation, and 2) SCOTUS decided in 1845 that such equivalency is a constitutional requirement.


So, what, exactly, was your concern over Fl, La and Ar?

By the way, if your second paragraph is correct, it would seem that whatever sovereignty any state had, was acquired as a part of being in the Union, i.e., from the Union, not intrinsic in the state itself.
 

CW Buff

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#18
So, what, exactly, was your concern over Fl, La and Ar?

By the way, if your second paragraph is correct, it would seem that whatever sovereignty any state had, was acquired as a part of being in the Union, i.e., from the Union, not intrinsic in the state itself.
I think I've thoroughly confused you, sorry for that. I was strictly addressing the equivalency issue that was raised. I'm not arguing for unilateral secession. IMO, none of the states, including the original 13, retained independent sovereignty, or the right to resume such. But IF such sovereignty had been retained, THEN all of the states share that aspect. Whatever rights, powers, sovereignty the states have are equal for all of the states. And I'm saying that's because of what Congress actually did when admitting the first new states (exercising their discretion with their power to admit states), and Lessee of Pollard v. Hagan, rather than of the other referenced clauses of the Constitution.

So, to answer the OP, the Constitution DOES NOT impart independent sovereignty on any states. In fact, I would argue the implications of equivalency are the opposite. The Framers indicated the original 13 states were surrendering independent sovereignty. They retain only residual sovereignty. All additional states are equivalent. They also have residual sovereignty only.
 

thomas aagaard

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#20
Let us hypothesize for a moment that the 13 states who entered into the US Constitution did indeed retain their sovereignty.
They did not. Making the topic pure fantasy.

Texas is a very very clear example. They clearly gave up their sovereignty, to an extent where they allowed Washington to solve any border questions with foreign states (Mexico).
In effect giving Washington the right to give away part of the State to Mexico.
 



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