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The People... or the State.

Discussion in 'Civil War History - Secession and Politics' started by Mortari, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. Mortari

    Mortari Corporal

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    An interesting point I've read through. Doing a little research of my own, of the 9,103,000 US citizens in the 11 states which attempted secession, there were a grand total of 145,630 cast a vote for secession. That works out if you round up to 1.6% of the future Confederate population that voted for secession.

    In 9 of those 11 states it was 883 votes for secession out of 7 million US citizens, so .0013% of the population said "we want secession".

    And in there you had for example Georgia, who's vote had major questions on it's validity (just happening that in pro-secessionist areas the voter turnout became larger than the Presidential election turnout, when overall the voter turnout was much lower). In 1972 the Georgia Historical Society performed a recount of those irregularities and determined the people's vote was actually for staying in the Union. And there are states for example like North Carolina which the peoples vote was against secession but then the Governor removed the people from the vote, took over federal properties and let a secession convention decide. Plots to ensure the people's vote didn't count.

    So we all know that from Chisolm V Georgia, in the 1700's, the Supreme Courts first major case said the People directly established a Constitution by which it was their will that the State governments should be bound. Supreme or sovereign power was retained by citizens themselves, not by the "artificial person" of the State of Georgia. State Sovereignty didn't exist in the USA any more than the ability to declare a king. The Founding Fathers' Supreme Court made that clear even if people didn't want to listen to it or acknowledge it.

    So the Constitution said it's not states or state governments, but people that have sovereignty. State governments however were declaring their states sovereignty when 98% of their people didn't give consent and taking away their abilities to be protected by the US Constitution and represented in the US government. With the President swearing an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States which is of the people not the states, and not having any power to allow states to declare any freedom from that, or take those protections from the people, what should his response be?
     
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  3. Democracy (Southern style) at work. Like Virginia where the former governor on stage waved a gun at Virginia Convention delegates and threatened to shoot any who voted against secession or how the delegates voted to secede as Virginia forces were already en route to Harper's Ferry and the U.S. Naval installation at Norfolk, yet Virginia's citizens did not take a secession vote until over a month after the Virginia Convention had voted to secede and after Virginia forces had attacked Harper's Ferry, Gosport Naval Yard, and crossed into Maryland attacking citizens inside that state.
     
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  4. Potomac Pride

    Potomac Pride First Sergeant

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    In regards to sovereignty, the 10th amendment of the Constitution states that the powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved for the states or the people.
     
  5. jgoodguy

    jgoodguy Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Retired Moderator

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    Nice to quote the Constitution, but what bearing exactly does it have.
     
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  6. BlueandGrayl

    BlueandGrayl Sergeant

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    Well given that the North and South had very different views about what the Constitution was the former viewed as an indissoluble agreement for Union while the latter viewed as a compact made amongst the individual Thirteen Colonies/13 States (Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Rhode Island, and Virginia).
     
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  7. Potomac Pride

    Potomac Pride First Sergeant

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    I was replying to the OP that stated in the last paragraph that only the people have sovereignty rights and not the states.
     
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  8. trice

    trice Lt. Colonel

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    Yes. This is regarded as merely repeating what is obvious in the Constitution itself, that the government of the Constitution is a limited government, not an unlimited government. The Tenth Amendment neither adds anything to nor subtracts anything from the Constitution.

    Which "powers" do you think might be reserved to the states and which to the people?
     
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  9. Potomac Pride

    Potomac Pride First Sergeant

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    Thanks for your comments. James Madison wrote in the Federalist Papers that "The powers reserved to the several states will extend to all the objects, which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the state." I hope that answers your question.
     
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  10. trice

    trice Lt. Colonel

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    Yes. He wrote that before the Constitution was adopted and after the Philadelphia Convention, IIRR. He also wrote text equivalent to the Tenth Amendment which he submitted to the Philadelphia Convention, wanting to have it inserted after Article VI as a new Article VII. The Convention thought it was not necessary and did not add it.

    So, in your opinion, which "powers" do you think might be reserved to the states and which to the people? Whatever those powers are, certainly we should be able to list some of them, don't you think?
     
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  11. The states and/or people as a whole ... not an individual state or the people of an individual state.
     
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  12. Potomac Pride

    Potomac Pride First Sergeant

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    The 10th amendment was added to the Constitution at the insistence of such political leaders as Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams and Thomas Jefferson. These people thought the Constitution would result in a strong centralized government that would destroy individual liberty. Therefore, an amendment was added to emphasize the limited nature of the powers delegated to the federal government and the broad powers that are reserved to the states or the people. In actual court cases, the 10th Amendment has been used to limit federal authority in regards to regulating such areas as commerce and taxation.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
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  13. Potomac Pride

    Potomac Pride First Sergeant

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    Thanks for your comments but I didn't say an individual state or person.
     
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  14. I know you didn't; that's why I wanted to correct your misconception of the 10th.
     
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  15. jgoodguy

    jgoodguy Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Retired Moderator

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    1. The people of the entire US have ultimate sovereignty via the 10th.
    2. The people of a State have the sovereignty over the local affairs of a State acting as a polity called a State. The sovereignty of that polity is subject to approval by Congress.

    A geography entity on a map called a State has no sovereignty.
     
  16. trice

    trice Lt. Colonel

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    The Tenth has been referred to a bit more in recent (1990s and after) court decisions, but it usually not the reason for a decision. To anyone interested in learning about the Tenth, I'd suggest starting with the US Constitution Center's articles.
    There are two opinion pieces available as well at the bottom of the main article.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
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  17. jgoodguy

    jgoodguy Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Retired Moderator

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    Looks to be a shifting minor issues back and forth at the boundary depending on the flavor of the decade. Nothing to do with the ultimate sovereignty of the States.
     
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  18. OpnCoronet

    OpnCoronet Major

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    To me the question is Moot. All political power of gov'ts resides in and with the people who chose the gov't.

    No State has any authority except that which it derives from the people it governs. It is the servant of its peoples. So, also, the Federal gov't has no authority, except that which it derives from the peoples it governs and, it is the servant of its peoples.

    Even, Most secessionists recognized(probably, in the breach, most of them) the state legislatures, had not received sanction to overthrow other gov'ts, from their people, without consultation. Even with their sanction, the will of the people of any set, or, subset, of peoples can override the will of a majority of their fellow peoples within the Union, i.e., they could do so illegally against the laws of all the people of the Union, but not legally, with only the assent of only a subset of the All the people of the Union. that would be Revolutionizing.
     
  19. jgoodguy

    jgoodguy Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Retired Moderator

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    Good points.
     
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  20. CW Buff

    CW Buff First Sergeant

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    Excellent post. The individual states are sovereign, within their spheres; the Union is sovereign, within its sphere. And sovereignty being sovereignty, each is legally secure from infringement by the other. As per Madison:

    "The idea of a national government involves in it, not only an authority over the individual citizens, but an indefinite supremacy over all persons and things, so far as they are objects of lawful government. Among a people consolidated into one nation, this supremacy is completely vested in the national legislature. Among communities united for particular purposes, it is vested partly in the general and partly in the municipal legislatures. In the former case, all local authorities are subordinate to the supreme; and may be controlled, directed, or abolished by it at pleasure. In the latter, the local or municipal authorities form distinct and independent portions of the supremacy, no more subject, within their respective spheres, to the general authority, than the general authority is subject to them, within its own sphere. In this relation, then, the proposed government cannot be deemed a NATIONAL one; since its jurisdiction extends to certain enumerated objects only, and leaves to the several States a residuary and inviolable sovereignty over all other objects." – James Madison, The Federalist No. 39

    [But in this case he is talking about sovereign powers, not sovereignty itself. As you said, in a republic sovereignty remains with the people, who merely invest their government with sovereign powers.]
     
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  21. trice

    trice Lt. Colonel

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    When North Carolina's Secession Convention voted, some of the delegates were still opposed to the "right of secession". They wanted to state that they were basing their exit from the Union on the Natural Right of Revolution, not the theoretical legal "right of secession". Here's how that happened (Ellis is Governor Ellis, issuing the call for the Convention in April 1861) according to the North Carolina History Project:

    Ellis called a special session of the legislature for May 1 and ordered seizure of all federal property. The Assembly voted to have a delegate election on May 13 to an unrestricted convention to meet in Raleigh on May 20. The campaign that followed was characterized more by resignation than enthusiasm, as evidenced by former Unionists’ and secessionists’ speeches disparaging aggression.

    When the convention met, delegates debated whether to secede, as some Unionists suggested, on the basis of “the right of revolution.” Radical secessionists, however, favored repealing the state’s ratification of the U.S. Constitution as the most appropriate means of leaving the Union.

    The convention elected Weldon N. Edwards (1788-1873), a Democratic planter from Warren County, as president. In a speech, he denounced allying with the “Black Republican Union.” One-time Unionist George R. Badger (1795-1866) introduced a resolution for separation from the Union based on the right of revolution. An alternative ordinance, dissolving the Union by repeal of ratification was proposed by F. Burton Craige (1811-1875) of Rowan County. The Badger proposal was defeated by a vote of 72 to 40, after which the Craige resolution passed unanimously. Delegates then voted to join the Confederate States of America (CSA). They also voted, at the request of Governor Ellis, not to put the secession ordinance to a popular vote. On May 21, President Jefferson Davis (1808-1889) proclaimed North Carolina a Confederate state.

    So 40 of 112 delegates (just over 35%) wanted to declare they were following the Natural Right of Revolution instead of the supposed "right of secession". I find it an interesting insistence on that choice after the constant drumbeat over more than a decade about the "right of secession" in "the South".
     
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