Thomas Jefferson, Secession, and States Rights

OpnCoronet

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IMHO consolidation nationalism evolved from several competing options. Jefferson's was one of them. There is an ideal theory of States Rights that Jefferson and many founding fathers held outside of the Hamilton type Federalism, which in my view was not a majority view at the convention and my biased view more oriented toward protecting the moneyed classes than anything else. Running a country is a practical exercise and the ideal theories foundered in the sea of practicality.
The Whiskey rebellion ended the ideal of both the Hamilton experiment and the ideal State experiment. One cannot depend on States nor can one trample over voters.




Calhoun was convinced that the Constitution was created with a perfect equilibrium between two sections and was designed to operate through the maintenance of that perfect equilibrium. But, through an unfortunate choice of a word, the equilibrium was destroyed and with it the real reason for the Constitution.

Theory is a theory, is a theory, Jefferson was indeed one among many. But as noted by Calhoun, the actions of many of those in positions of legal authority tended to act in spite of the perceived intent of the Framers, even, Jefferson.

Calhoun was concerned that, whatever the intent of the framers of the Constitution, the gov't they formed, almost immediately achieved a momentum(some referred to it as having a life of its own) that followed its own path to achieving the fruits of the original Fathers intentions, whatever they were.

More than most polticians, Lincoln had no trouble, admitting that events controlled his actions rather than the opposite.
 

jgoodguy

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Calhoun was convinced that the Constitution was created with a perfect equilibrium between two sections and was designed to operate through the maintenance of that perfect equilibrium. But, through an unfortunate choice of a word, the equilibrium was destroyed and with it the real reason for the Constitution.

Theory is a theory, is a theory, Jefferson was indeed one among many. But as noted by Calhoun, the actions of many of those in positions of legal authority tended to act in spite of the perceived intent of the Framers, even, Jefferson.

Calhoun was concerned that, whatever the intent of the framers of the Constitution, the gov't they formed, almost immediately achieved a momentum(some referred to it as having a life of its own) that followed its own path to achieving the fruits of the original Fathers intentions, whatever they were.

More than most polticians, Lincoln had no trouble, admitting that events controlled his actions rather than the opposite.
I am trying wrap my head around Calhoun's theory(s) and getting a headache.

Jefferson seems to be full of idealist theories that had problems in the real world. Yet they had a life of their own. " We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness." is one of those. It is my understanding he meant it for an ideal republic controlled by philosopher republicans doing the right thing like himself, yet by the time of Lincoln, it came to mean freedom for the least in society.

Events, not theory is what results in the government we have.
 

Rebforever

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The Virginian's of 1860 were just as wrong as Jefferson in 1809, from the perspective of 1865.

From the perspective of 1860, there was no more proof that Jefferson was right, than the proof that he was wrong.

From the perspective of 1809, Jefferson's thoughts on the Constitution, should not be counted as the equal of those who were actually present at the Framing of the Constitution and participated in the effort to get its adoption, as written and framed.
It seems to me those that were even there made no comments and passed no laws against leaving the US Compact.
It amazes me that all the discussion hinges on whomever one wants to believe and who's opinion one wants to believe.
IMO, there just isn't anything against secession out of all the prognosticators opinions on this thread. :smile coffee:
 

The Confederate

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It seems to me those that were even there made no comments and passed no laws against leaving the US Compact.
It amazes me that all the discussion hinges on whomever one wants to believe and who's opinion one wants to believe.
IMO, there just isn't anything against secession out of all the prognosticators opinions on this thread. :smile coffee:

It also seems to me that no laws allowing a State to Unilaterally leave the Union was passed.

There just isn't anything allowing Unilateral Secession, it is clearly Unconstitutional and Illegal.
 

Rebforever

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It also seems to me that no laws allowing a State to Unilaterally leave the Union was passed.

There just isn't anything allowing Unilateral Secession, it is clearly Unconstitutional and Illegal.
Your opinion is noted. There is nothing stating a State can't secede so therefore secession is legal.IMO
 

Bee

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Secession is neither illegal or legal, just Constitutional or Unconstitutional depending on the manner undertaken.

Unconstitutional is not illegal? I recall a discussion on this, but I do not recall what was concluded.
 

jgoodguy

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Unconstitutional is not illegal? I recall a discussion on this, but I do not recall what was concluded.

Exactly Unconstitutional is not the same as illegal Been discussed many times. The result of which that in academic Constitutional law the two terms are not equivalent. SCOTUS decisions are scrupulous in avoiding the term illegal in rulings on Constitutional law. I have yet to find a college level Constitutional law book or course that confabulates the terms nor has anyone introduced either as evidence that confabulates the terms. The only place I see it is where someone uses their interpretation as evidence.
 
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MattL

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Your opinion is noted. There is nothing stating a State can't secede so therefore secession is legal.IMO

This is where things get less certain. I assume you are referring to the 10th amendment:

----
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.
----

Emphasis mine. That last part makes the whole proposition that secession is Constitutional because it wasn't deliberately restricted uncertain. It says specifically things not delegated to the Federal government are reserved to the States or to the people. Note it doesn't say and, but or. That means that secession could be reserved to the States or to the people. The people being completely un-descriptive, with that said some basic logic would imply that since it doesn't specifically say the people of the State (and in fact contrasts it with the State) that means the people in general, hence beyond just a single State.

So unilateral secession seems really hard to fit into "the people."
 

jgoodguy

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This is where things get less certain. I assume you are referring to the 10th amendment:

----
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.
----

Emphasis mine. That last part makes the whole proposition that secession is Constitutional because it wasn't deliberately restricted uncertain. It says specifically things not delegated to the Federal government are reserved to the States or to the people. Note it doesn't say and, but or. That means that secession could be reserved to the States or to the people. The people being completely un-descriptive, with that said some basic logic would imply that since it doesn't specifically say the people of the State (and in fact contrasts it with the State) that means the people in general, hence beyond just a single State.

So unilateral secession seems really hard to fit into "the people."

Generally speaking in my experiencing, Rebforever makes an assertion that secession not illegal means it was legal. My counter argument is that secession not constitutional confers no protection for activities undertaken under secession. None were protected by the Constitution.

From Texas v White.

7. Considered as transactions under the Constitution, the ordinance of secession, adopted by the convention, and ratified by a majority of the citizens of Texas, and all the acts of her legislature intended to give [p701] effect to that ordinance, were absolutely null. They were utterly without operation in law. The State did not cease to be a State, nor her citizens to be citizens of the Union.
I.E. acts of the Texas legislature intended to give effect(make legal) actions under the ordinance of secession are null and void with the effect they are unprotected activities(operation in law). Some actions undertaken by the Texas legislature under the ordinance of secession were allowed to stand-civil contracts, marriages, probate etc. Thus using the crude terms legal and illegal, while most of the actions of secession were illegal, some were legal.
 

jgoodguy

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Not discussing robbers. Talking about secession which was not illegal IMO.
Yes we are, the seceding states robbed northern banks and asset owners, their sister States and the federal government of assets. The went into the union and walked out with stuff that was not theirs.
 

Rebforever

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Yes we are, the seceding states robbed northern banks and asset owners, their sister States and the federal government of assets. The went into the union and walked out with stuff that was not theirs.
They got it all back and then some to boot during reconstruction.
 

Rebforever

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This is where things get less certain. I assume you are referring to the 10th amendment:

----
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.
----

Emphasis mine. That last part makes the whole proposition that secession is Constitutional because it wasn't deliberately restricted uncertain. It says specifically things not delegated to the Federal government are reserved to the States or to the people. Note it doesn't say and, but or. That means that secession could be reserved to the States or to the people. The people being completely un-descriptive, with that said some basic logic would imply that since it doesn't specifically say the people of the State (and in fact contrasts it with the State) that means the people in general, hence beyond just a single State.

So unilateral secession seems really hard to fit into "the people."
There was a vote.
 

Malingerer

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The folks who like to yell about democracy do not want to acknowledge that secession represented the will of the people.
LOl. Was this meant to be ironic? Part of being in a republican democracy is acknowledging that elections don't always go your way but if you do take part in a free and fair election (although how an election can be free and fair with so many of its citizens excluded is beyond my ken) you accept the results. Anything else is anarchy - it's the political view of a five year old.
 

MattL

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There was a vote.

Please point me to the vote involving "the people" of the whole US? Or any interesting outside of the State (that other side of the "or"). Remember it falls to the State or the people. The people was not worded as "the people of the State" and it was contrasted with "the States" hence it can only really apply to "the people" as a whole and not just the States.
 
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