Was change of government from the AOC to the Constitution a “Secession”

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trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
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On what legal basis do you determine that Rhode Island was part of the Union in that time period between the implementation of the Constitution and Rhode Island's ratification of it? Can you provide sources to support your view? The facts demonstrate to me that they were in fact not in the Union, but that Congress/the other states gave them time and leeway in the hope that they would ultimately join, but after a number of votes rejecting ratification, finally had enough.
The Union of the United States existed before the Constitution and continues under it. The United States existed before the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union. The Supreme Court of the United States has steadfastly maintained for more than two centuries that the United States began on July 4, 1776 and has continued as the same country ever since. (Madison said July 2, 1776, but the Supreme Court said July 4, 1776).

As to the votes: they were deliberate attempts to avoid the instructions to call a convention. When Rhode Island did finally call a convention, that convention did (eventually) ratify the Constitution after meeting in March and May.

Against this, what legal basis can you present? What sources support your view? What fact can you show that says yes, what you want to see actually happened? Can you actually find a document from Rhode Island saying they are leaving the Union? Can you show a document from the United States telling Rhode Island they are out of the Union?
 

trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
Messages
11,949
That term "Rogue Island" always irks me. It betrays some possessiveness on the part of those using it towards the citizens of Rhode Island, as if they had no right to live and run their own state the way they saw fit.
I have never seen that interpretation before, from anyone. It surprises me very much, and I cannot recall ever seeing anything that would have led me to attach that meaning to it.

The country tended to use that term (also a bunch of others) for Rhode Island because they were constantly a thorn in everybody's side. They refused, for example, to ratify the impost of 1781 (the other 12 States all did, then Rhode Island said no). That forced the Congress to rely on requisitions for money -- Rhode Island was always a problem (so were Virginia and New York, just not as big a pain as Rhode Island). They actually had a "Paper Money Party" in Rhode Island advocating just printing paper money to pay the bills -- leading to very high inflation, worthless script, and great difficulties in trading outside the State. The situation in Rhode Island was much like that of Shay's Rebellion in Massachusetts (1786-87).

Here's Thomas Jefferson's opinion on them in a letter to Lafayette (written April 2, 1791 -- ten days after Jefferson arrived in New York to become Secretary of State):
"... The opposition to our new constitution has almost totally disappeared. Some few indeed had gone such lengths in their declarations of hostility that they feel it awkward perhaps to come over, but the amendments proposed by Congress, have brought over almost all their followers. If the President can be preserved a few years till habits of authority and obedience can be established, generally, we have nothing to fear. The little vaut-rien, Rhode-island will come over with a little more time. ..."

Google translates "vaut-rien" as "worthless". It is probably more like "rascal" or "scamp" or "good-for-nothing" here.
 
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CW Buff

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Maybe Washington and Hamilton were simply speaking as hypocrites, but if that's the case, even if the 1784 Washington quote should be understood to deny the right of secession, he obviously proved that he didn't mean what he said just 3 years later.
If I understand you right, you seem to be saying that the Confederation was an indissoluble union, and it was therefore hypocritical to dissolve the Confederation contrary to the AoCs and then deny individual states the right to dissolve their connections to the more perfect Union. If that's the case, where does the idea that the Confederation was an indissoluble union from?

If I tracked down the right quotes, it can't be Washington, because he doesn't call the Confederation an indissoluble union:
“There are four things, which I humbly conceive, are essential to the well being, I may even venture to say, to the existence of the United States as an Independent Power:

1st. An indissoluble Union of the States under one Federal Head.”
If Washington is calling for an indissoluble union in 1783, then it stands to reason he did not believe the AoCs provided one (i.e. that they already had one).
“Let the thirteen States, bound together in a strict and indissoluble Union, concur in erecting one great American system” Federalist 11
And Hamilton is promoting the ratification of the Constitution. The indissoluble Union he seeks will be provided by the Constitution, not the AoCs. Again, no sense in calling for something you already have. That's basically why the Framers didn't go with a revised AoCs.
 
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