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

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Duncan

Sergeant
Joined
Feb 17, 2020
So it was the People of the United States who gave the power through the constitution to the United States government, not the individual states.

Did the people of the United States give a permission to South Carolina & Virginia to leave from the US?
Where is the mechanism for this process in the Constitution?
What kind of injury or oppression that South Carolina & Virginia suffered?
Why didn't seceding states take the issue of unilateral secession to the Supreme Court ?

It doesn't seem like fire-eaters and secessionists had sound arguments. Unilateral secession was not in the constitution. There was no mechanism for such procedures as far as I know.
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"So it was the People of the United States who gave the power through the constitution to the United States government, not the individual states."

Yes. It was the People of the United States. Not, repeat not, the "United People of America", and not the People of the United State of America(singular). So yes, of course, it was the People of the United States. In other words, the People of each individual State, acting for their respective State, and no other. The States ratified and acceded individually, and the States can resume the granted powers of government and secede individually. There is no such thing as "The People of the United States" in one, common, aggregated, mass, if that's what you think.

" Unilateral secession was not in the constitution. There was no mechanism for such procedures as far as I know."

Wrong idea. There is nothing prohibiting secession in the Constitution and no mechanism to prohibit it as well. You've got it completely backward. The enumerated powers are the powers of the federal government. The unenumrated powers (secession) are reserved for the States. It's not that hard.
 
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Horrido67

Private
Joined
Sep 29, 2019
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"So it was the People of the United States who gave the power through the constitution to the United States government, not the individual states."

Yes. It was the People of the United States. Not the "United People", and not the People of the United State (singular). So yes, of course, it was the People of the United States. In other words, the People of each individual State, acting for their respective State, and no other. The States ratified and acceded individually, and the States can resume the granted powers of government and secede individually. There is no such thing as "The People of the United States" in one common, aggregated, mass, if that's what you think.

" Unilateral secession was not in the constitution. There was no mechanism for such procedures as far as I know."

Wrong idea. There is nothing prohibiting secession in the Constitutioon and no mechanism to prohibit it as well. You've got it completely backward. The enumerated powers are the powers of the federal government. The unenumrated powers (secession) are reserved for the States. It's not that hard.
The US stands for the United States. There is no such country as the United State in NA as far as I know.

The People of the country, the United States gave the power to the United States Government through the constitution and only the People of the United States can dissolve the Union and resume the powers from the US government.

There is little room for misinterpretation.

I don't want to be rude, but I don't think it is smart to bring up statements that debunk your own position and then tries to rationalize it after being exposed.
 
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thomas aagaard

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Location
Denmark
Arguing that the rectification of the Constitution is secession and that the Current US is not the same state as the one before the rectification is just pure ignorance of how states work across time.

If the US under the article and the US under the Constitution is not the same political entity then all treaties, debts and every other legal and political action ever done by the Us Government would have been null and void when the Constitution was rectified.
This did obviously not happen.

A state changing its Constitution does not make it a new state. Edited.
France is currently on its 5th republic and they also had two empires. All of it the same state.

Edited.
 
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thomas aagaard

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Location
Denmark
If you where right, then all treatises from before the rectification would be null and void.

That would mean that the Treaty of Paris ending the American revolution would no longer be in effect and the UK would no longer be recognizing the independence of the US.

But it is.
United Kingdom.
PEACE Definitive treaty of peace.*
Signed at Paris September 3, 1783.
Entered into force May 12, 1784.
8 Stat. 80; TS 104; 12 Bevans 8 Note:
* Only article 1 is in force.

Some old treaties from before the rectification of the Constitution is still in effect exactly because the US today is the same state as the US was back then.

Constitutions change, the size of a state can change, states get occupied and then later released but that don't change what state is...

Edited.

A change of Constitution or government form does not result in the old state ending and a new state being created.
 
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Duncan

Sergeant
Joined
Feb 17, 2020
It's funny, because Article VI of the United States Constitution reads as follows:

"All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation"

Gee, I wonder why that's there? Oh yeah, that's right, because without that explicit provision, the new Union would not be obligated to honor the debts of the previous, defunct, Union under tghe AOC. I guess it's one of the terms of the new Union. Just like I said.

A change in a political union is just that; a change in a political union.
 

thomas aagaard

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Location
Denmark
It's funny, because Article VI of the United States Constitution reads as follows:

"All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation"
Thank you for proving my point.

"the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation"

It is the same United States... It is just chancing its legal foundation.
 
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trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
Here's my answer. None of them seceded from the United States whether under the AOC or the Constitution.
Yes, that is what happened IMHO.

When the ninth State ratified (New Hampshire), Article VII of the Constitution triggers. That is June 21, 1788 (and almost started a civil war in Rhode Island at a July 4th barbecue celebration). Virginia (June 25) and New York (July 26) followed quickly (nobody ever seems to claim they "seceded", probably because of the short gap). That leaves North Carolina (November 21, 1789) and Rhode Island (May 29, 1790) as laggards bringing up the rear.

Article VII says that as soon as the 9th state ratifies, the Constitution goes into effect between the states that have ratified. ("The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.") The Constitution does not say what the relationship between the states that have ratified and the states that have not ratified will or should be. Nothing does.

If you take that literally, the government of the Constitution was established when NH ratified (or when the Congress was officially notified of it a few days later). The Supreme Court has decided the government of the Constitution actually began March 3, 1789 when the members of the new Congress assembled in New York and began to organize the houses of Congress. In the eight months between those dates, the Congress of the Articles was still running the show and the states that had ratified were still participating in the government of the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union. Very clearly, the mere act of ratification did not sever the relationship between the states and the Union still continued.

Here's what Federalist No. 43 (James Madison) says about this matter:

This article speaks for itself. The express authority of the people alone could give due validity to the Constitution. To have required the unanimous ratification of the thirteen States, would have subjected the essential interests of the whole to the caprice or corruption of a single member. It would have marked a want of foresight in the convention, which our own experience would have rendered inexcusable. Two questions of a very delicate nature present themselves on this occasion:
  1. On what principle the Confederation, which stands in the solemn form of a compact among the States, can be superseded without the unanimous consent of the parties to it
  2. What relation is to subsist between the nine or more States ratifying the Constitution, and the remaining few who do not become parties to it? The first question is answered at once by recurring to the absolute necessity of the case; to the great principle of self-preservation; to the transcendent law of nature and of nature's God, which declares that the safety and happiness of society are the objects at which all political institutions aim, and to which all such institutions must be sacrificed.
PERHAPS, also, an answer may be found without searching beyond the principles of the compact itself. It has been heretofore noted among the defects of the Confederation, that in many of the States it had received no higher sanction than a mere legislative ratification. The principle of reciprocality seems to require that its obligation on the other States should be reduced to the same standard. A compact between independent sovereigns, founded on ordinary acts of legislative authority, can pretend to no higher validity than a league or treaty between the parties. It is an established doctrine on the subject of treaties, that all the articles are mutually conditions of each other; that a breach of any one article is a breach of the whole treaty; and that a breach, committed by either of the parties, absolves the others, and authorizes them, if they please, to pronounce the compact violated and void. Should it unhappily be necessary to appeal to these delicate truths for a justification for dispensing with the consent of particular States to a dissolution of the federal pact, will not the complaining parties find it a difficult task to answer the MULTIPLIED and IMPORTANT infractions with which they may be confronted? The time has been when it was incumbent on us all to veil the ideas which this paragraph exhibits. The scene is now changed, and with it the part which the same motives dictate.
The second question is not less delicate; and the flattering prospect of its being merely hypothetical forbids an overcurious discussion of it. It is one of those cases which must be left to provide for itself. In general, it may be observed, that although no political relation can subsist between the assenting and dissenting States, yet the moral relations will remain uncancelled. The claims of justice, both on one side and on the other, will be in force, and must be fulfilled; the rights of humanity must in all cases be duly and mutually respected; whilst considerations of a common interest, and, above all, the remembrance of the endearing scenes which are past, and the anticipation of a speedy triumph over the obstacles to reunion, will, it is hoped, not urge in vain MODERATION on one side, and PRUDENCE on the other.
 

trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
It's funny, because Article VI of the United States Constitution reads as follows:

"All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation"

Gee, I wonder why that's there? Oh yeah, that's right, because without that explicit provision, the new Union would not be obligated to honor the debts of the previous, defunct, Union under tghe AOC. I guess it's one of the terms of the new Union. Just like I said.

A change in a political union is just that; a change in a political union.
I believe I told you earlier that this was done to allay the fears of creditors that the United States was trying to get out of the obligation to pay its debts by dissolving the old nation and becoming a new nation. In short, they said this deliberately to deny the idea of this as a secession you are trying to promote.
 

WJC

Major General
Judge Adv. Genl.
Thread Medic
Answered the Call for Reinforcements
Joined
Aug 16, 2015
It's funny, because Article VI of the United States Constitution reads as follows:

"All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation"
Further proof that the Founders understood the nation to be unchanged by the change in government.
 
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BuckeyeWarrior

Corporal
Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Location
Ohio
Yes, that is what happened IMHO.

When the ninth State ratified (New Hampshire), Article VII of the Constitution triggers. That is June 21, 1788 (and almost started a civil war in Rhode Island at a July 4th barbecue celebration). Virginia (June 25) and New York (July 26) followed quickly (nobody ever seems to claim they "seceded", probably because of the short gap). That leaves North Carolina (November 21, 1789) and Rhode Island (May 29, 1790) as laggards bringing up the rear.

Article VII says that as soon as the 9th state ratifies, the Constitution goes into effect between the states that have ratified. ("The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.") The Constitution does not say what the relationship between the states that have ratified and the states that have not ratified will or should be. Nothing does.

If you take that literally, the government of the Constitution was established when NH ratified (or when the Congress was officially notified of it a few days later). The Supreme Court has decided the government of the Constitution actually began March 3, 1789 when the members of the new Congress assembled in New York and began to organize the houses of Congress. In the eight months between those dates, the Congress of the Articles was still running the show and the states that had ratified were still participating in the government of the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union. Very clearly, the mere act of ratification did not sever the relationship between the states and the Union still continued.

Here's what Federalist No. 43 (James Madison) says about this matter:

This article speaks for itself. The express authority of the people alone could give due validity to the Constitution. To have required the unanimous ratification of the thirteen States, would have subjected the essential interests of the whole to the caprice or corruption of a single member. It would have marked a want of foresight in the convention, which our own experience would have rendered inexcusable. Two questions of a very delicate nature present themselves on this occasion:
  1. On what principle the Confederation, which stands in the solemn form of a compact among the States, can be superseded without the unanimous consent of the parties to it
  2. What relation is to subsist between the nine or more States ratifying the Constitution, and the remaining few who do not become parties to it? The first question is answered at once by recurring to the absolute necessity of the case; to the great principle of self-preservation; to the transcendent law of nature and of nature's God, which declares that the safety and happiness of society are the objects at which all political institutions aim, and to which all such institutions must be sacrificed.
PERHAPS, also, an answer may be found without searching beyond the principles of the compact itself. It has been heretofore noted among the defects of the Confederation, that in many of the States it had received no higher sanction than a mere legislative ratification. The principle of reciprocality seems to require that its obligation on the other States should be reduced to the same standard. A compact between independent sovereigns, founded on ordinary acts of legislative authority, can pretend to no higher validity than a league or treaty between the parties. It is an established doctrine on the subject of treaties, that all the articles are mutually conditions of each other; that a breach of any one article is a breach of the whole treaty; and that a breach, committed by either of the parties, absolves the others, and authorizes them, if they please, to pronounce the compact violated and void. Should it unhappily be necessary to appeal to these delicate truths for a justification for dispensing with the consent of particular States to a dissolution of the federal pact, will not the complaining parties find it a difficult task to answer the MULTIPLIED and IMPORTANT infractions with which they may be confronted? The time has been when it was incumbent on us all to veil the ideas which this paragraph exhibits. The scene is now changed, and with it the part which the same motives dictate.
The second question is not less delicate; and the flattering prospect of its being merely hypothetical forbids an overcurious discussion of it. It is one of those cases which must be left to provide for itself. In general, it may be observed, that although no political relation can subsist between the assenting and dissenting States, yet the moral relations will remain uncancelled. The claims of justice, both on one side and on the other, will be in force, and must be fulfilled; the rights of humanity must in all cases be duly and mutually respected; whilst considerations of a common interest, and, above all, the remembrance of the endearing scenes which are past, and the anticipation of a speedy triumph over the obstacles to reunion, will, it is hoped, not urge in vain MODERATION on one side, and PRUDENCE on the other.
Here's an analogy I like to use. Think of America as a desktop computer, all the different states are parts of that computer and without one part it won't work as well. The operating system of that computer was first the continental congress during the revolutionary war, then the articles of confederation, and finally the constitution. Now for those states that did not adopt the constitution right away they were outside the operating system. Just kind of sitting there. They didn't declare themselves independent countries, or send ambassadors to other countries. They were just there sitting in the cpu but still very much apart of America. Or as Madison put it the moral relations were uncancelled.

Now the rest of the system decided to put pressure on the other parts that hadn't joined yet. They were going to do this economically but just the threat made the part(Rhode Island) take the new operating system.

The interesting what if in this scenario is how far would the other states have gone to keep Rhode Island a part of America? If Rhode Island had proclaimed itself as an independent country would they have used force to stop it? Remember by this time the founders greatest worry was not a despotic central government but a fractured America with several countries warring among themselves continually. I lean towards George Washington and the rest of the founders would have used force to keep Rhode Island as a part of America.
 

CW Buff

First Sergeant
Joined
Dec 22, 2014
Location
Connecticut
"So it was the People of the United States who gave the power through the constitution to the United States government, not the individual states."

Yes. It was the People of the United States. Not, repeat not, the "United People of America", and not the People of the United State of America(singular). So yes, of course, it was the People of the United States. In other words, the People of each individual State, acting for their respective State, and no other. The States ratified and acceded individually, and the States can resume the granted powers of government and secede individually. There is no such thing as "The People of the United States" in one, common, aggregated, mass, if that's what you think.
Well, if you like word games, yes, it is the People (singular) of the United States. Not, repeat not, the Peoples (plural) of the United States. However, if you prefer something more substantive:

The Constitution is a law, a fundamental law, just like the state constitutions. As per Locke's social compact, the people who enact a fundamental law thereby become one sovereign people, the collective sovereigns of the polity that is thereby created. In this sense, the Constitution works just like the state constitutions. It cannot work one way in one case, and a different way in another case. If a social compact has no meaning WRT sovereignty for the US, then it has no such meaning for the states either. The resulting sovereignty of the people of the US was recognized by SCOTUS just 5 years after the Constitution was enacted:

“ ‘We the people of the United States, do ordain and establish this Constitution.’ Here we see the people acting as sovereigns of the whole country, and, in the language of sovereignty, establishing a Constitution by which it was their will that the State governments should be bound, and to which the State Constitutions should be made to conform.” — Chisholm v. Georgia, 1793

And as indicated, the state constitutions, and therefore the states, are legally bound by the Constitution. Such is an inevitable result of the supremacy of the Constitution.

" Unilateral secession was not in the constitution. There was no mechanism for such procedures as far as I know."

Wrong idea. There is nothing prohibiting secession in the Constitution and no mechanism to prohibit it as well. You've got it completely backward. The enumerated powers are the powers of the federal government. The unenumrated powers (secession) are reserved for the States. It's not that hard.
Unenumrated are not reserved to the states.

"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."

You're forgetting those last four words. Powers not enumerated are reserved to either the respective states, or to the people. The states could only retain powers they had before the Constitution. As there was no "more perfect Union" (nation established via fundamental law) before, the states could not retain any powers over it. Again, this is a social compact. The people who enact retain sovereign authority. The more perfect Union is the creation of the people. No one, including the respective states, can alter the people's Union unless specified by them via their Constitution (e.g. the Fed's power to admit new states). @Horrido67 is correct, secession would have to be specifically provided for in the Constitution in order for it to be allowed. Just like the admittance of new states had to be provided for in order to be allowed. Any changes to the Constitution, the more perfect Union, or the Fed (all established by the sovereign people of the US) that are not provided for in the Constitution are matters reserved to the sovereign people. Or, if you prefer, to the collective states ("consent of the states").
 
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