Restricted Was the Corwin Amendment “Ironclad”

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Patrick Sulley

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What "ironclad amendment"???
The Corwin Amendment in it's text prohibited another amendment from overturning it. An unamendable amendment is as ironclad as one can get. Agreed?

The operative section of the Corwin Amendment states:

"No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.”

what will really blow your mind? the amendment was passed thru both houses of congress and is still active and will never go away. What would happen if 3/4 states in the future decide to ratify it? would it override the 13th? It's the only amendment i have ever heard of that if passed would be unamendable.
 
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NedBaldwin

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The Corwin Amendment in it's text prohibited another amendment from overturning it.
No it did not

An unamendable amendment is as ironclad as one can get. Agreed?
Even if it was unamendable (which it wasnt), an unratified amendment has no force of law, so its irrelevant and not ironclad.
But say it was ratified, was it that powerful? I doubt it. It didnt constrain the powers of the president or any existing powers of congress or the judicial system or of other states. It resolved nothing about fugitive slaves or abolitionist mail, etc that had been trigger points prior to the war.

The operative section of the Corwin Amendment states:

"No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.”

what will really blow your mind? the amendment was passed thru both houses of congress and is still active and will never go away. What would happen if 3/4 states in the future decide to ratify it? would it override the 13th? It's the only amendment i have ever heard of that if passed would be unamendable.
Nothing in it says its unamendable

To override the 13th, there would have to some supreme court determinations that (1) it could apply to prior amendments (if ratified now it would come after the 13th and doesnt "shall me made" imply future amendments?) and (2) that the 13th didnt abolish slavery itself (not covered by the Corwin amendment) but rather authorized or gave Congress the power to abolish slavery (the only criteria covered by the amendment)
 

Patrick Sulley

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Even if it was unamendable (which it wasnt), an unratified amendment has no force of law, so its irrelevant and not ironclad.
But say it was ratified, was it that powerful? I doubt it. It didnt constrain the powers of the president or any existing powers of congress or the judicial system or of other states. It resolved nothing about fugitive slaves or abolitionist mail, etc that had been trigger points prior to the war.
i didnt say it was ratified..i said it was offered...why would they ratify it if the south rejected it?

NedBaldwin said:
"It didnt constrain the powers of the president or any existing powers of congress or the judicial system or of other states."

An amendment to the constitution absolutely puts constraints on all of the above. For instance, the 1st amendment...the powers of the president nor any existing powers of congress nor the judicial system nor of other states can infringe on your right of free speech.


NedBaldwin said:
To override the 13th, there would have to some supreme court determinations that (1) it could apply to prior amendments (if ratified now it would come after the 13th and doesnt "shall me made" imply future amendments?) and (2) that the 13th didnt abolish slavery itself (not covered by the Corwin amendment) but rather authorized or gave Congress the power to abolish slavery (the only criteria covered by the amendment)
note that i said "would it do away with the 13th?"...not "it would do away with the 13th." the question mark should have been a clue.

NedBaldwin said:
Nothing in it says its unamendable
"No amendment shall be made to the Constitution.."
Proposed Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, March 2, 1861

www.freedmen.umd.edu › amendre

"A proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution in March 1861 would have prohibited any 'subsequent amendment' abolishing or otherwise ..."

"no amendment" means unamendable...and it's very clearly right there.

Yeah, it kinda did....see the first words of the text provided.
 
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NedBaldwin

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i didnt say it was ratified..i said it was offered...why would they ratify it if the south rejected it?
You said "Slavery would have been protected by an ironclad amendment if they would have stayed " but the amendment was never ratified so it would not protect anything if they would have stayed.


An amendment to the constitution absolutely puts constraints on all of the above.
An Amendment, like other parts of the Constitution, only puts constraints on what it says it puts contraints on.
The Corwin amendment put constraints on future amendments that gave new powers to Congress.

For instance, the 1st amendment...the powers of the president nor any existing powers of congress nor the judicial system nor of other states can infringe on your right of free speech.
The first was only extended to states because of the Supreme Court interpretation of the 14th amendment.



"No amendment shall be made to the Constitution.." "no amendment" means unamendable...and it's very clearly right there and in English
the English meaning of that amendment does not say it is unamendable.
It says that it restricts future amendments of certain form - ones that grant new powers to congress. Very clear.
 

Patrick Sulley

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You said "Slavery would have been protected by an ironclad amendment if they would have stayed " but the amendment was never ratified so it would not protect anything if they would have stayed.
the key part of the comment..."if they stayed" (more accurately if they returned...but ok), then it would have been ratified....or so the story goes

It not only was offered, but Lincoln agreed to it/supported it. "I have no objection to its being made express and IRREVOCABLE (emphasis mine).”

So you have both houses of congress and the newly elected President and 15 Slave states that were a yes (if they accepted the offer) vote toward ratification. 15 of 33 states. You only needed 3/4 of the 33.

Wouldnt be a stretch to assume that it would have been ratified.
 
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Patrick Sulley

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the English meaning of that amendment does not say it is unamendable.
It says that it restricts future amendments of certain form - ones that grant new powers to congress. Very clear.
congress?....first it would have to pass a resolution by 3/4 of both houses before being sent to the states...the Corwin amendment (once ratified) would prohibit congress from taking up a resolution to revoke the C.A....very clear.. effectively prohibiting any future amendments abolishing this one...by definition...unamendable
 
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Patrick Sulley

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"No amendment shall be made to the Constitution" is qualified by "which will authorize or give to Congress the power to to abolish or interfere .... " Says nothing about repeal
The Corwin Amendment has three notable features: (1) constitutional slavery; (2) congressional debilitation; and (3) entrenchment. First, the Corwin Amendment proposes to protect the institution of slavery by leaving to each of the states the power to regulate what happens with the “domestic institutions,” namely slavery, within its borders. Second, the Corwin Amendment proposes to secure the states’ right to practice slavery by dispossessing Congress of the power to “abolish or interfere” with slavery. Third, the Corwin Amendment proposes to entrench itself in a special way: by precluding any amendment to it. I.E. ironclad
 
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NedBaldwin

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ok, i will bite...how would they skirt this Amendment when congress is nullified by it on this issue
Corwin Amendment forbid future amendments giving Congress new power.
So find ways to use existing powers, or Presidential action, or State action or court rulings.
All the complaints in South Carolina's declaration were about activities that hadnt needed an Amendment grating new power to Congress. None of them went away with the Corwin Amendment.
 

Patrick Sulley

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So find ways to use existing powers, or Presidential action, or State action or court rulings
it would be unconstitutional to allow a President to pass laws, states are prohibited from over ruling an amendment by the supremacy clause so cant force other states to comply with their laws but of course a state can make slavery illegal in their state..which is the entire point of the C. A....leave it up to the states and courts apply existing law or interpret them and can not subvert an amendment....in fact when case law is challenged it can be overturned by an amendment not the reverse. the above "powers" are powerless to interfere.
 
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NedBaldwin

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it would be unconstitutional to allow a President to pass laws, states are prohibited from over ruling an amendment by the supremacy clause so cant force other states to comply with their laws but of course a state can make slavery illegal in their state..which is the entire point of the C. A....leave it up to the states and courts apply existing law or interpret them and can not subvert an amendment....in fact when case law is challenged it can be overturned by an amendment not the reverse. the above "powers" are powerless to interfere.
Never said anything about the President passing laws.
Never said anything about a State over ruling an Amendment.

You didnt respond to this "All the complaints in South Carolina's declaration were about activities that hadnt needed an Amendment grating new power to Congress.."

South Carolina delcared that "For twenty-five years this agitation has been steadily increasing, until it has now secured to its aid the power of the common Government. Observing the forms of the Constitution, a sectional party has found within that Article establishing the Executive Department, the means of subverting the Constitution itself. A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that "Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free," and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction.

This sectional combination for the submersion of the Constitution, has been aided in some of the States by elevating to citizenship, persons who, by the supreme law of the land, are incapable of becoming citizens; and their votes have been used to inaugurate a new policy, hostile to the South, and destructive of its beliefs and safety.

On the 4th day of March next, this party will take possession of the Government. It has announced that the South shall be excluded from the common territory, that the judicial tribunals shall be made sectional, and that a war must be waged against slavery until it shall cease throughout the United States."

All that WITHOUT an Amendment granting new power to Congress - so none of the above would be constrained by the Corwin Amendment, which only limited future Amendments granting new power to Congress. So why would this silly Amendment make them take it all back?
 
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Horrido67

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Slavery would have been protected by an ironclad amendment if they would have stayed...hard to argue "to protect slavery" by seceding when staying would have accomplished that goal....must have been another reason
What is this ironclad amendment? I am sure you know that Lincoln campaigned to stop the spread of slavery in 1860 and there is even a reference to this topic from the very address you referenced.
 

Horrido67

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this subject was extensively discussed above...feel free to look at it.
Again, thanks for your suggestion. However, I still don't understand why you referred the Corwin amendment as an "ironclad amendment". It wouldn't protect slavery in Federal territories and Lincoln campaigned to ban the practice in Federal territories. Would you explain why it was an "ironclad amendment"?
 
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