When did the States lose their Sovereignty?

TerryB

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Dec 7, 2008
Location
Nashville TN
Articles

Well, that I can't agree with. What the framers were more afraid of than anything was a strong central figure crushing them individually. They saw the need for a powerful President -- and deliberately limited him by making it necessary for him to interact with Congress, particularly on treaties (the Senate) and spending (the House). They saw the need to limit what the Congress could do -- and so removed the executive power from them. They saw the need to have a check on both Congress and the President -- so they deliberately created the Supreme Court, which did not exist under the Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union. Darn smart people, or maybe just suspicious believers in the mantra of trust-but-verify.

Tim
Memory is vague on this. I know we had some sort of president under the Articles, but not an executive branch per se. The drafters of the Constitution called themselves "Federalists," a deliberate misnomer, because they wanted to sell the Constitution as a Federal Union, meaning the States were not giving up much sovereignty, but in reality, they gave up a lot. The Jeffersonians were only brought on board by the promise of a Bill of Rights. As you probably well know, each state could, and many did have an "established church" under the Constitution. It was the Supreme Court that slowly chipped away at that "state's right." When Jackson refused to enforce Worcester v Georgia in 1832, he was doing enormous damage to Native Americans, but he was on firm Constitutional grounds. It was his job to enforce or not enforce, as he saw fit. My real argument here is that 5-4 decisions of the Court are every bit as arbitrary and tyrannical as anything an executive can do. Worse, really, for those people are in there for life. I say the Court should only be allowed to rule on Constitutionality if they have a 6-3. Otherwise it only applies to the litigants, not the rest of us. I also don't think any lower court in the land should have the power to rule on Constitutionality, esp. no single judge. That really is tyranny.
 

trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
Nothing is simple. I will furnish you a book that will explain the right of secession easier than I can if you haven't already read it, which I doubt.

Is Secession Treason-Albert Bledsoe.

Then you can get back to me for discussion.

For those who might not recognize the name, Albert Bledsoe was one of the major writers of "The Lost Cause" school after the Civil War, who spent most of his war in Europe doing research for Jefferson Davis. The book Vareb is referring to here was published in 1866 originally, and was entitled Is Davis a Traitor? or Was Secession a Constitutional Right previous to the War of 1861? In 1867, Bledsoe became the founding editor of the Southern Review, and is generally considered the arch-type of an unreconstructed Rebel.

So now that we all know what you are referring to, we can proceed. We will assume you have read the book and can quickly and easily supply anything asked for from it (why else bother to bring it up?)

Where in there do you find a single verifiable exacmple of any group peacefully and legally exercising the same unilateral "right of secession" the Southern secessionists claimed in 1860-61? One that allows the secessionist to steal property, use armed force and the threat of it, etc.? Anywhere? Or nowhere? Please list at least one, or admit you have none.

And, since this is the third time in this thread I have asked you this question, will you answer? Or will you once again flee a direct question? If so, why the fear?

Tim

PS: Mr. Bledsoe appears to have felt that the victory of the Union in the Civil War had settled the matter of whether or not there was a "right of secession" in the United States. He describes it as "extinguished". He says, "... The sole object of this work is to discuss the right of secession with reference to the past; in order to vindicate the character of the South for loyalty, and to wipe off the charges of treason and rebellion from the names and memories of Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, Albert Sydney Johnston, Robert E. Lee, and of all who have fought or suffered in the great war of coercion. Admitting, then, that the right of secession no longer exists; the present work aims to show, that, however those illustrious heroes may have been aspersed by the ignorance, the prejudices, and the passions of the hour, they were, nevertheless, perfectly loyal to truth, justice, and the Constitution of 1787 as it came from the hands of the fathers." Just his opinion, of course.

Robert E. Lee held the same opinion after the war. He was familiar with Bledsoe's work (and the man himself, since Bledsoe graduated West Point in 1830 and Lee graduated in 1829. Jefferson Davis graduated in 1828, and so was also familiar with Bledsoe.

Tim
 

Freddy

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Dec 19, 2006
Location
Worcester, MA
For your information, so far to date, you or anyone else has shown me a law that says secession is illegal.
An Act of Congress or federal law could not forbid state secession. However, an amendment to the US Constitution could forbid state secession.

As of this date state secession of a US state is ilegal per Texas v. White 1869, a SCOTUS decision that said state secession was unconstitutional and that decision remains binding.
 

timewalker

Cadet
Joined
Jan 7, 2008
Location
Flower Mound, Texas
An Act of Congress or federal law could not forbid state secession. However, an amendment to the US Constitution could forbid state secession.

As of this date state secession of a US state is ilegal per Texas v. White 1869, a SCOTUS decision that said state secession was unconstitutional and that decision remains binding.

And since the decision was based on the Constitution and the law prior to the Civil War, then secession was always illegal, if we believe the Supreme Court.

Supposedly, if the Supreme Court examined this question in 1800 as opposed to 1869, it would have reached the same concusion. Of course, this is not perfectly true. But one can certainly argue that, based on the reasoning of Texas v. White, that secession is and always was illegal and unconstitutional.

If you want to convince me that secession was legal or constitutional, show me that the Supreme Court got it wrong. Not your mere opinion, but a cogent legal argument with proper legal citations.
 

Vareb

Banned
Joined
Jul 2, 2008
Location
Shenandoah Valle
For those who might not recognize the name, Albert Bledsoe was one of the major writers of "The Lost Cause" school after the Civil War, who spent most of his war in Europe doing research for Jefferson Davis. The book Vareb is referring to here was published in 1866 originally, and was entitled Is Davis a Traitor? or Was Secession a Constitutional Right previous to the War of 1861? In 1867, Bledsoe became the founding editor of the Southern Review, and is generally considered the arch-type of an unreconstructed Rebel.

So now that we all know what you are referring to, we can proceed. We will assume you have read the book and can quickly and easily supply anything asked for from it (why else bother to bring it up?)

Where in there do you find a single verifiable exacmple of any group peacefully and legally exercising the same unilateral "right of secession" the Southern secessionists claimed in 1860-61? One that allows the secessionist to steal property, use armed force and the threat of it, etc.? Anywhere? Or nowhere? Please list at least one, or admit you have none.

And, since this is the third time in this thread I have asked you this question, will you answer? Or will you once again flee a direct question? If so, why the fear?

Tim

PS: Mr. Bledsoe appears to have felt that the victory of the Union in the Civil War had settled the matter of whether or not there was a "right of secession" in the United States. He describes it as "extinguished". He says, "... The sole object of this work is to discuss the right of secession with reference to the past; in order to vindicate the character of the South for loyalty, and to wipe off the charges of treason and rebellion from the names and memories of Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, Albert Sydney Johnston, Robert E. Lee, and of all who have fought or suffered in the great war of coercion. Admitting, then, that the right of secession no longer exists; the present work aims to show, that, however those illustrious heroes may have been aspersed by the ignorance, the prejudices, and the passions of the hour, they were, nevertheless, perfectly loyal to truth, justice, and the Constitution of 1787 as it came from the hands of the fathers." Just his opinion, of course.

Robert E. Lee held the same opinion after the war. He was familiar with Bledsoe's work (and the man himself, since Bledsoe graduated West Point in 1830 and Lee graduated in 1829. Jefferson Davis graduated in 1828, and so was also familiar with Bledsoe.

Tim

Have you read it?
 

Freddy

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Dec 19, 2006
Location
Worcester, MA
Here is the relevant part of Texas v White 1868, a 5-3 SCOTUS decision. This is the only opinion that counts concerning secession until overturned or an amendment. Americans may agree or disagree with this decision, but it is the law of the land.

"The Constitution, in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union, composed of indestructible States. [SIZE=-1][74 U.S. 700, 726] [/SIZE]When, therefore, Texas became one of the United States, she entered into an indissoluble relation. All the obligations of perpetual union, and all the guaranties of republican government in the Union, attached at once to the State. The act which consummated her admission into the Union was something more than a compact; it was the incorporation of a new member into the political body. And it was final. The union between Texas and the other States was as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble as the union between the original States. There was no place for reconsideration, or revocation, except through revolution, or through consent of the States. Considered therefore 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 effect to that ordinance, were absolutely null. They were utterly without operation in law."
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
I came across a story in the Galveston Daily News that copied the New York Sun, printed on Oct 1, 1878. The "Sun" story ran on Sept 22 of that year. It uses the term "peace commissioners" in reference to the negotiations going on before the war broke out. It's an eye-opener. They assert that Lincoln had no confidence in the North's determination to fight a war, so he decided to draft a document that would tacitly recognize the Confederacy. Mary Todd Lincoln's brother Dr. Todd, lived at the White House, and he got a copy of the document and passed it to Gov. Pickens of SC. The story said that the original document was in the widow Pickens' home to that day. Fort Sumter changed the game, and the document was forgotten. Don't know if I believe it, but they do use the phrase you gentlemen reference.

TerryB,

I stand corrected.

But may I interject an observation?

This is the newspaper's terms for the commissioners, and not the term applied to them by themselves or the Confederate officials who sent them to Washington.

But I must bow to the evidence you have provided and retract my earlier statement that they were "never" described as such, as you have clearly shown, they were.

Sincerely,
Unionblue
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
Gee, Unionblue. I only understand what I read!

No, Vareb, it is plainly evident for all to see, you only understand the words in the way you want to and then, only the very few ones you choose to understand.

The words were said.

This is where you and our mutual friend, historicus, always seem to get it wrong, in my view, far more words were said that would give clear meaning to the entire document.

But as usual, a word or sentence or paragraph, must be cherry-picked and presented in lone, misrepresented isolation in order for it to be as you want it to mean. Every time I see a fragment or segment, I know it has been used to distort an entire document's meaning. When "proof" can only be provided by reducing, subtracting, diminishing, hiding, etc., it can automatically deduced by such actions the real meaning has been twisted and distorted as to make it a dishonest deception of actual history. It smacks mightly of desperation and deliberate distortion at the expense of that historical fact.


It was voted on that way.

No, it was voted on for the meaning of the ENTIRE document, and if you were honest with yourself, you could admit this.

If they were not meant to say what they said, they wouldn't have been there, right? It really gets a little tiresome getting in a discussion when all that turns up is 'out of context' as an opinion.

Then don't support segments of documents out-of-context and you won't be involved in these "tiresome" discussions.

All I'm saying is have the guts to present the entire document in question so ALL can view it and decide for themselves what the original documents intent was. What you and historicus seem to advocate is when a person shows up for a job interview, you would only give his age, height, weight, and the color of his eyes, and then neglect the history that the man has been in jail for stealing at his other jobs he was fired from. The information was there, right? He was hired, right? Perhaps out-of-context, but what's the big deal, right?


It was written and voted on the way it was and the way it reads. Nothing else.

That's what you want folks to think, but you really don't see the importance of presenting the entire document in context, do you? Its a lot more than "nothing else."

The reason it was there does not matter to me one iota.

I know and here is where you are flat-out wrong. Just because you cling desperately to a lone segment that supports your own view doesn't mean it does not matter to everyone else.

It was there, it was voted on, it said and meant what was written. Just get over it.

And by this statement, we are to understand that FULL debate and FULL disclosure of a document in question has no real meaning for you, just the parts you lift that support your personal view. Sorry, Vareb, there's no "getting over" that. That's just wrong.

It shows at that time in history, that states were considered Sovereign.

Yes, at the adoption of the Constitution, which you fail to recognize, for you only concentrate on the words you think support your version of state sovereignty. Even Jefferson Davis inserted those words to show when this was, but even you deny your own advice "it said and meant what was written" by ignoring even what was said, meant, and written by the very man who WROTE the resolutions in the first place.

End of story.

Nope, just the same old one, used over and over again, that of cut, snip, detract, cherry-pic, and hide.

You can go ahead and bend it to suit yourself.

I never could understand how wanting to show an ENTIRE document or source (to everyone in the forum) could be considered "bending" to suit myself.

You will never convince me otherwise.

One can always hope, but in my view, it will take a full presentation of facts, not just selected bits of them, to do so.

:smile: Have a good day.

And you too, Vareb.:wink:

Sincerely,
Unionblue
 

TerryB

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Dec 7, 2008
Location
Nashville TN
Not a problem

TerryB,

I stand corrected.

But may I interject an observation?

This is the newspaper's terms for the commissioners, and not the term applied to them by themselves or the Confederate officials who sent them to Washington.

But I must bow to the evidence you have provided and retract my earlier statement that they were "never" described as such, as you have clearly shown, they were.

Sincerely,
Unionblue

Unionblue, you are an officer and a gentleman. I'm just mostly observing here, because the debate about the legality of secession seems a moot point. But it is very unlike Lincoln to draft a plan to recognize it, assuming he thought the North would not go to war over it. I can see him making a ploy in that direction, but not really meaning it.

A final thought: we had no legal right to "secede" from Great Britain, either, but we did have a legal brief, mentioned in the Declaration. Our argument was always that we were not represented in Parliament, and their counter-argument was that we were "virtually' represented. We sent the king an "Olive Branch Petition," which he refused to read. Do I see Jeff Davis and Abe Lincoln here? If we had lost, the correct term to describe us would have been "rebels" instead of patriots. We were technically guilty of treason.
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
Unionblue, you are an officer and a gentleman.

Bless you, TerryB, but I am neither. I was a soldier and a sergeant and I never was considered a "gentleman" in a bar fight. I used what ever was handy and had no belief in the mistaken theory that there was anything called a "fair" fight.:smile:

But I understand where you are coming from and much appreciate it. If I am wrong, I am wrong, and have no trouble saying so. I just sincerely appreciate the chance to teach, and to learn, as I have done from you concerning this subject.

I'm just mostly observing here, because the debate about the legality of secession seems a moot point. But it is very unlike Lincoln to draft a plan to recognize it, assuming he thought the North would not go to war over it. I can see him making a ploy in that direction, but not really meaning it.

I understand your view here.

A final thought: we had no legal right to "secede" from Great Britain, either, but we did have a legal brief, mentioned in the Declaration. Our argument was always that we were not represented in Parliament, and their counter-argument was that we were "virtually' represented. We sent the king an "Olive Branch Petition," which he refused to read. Do I see Jeff Davis and Abe Lincoln here? If we had lost, the correct term to describe us would have been "rebels" instead of patriots. We were technically guilty of treason.

And we were Legally guilty of treason, no ifs, ands, or buts about it, Declaration of Independence, Olive Branch Petitition, or no, we were rebels, period.

IMO.:wink:

Sincerely,
Unionblue
 

TerryB

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Dec 7, 2008
Location
Nashville TN
Treason

And we were Legally guilty of treason, no ifs, ands, or buts about it, Declaration of Independence, Olive Branch Petitition, or no, we were rebels, period.

IMO.:wink:

Sincerely,
Unionblue


I agree. Some in the militias investing Boston prior to the Declaration had started calling themselves the Parliamentary forces, in order to express their contention that they only had a beef against the king. It's a sort of legal parsing of words.
 

mobile_96

First Sergeant
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ill.

OpnDownfall

Cadet
Joined
Aug 28, 2006
CW1865, answered the question at, almost, the very beginning of this thread. The states have never lost their sovereignty(although, in fact, also noted by CW1865, the extent of tha, sovereignty has sadly eroded over time)
Whatever sovereignty, maintained by the states, at any particular point in time, is enjoyed equally by all the states under the Constitution.
 

Scribe

Cadet
Joined
May 9, 2008
Location
St. Louis, Mo
CW1865, answered the question at, almost, the very beginning of this thread. The states have never lost their sovereignty(although, in fact, also noted by CW1865, the extent of tha, sovereignty has sadly eroded over time)
Whatever sovereignty, maintained by the states, at any particular point in time, is enjoyed equally by all the states under the Constitution.

Saying the states have lost a little bit of their sovereignty is akin to saying a woman has lost a little bit of her virginity.

IMO, the states (minus the obvious exceptions... Texas, Hawaii) were never fully, truly sovereign as sovereign nations are sovereign. The came closest under the AoC, but it was still close but no cigar.
 

trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
CW1865, answered the question at, almost, the very beginning of this thread. The states have never lost their sovereignty(although, in fact, also noted by CW1865, the extent of tha, sovereignty has sadly eroded over time)
Whatever sovereignty, maintained by the states, at any particular point in time, is enjoyed equally by all the states under the Constitution.

True enough, but more accurately, those that had it before they became states in the Union voluntarily limited their sovereignty to become part of the Union.

Why did they do that? They did it in order to gain other things they valued more or believed they could not attain otherwise. For example: greater security and prosperity, the protection of their existence and rights, etc.

As for states like FL, AL, MS, LA, TN, KY, AR, MO, OH, IN, IL, IA, KS, NE, MN, MI, WS, etc. -- they never had it before they became states in the Union, receiving their "state sovereignty" as a gift from the United States with the understanding they would join in the Perpetual Union.

Tim
 
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