When Virginia asked for commissioner to come to Washington, Michigan said concessions and compromise are not to be entertained or offered to traitors

Philip Leigh

formerly Harvey Johnson
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"The resolutions written by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and passed by the Virginia and Kentucky legislatures in 1798-99, in opposition to the federal government's recently enacted Alien and Sedition Acts, claimed each state's right to "interpose" itself against such allegedly unconstitutional federal laws. But neither state put "interposition" into action, explained how the remedy would work, or defined when interposition could be used thereafter. South Carolina's nullifiers in 1832 and secessionists in 1860 nevertheless claimed Jefferson and Madison's concept of interposition as justification for the latter-day remedies. Madison, still alive in the 1830s, denied that his precedent would justify South Carolina's nullification of the tariff."

Source: Showdown in Virginia: The 1861 Convention and the Fate of the Union, edited by William W. Freehling and Craig M. Simpson, part 2, pg. 13, note 2.
"[Madison] lived to see the rebirth of sectionalism in 1820, and the rebirth of nullification and secession threats in 1828 and 1832. During the latter crisis he claimed that his famous Resolutions of 1798 gave no support to the doctrines of Calhoun. This was not a claim that could be defended in logic."*

* Herbert Agar, The Price of Union, (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1950), 185
 

Steve Roberts

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Madison argued that the purpose of the Virginia Resolution had been to elicit cooperation by the other states in seeking change through means provided in the Constitution, such as amendment.
Madison explained that when the Virginia Legislature passed the Virginia Resolution, the "interposition" it contemplated was "a concurring and cooperating interposition of the States, not that of a single State.

The tenor of the debates, which were ably conducted, and are understood to have been revised for the press by most, if not all, of the speakers, discloses no reference whatever to a constitutional right in an individual state, to arrest by force the operation of a law of the United States. Concert among the states for redress against the alien and sedition-laws, as acts of usurped power, was a leading sentiment; and the attainment of a concert, the immediate object of the course adopted by the legislature, which was that of inviting the other states "to concur in declaring the acts to be unconstitutional, and to co-operate by the necessary and proper measures in maintaining unimpaired the authorities, rights, and liberties reserved to the states respectively and to the people."
letter from mr. Madison to mr. Everett
https://www.constitution.org/rf/jm_18300801.htm

James Madison, in his "Advice to My Country," which he withheld until after his death, left this warning, which, he said,

may be considered as issuing from the tomb, where truth alone can be respected, and the happiness of man alone consulted ... The advice nearest my heart and deepest in my convictions is that the Union of the States be cherished and perpetuated. Let the open enemy to it be regarded as a Pandora with her box opened; and the disguised one, as the serpent creeping with his deadly wiles into Paradise.
No one familiar with the writings of Madison's last years can doubt that the deadly wiles of the serpent creeping into Paradise were comprised in the South Carolina doctrine of State Rights, with its corollaries, the right of nullification, and the right of secession. This is not less the case--indeed it is rather more so- -because South Carolina claimed (wrongly but with some plausibility) the patronage of Madison's own Virginia Resolutions of 1798. Against the allegation of this patronage Madison protested as vehemently as any Pope, Bishop, or Church Father had ever protested against an imputation of heresy. Nor can there be much doubt that the serpent himself was John C. Calhoun. https://www.loc.gov/loc/madison/jaffa-paper.html
 

unionblue

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In the Virginia Resolution of 1798, Madison discussed possible violations by the federal government on the constitutional limits of its power. He wrote that the states “have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining…the authorities, rights, and liberties pertaining to them.” Although, the resolution did not elaborate on what “interposition” entailed. However, both Madison and Jefferson agreed that the Constitution was a compact that gave the federal government only limited powers and the states maintained their fundamental sovereignty. Therefore, the powers of the federal government were limited to those that had been delegated by the states and all undelegated powers were reserved to the states.

Just trying to clarify that Madison said they could not use the resolutions to justify nullification and secession, as he plainly stated in the face of South Carolina's attempt to misconstrue his meaning.
 

unionblue

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"[Madison] lived to see the rebirth of sectionalism in 1820, and the rebirth of nullification and secession threats in 1828 and 1832. During the latter crisis he claimed that his famous Resolutions of 1798 gave no support to the doctrines of Calhoun. This was not a claim that could be defended in logic."*

* Herbert Agar, The Price of Union, (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1950), 185

Neither could unilateral secession in 1860 be defended in logic or with Madison's denial of such, hence all that shooting for the next four years.
 

unionblue

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Many of those resolutions sound like declarations of war.

Indeed, I can see why they would sound like that in response to Secession declarations, ordinances, and all the war-like acts of the Southern slaveholding States when it came to seizing forts, arsenals, dock yards, ships, federal mint and payroll, firing on the Star of the West, you know, all those things might get some dander up.
 

Potomac Pride

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Just trying to clarify that Madison said they could not use the resolutions to justify nullification and secession, as he plainly stated in the face of South Carolina's attempt to misconstrue his meaning.
Neither could unilateral secession in 1860 be defended in logic or with Madison's denial of such, hence all that shooting for the next four years.
Thanks for your comments but Madison opposed the use of force in order to hold the Union together. At the Constitutional Convention of 1787, a proposal was made to call out the military if needed to force a disobedient state to fulfill its duty. In reaction to this proposal, Madison stated “A union of the States containing such an ingredient seemed to provide for its own destruction. The use of force against a State would look more like a declaration of war than an infliction of punishment, and would probably be considered by the party attacked as a dissolution of all previous compacts by which it might be bound." Under the compact theory of the Constitution, Madison considered the coercion of the states a situation that could justify the termination of the compact. The proposal was eventually dropped by the Convention delegates.
 

Steve Roberts

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Madison opposed the use of force in order to hold the Union together.
He also opposed secession by force. He said that the only way to secede was with the consent of the other states. Interposition meant, and he said so, petition, protest, declaration, and legal legislation such as an amendment to the constitution which needed a super majority of three fourths to pass. When a state used force to secede from the union , against the majority opinion, Michigan considered it a act of treason which may be prosecuted.
 

19thGeorgia

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He also opposed secession by force. He said that the only way to secede was with the consent of the other states....
James Madison: "A rightful secession requires the consent of the others, or an abuse of the compact absolving the seceding party from the obligations imposed by it."
 

Steve Roberts

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James Madison: "A rightful secession requires the consent of the others, or an abuse of the compact absolving the seceding party from the obligations imposed by it."
Which Madison called “revolution”.
Some persons might conclude from the statement in the beginning of this letter, "A rightful secession requires the consent of the others," &c., that Mr. MADISON recognized in an extreme case the abstract right of secession now claimed by South Carolina. But by reference to his letter of March, 1833, to Mr. WEBSTER, it will be seen that he there states that "the right of secession for intolerable oppression is another name only for revolution."
 
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unionblue

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Madison' resolution nor his comments do not offer a 'back door' approval of secession nor nullification and no bits and pieces of his comments on the subject give any hint of a hidden meaning justifying such either.

He has made himself clear and that fact should be recognized, not spun into a 'maybe' or misconstrued as approval for something he clearly said was not constitutional.
 

19thGeorgia

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Which Madison called “revolution”.
Some persons might conclude from the statement in the beginning of this letter, "A rightful secession requires the consent of the others," &c., that Mr. MADISON recognized in an extreme case the abstract right of secession now claimed by South Carolina. But by reference to his letter of March, 1833, to Mr. WEBSTER, it will be seen that he there states that "the right of secession for intolerable oppression is another name only for revolution."
In the Madison letter I quote from he refers to two forms of secession and calls both "rightful."

My Madison letter is better than your Madison letter. :smile coffee:
 
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Steve Roberts

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Revolution by any other name is still revolution and must be won to be legitimate. You obviously don’t understand Madison. Michigan saw this revolution as treason.
 

Potomac Pride

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In the Madison letter I quote from he refers to two forms of secession and calls both "rightful."

My Madison letter is better than your Madison letter. :smile coffee:
The Madison letter that you quoted is a letter he wrote earlier than the one he sent to Daniel Webster. The letter was written in response to someone who had inquired if secession was legal under the Constitution. As you mentioned, he wrote in his letter "A rightful secession requires the consent of the others, or an abuse of the compact absolving the seceding party from the obligations imposed by it." The comments in his letter correspond with his belief that the Constitution was a compact among the states. Therefore, the states still retained their sovereignty and if the compact was violated then the states could withdraw from it.
 

Potomac Pride

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Revolution by any other name is still revolution and must be won to be legitimate. You obviously don’t understand Madison. Michigan saw this revolution as treason.
Most of the northern states considered the secession of the southern states as a form of treason. As I mentioned before, there was a fundamental difference between the north and south over the nature of the Constitution. The southern states considered the Constitution to be a compact which consisted of a voluntary agreement among the states to create a Union. The compact was voluntary in nature and the states retained their fundamental sovereignty which allowed them to withdraw from the Union if they so wished. However, the north considered the Union to be permanent and the states did not retain their independent sovereignty. These divergent concepts of the Constitution was one of the reasons for the Civil War.
 

Philip Leigh

formerly Harvey Johnson
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
Many of those resolutions sound like declarations of war.
Agreed. Evidently, that's what they wanted if they could not dominate American without a war. None, however, proclaimed that they objected to slavery in the states where it was legal thereby demolishing the common refrain that the war was "all about slavery" as you have repeatedly stated or implied.
 

Steve Roberts

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Most of the northern states considered the secession of the southern states as a form of treason.
And so did Madison if revolution is treason.
However, the north considered the Union to be permanent and the states did not retain their independent sovereignty.
As did Madison.

I return my thanks for the copy of your late very powerful speech in the Senate of the United States. It crushes "nullification" and must hasten an abandonment of "Secession". But this dodges the blow by confounding the claim to secede at will, with the right of seceding from intolerable oppression. The former answers itself, being a violation without cause, of a faith solemnly pledged. The latter is another name only for revolution, about which there is no theoretic controversy....
It is fortunate when disputed theories, can be decided by undisputed facts. And here the undisputed fact is, that the Constitution was made by the people, but as embodied into the several States, who were parties to it, and therefore made by the States in their highest authoritative capacity. They might by the same authority, and by the same process, have converted the Confederacy, into a mere league or treaty, or continued it with enlarged or abridged powers; or have embodied the people of their respective States into one people nation or sovereignty; or as they did, by a mixed form, make them one people, nation or sovereignty for certain purposes; and not so for others...
he also said,
“My opinion is that a reservation of a right to withdraw ... is a conditional ratification ... Compacts must be reciprocal ... The Constitution requires an adoption in toto, and for ever. It has been so adopted by the other States.”
— James Madison, letter to Alexander Hamilton (July 20, 1788)

Madison did not view the compact as dissolvable or as South Carolina saw it.
Michigan saw it as treason.

 

DanSBHawk

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Agreed. Evidently, that's what they wanted if they could not dominate American without a war. None, however, proclaimed that they objected to slavery in the states where it was legal thereby demolishing the common refrain that the war was "all about slavery" as you have repeatedly stated or implied.
The South, who started the war, declared it was all about slavery. The Union, reacting to a rebellion, didn't have any say as to what the war was "about."
 

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