Where in the US Constitution does it say that Lincoln was granted the legal authority to initiate a military invasion against the southern states ?

ivanj05

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 8, 2015
The duly elected state governments were legitimate authorities in their respective jurisdictions and none of the states had ever renounced their right to secession from the union at the time of the constitutional convention. Three states in particular (New York, Virginia and Rhode Island) had actually demanded the right to secession in writing before they agreed to ratify the new constitution. The federal government was created by the states and not vice versa. The federal government was delegated certain limited powers by the individual states which had created the federal government, and these limited powers are delineated in the body of the updated version of the US Constitution that went into effect in the year 1789.

From the Treaty of Annexation of Texas, I quote...

"The Republic of Texas, acting in conformity with the wishes of the people and every department of its government, cedes to the United States all its territories, to be held by them in full property and sovereignty, and to be annexed to the said United States as one of their Territories, subject to the same constitutional provisions with their other Territories. This cession includes all public lots and squares, vacant lands, mines, minerals, salt lakes and springs, public edifices, fortifications, barracks, ports and harbours, navy and navy-yards, docks, magazines, arms, armaments and accoutrements, archives and public documents, public funds debts, taxes and dues unpaid at the time of the exchange of the ratifications of this treaty." (emphasis mine)

Now, note very clearly here that Texas is in joining the United States, ceding to the U.S "all its territories" in "full property and sovereignty". There is no claim here of Texas retaining any residual sovereignty, and no provision for Texas to reclaim its full sovereignty at any later date. Now, if all states are equal under the Constitution, and Texas, the one state that was truly and indisputably independent prior to its admission, was required to relinquish its full sovereignty as a prerequisite for admission to the Union, then how do any of the states have the power to do what you are suggesting?
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2018
The United States isn't invading itself when suppressing lawless outbreaks, rebels and banditti.
Buchanan made a gentleman's agreement with the South Carolina "peace" commssioners that had no force of law and that Lincoln had no obligation to honor it. You also missing the fact that Buchanan warned them what would happen if Fort Sumter was attacked;

"This brings me to a consideration of the nature of those alleged pledges, and in what manner they have been observed. In my message of the third of December last, I stated, in regard to the property of the United States in South Carolina, that it “has been purchased for a fair equivalent ‘by the consent of the Legislature of the State,’ ‘for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals,’ &c., and over these the authority ‘to exercise exclusive legislation’ has been expressly granted by the Constitution to Congress. It is not believed that any attempt will be made to expel the United States from this property by force; but if in this I should prove to be mistaken, the officer in command of the forts has received orders to act strictly on the defensive. In such a contingency, the responsibility for hadconsequences would rightfully rest upon the heads of the assailants.”
Reply of the President to the Commissioners 30th December, 1860
There would have been no ((((defensive)))) firing on the fort had it not been for the deliberate engagement of subterfuge on the part of Lincoln when he ordered a small fleet of warships to menace the coastline of South Carolina.

Admittedly it was a major blunder when Gen. Beauregard opened fire on Fort Sumter because it provided Lincoln with the pretext that he was looking for to drum up support for his intended war of aggression against the fledgling Confederacy.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Mar 15, 2018
The people of the states that became the Confederacy voted for delegates to go to the state capitols to discuss the relationship of their states with the national government. Many of the elected delegates were Unionists. While there were majority votes in the resulting conventions for secession there was substantial opposition to secession in the conventions. Was secession then truly the will of the people? In the great Democracy of the the Sothern Confederacy, only three states - Virginia, Tennessee, and Texas - submitted their ordnances of secession to the voters in referendums:

Texas: The referendum was conducted on 23 February 1861, passing 46,153 to 14,747. One of those who disagreed strongly with succession was former governor Sam Huston. He refused allegiance to the Confederacy and in a prescient speech in Galveston on 19 April said:

“Let me tell you what is coming. After the sacrifice of countless millions of treasure and hundreds of thousands of lives, you may win Southern independence if God be not against you, but I doubt it. I will tell you that, while I believe with you in the doctrine of states’ rights, the North is determined to preserve this Union. They are not a fiery, impulsive people as you are, for they live in colder climates. But when they begin to move in a given direction, they move with the steady momentum and perseverance of a mighty avalanche; and what I fear is, they will overwhelm the South.”

Virginia: The Ordnance of Succession was not ratified by the people until a referendum on 23 May, wherein it passed by 132,201 to 37,451. But, in the western counties that would ultimately form the state of West Virginia, the vote was 34,677 against and 19,121 in favor of ratification. The western counties subsequently seceded from both Virginia and the Confederacy.

Tennessee: The 8 June referendum affirmed the Ordnance of Secession by a vote of 104, 913 to 47,238. East Tennessee voted solidly Unionist and there were reports of interference with the vote in middle and western Tennessee.

At no time was the Confederate constitution submitted to a referendum of the people of the Confederacy, and consequently it cannot be said to represent the will of the Southern people. The planter aristocracy would not have wanted to submit their will to a vote of the plebians. By contrast, the U.S. Constitution was submitted to the states for ratification following its formulation. For every state admitted to the Union since ratification of the Constitution two things had to occur: Congress had to vote in favor of the admission and the prospective state had to accept the provisions of the Constitution.

With regard to your posts, if you are going to go to a gun fight go armed.

Regards,
Don Dixon
It wasn’t possible to fit all of “the people” into the confines of a small convention hall and that explains why delegates were necessary. Using the same type of blatant illogic that you appear to be using we can also call into question the legitimacy of the US Constitution. We cannot say with absolute certainty that the delegates who voted to ratify the constitution were truly expressing the will of “the people” either because it simply wasn’t possible for all of “the people” to have been present at the constitutional convention.
 
Last edited:

John S. Carter

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 15, 2017
The president has the constitutional duty to suppress rebellion (insurrection) as the commander and chief when directed by congress. Full stop.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/articlei#section8

“The Federal Government may call out the militia in case of civil war; its authority to suppress rebellion is found in the power to suppress insurrection and to carry on war.”

https://constitution.congress.gov/browse/essay/artI_S8_C15_1/

As Marse Robert said, secession is nothing but revolution:

“I hope, therefore, that all constitutional means will be exhausted before there is a resort to force. Secession is nothing but revolution. The framers of our Constitution never exhausted so much labour, wisdom, and forbearance in its formation, and surrounded it with so many guards and securities, if it was intended to be broken by every member of the Confederacy at will.”

Col Lee to his son Rooney - it’s pretty clear that Lee felt that unilateral secession was unconstitutional (illegal) and nothing but revolution. Only when Virginia seceded and the die was already cast did he figure his duty was first to his state. Those who try to clothe unilateral secession in some sort of constitutional legitimacy are in disagreement with none other than Robert Edward Lee.

https://leefamilyarchive.org/reference/essays/rachal/index.html
There is the unwritten Constitution which Presidents call upon at times. It is history of past presidents experience which are similar to an experience that the present President is facing. With Lincoln it was not just his oath of office as to the Constitution but there was Washington against the Whiskey Rebellion ,Jefferson with the Barbery Pirates ,and Jackson against Nullification act with S. Carolina.
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2018
False. Lets stick to actual history.

Was it?
Clearly Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, etc were created by acts of the Federal Government.
So the only question is how the original states became states. At the start of 1776 they were colonies. During the middle part of the year, the Continental Congress instructed the Colonies to adopt new governments, declared independence for all of them, and resolved that they were now the United States.


At last one thing we agree on. EDIT: Reread this and we dont agree. The
federal government was delegated certain limited powers by the PEOPLE, not by the individual states

None of my questions were answered
There were 13 original colonies, and these original colonies were eventually transformed into sovereign states. The central or federal government was created later on as a byproduct of these original states when they agreed to adopt the Articles of Confederation, and later when they voted to ratify the US Constitution.
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2018
There is the unwritten Constitution which Presidents call upon at times. It is history of past presidents experience which are similar to an experience that the present President is facing. With Lincoln it was not just his oath of office as to the Constitution but there was Washington against the Whiskey Rebellion ,Jefferson with the Barbery Pirates ,and Jackson against Nullification act with S. Carolina.
Under the principles that were outlined in the Declaration of Independence it’s the moral duty of ((((“the people”)))) to break away from a political arrangement which has become intolerable to them, and the central government has no legal standing to suppress the assertion of this right.

You are conflating the suppression of the will to self-determination with putting down pirates on the high seas, etc,, and this is nothing more and nothing less than pure “bunkum” on your part.
 

NedBaldwin

Major
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Location
California
There were 13 original colonies, and these original colonies were eventually transformed into sovereign states. The central or federal government was created later on as a byproduct of these original states when they agreed to adopt the Articles of Confederation, and later when they voted to ratify the US Constitution.
"eventually transformed into sovereign states" - yes by a Declaration of Independence enacted by the central government that already existed
 

DanSBHawk

Captain
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
Under the principles that were outlined in the Declaration of Independence it’s the moral duty of ((((“the people”)))) to break away from a political arrangement which has become intolerable to them, and the central government has no legal standing to suppress the assertion of this right.
"No legal standing to suppress?"

Do you honestly believe revolution is legal?
 

Irishtom29

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 21, 2008
Location
Kent, Washington
Under the principles that were outlined in the Declaration of Independence it’s the moral duty of ((((“the people”)))) to break away from a political arrangement which has become intolerable to them, and the central government has no legal standing to suppress the assertion of this right.

So then, do you think a rebellion of the enslaved against their oppressors is as justified as a rebellion of slave owners against a government that might free the enslaved?
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
Gentlemen,

Be very careful here when making your replies to the OP of this thread.

You are arguing faith, not facts or sources nor any documentation that supports the OPs view.

Faith requires no facts, no evidence, no verifiable sources, hence no satisfactory replies, no data to check, no history to research, just a firm, stubborn, unshakable BELIEF.

While I salute all who have used sources that can be verified and that provide useful, historical, information, I caution those who have done so not to be discouraged or impatient. You are all providing a valuable service to all who come here and read this thread on this forum.

I thank you for that and your ability not to compromise or give up on actual, historical events in countering a false theory that continues to be thrown up on this and other forums.

Again, your efforts are appreciated.

Sincerely,
Unionblue
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
President Buchanan made assurances that no effort would be undertaken to reinforce Fort Sumter in South Carolina and Fort Pickens in Pensacola. Lincoln reneged on those assurances when he sent an armada of warships into Charleston Harbor.

Nope, he didn't.

Anyone remember that note Lincoln sent to Gov. Pickens about the effort to resupply Ft. Sumter and NOT to throw in troops if it was permitted to be carried out?
 

atlantis

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 12, 2016
Maybe Lincoln should have made his offer to President Davis since by that time SC was part of the confederacy.
 

atlantis

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 12, 2016
What muddies the water is the definition of rebellion and insurrection as understood by the authors of the constitution. We simply do not know for certain how they felt about delegates elected by voters in a convention enacting an ordinance of secession. The constitution is silent on secession and since a state withdrawing from the union doesn't end the constitution is it permissible for a state to secede. Since the USA is called a union I assume states can leave since that has been the nature of other political unions thru out history.
If federal property does not revert to seceding states then Lincoln had authority to respond to seizure or attack on federal property. It would be helpful if the constitution was amended to establish a clear method of secession otherwise history will repeat at some point.
 

NedBaldwin

Major
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Location
California
What muddies the water is the definition of rebellion and insurrection as understood by the authors of the constitution. We simply do not know for certain how they felt about delegates elected by voters in a convention enacting an ordinance of secession. The constitution is silent on secession and since a state withdrawing from the union doesn't end the constitution is it permissible for a state to secede. Since the USA is called a union I assume states can leave since that has been the nature of other political unions thru out history.
If federal property does not revert to seceding states then Lincoln had authority to respond to seizure or attack on federal property. It would be helpful if the constitution was amended to establish a clear method of secession otherwise history will repeat at some point.
The only think muddying the clear water of the Constitution is the dirt thrown by comments like this.

We know exactly what the authors of the constitution felt about people in one state passing an ordinance since the authors put in a clause about how the Constitution, federal laws and federal treaties would supreme over an ordinance from any state
 

atlantis

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 12, 2016
The only think muddying the clear water of the Constitution is the dirt thrown by comments like this.

We know exactly what the authors of the constitution felt about people in one state passing an ordinance since the authors put in a clause about how the Constitution, federal laws and federal treaties would supreme over an ordinance from any state
I suggest you read the 10th amendment. The founding fathers were traitors and rebels themselves so who knows what thoughts, emotions they had as they created a new nation.
 

NedBaldwin

Major
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Location
California
I suggest you read the 10th amendment. The founding fathers were traitors and rebels themselves so who knows what thoughts, emotions they had as they created a new nation.
I’ve read it. Wha about it?
Several of them were prolific writers so we know what they thought.

the mud in the water is from modern commentators who can’t accept that secession was and is illegal
 

atlantis

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 12, 2016
I’ve read it. Wha about it?
Several of them were prolific writers so we know what they thought.

the mud in the water is from modern commentators who can’t accept that secession was and is illegal
Ned why would any political entity enter into a union it could not leave, it is unheard of. If there is no right of secession than we are simply an empire. When a territory is admitted to statehood it is elevated in status to one among equals with as much right to leave the union as NY, Virginia or Rhode Island.
 

NedBaldwin

Major
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Location
California
Ned why would any political entity enter into a union it could not leave, it is unheard of.
It is quite heard of.

If there is no right of secession than we are simply an empire.
No idea what you mean by that. If there is a right of secession then we are a union of sand

When a territory is admitted to statehood it is elevated in status to one among equals with as much right to leave the union as NY, Virginia or Rhode Island.
In other words, zero right to do so unilaterally (which is what NY, VA or RI have).
 
I suggest you read the 10th amendment. The founding fathers were traitors and rebels themselves so who knows what thoughts, emotions they had as they created a new nation.

As early as 1810, there were indications from the Supreme Court on which side of unilateral secession they would have stood. John Marshall, a Virginian, a Founding Father and the third Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, formed much of his ideology from first hand experience during the Revolutionary War with the shortcomings of a weak central government made up of individual sovereigns under the Articles of Confederation and how it almost led to the failure of the colonies to gain independence and retain that independence once it was won. His views would meld into a belief that a state or its people could not act unilaterally when it affected the Federal government and this belief would ingeminate in various decisions he rendered as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Early cases before the Marshall led Supreme Court, although not related to secession, would lay the foundation for future cases based on sovereignty and unilateral state action to include secession if one found its way before the Court. The legal right of unilateral secession of course was based on the belief that the states retained total sovereignty and the Union was a compact of these sovereign states. The Marshall led Supreme Court posited as early as 1810 in Fletcher v. Peck that a state did not retain its true sovereignty for it did not enter the Union on its own...it needed the consent of the other states to become part of the Union. In the Court's opinion Chief Justice Marshall wrote that "Georgia cannot be viewed as a single, unconnected, sovereign power, on whose legislature no other restrictions are imposed than may be found in its own constitution. She is a part of a large empire; she is a member of the American union; and that union has a constitution the supremacy of which all acknowledge, and which imposes limits to the legislatures of the several states, which none claim a right to pass."

Extrapolating on Marshall's majority opinion, conversely, if a state wanted to leave the Union, it must have the consent of the other states that form the Union.

In the 1819 case of McCullock v. Maryland before the Marshall Court, the Chief Justice again opined for the majority that a state gave up its sovereignty to act unilaterally once it entered the Union:
"[t]he assent of the States in their sovereign capacity is implied in calling a convention, and thus submitting that instrument to the people. But the people were at perfect liberty to accept or reject it, and their act was final. It required not the affirmance, and could not be negatived, by the State Governments. The Constitution, when thus adopted, was of complete obligation, and bound the State sovereignties."

The Marshall Court indirectly addressed unilateral secession in the 1821 case of Cohens v. Virginia. The Chief Justice once again wrote the majority opinion and stated in part:
"It is very true that whenever hostility to the existing system shall become universal, it will be also irresistible. The people made the Constitution, and the people can unmake it. It is the creature of their will, and lives only by their will. But this supreme and irresistible power to make or to unmake resides only in the whole body of the people, not in any subdivision of them. The attempt of any of the parts to exercise it is usurpation and ought to be repelled by those to whom the people have delegated their power of repelling it.

The acknowledged inability of the government, then, to sustain itself against the public will and, by force or otherwise, to control the whole nation is no sound argument in support of its constitutional inability to preserve itself against a section of the Nation acting in opposition to the general will."

Cohens v. Virginia was a case that evolved into the power of the Supreme Court having full appellate jurisdiction over any case tried before a state's highest court, but one can safely conclude IMHO, that had state secession been the matter before the Marshall led Court, the result would have been the same. The Court would not have denied the right of a state to leave the Union, it would have just denied the right to be done so without the consent of the people as a whole.
 
Top