Why Argue About the Constitutionality of Secession?

Potomac Pride

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Location
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Didn't Georgia say the tariff issue had been resolved in it's secession document?

And how does the tariff effect the constitutionality of secession?
The Georgia Declaration of Secession doesn't actually state that the tariff issue had been resolved. It mentions that as a result of the tariff of 1846 that “the principle was settled, and free trade, low duties, and economy in public expenditures was the verdict of the American people”. However, in the following paragraph, it mentions that this verdict was now being threatened : “All these classes saw this and felt it and cast about for new allies”. This is a reference to the coalition that had been forged between the advocates of trade protectionism and anti-slavery groups under the banner of the novice Republican Party. My previous post may have been off topic from the original post concerning the constitutionality of secession. However, I was only responding to a question from a poster but thanks for your comments anyway.
 
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OpnCoronet

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Feb 23, 2010
This is a discussion forum, the arguments result from defining what is and what is not, accurate information and, discerning what is good/accurate information of real events in history, accuracy is to be strived for.

For instance, The Civil War was Sectional and the cause was sectionalism can be true statements, but, in regards to the Civil War, only in the context of what was the cause of sectionalism?

Historically, the venue we discuss the CW and its causes, we find, that Sectionalism has a specific cause and precise time and date. Although mentioned many times and discussed from the time to time, how many on this thread know this?(If a student of the CW and its causes dies not know this, then it leads to confusion and error, which, on a history forum, must be addressed at all times)
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
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Location
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The Georgia Declaration of Secession doesn't actually state that the tariff issue had been resolved. It mentions that as a result of the tariff of 1846 that “the principle was settled, and free trade, low duties, and economy in public expenditures was the verdict of the American people”. However, in the following paragraph, it mentions that this verdict was now being threatened : “All these classes saw this and felt it and cast about for new allies”. This is a reference to the coalition that had been forged between the advocates of trade protectionism and anti-slavery groups under the banner of the novice Republican Party. My previous post may have been off topic from the original post concerning the constitutionality of secession. However, I was only responding to a question from a poster but thanks for your comments anyway.

@Potomac Pride ,

Thank you for your clarification in your post above.

Would you have a source I could view that would support your contention when you state, "This is a reference to the coalition that had been forged between advocates of trade protectionism and anti-slavery groups?"

From what I have read and understand is that anti-slavery groups were as popular as smallpox and had little political influence into the run up to the Civil War.

Any source you could provide would be appreciated.

Sincerely,
Unionblue
 

Robert E Lee 1

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Jul 3, 2019
Why do posters here feel compelled to argue again and again and again about whether secession was a constitutional right?

It's not as if anyone's reached a definitive decision that's widely accepted.

Isn't it enough to say that Americans at the time disagreed over whether there was a constitutional right of secession, and, as so many arguments were cast in terms of constitutionality and original intent, that the inability of people at the time to reach a generally-agreed upon conclusion contributed to the events leading up to the secession crisis and the decision for war in 1860-61?

I think there would have been a separatist movement in any case. It isn't as if the fire-eaters would have been deterred in their quest for securing southern independence by a finding that secession was unconstitutional. The crisis they fears was upon the South was far too important to be dismissed due to constitutional interpretation.

After all, even if someone here finally offered an explanation that satisfied everyone, how would that change a single thing about what happened over 150 years ago?

These debates never end, and they never will. We might thus realize that the same was true for the Civil War generation.
I don't know much about a right but I think if it's the will of the people and it's voted on then secession is a right just like we did with England.
 

unionblue

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I'm not aware that the colonial secessionists asked permission from the king, parliament, or even the loyal colonists for permission to form their own country

Why do you insist on calling them what they themselves never did? They were Rebels, conducting a Revolution.

Trying to use their acts as cover for the Rebellion of 1861-1865 has never, and will never, cover up the fact of that Rebellion either.
 

GwilymT

First Sergeant
Joined
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Location
Pittsburgh
I don't know much about a right but I think if it's the will of the people and it's voted on then secession is a right just like we did with England.

How can it be claimed that it was the will of the people when the vast majority of seceding states didn’t put the question to the people for a vote? How can it be the will of the people when a majority of the people living in the south didn’t have a right to vote even if secession was put to the people for a vote?

The notion that the south was unified in the rebellion of 1861 is a later romantic notion that is still clung to by modern confederate supporters. The south of 1861-65 was very far from unified behind the rebellion.
 

WJC

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I'm not aware that the colonial secessionists
Although the words 'secede', 'secession' and 'secessionist' predate the activities of 1860-61 by over a hundred years, it is incorrect to use them to describe the American Revolution. Our Founders were unmistakenly rebelling against the monolithic, monarchial government: they were not trying to withdraw from a federation of States.
 

GwilymT

First Sergeant
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Location
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Actually, the American Revolution was a form of secession because it involved the 13 American colonies seceding or withdrawing from the United Kingdom to form the United States of America.

No. It simply wasn’t. The American Revolution was just that, a Revolution. It was a rebellion in an attempt to set up an entirely new form of government based on entirely different principles. It was successful.

The rebellion of 1861 wasn’t about a new form of government. The only real difference between the stated purpose of the CSA rebels and the government they attempted to leave was the protection of and the expansion of the institution of slavery. In their effort to protect and extend the institution of slavery, they lost.

The American Revolution was not secession, it was rebellion and revolution to set up a new form of government. The slaveholder’s rebellion of 1861 wasn’t about a radical change in government or society- it was about the protection of and expansion of slavery. They didn’t try to set up a new form of government but basically copied the old form amongst themselves as slave holding states. They said so themselves. If you disagree, your argument is with the confederates. South Carolina, Mississippi, and other states told us exactly why they did what they did. Confederate political and military leaders told us exactly why they did what they did.

Why do you refuse to believe them?
 
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CSA Today

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Laurinburg NC
Although the words 'secede', 'secession' and 'secessionist' predate the activities of 1860-61 by over a hundred years, it is incorrect to use them to describe the American Revolution. Our Founders were unmistakenly rebelling against the monolithic, monarchial government: they were not trying to withdraw from a federation of States.

What difference does it make? First rebellious colonists and then decades later rebellious Southerners withdrew from what they regarded as repressive governments to form nations of their own. Neither people sought or got permission, neither group thought that those opposed had the right to decide for them.
 

WJC

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What difference does it make? First rebellious colonists and then decades later rebellious Southerners withdrew from what they regarded as repressive governments to form nations of their own. Neither people sought or got permission, neither group thought that those opposed had the right to decide for them.
Thanks for your response.
It must make a difference to those who continue to mischaracterize the actions of the secessionists with those of our Founders in order to justify their actions. It's an old propaganda ploy, meant to obfuscate and confuse.
 

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