Why Argue About the Constitutionality of Secession?

WJC

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The chief justice's argument was not well thought out and leaves open a opportunities for a future challenge.
Thanks for your response.
It is indeed poorly written. But I have heard that same argument made concerning other SCOTUS decisions, yet they still stand.
 

WJC

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There is nothing in the Constitution that grants this so-called right.
Although I agree with your general comments, let's be clear: our Constitution does not grant any rights. Our rights are bestowed upon us at conception by the "Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God".
 

WJC

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As to the question itself, inasmuch that there is absolutely nothing in the constitution that prevents the exercise of the right, secession clearly was, and is, a constitutional right.
Except that the Founders did not provide a list covering every possibility, particularly when those were "self-evident". It defies common sense that the Founders, having established a lasting Union, would codify the means for its destruction.
 

Potomac Pride

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People still debate the legality of secession because that was really the main issue involved in the Civil War. The southern states considered the Union to be a voluntary agreement in which the states retained their sovereignty and had the right to secede. However, Lincoln considered secession to be unconstitutional and a form of anarchy. The noted historian Forrest McDonald stated that the concept of secession was really a gray area before the Civil War. The late Forrest McDonald was a Professor Emeritus of History and one of the foremost constitutional scholars in the country. Professor McDonald stated that after the adoption of the Constitution "there were no guidelines, either in theory or in history, as to whether the compact could be dissolved and, if so, on what conditions". However, during "the founding era, many a public figure . . . declared that the states could interpose their powers between their citizens and the power of the federal government, and talk of secession was not unknown".
 

Andersonh1

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Except that the Founders did not provide a list covering every possibility, particularly when those were "self-evident". It defies common sense that the Founders, having established a lasting Union, would codify the means for its destruction.

It depends on whether a division of the Union can be considered "destruction". I think a good argument can be made that it's nothing of the kind, depending of course on how that division occurs.
 

JeffBrooks

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

Because it's easier to take pride in the martial glories of one's ancestors if you believe that the cause for which they fought was just. Not nearly as easy when you believe otherwise. Looking back upon my own family's history, I am much more proud of the service my ancestors gave to the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War than to the Confederate Army during the Civil War.
 

wbull1

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There are some very good and detailed arguments about the constitutionality of secession, but I have to admit that the relevance of the arguments eludes me. That train left the station so long ago that the weeds cover the rusty tracks so completely that you have to search through the briars to find them. Apparently, some people thought it was constitutional at the time. Okay. Supreme Court rulings and the Civil War demonstrated it was not. We no longer debate how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. (I always thought the number would vary depending on the dance.) Why does the debate continue? If you want to demonstrate you have the right be to secede from the union, try it and see what happens.
 
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"A grievous crime against humanity"? Really? I'd reserve those words to describe slavery.

Please notify me when someone offers the definitive answer to which all agree.


Would you use those words to also describe New England international slave-trafficking? How about slavery in Kentucky and Missouri? Do those words apply there too?
Except that the Founders did not provide a list covering every possibility, particularly when those were "self-evident". It defies common sense that the Founders, having established a lasting Union, would codify the means for its destruction.


What defies common sense is the idea that the slave-owning Founders would fight a war of secession and declare to the world that the right of self-government and political independence is a sacred, unalienable right, then immediately set up a Mafia-style government of violence and coercion.
 
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There is no mode or form in the Constitution for the exercise of a State to perform unilateral secession from it's sister States.

There is a form and mode for a State to join the Union, but none to leave it.

Why do you suppose that is?

Because no nation, no major State, ever plans for it's own destruction.

Look for and show me the law in the Confederate constitution that permits it's member states to secede.

I'll wait.


No form or mode for a State to leave the Union?

I see. Please show me a form or mode for a State to:

1. Establish a University
2. Build a road
3. Build a Bridge
4. Build a tunnell
5. Issue a marriage license

According to your oddball constitutional logic, each and every one of these acts is plainly unconstitutional. Right? Or in the alternative, you can, as I asked, show me a form or mode for a State to do these thing. I'll wait.
 

WJC

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Please show me a form or mode for a State to:

1. Establish a University
2. Build a road
3. Build a Bridge
4. Build a tunnell
5. Issue a marriage license

According to your oddball constitutional logic, each and every one of these acts is plainly unconstitutional. Right?
Each of those items is related to a power "reserved to the States respectively, or to the people". None are related to powers delegated to the Federal government.
Thus none are unconstitutional.
 
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Each of those items is related to a power reserved by the State or the people. None are related to powers delegated to the Federal government.
Thus none are unconstitutional.

Why yes indeed, all those acts are undoubtedly among the mass of reserved powers of the states. Just like the right of secession is a reserved power of the state.
 
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If it was a voluntary Union, wholly recognizing and respecting the right of the people to establish a government by consent and preserve the right to political independence, then it would be. But a government of coercion is a thing to be disdained, not lauded.
 

WJC

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Why yes indeed, all those acts are undoubtedly among the mass of reserved powers of the states. Just like the right of secession is a reserved power of the state.
Thanks for your response.
The right of revolution most certainly is a natural right. There is no right of rebellion. Regardless, for either to be more than a footnote in history, they must succeed. The secessionists of 1860/61 failed.
 

jackt62

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Although I agree with your general comments, let's be clear: our Constitution does not grant any rights. Our rights are bestowed upon us at conception by the "Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God".

No argument there!
 
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"Regardless, for either to be more than a footnote in history, they must succeed. The secessionists of 1860/61 failed."

I see. As always, the unionist argument is reduced to the violence of "might makes right".
 
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Tin cup

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If it was a voluntary Union, wholly recognizing and respecting the right of the people to establish a government by consent and preserve the right to political independence, then it would be. But a government of coercion is a thing to be disdained, not lauded.
Then if disdaining the government of the Union, why did the "Confederates" back themselves into the most dictatorial, all encompassing, the most intrusive, and coercive government ever seen on US soil? And yet people laud their actions? :whistling:

Kevin Dally
 
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